On the blackest of Fridays, shock-rockers and self-proclaimed “heavy metal holocaust” GWAR brought their hilarious freak show to Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Touring in celebration of their 30th anniversary, the band elicited more bloodshed and gratuitous violence than a pair of brawling moms at a Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving.
GWAR was joined by a couple of hardcore bands, most notably Battlecross, who play the sort of hair-whipping, ear-splitting thrash metal worshiped and headbanged to by Beavis and Butt-Head. The mostly male crowd wasn't incredibly diverse, and all flocked together in the unofficial GWAR show uniform: a white T-shirt. GWAR concerts are notoriously messy — much to the chagrin of the staff at any given venue — and that's exactly how fans like it. When the speakers of Revolution are covered in plastic, it's a sure sign of things to come.
The only way to fully grasp the mayhem of a GWAR show is to attend a GWAR show. Before the band took the stage, veteran fans could be overheard discussing past experiences and all the various fluids sprayed on them (like the one dude who'd happily caught current lead singer Blothar's udder juice right in the mouth). This is where the white shirts come in; they will eventually be bloody, concert-made souvenirs fans can proudly display at home. For those who don't wish to take home any part of the show, stand back. Way back. Like maybe go outside.
From the very first song, GWAR unleashed a tidal wave of fake bodily fluids. While the burly security men in the photo pit squinted from underneath their garbage bag ponchos, fans openly embraced being sprayed in copious amounts of fake blood from a geyser that had a reach of at least 30 feet. This was just the beginning of what was a ridiculous and wonderfully offensive evening.
Walking out to Black Sabbath's “War Pigs,” GWAR's set began with a little background on their mythology via a video screen. That same screen was used throughout the show to intro almost every song. Although they're technically a rock 'n' roll band, GWAR is much more than that. With its giant monster alien suits, deep collection of historied characters, and politically incorrect on-stage banter, GWAR makes other bands look downright boring.
In addition to playing music, GWAR put on a sketch comedy show that has an overarching, interconnected plot. Friday night's story revolved around the internet — both what it can be used for and GWAR's presence on it. For example, their manager, Sleazy P. Martini, informed the band via a Skype-like app that Twitter was hating on the band. It was accused of both losing its edge and generally sucking since the death of former frontman and founder Dave Brockie. It was precisely how a band like GWAR would confront the death of a beloved band member: bluntly and in the clutches of a joke.
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In response to the online vitriol, it set about to prove the trolls wrong by covering the audience in green alien urine, alien semen, and blood from a demon baby's ass and various murdered creatures. Two people who fell victim to GWAR's blades were a Fox News reporter and a member of ISIS, both of whom were decapitated and whose headless stumps gushed blood onto dozens of cheering fans.
GWAR used the internet to check out websites recommended by friends such as Jared from Subway to hook up with children and sites dedicated to other types of human sex trafficking or even ordering drugs, like giant crack rocks. All of this was represented by an adorable kitten who had its paws to its face, presumably in shame. Absolutely nothing was off-limits, and GWAR was merciless with every subject it skewered.
The show was an orgy of taboo topics. It was like a hilarious version of the film Caligula mixed with the smut of PornHub, the biting satire of The Onion, and the bewildering zaniness of an Adult Swim program. After pumping out more blood than the original Evil Dead movie, we reached the end of the concert with the room chanting the names of its two deceased band members, Oderus Urungus (Brockie) and Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot). Fans were encouraged to “Scream from your black little hearts so they can hear you in Valhalla,” and by then, we all knew GWAR had done its job. It'd done right by its former mates and devoted minions and will continue to shower our planet in its disgusting, sanctified fluids as long as we need it to.