They came, they saw, they did their thing. Usually the third part of that phrase would read ‘they conquered,’ and to some who attended the GWAR show Tuesday night at the Cain’s Ballroom, they may say that is how it all went down. To others, however, it may not have been what they expected to see.
Usually when writing stories, I tend to abide by one of the most important rules of journalism. That rule is to never write in the first person. What I’ve found though is that a GWAR show can only be described that way, so excuse the unprofessional writing technique I will employ in the following words.
Both before and during my time covering concerts, I have seen many shows, most of which were rock concerts. With that being said, I’m not sure what you would call what I witnessed Tuesday night.
The show got underway with Mobile Death Camp, followed by Infernaeon. Infernaeon’s show began with the lead singer reading satanic bible versus while wearing a shirt labeled "Property of Satan." I enjoy metal music more than most of my friends, but this brand of death metal was too much for my taste. Plus, their cover of Metallica‘s "Creeping Death" was in my mind a terrible rendition of one of my favorite ‘old school’ metal songs.
Punk Rock band The Casualties were up next. They took the energy level up in the room, which was at roughly a quarter of the Cain’s Ballroom’s capacity. Their wild hair and cover of The Ramones’ "Blitzkrieg Bop" were a couple of the highlights of the night.
About 30 minutes later, it was time for the main event. GWAR took the stage adorned in some of the wildest costumes I’ve ever seen on stage. The entire crowd pressed forward towards the barricade, most wearing white shirts in hope of having a cheap souvenir.
As the group tore into their set, sure enough, here came the theatrics I’ve heard about. Body parts of aliens lurking about the stage were smashed off and liquid violently squirted into the crowd. At first it was a neat site to see, especially with the stage lights lighting up the audience as you could clearly see the red and green substances flying through the air and back onto the all-too enthusiastic crowd waiting below.
To me, the music left a lot to be desired. Constant screaming and yelling matched with the double-bass of the drum kit was so loud that many in the crowd were seen holding their hands over their ears. Then the first "special guest" as the group called her came out onto stage.
A mock up of Sarah Palin was wheeled out on stage, waving to the audience as one of the band members shouted "this is so you don’t ever have to worry about that (expletive) Sarah Palin becoming president." Members of the group then began slicing into the prop with their "weapons," ripping her apart. Again, you guessed it, more blood came squirting out into the crowd.
Ole Palin was a trooper though, as she continued doing her best campaign wave to the crowd as they wheeled her back off of the stage. Pretty much the same thing happened also with a dog and a mock up of Lady Gaga.
I have been told for a while now that GWAR is one of the shows you must see at some point in your life. I’m glad I finally got to see them live, but at the same time I’m also glad I can now say I’ve seen them so I don’t have to again.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the theatrical aspect of their show, as I feel this is something that has been lacking in rock-n-roll for years. However, the constant stream of fake blood and bodily fluid spraying into the audience got very old, very fast. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more had I been a more avid listener of their material – but who knows?
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
If you are like me and love to see an old school theatrical rock show, my money is on something more like Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie. In my nearly 20 years of attending concerts, this is one of only two shows that I have left early. I’m somewhat ashamed to say that, but apparently I was not alone as several other people made an early exit as well.
So in summary, the music – okay. The show – alright for a little while. Is it a must see show? If that’s your cup of tea, knock yourself out. For me, I’ll very likely miss their next appearance in Tulsa.