On Friday, October 26th the Dallas area played host to some of the most outrageous characters in the history of metal; Oderus Urungus, Beefcake the Mighty, Jizmak Da Gusha, Balsac the Jaws of Death, and new guitarist Pustulus Maximus of GWAR.
The night full of metal started with Legacy of Disorder, a band from New Zealand. Their sound was bland or plain, reminiscent of Drowning Pool. That’s not to say it was bad, in fact as an opening act they did their part to hype up the audience. Next up was Cancer Bats from a slightly closer country (Canada.) While only marginally better than Legacy, they performed a most excellent cover of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys.
Clearly the other patrons knew what was going on before I did, because while there was maybe two dozen people for the first two bands, the crowd blew up significantly for the third opening act, DevilDriver. Hailing from Santa Barbara, DevilDriver is a melodic death metal band who has toured with GWAR in the past. Of the three, DevilDriver was the only one I’ll actually look into picking up an album for.
After thanking the other opening acts, DevilDriver’s lead singer introduced GWAR. As the lights dimmed, a voice that introduced itself as God declared his intention to destroy GWAR by night’s end, sending his minions to assassinate these musicians from another planet. After slaying Mitt Romney (“Oh no, It’s the 47 %!”), Hitler, and Jesus (twice), GWAR was able to thwart the plans of God himself and live another day.
GWAR’s setlist included a cover of “Carry on Wayward Son”, a song off their new album (“…coming out whenever we damn well please!”), and a number of GWAR staples including “Bring Back the Bomb.” Musically speaking, GWAR is good – sounding just as talented live as they do on their studio albums. This is more impressive than one might think, seeing as they perform in rather large costumes. They seemed to fit together really well too, even with the addition of their relatively new guitarist.
The musicality is not the reason why people go see GWAR, however. For those of you who don’t know, GWAR is the epitome of shock metal, a genre hell-bent on angering/frightening/grossing out listeners. Their lyrics are explicit on many levels, never afraid to tackle infanticide, cannibalism, or necrophilia (sometimes even in the same song – see “Fistful of Teeth”). Their outfits aren’t much better – all four standing members of the band played with exposed backsides (couldn’t see the drummer’s – he was sitting on it), and Oderus Urungus, lead singer and self-proclaimed ruler of Earth sported a large exposed green alien penis that factored heavily into the dancing associated with his stage antics. The “murder” of effigies on stage was both brutal and tangible – the beheading of Mitt Romney was the least gruesome and still resulted in the dowsing of the entire front section in fake blood. Their portrayal of Jesus was nothing short of sacrilege – dismembering the props that made up his body after what was called the second crucifixion of Christ. All of it was great.
Going into this concert, I knew what to expect from GWAR. I was ready to see comically gruesome sights, I was ready for offensive lyrics, and I was ready to be squirted with fake blood (although I ended up just outside of the splash zone). Like I said, unless you’re already a huge GWAR fan, you don’t go to their concert to be blown away by their music – you go for the experience.