Stepping out of Richmond Station to a sky full of bats flapping their way over the Corner Hotel is only the first dark portent of a very dark and portentous evening.
One band that is neither of those things is The Mercy Kills, a four-piece seemingly invented purely to soundtrack killer nights at the clean and rowdy Cherry Bar. No one comes to a Mistfits gig for anything new and the Mercy Kills don't trouble that premise but they do have fun, even if audience interest levels are low. When drummer Josh Black breathes fire from burning drumsticks and extinguishes them with a drum solo, the gradually growing crowd barely muster a cheer.
Graveyard Rockstars have the elaborate makeup, hair and black metal look of a band that live and breathe the lifestyle. Which makes the prominent well-enunciated vocals and pop lyrics jar oddly with the heavy riffs and majestic shredding which leaves them looking like Slipknot and sounding like a sub-Rage Against the Machine covers band. Still, their panto-groove metal does what it sets out to.
The room, swiftly filling with an audience dressed almost entirely in black, seethes gleefully like a bikie convention on E. Selling more t-shirts than albums would suggest the image of The Misfits is stronger than their music, but the fervour gripping tonight’s hardcore crowd proves otherwise. Near capacity when they come on stage, the room surges excitedly and with the opening chord of The Devil’s Rain and a brutal mosh ensues.
The opening ten minutes sees the aging trio pull out the classics Scream, Attitude and Teenagers From Mars, and it seems we'll be witness to a top-heavy set and a band whose energy levels drop fast. Thankfully, we're proven wrong. The sweaty, lanky, pin-balling fans explode with raw gusto as security peel crowdsurfers from the roof of the feral, flailing mass, and the band easily match our fury.
The one original Misfit, bassist and now vocalist Jerry Only, may have less hair to make his famous devilock style than he did when debuting these songs 30-odd years ago, but he never gives less than 100%. Barking introductions and a frantic "1, 2, 3, 4!", songs are short blasts of punk horror metal and we respond with equal intensity. Dig Up Her Bones, She, Skulls and an incendiary Helena are highlights of a set that runs to over forty songs as the band prove over and over that their brand of Halloween punk is far from getting old, and the band aren't about to act their age any time soon.