Photographs by Dale Benvenuto.
Full disclosure, I never heard Gwar before yesterday. Sure I’ve heard all about them, but never actually listened to a Gwar song. For 30 years, the Richmond, Virginia horror-metal band have thrilled and quite literally messed up audiences over the world.
The passing of singer Dave Brockie as Oderus Urungus earlier this year led some to believe this would be the end of the band to the disappointment of the fans and laundromats. But Gwar are not like any other band and seemed to have worked the situation into a completely new and compelling new narrative, breathing new life into the band.
For myself, the announcement that Gwar would continue welcoming new member Vulvatron was the final nudge to get me to a Gwar gig. Vulvatron appears like an industrialized version of Barbarella on some bad acid, and she was awesome to watch, sharing vocal duties with bassist Blothar.
Gwar have been on a bucket list of mine purely based on word of mouth from friends who have already seen them. I’m sure everyone knows someone that’s been to a Gwar gig and I never heard one person ever say that they sucked. On the contrary, Gwar put on one of the most thrilling, over the top shows I’ve ever seen.
Hitting the stage to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, a very packed Opera House roared their approval and prepared to be slayed. Looking like a slasher flick starring some seriously oversized freaky Vikings, it was almost exactly what I was expecting. Most impressive was the storyline that the show revolved around – the search for Urungus, and what a thrilling full-sensory assault of a search it was, especially those towards the front who would be covered in blood and whatever else they could toss out.
The songs…. We’re not really here to talk about the songs, are we? They were impressively loud but really the songs were secondary, yet still integral to the entire spectacle.
Aside from a few people I ran into that objected to my more formal attire, I had a blast last night. I was really expecting an obnoxious over-the-top gorefest. The night wasn’t quite that, and I think that is what made the evening such a success for everyone in attendance. Would I go see them again? Quite possibly, but how they proceed to top this is beyond me.