Friday, July 25, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
Sometimes, the rock critic -- a feckless, pathetic twerp, two rungs down the evolutionary ladder from the lemur -- recognizes the absurd nature of his profession. While his friends (all rock critics are male; women are too smart to do this kind of work) relax in their single-bedroom condominiums, sipping Merlot and watching the Jenny McCarthy Silicone Power Hour, the rock critic is at the show, man.
He strolls nonchalantly past leather-and-denim-clad misanthropes slurping cheap draft beer, smiles disarmingly at exotic dancers enjoying a night off and wonders what the hell is happening to his car at that particular moment. He feels as if bass drum kick-pedals are beating his spinal column. He imagines airborne mononucleosis bacteria floating over his head.
Thursday night's Misfits/ Megadeth show at The Joint inside the Hard Rock hotel-casino was one such occasion. The critic arrives promptly at 8, purchases a Misfits T-shirt for a friend and earplugs for himself, and tries not to be frightened witless by the crowd. Everyone in the crowd is wearing a concert T-shirt. Everyone. Misfits shirts seem to outnumber Megadeth shirts at least two-to-one, and the critic develops a grudging admiration for the marketing division of the former.
He watches, amused, as the stage-flanking video screens come to life with scenes from every sci-fi and horror film of the last half-century. The mini-film festivals prove to be an appropriate prologue to the arrival of the Misfits -- garbed in black stretch pants and rubber spikes, with Eddie Munster hairdos and pasty skin. Lead vocalist Michale Graves takes the stage in a dirty straitjacket, top hat and zombie makeup.
Immediately, they launch into the title track from their latest record, "American Psycho," and the critic finds he can't help but love these overgrown adolescents. Despite the fact that their original lineup included Glenn Danzig -- a bloated and absurd Full Metal Elvis -- the Misfits are more fun than they have any right to be. The band crunches out one punk blast after another, separating one song from the next with a shouted "1-2-3-4!" and nothing else. The critic favorably compares the show to the farewell show of The Ramones, another group of crusty punks who could still throw down.
The Misfits play a tight 50-minute set and disappear, leaving the critic to contemplate Megadeth. It proves to be more than he can bear. He is a patient, open-minded guy, but he refuses to sit still for arrogant posturing and pseudo-intellectual hair-metal, circa 1981. Bandleader Dave Mustaine enthusiastically greets "Las (expletive) Vegas," the band trots out a few songs from their new album "Cryptic Writings," including "Use The Man" and "Almost Honest," and the band flings their hair around to their own seemingly endless amusement. The critic tries, but can't get into their flat, unimaginative sound.
However he may feel about the show, the room is sold out and the fans receive Megadeth with the fervor usually accorded UFO sightings, leaving the critic to wonder if it's his own problem. Then he thinks of the bottle of Merlot in the refrigerator at home, shakes off his self-doubt and returns to his car, which he is pleased to find in perfect working order. Relieved, he rips off his press pass, throws his earplugs on the passenger seat and drives back to the office, hoping he set the VCR to record Jenny McCarthy.