Top Five Most Theatrical Rock Bands of All Time

In order to be included on our list of most theatrical rock bands of all time, you must not simply be a great entertainer, you must put on a grand spectacle. We want to see some showmanship, people.

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In fact, it is to the band's benefit that the theatrics completely overshadow the music. For instance while Paul McCartney might put on a concert that has thousands of people singing along for three hours, in the end, he is merely a man on a stage playing an instrument.

The bands that follow might not give us songs we whistle to on the john, but they do create stage shows you will never be able to delete from the hard drive of your mind.

5. Genesis
Yes, this is the easy listening band led by Phil Collins that sang "Invisible Touch" and "I Can't Dance," but in the early '70s it was Peter Gabriel's baby. And it was the weirdest of any weird psychedelic bands. The make-up and costuming must be seen to be believed. From dressing up as flowers to strange aliens, Genesis was more science fiction than rock 'n' roll.

4. Los Straightjackets
Watching a surf-rock band perform in

Mexican wrestling masks is as unforgettable as it sounds. Though they don't have the elaborate stage shows of the other bands on this list,

Los Straightjackets knows their genre and stays fiercely committed to


3. Marilyn Manson

Ft. Lauderdale's own Marilyn Manson's nihilistic

performances were blamed for everything from school shootings to drug

overdoses, but his shows are merely a soft-core pornographic horror musical

brought to life. His shock value has yet to really be topped.


2. Gwar
The Heavy Metal band inspired by Heavy Metal magazine is

supposedly all tongue in cheek. But with their outlandish costumes and

bloody decapitations of bikini-ed women, it's impossible to know where

the irony begins or where it ends. Perhaps it starts with their name

which is short for their full name Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh.

The Granddaddy of them all. This New York City rock band took

David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, multiplied him by four, and added fire-breathing, tongue-wagging, and levitating drum kits.

Strangely, when

their hair metal influence was greatest in the late eighties, they took

off their make-up and stripped down only to repaint their mugs ten years later. KISS continues with its action-figures-come-to-life stage show.

Another theatrical act, the Darkness, performs on Jan. 10 at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $33.25 plus fees. Visit

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland