Friday Night: GWAR At House Of Blues
Photos by Matthew Keever
GWAR House of Blues November 5, 2010
See pictures of GWAR playing a tarp-covered stage at the House of Blues in our slideshow.
It's difficult to describe GWAR. Some say the band is a mixture of KISS, World Wrestling Entertainment and the Rocky Horror Picture Show; others simply dismiss it as nonsense.
But the group isn't as simple as all that. Buried beneath heavy costumes, tucked under loud, nonsensical lyrics and somewhere between fact and fiction is a message that every fan deciphers for himself.
GWAR, as everyone knows, is a comprised of a few intergalactic aliens who were banished to earth after eating too many chili-cheese burritos and making a mess of things on their own planets. They invented music, playing the first bass-guitar notes on the gizzards of dead dinosaurs, which is why they are so good at what they do.
They view the human race as scum, as dogs, as food to eat; and, of course, fans eagerly flock to their jaws of death - in the case of GWAR concerts, the mosh pits. The human race is in love with self-destruction, GWAR's lead vocalist Oderus Urungus has been quoted saying, and GWAR is only satisfying a consumer need; it's basic supply and demand, and we can appreciate that here in Texas.
For 25 years, GWAR has pulled out all the stops; they've disemboweled Paris Hilton, made love to the Pope, castrated Michael Jackson, had sex with a dead dog and, as of Friday night, even torn off Lady Gaga's breasts.
Perhaps GWAR, which has been wearing elaborate costumes since before most of today's bejeweled glam-pop artists were teenagers, is still upset about losing those two Grammys to Nine Inch Nails and Metallica. But hey, we don't see James Hefield or Trent Reznor on Fox News, so everything worked out, right?
GWAR works best as a loud, in-your-face, metal group. Social commentary, science fiction and entertainment are rolled into one big, messy musical tirade to form the band. We're glad to see them back to their roots.
One young man was caught up in the mosh pit and consequently lost his phone. He had never been to a GWAR show before, but he stuck around because he was curious.
"I'm not curious anymore," he said, ringing out his shirt and brushing himself off. "In other pits, when you fall down, people help you up. Not in that pit."
But he was in the minority. Almost everyone else, including Otenki's lead vocalist German Alexander, whom Aftermath ran into during and after the show, loved it.
"I had an amazing time being soaked with red blood," Alexander said. "I enjoyed listening to the intricate guitar solos above all... amazing show."
As the set ended, exactly one hour after it began, the crowd began to chant - "GWAR!! GWAR!! GWAR!! GWAR!!" - and the band reappeared onstage for a 20-minute encore. Urungus had forgotten to spray the crowd with his Cuttlefish's juice. How rude!
Say what you will about them, but GWAR's members are geniuses in an industry many claim is failing. Similar to KISS, they have figured out a way to stay relevant, continue to entertain crowds and, most importantly, sell concert tickets.
Maybe all bands should start wearing ridiculous costumes and create ludicrous identities for their onstage personas. You laugh, but think about it... it worked for Gorillaz, too.
Personal Bias: We had never been to a GWAR show before, but we're glad we got to go. It was like... nothing else, really. There's nothing to compare it to.
The Crowd: Loud, soaked in GWAR's fluids and eager for more. Everyone who wore a white shirt did so on purpose, so don't look for sympathy after the show.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I should have worn a raincoat" - an HOB employee who did not look happy to be working the pit.
Random Notebook Dump: GWAR, KISS, Slipknot and Insane Clown Posse should tour together and brawl onstage. Who do you think would win, and why?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.