Seven lessons from my first GWAR show 

GWAR is always on a Magical Mystery Tour.
  • GWAR is always on a Magical Mystery Tour.

Update: On Thursday, as GWAR prepared to head to Canada for the remainder of their current tour, lead guitarist Cory Smoot (aka Flattus Maximus) was found dead. This is truly sad news, and NUVO offers our condolences to Smoot's friends, family and band mates. Metalsucks has a statement direct from GWAR's frontman, Dave Brockie, on Smoot's passing.

1. No matter how much time you spend trying to find a spot that's out of the range of GWAR’s many blood cannons, you'll probably underestimate. I didn’t count the number of times that GWAR shot fake blood into the audience, though I’m positive it was at least ten, and probably more. At one point they decided to cut through the drama of acting out a beheading or a disembowelment as a precursor to jets of fake blood, and instead they just wheeled out a cannon whose sole purpose, it seems, was to emit a concentration of fake blood into the audience.

2. A high level of acting skill is not necessary with a liberal helping of fake blood and a heavy-metal backing track. At several points in the evening, one character would simply wave his giant sword in the direction of another character, at which point that character would simply stop what he was doing and remove a layer of fake skin in order to simulate a wound. Casting directors of the world, take note.

3. GWAR are a great unifier in the heavy-metal world. Under few other circumstances would it make as much sense for a traditional death-metal band like Ghoul and a metalcore band like Every Time I Die to be playing together. In addition to this, I saw nearly every stripe of metal-head imaginable at this concert, and they all seemed either to be having the time of their life or to be frustrated that they were more soaked in fake blood than they would have liked.

4. There is probably someone, somewhere writing a lengthy academic essay on how GWAR is a reflective repository of negative cultural imagery from American society. This essay, though probably containing a valid argument, is misguided.

5. It is as bizarre as it sounds to see an effigy of Snooki from Jersey Shore disemboweled by a bunch of armored trolls. It is equally weird to see a group of armored trolls hold a bull fight with a dragon-like creature called the "Jaeger Monster," as well as to see them attack a small roundish creature with giant teeth and a feather duster for an arm because it was a custodian and it complained about the mess they were making.

6. After seeing the band for the first time, it is likely that you will spend the first 10 minutes of your drive home laughing maniacally. With a little bit of critical distance from the events that have just befallen you, it becomes quite clear how patently ridiculous and hilarious it is that a band has made a career out of live shows like the one you just saw.

7. It is possible to do basically the same thing for nearly 30 years and to maintain a consistently high level of energy and commitment to creating the most absurd live show possible. GWAR first formed in 1984. Since then they’ve played countless shows and fired countless gallons of fake bodily fluids into countless audiences. After this concert at The Vogue, it’s clear that they’ve lost none of their energy, and that they’ll probably continue doing what they’re doing into the foreseeable future. Thank heavens for that, because GWAR inject some much-needed levity into a genre that sometimes takes itself far too seriously.

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