The stage for Danzig at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum Tuesday night was dominated by a giant horned skull, whose eye sockets emitted sinister purple light at key moments. The group didn't need to resort to such camp artifice, since its music was so overwhelming on its own, going a long way toward explaining the term "head-banger music."
Front man Glenn Danzig, who wants badly to be Jim Morrison but whose style is more reminiscent of Billy Idol and the Cult's Ian Astbury, was impressive as he howled through such songs as "Killer Wolf" and "Mother" while working the front line of the audience like a politician at a campaign rally. His way of dropping all the consonants from his lyrics leaves him with big long open vowels to roll around in his throat, and since the audience seemed to know all the words it didn't matter that he was unintelligible most of the time.
The band looked like a parent's nightmare of heavy metal -- tattoos, long black hair, big muscles, studded belts and black leather gloves -- and the music fit the image perfectly, with guitarist John Christ smoothly combining rhythm and lead parts with feedback, thrown in regularly to keep ears quaking. Drummer Chuck Biscuits sat atop the skull and was the most impressive, giving the hard and heavy blues-based tunes the dynamics they needed, and kicking things up a notch when playing the faster songs, like "Snakes of Christ." The almost-pop song "She Rides" was the most successful, but there wasn't a clunker in the batch, and the only thing that seemed missing was a sense of humor.