GWAR Gas Monkey Live, Dallas Thursday, October 23, 2014
In March this year Dave Brockie, better known as an intergalactic barbarian by the name of Oderus Urungus, was found dead of a heroin overdose. For a lot of bands, losing their lead singer and sole remaining original member would be filed under "setback." For GWAR, whose extraordinarily crude sense of humor is probably more renowned than their music, it's become both a source of material and renewal.
No review of this show would be complete without a short list of the outstanding bizarreness that occurred on stage at brand new venue Gas Monkey Live last night, so here it is.
- The first song was sung by Oderus Urungus from inside a time portal space mirror while riding an asteroid, as a monster in a "SECURITY" T-shirt was gorily decapitated.
- A fat kind of viking thing called Blothar appeared from behind a magic time stone and declared himself the new lead singer of GWAR. He has an udder that sprays blood.
- A female alien called Vulvatron materialized and proceeded to spray the audience with fake blood from her breasts.
- The bass player had a pizza delivered by a monster with eight breasts, who was summarily decapitated by Vulvatron.
- Oderus Urungus' penis appeared through a time mirror, was pulled off by a kind of space turtle, and then proceeded to ejaculate green slime onto the audience, much to the apparent dismay of the space turtle thing.
- The band attempted to search for Oderus by doing his favorite thing, which was injecting a cartoonishly large crack rock using a syringe the size of a person.
- A twelve-foot tall alien announced Oderus was dead because he had killed him, and was then decapitated by the band, only to reveal a second head, which was stabbed by the Blothar thing that appeared earlier.
- Three women were fed to a grinder while the band played a thrash metal cover of "West End Girls."
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Other considerably bizarre things definitely happened, but these were the highlights. GWAR shows are a riot of noise and theater, a kind of thrash musical where most, if not all, of the story lines are "someone has just had their head pulled off and is now spraying blood all over the audience." With all the shlock-horror it's impossible to leave a GWAR show without wondering what exactly it was you just saw, and why it was so entertaining. It's just a hugely entertaining spectacle. Impossible to take seriously.
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Anyway, amid what is obviously a male-dominated genre, both in terms of fans and band members, it's excellent to see a female character, Vulvatron, given such prominence in GWAR. This is especially pleasing as she's not treated like a stereotypical token girl character, as you might imagine, but instead just another character, given equal billing, that hits things with a giant weapon and makes them bleed on the audience. This is very positive.
Gas Monkey Live is still very new (although it might have lost a bit of its shine now that it's absolutely drenched in fake blood), and with a games arcade, VIP viewing platforms, two gigantic screens (which aren't projection, but huge HD TVs) and a blazing sound system that can even make sense of thrash without getting fuzzy, it's certainly a unique entry into Dallas venues.
Really, you either think thrash metal and toilet humor are a brilliant combination, and thus you like GWAR, or you live a sad kind of existence where you just stumble from one indie band to another, laughing when a singer cracks a lame joke in between acoustic numbers. Wouldn't you rather that singer actually decapitated a terrifying alien and then danced in its blood instead?
I know which genre I'm happier with, but if you're not sold on GWAR nothing much has changed here, and nothing ever will, no matter how many band members die in tragic circumstances. They'll just keep making jokes about them and spraying mosh pits with gallons and gallons of fake blood, forever.