Standing unwillingly on the vicinity of a violent mosh pit, feet sticking to the beer-soaked Sound Academy floor while Glenn Danzig, hard rock's Dark Knight, croons to his mostly male audience, I couldn't help thinking of another aged male vocalist with an unmistakable set of pipes.
Are Morrissey and Danzig really so different? I suppose if I were to pose this question to fans of either artist, I would be met with disgust and perhaps even projectile vomit.
Danzig, with his devil-horn groin rock, occult obsessions and unsophisticated take of women as symbols, is viewed as a steroid-pumped, complete reverse of Morrissey's sensitive, emotional and sexually ambiguous world outlook. But on Sunday, when Danzig wiped his brow with a white towel and tossed it to fevered hands in the audience, I thought of Morrissey when he pulls off his shirt and similarly tosses it to fans.
Morrissey, 49, and Danzig, 53, were born four years apart on opposite sides of the Atlantic, both from working class families. Both were influenced by singers of the 50s. Both fronted two of the most influential bands of the 1980s before embarking on successful solo careers that dipped around the same period - mid to late 90s.
Today of course Morrissey is lauded by critics while Danzig is a pariah whose stature was seriously brought down a peg after a Youtube video of him getting knocked out backstage became his biggest mainstream hit since the live video for Mother. Morrissey would never be punched backstage, he's a pacifist and his rider stipulates no meat on the premises at concerts. Danzig would like you to think he microwaves human hearts for dinner.
Both singers use their sexual appeal in the same way but attract diametrically opposite personalities. Danzig makes his heterosexuality painfully evident, as almost all his videos include a black bikini-clad, sinister woman lurking in the background. Sometimes she has wings ready to pluck Danzig up like a vulture and fly him back to her sex cave. Danzig presents a common fantasy in the heavy metal world. His appeal to women, which judging by Sunday's demographic is no small contingent, stems from the fact that he's the ultimate badass with a soft side.
Morrissey's career has been one long sexual mindfuck on his fans. The ambiguous subject of his lyrics is never clearly a man or woman, leading us to believe his relationship truths and emotions are universals. Morrissey makes heterosexual men confront their feelings, bask in their own self-indulgent misery and for women to cry over his elusive and unattainable self.
One day Morrissey will likely earn a Sir before his name while Danzig will continue dwelling reclusively in a gothic house in L.A., becoming more of a cult figure as each year passes. But if we had to choose I would go with Danzig any day. Because at least he rocked a couple thousand Toronto and Montreal fans over the weekend, and isn't unfairly punishing Canadians, using our country as an easy target for political reasons. Go to hell Morrissey, and say "hi" to Danzig when you get there.