One does not wear nice clothes to a GWAR show. Any person that does wear nice clothes to a GWAR show is clearly not a fan, so they are more than likely the spouse of a fan and they’re left in the wake to later explain to coworkers that the reason their baby blue Polo shirt is making them look like they were an accomplice in a triple homicide.
I say love because you don’t just like GWAR—you either love them or you hate them. Some people find them to be the best Shock Rock band since Alice Cooper and others tend to find them to be as dumb and ridiculous as trash magazines talking about a bat boy being found in cave. I lean more towards a fondness for the band because when you take a long, hard look at them and what they do, you realize that it’s an immense effort to do something so grand and that makes them greater than just a good thrash band.
While I was stuck in line, I could hear Cancer Bats take the stage, so at least I had something good to listen to as a stood there and gradually grew a ZZ Top beard. Once I was finally able to get inside I was thrown back by what I got to see. This was something that I expected from them, since I’ve already seen them twice before, each show being just as excellent. As always, they brought their fiery energy that just rakes in the crowd and makes a frenzy of a pit. Just getting to hear songs like “Hail Destroyer” and “Pneumonia Hawk” live could throw any crowd into a full-on riot. Their cover of “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys is just awesome to hear. Now, I could say that they played their fan favorites, but every song by them is a fan favorite. A Cancer Bats fan is a viciously devoted fan, me being one of them. They bring something to the table that just clicks so well and digs its hooks into you. Cancer Bats’ style and sound is just pure and raw rock & roll attitude with hardcore and metal added in to stoke the fire. You will never be disappointed by their show.
DevilDriver followed; for anyone that is a fan of melodic death metal or the NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal), I’m certain you will find joy in DevilDriver and their show. It’s not that I’m saying they put on a bad performance, it’s just something that panders to that crowd—it just might not be something for a GWAR crowd in my opinion, even less for a Cancer Bats crowd. There were clearly a good bit of people in the crowd that were there to see them, but to put it simply, they should be playing with someone like Lamb of God or Chimera. This was just not the right tour for their style.
The reality of the night was that pretty much everybody came to see GWAR. Fans didn’t just go to listen to the music in a live setting—all the people there came to experience what GWAR is: a show. Not just a concert, but a show that expands into full-fledged vaudevillian entertainment style. In essence, that’s what GWAR is; one of the last bastions of vaudeville and it makes their show an experience like none other.
The night’s theme was God trying to kill GWAR.This was implemented in between songs and during as well, with many various characters trying to bring about the demise of the group, even an appearance from Hitler whom they gloriously and literally defaced. Of course, this led to the crowd getting completely drenched in blood, but that happened the majority of the night. It was a sight to see, and it would be nice if that level of theatrical effort would be a part of more bands. Then again, if that were the case, GWAR wouldn’t be the unique unit that they are. As far as the music itself goes, it was good old-fashioned thrash, with a ridiculous comedic twist that only adds to their charm. You got classics such as “Saddam a Go-Go” and then newer ones such as “Metal Metal Land,” so you really got the spectrum covered as far as era preference. It would be hard to find someone disappointed. Everything about the show made for a great night.
I won’t say go see GWAR because if you are a fan you already know that is something that you need to do, not just want to. If you’re not a fan of GWAR…well then, you’re missing out on the party and you have no one to blame but yourself
Photos ©2012 Ann Bodan