Review: Mister Monster – Over Your Dead Body – 10th Anniversary Show
Mister Monster Can Smell Your Brains!
Just got back from the Mister Monster reunion show. For those who don’t know Mister Monster is/was a horror punk band from New Jersey. They came out with one full length album “Over Your Dead Body” about 10 years ago. With an EP and a few other things thrown in during that time period. But OYDB was the definitive Mister Monster release. And it became something of a cult hit. The guys from the band went on to other things. Either forming new bands or playing with existing bands. Mister Monster never officially broke up. But since they were not playing together nor recording new music I figured a long time ago that Mister Monster was dead and buried. As we all know death is not always the end of the story.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their album and to shut up the pleading and bleeding Skeleton Crew (fan club) the boys decided to get together for a one night only reunion show at Dingbatz in Clfton, NJ. Whooo boy do I hate Jersey!
I’m from CT so my girlfriend and I headed out to Clifton so I could see these guys play before I die. My other partners in crime/show goers my sister and her buddy B would be meeting us there. It’s a two hour drive from where I’m at. Not bad. Thanks to the miracle of GPS we got to Clifton without incident despite the weird roads, endless one way streets and general mess that is NJ. We found the club and from the outside it looked SMALL! It could best be described as a dump. But I have seen some very excellent shows in some VERY definite dumps so that’s not a problem. Take CBGBs for example. A glorious dump which had a broken toilet for over 15 years. No joke. Clubs not open yet so we head out to find a hotel and some grub.
Nothing to do with the show but I have to mention this. I stop into a gas station to ask where a local hotel is. I walk in and say “Hey, how ya doin?'” and the mechanic says “Hey, long time no see!”.
I have never, ever been to Clifton. I explain I am from out of state just looking for a hotel. He starts asking me who the original owner was of my girfriend’s car. Shocked, I tell him I have absolutely no idea. He explains that his buddy used to own the car and asks me if it runs on propane.
No….it runs on regular gas. Um, buddy, I’m just here to see a show and I’m looking for a Holiday Inn or some such. More questions about the car. How long have we had it? His friend has the exact same car. And on and on. Trying to be polite as I can I keep pushing for the hotel. Just when I’m about to give up he takes me over to a wall map and begins to show me where a hotel is. Ok, great. Out from the work area comes another guy who says “YOU NEED BRAKES!”. I kinda look around….me? “Yeah, you need brakes!”. I say “Sir, I’m not here to pick up a car. I’m from out of town just looking for a hotel”. He starts to berate the first guy calling him an a-hole and a moron claiming he was told I was here to pick up a car and he splits. Yikes. I figured at this point it was time to leave. With the first guy chasing me out the door giving wild directions like “You go down to the park, make a right where the diner used to be…” and me going “Ok, thank you. Yup. Got it. Ok, thanks very much” I hop back in the car and tell my girl “Get us the F out of here”. Gotta love Jersey! So we turn to the GPS for help and it leads us to lodging. Thank you satellites. I’ll skip over the adventure that was Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse. Oof. They did have goose liver pate though so….ya know. Can’t be all bad.
We show up right on time at 7 PM as it said on the website. Only to find out the club doesn’t open until 8. Which in hole in the wall rock club talk means 8:30 or 9:00. Sigh. So we stand out in the cold with the other would be concert goers and wait. And wait. And wait. We met some folks who came from Pennsylvania. Another group from Boston, Mass. And another from Georgia! Wow! What we horror punk fans will do to see our favorite bands. It warms my black and shriveled heart.
They finally let us in and I love the joint. The walls are covered with band stickers, missing person posters (an in joke I suppose) and dark artwork like gargoyle statues and a baby doll in a cage being stabbed in the head with a machete. Lovely. Bar in the rear and stage area in the front. Did I mention it was small? If you want an intimate experience this is the place for you. If you’re looking for arena rock forget it. I don’t drink but my cohorts do so we hang around the bar waiting FOREVER for the opening band, The Zombie Mafia, to come on. The staff was very friendly. From the doorman to the ticket taker to the lady running the merch table. Even the bouncer was cool and he got on stage to make jokes while we waited. Very cool and rare from the stone faces I am used to at most shows.
Alright, so The Zombie Mafia hits the stage. I am not familiar with their material. I have heard a song or two on YT but that’s as far as I go. They worked hard and put on a good show. Their style of horror punk is not exactly my bag although I dug a couple songs particularly “Stay Dead”. Little too thrashy for my taste. I like me some thrash but not mixed with my punk. Just a personal preference. But certainly not bad. I respect the energy and effort these guys put out given that at that point the club was still a bit empty.
People start to arrive in anticipation for Mister Monster. I guess the locals knew these guys were coming on late. Us out of townies had no idea. By the time the boys hit the stage Dingbatz was sold out. Cool. At 12:00….maybe they did that on purpose for the creepy factor I don’t know….their intro kicks in and the place comes alive. Or undead if you prefer. Germs, JV Bastard, Paul Lifeless and front man J-Sin Trioxin hit the stage and SLAM into “Over Your Dead Body”. It became immediately obvious they meant business as they were tight as hell and vicious. Also J-sin played guitar along with JV. Usually he just sings. The additional guitar gave a richer sound. And they flawlessly blasted through almost every track from OYDB. With the crowd singing along. From “Love Thornz”, “This Night I Call Bad Luck” and “Dead Flesh Girl” to “Amy” and “Little Frankenstein” they didn’t miss a beat. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to see them live. As were the very exuberant crowd. With the hype I expected a good show. I didn’t expect this. They DESTROYED! Worth the drive, the crazy mechanic, the long wait and the overpriced hotel. This is what horror punk is all about.
They left the stage and the crowd began chanting “Mis-ter Mon-ster!!” in hopes of an encore. Remember in Return of the Living Dead when Frank tells Freddy that famous story about how the dead came back to life? That clip plays and Mister Monster returns to the stage and goes into “Tina and Freddy”. A personal favorite of mine. With the crowd gleefully chanting “Brains! Brains! Brains!” at the appropriate points. Followed by “Resident Evil” and closing with the classic “Prom Night”.
Technically the guitars, bass and drums sounded amazing. But as always the mic was lacking. Not TERRIBLE but distorted. This seems to be a running problem at small venues. Can’t quite get that mic working. Minor point, did not detract from the enjoyment of the show.
So today I am very tired, a bit sore from the pit but a happy camper. Had a great time at a very memorable show. I’m hoping the interest in this show demonstrates to the band that we want them back and they decide to put out that long awaited second album. But if not, I am happy I got to see them play at least once.
And as they like to say…Stay Dead!