According to the website “Blackest of the Black Festival is…the brainchild of Glenn Danzig, the event not only serves as a music festival, but as a cultural experience: an escape. Coming to Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, CA in Orange County on Memorial Day Weekend, Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th, Blackest of the Black will host two music stages, curated by Danzig, with performances by some of the heaviest acts around including Danzig, Ministry…and many more. The festival will also feature camping, and a number of sinister attractions including Castle Danzig – a fully immersive walkthrough experience of pain, pleasure, and metal, based on the music and graphic novels of Glenn Danzig.” The advertised attractions for Castle Danzig included a Suspension Stage, Sacrifice Altar, Bondage Stage, Padded Cell, Electro Stage, Drukija Blood Bath, Stocks, Freak Performers and Amusement Rides.
Ken flew in to San Diego from Phoenix to accompany Bob and I to this madness. We decided beforehand to camp as we had done at Aftershock a couple years prior. The website said we could each bring in a case of beer but we had no problem sneaking in whatever we wanted, especially because Bob found a “hidden compartment” to hide stuff behind my glovebox. Genius. The concert site itself was a cool little spot out in the middle of nowhere next to a lake in a canyon between two mountains. Our campsite however, was our very own 12’ x 12’ square in a dirt parking lot to call our own. The saving grace was Bob’s brand new pop up tent that literally took under 60 seconds to set up and under 60 seconds to put away. Meanwhile a couple of guys close by were setting up a teepee well into our third beer after our tent was ready to roll.
Today was all about Corrosion of Conformity but they would not be playing until second to last so once we had a few beers at our camp spot we decided to wander into the festival grounds to see what we would be dealing with. Immediately upon entering the festival we spotted three of the “Freak Performers” walking around. They were not really doing anything but were hard to miss because one little lady was walking around topless save for an “X” over each nipple fashioned out of black electrical tape. After walking past some plastic body parts and various horror type paraphernalia dangling from a tree we checked out 3Teeth which seemed like a slightly lighter version of a cross between Rammstein and KMFDM. Next were Butcher Babies, who were up to their syncopated hair swirling ways again just like when they opened for Marilyn Manson years ago. I had to watch just for the laugh. We found what seemed to be the makings of this Castle Danzig we had read about but what we saw looked more like an area strictly for performers rather than “a fully immersive walkthrough experience.” More on that later. Satisfied with our walkthrough we made our way back to the camp spot for more beers, grub and “cookies.”
As I stated earlier today was all about Corrosion of Conformity. I had only seen them once and that was about 16.5 years before this. They were not touring for a new album and to my knowledge had not done many shows since Pepper Keenan recently re-joined the band after nearly a decade long hiatus. They did not disappoint. We were only a couple rows back from the front when they came out so we had prime viewing for their entire set. I was so immersed in their set that I did not notate the songs of their setlist like I am known to do from time to time and apparently nobody online did either. What I do remember is them playing many songs from Deliverance and Wiseblood which made me very happy. The cookies did not hurt anything either. Bob and Ken are not avid cannabis users so one cookie plus the beers they had put them on a spaceship, which I was acting captain of after eating two cookies.
Suicidal Tendencies closed up the night and had sort of become a running joke between my friends and I. They were on the bill for at least two or three other concerts we attended but always opened. I was only curious to see them because of “Institutionalized,” the only song of theirs I really knew but ultimately it always came down to a decision between going to see them and having more beer and beer always won. Now we had no excuse so we checked them out and to my surprise were way more punk than I realized. They had a mosh pit onstage nearly the entire set. At one point they brought about 30 females up from out of the crowd (this accounted for probably every female in attendance) and those females started a mosh pit onstage. Good times (even though they did not play “Institutionalized”).
Once Suicidal’s set was over “Castle Danzig” finally came to life. Long story short it was a joke. It was exactly what it looked like earlier in the day, which was basically an area that had many performers doing the things that were advertised rather than us being able to “walk through.” Now it made sense why the website had changed about a week prior to this to suddenly exclude the details on the “attractions.”