Gwar, a heavy metal band formed in Richmond, Virginia, has been doing “their thing” for 33 years now and are still going strong. What is “their thing” one might ask? After attending the Baltimore leg of their current “Blood of Gods Tour,” if I had to put a label on what this “thing” actually is (which, honestly, is an impossible task) I would say that they are an extremely politically and socially conscious group of people who have a message to spread and are not afraid who hears it.
Just to name a few current musical and non-musical members of the band, Beefcake the Mighty, Sawborg Destructo, Jizmak, the three Slaves (Mx2, Muzzle Slave and Cock & Balls Slave), Gwar’s full team consists of dozens that contribute to the incredibly elaborate costumes, involved A/V and digital work and members that make putting on such a production possible.
Despite being aliens from a different planet, Gwar is not that different from other musicians, passionate about a cause. The biggest difference would be their extreme, sometimes vile, often depraved, frequently wet (more on that later) and always memorable performances.
Gwar finally took the stage after treating the audience to three openers that left the crowd satisfied and even more eager for the opener to take the stage. The first few songs of the show were great but passed by in a blur. My first solid memory of the show is a giant piece of shit dressed as a 50’s soda jerk dancing on the stage with the band.
An axe was suddenly plunged into the top of the caricature’s head and its entire body was dissected revealing tightly packed intestines inside a bulging stomach and treating the audience to numerous liquid projectiles that reached as far as halfway to the back and across the entire venue.
After some music, the next “act” that they put on was an exorcism performed by a white (and presumably catholic) priest wearing plain brown robes and sporting a large backend. After a failed exorcism, some [comical] play fighting, manhandling of the old priest and finally planting the cross brought out of the priest in a place other than the ground, the audience was treated to more fluids rocketing out of places fluid should never rocket out of.
With the previous act, the tone of the show grew increasingly political, and rather than creating a tense environment, support for the band continued to grow at an ever increasing rate as a Donald Trump figure was brought to the front of the stage to greet the band and the CEO of the fictitious company GLAMCO.
Smartly placed mishaps blocked three racial slurs from exiting the “president’s” mouth and before the audience knew it, Trump’s clothes were off and the band was ripping off his saggy oversized skin, dragging him offstage and next proceeding to milk their boss, the CEO of GLAMCO, (onto and all over the audience of course).
After these strong statements about the gluttony, greed, filth and overall sickened state that both the American political and corporate world has fallen into, it did not seem as if the group could go any further with their commentary; the CEO of GLAMCO makes a return, this time as a brain implanted into a robotic skeleton and the battle ensues climaxing with the ripping off and throwing of his brain across the stage.
The band exits, and after over five minutes of chanting, they return to stage feeding members that they had picked from the audience into a [hopefully] fake grinder and then proceeding to spray the audience with what could only be their liquified remains, this time having no problem reaching the very back of the venue, leaving me soaked (and no longer thirsty as I had swallowed plenty of spray in the process of jumping, yelling and getting blasted in the face and totally drenched after the end of the ordeal).
The fact that Gwar has been around for 33 years and that they are still going as strong as they did at Ram’s Head only a few weeks ago, makes me certain that I will make sure to the see them again in the future, not only for the crazy, over-the-top costumes, dialogue or oftentimes gratuitous violence, but also for the way that they confidently present their message of equality, rights and individualism for all (they are aliens after all and everyone – even aliens – should be treated fairly).