March 25, 2015 Doyle rattles The Brighton Bar Long Branch, NJ 3-15-15
One of Horror Punk Rock’s most recognized figures through the years has been Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein. Younger brother to Jerry Only of Punk legends the Misfits, Doyle joined up with his brother at the young age of sixteen in the band, thus launching his music career. Spending time as the band’s guitarist over the course of four of perhaps their most defining records, he launched his own band years later by the name of Gorgeous Frankenstein, releasing an album by the same name in 2007. With such a legacy and vast experience in music, one had to wonder for the longest time why Doyle never ventured into a solo career until 2013 when he released his debut album Abominator. Independently distributed via Doyle’s own label, Monsterman Records, the album has been a success and put Doyle back in the Heavy Metal/Punk spotlight once again with a new generation of fans. Continuing to support the record, Doyle began a lengthy tour alongside Mushroomhead March 22nd, but first took part in a few headlining shows in the week prior to fans delight. That is when chaos reigned on Sunday, March 15th, in Long Branch, New Jersey, when Doyle and his band made a stop at The Brighton Bar. Inspiring much excitement, an overwhelming presence of made-up faces and Misfits skull T-shirts pervaded the audience, which grew slowly over the course of the night.
The first band of the night was a local act called October Fire. This slick Rock-n-Roll four piece gave a righteous show of Blues-flavored Rock songs, such as the sleazily seductive “Wolf.” The stage of the performance was set by Johnny Rock’s groovy guitar licks and solos while vocalist Shawn Fox’s gruffness gave the music a Murderdolls meets AC/DC feel. The longer the group played, the more their smoke machine expelled vapor into the bar as they covered several notable songs that night including KISS’ “God of Thunder,” Marilyn Manson’s “mOBSCENE,” Rob Zombie’s “Sick Bubblegum,” and, appropriately, Danzig’s “Twist of Cain.” October Fire was an excellent start to the night of Metal to come.
The next band on deck was New York’s Demon Boy. The eponymous lead vocalist was impossible to miss in the crowd as he wore three-foot black angel wings, corpse paint, gauntlet, and a large, ornate belt bearing the vocalist’s namesake. The two other dancers/performers, Swordsha Black Knives Ortiz (a woman in garb similar to Demon Boy) and Skully (a man in a pinstripe and over-sized, stylized skull mask) assisted Demon Boy with backup vocals throughout their set. The band’s outrageous imagery, which was further bolstered by a series of macabre props, did not remotely outshine the group’s music. Demon Boy’s sound was something of a Hard Rock/Alt-Metal hybrid with occasional moments of Extreme Metal flair. Cuts like “Party to the Grave” and “I Kissed a Dead Girl” were total ghoulish groovers and got everyone to move their feet. One of the most notable parts of Demon Boy’s set was their performance of “Little Red Riding Bitch,” a perverse and twisted re-imagining of the Mother Goose classic tale Little Red Riding Hood. To add emphasis to this song, Swordsha and Skully acted out this story playing the roles of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, respectively, as the narrative was sung by the vocalist. Entertaining and fun, Demon Boy was an act worth checking out.
Thereafter, The Brighton Bar welcomed HoneyTrap, a Hard Rock/Hardcore group from Central Jersey. HoneyTrap delivered the heaviest slices of Punk Rock to be performed that night where many of their songs featured harsh vocals delivered by vocalist/guitarist J.P. Mauer, while others displayed their mastery of groove and melody. “Karma Trip,” for one, was a Nirvana/Pixies-esque piece of Hard Rock, sporting a prominent earworm. “Mischief” was another piece that was groove-heavy and had no shortage of riffs and solos from lead guitarist Michael Cherry. HoneyTrap’s Hardcore influences bared their teeth mid-set with their raw cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown,” making their time on stage a marvelous blend of styling.
The show took a turn for to more of a melodic sound next with True Will. The group’s diverse influences and discerning ear for songwriting creativity allows them to enjoy a unique and refreshing sound in the New Jersey Punk scene. True Will opts for a Punk Rock sound with distinct Pop sensibilities, not unlike Bad Religion of the Misfits. Guitarists Billie Seeland and Kylan Hillman, alongside bassist Chris Seeland, shared vocal duties, which allowed the group to employee three-part vocal harmonies, which, atop their Punk Rock backdrop, paints colorful Hard Rock songs never at a loss of flavor or personality. Although True Will’s primary communicational vehicle was guitar, Chris Seeland’s bass and Johnny Zabo’s drums were crucial for the final product, which demonstrated how tightly knit True Will works as a unit.
The entrance of Punk trio Black Irish signaled a half-hour performance of traditionally-minded Loud Rock. Black Irish, fronted by bassist/vocalist Ryan Murphy, brings to the table the blurry line between Metal and Hardcore. The music itself is something of a Pennywise brand of Hardcore, but Murphy’s harsh, guttural vocals suggest otherwise. Guitarist Keith Murphy produced riff after riff of intensive Punk Rock, while drummer Doug Heator kept the tempo so fast-paced and consistent that Motörhead would be impressed. Black Irish kept the hardness rolling for thirty minutes until first of the two touring bands set foot on stage.
As direct support for the evening, Zire’s War were ready to go. A band featuring longtime Life of Agony guitarist Joey Z, Zire’s War was easily the heaviest band to grace The Brighton Bar as their display of Metal was more prominent than any of the other acts. Stylistically, the music the quartet played was not unlike the Metallic Hardcore of the ‘80s and ‘90s, such as Biohazard, Prong, and Earth Crisis, but served with a heaping helping of modern flair, heft, and technology. The songs Zire’s War performed were comprised primarily of groove, drop-tuning, and face-punching intensity. The group’s interconnectedness throughout their heavy riffing was among their most outstanding features. The lows bellowed by the vocalist add a serious impact that left the crowd stunned and wanting. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Zire’s War’s music that night was the melodies the group sprinkled atop the chugging Metal, particularly on the choruses. Overall, Joey Z’s new project seems to be a winner and should garnish more attention in the near future.
Finally the time came for the monsterman himself, Doyle, to take the stage. Along with his band of ghouls consisting of vocalist Alex Wolfman Story, drummer Anthony “Tiny” Biuso, and bassist DieTrich Thrall, the semi-eponymous solo project can best be described as a part-Metal part-Punk Rock mutant hybrid that is as relentless as it is terrifying. Coming out to a roar of cheers, the set opened with the title track from Abominator, a fiery Groove Metal track, which transitioned seamlessly into “Learn to Bleed,” an up-tempo Punk-Metal track. Among the other songs under the Doyle name performed that night, standouts included the morbid Swing-tinged Punk track “Cemeterysexxx,” the Black Sabbathian Doom song “Love Like Murder,” the off-kilter “Bloodstains,” and their powerful closer “Hope Hell Is Warm.” Offering up a series of Misfits songs, “Last Caress” particularly got the entire bar up and shouting the lyrics, and Story would have made Glenn Danzig proud on the classic “Where Eagles Dare.”
As a package, Doyle left The Brighton Bar satisfied with its night of playful debauchery. He and his band did a fantastic job of keeping the adrenaline flowing in the most unique fashion. The sense of camaraderie among the Horror Punk fans on hand was palpable, as they all enjoyed the night of morbidity and glam. When asked what fans can expect from a Doyle live show, he stated, “To get fucking pummeled, man. And then go home and ask themselves ‘What the fuck just happened to me?!?”…!” That certainly summed up the stop in The Garden State, so be sure to check out the band as they tour through late spring.