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DVD Review: SamHain – Live 1984 Starland Ballroom

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SamHain, I had heard of them, but never heard them. It was Glenn Danzig’s band filling the space between his dissolving of the original Misfits in 1983 and the emergence of the band simply named Danzig. Glenn Danzig was on the front lines of horrorpunk for years, and this disk captures him in the heat of the moment, doing what he does best, the rest be damned!

This disk is not for those looking for high audio fidelity. This disk is not for those looking for pristine video quality. This disk is not for those looking for technically proficient performances. This disk is not for those looking for anything of any so-called “quality.”

This disk is for those looking to relive the energy of those days when all you needed was an attitude, loud amplifiers and a raw desire to own a crowd. This concert is as raw as it gets. The audio is awful, the video is awful, and frankly I do not care.

Glenn Danzig leading his band through a 48 minute set in front of a wild crowd in the former Starland Ballroom. This is a video document of what it was like to see a band with this intensity in a small intimate venue. Watch as security does what the can to hold back the crowd. Watch the band get down in the fans face. Listen as they rip through their songs.

After a few minutes, you will forget about the poor audio/video quality. You will be too busy watching SamHain on the small stage. It is more like a converted conference room or something, low stained ceiling, stage that is maybe a foot high, no lighting, no pyro, no stage setup. None of that matters.

All that matters here is this band doing what they do on the stage. They open with their namesake song, leading into the sing along, “All Murder, All Guts, All Fun.” Moving along to a terse version of the Misfits classics “Die, Die My Darling” and “Halloween II.” I admit, I was captivated, I’ve never seen Danzig looking so young, growling out the songs with reckless abandon. I even caught the hint of a smile, yeah, that’s right, a smile on Glenn Danzig’s face.

The set ended with “He Who Cannot be Named.” But that did not last long, as they came back with Danzig taking up the guitar and leading them through “Archangel,” ripping of strings and playing the literal axe guitar. They finally ended with “Moribund” in front of the exhausted crowd.

This is a great disk, a frozen moment in time. A time in music that will not be repeated, a moment that we can never go back to. I envy those who were able to witness this. This disk serves as a reminder of a bygone era in music. An era that will never be repeated.

Bottomline. This is not a high quality disk by any stretch, but again, what it lacks in quality it makes up for in intimate intensity. You are there on stage with Glenn Danzig, Eerie Von, Steve Zing, and Damien (I believe, please correct me if I’m wrong). I loved the setting, the music was great, an energy unlikely to be matched.

Recommended.

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  • godoggo

    Those old Misfits records sound awesome, though, thanks to the production of Flesheaters vocalist Chris D. (OK, actually I don’t know how many he actually did, but anyway the man has a Sound).

    I’ve long been somewhat weirded out by the ubiquity of Misfits-teeshirt-wearing teenagers who have almost certainly never heard their music, incidentally.