Last Night: GWAR At House Of Blues
Photos by Barry Stigman
Check out our slideshow of GWAR's messy concert.
GWAR has to be the most quintessentially American band that has ever existed. They play disgustingly loud hardcore-inflected thrash while covered in blood and gore, hating celebrities as much as your average citizen -- even to the point of wanting to disembowel them -- while living for violence and mutilation, at a clip of at least every two songs. And oh, they are also all from another planet, just like our country full of aliens and immigrants.
If that isn't America to you, at it's most base, vulgar, and hilarious, then you haven't been paying attention the past 235 years. If anything GWAR has just been holding up a mirror to the whole country since their inception in 1984.
All jokes and themes aside, this is also a band that is currently nursing a pretty big wound, losing Cory "Flattus Maximus" Smoot just a few weeks back. Smoot had played Maximus since 2002, and passed away on November 3 while on tour. The band retired the character and turned into a four-piece soon after.
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GWAR shows are known as messy affairs, with the band spewing red blood and green puss all over the crowd, either coming from the severed limb of a monster, a celebrity effigy, or a cannon on a shopping cart. White shirts are the normal attire for the gigs, with fans treasuring their soiled clothes as trophies. Whiffs and memories of Juggalos bathing in Faygo came reeling back last night as we settled in for our second GWAR show.
Openers Every Time I Die weren't exactly tailor-made for the bill but their bro-tastic metalcore was a worthy appetizer for GWAR's theater. They played a smattering of their golden oldies, like "We'rewolf" and "Kill The Music", plus a new song "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space", with the opening line "I want to be dead with my friends" the most shocking thing of their set. Well, besides guitarist Andy Williams now looking like Hulk Hogan's stunt double/child.
We missed earlier openers Warbeast, who hail from Dallas, by just a few minutes, but their debut 2010 album Krush The Enemy, is fun, muscular thrash.
GWAR opened with an appropriate hail of blood, after chopping off the top of the of one of Death's minions, getting the show off to crimson start. From then on out, no one's white clothing was safe, and we even cleaned blood off of our phone. No amount of words can adequately describe a GWAR stage show, and shame on us for wearing a black shirt.
What's strange is that while sitting entranced by GWAR for an hour and half, who are supposed to be outfitted to look like these hideous-looking monsters, we realized that their appearances are no more grotesque than any number of modern-rock and indie bands running today.
In our world lead singer Oderus Urungus might as well be Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. Both men's bands are just as entertaining for mostly the same reasons, and the lyrical content of both are just as horrifically hokey.
Crowd favorites like "Damnation Under God," "Hail, Genocide!" and "Bring Back The Bomb" made up a gooey center of the evening. Of course a monster Josef Mengele came out onstage to throw AIDS blood at us. And we can't forget Snooki's disemboweling, which she helped with, a few minutes before. Our Twitter feed, with literal play-by-play, probably got us on some watch-lists.
Houston pin-up gal and model Sabrina Sin danced behind the band during "Metal Metal Land", and manged to not get her breasts or head ripped off, though she was fed to the Maggot at the end of the show. More things you need to see for yourself.
The departed Flattus was a constant topic onstage, with Urungus dropping his name, saying that "He has chosen to leave the planet without our permission..." and was currently in heaven raping Jesus. In GWAR's world, this is endearing, and even made us get all awwww-y.
The level of comedy and theater that goes into a GWAR show is unimaginable, and Smoot was a warrior by all accounts. It's a testament to the band and their crew that the show has continued on, the way Smoot would have no doubt wanted.
At the end of the show, Smoot's guitar was left onstage alone, bathed in a single spotlight, as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played us out. A tech nearby shed a tear, and the assembled, dripping, blood-stained crowd chanted "GWAR," holding lighters in the air until the very end. It was a fitting salute to a fallen scumdog.
Personal Bias: This was our first taste of GWAR back in the '90s, courtesy of our two bestest childhood friends...
The Crowd: Bedraggled metalheads, and a few families with children. It's also always amusing to us how excited mosh-pitters are to get out of the pit itself, like they just won a gold medal.
Oversmelled In the Crowd: Farts, cinnamon-smelling fake blood, pot smoke, and cigarettes. It was like an old-school high school party in our friend Gomer's Garage Of Pain.
Random Notebook Dump: We've been watching the excellent rock doc American Hardcore quite a lot lately, and it features Dave Brockie, who plays Oderus, reminiscing about '80s hardcore.
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