GWAR -- Far From Good, But Damn Entertaining
By
Mike Hess
7/16/2002 10:37:08 AM

In one hour of my life, I witnessed the following at a GWAR concert: Mike Tyson being hacked to bits with an oversized novelty axe; a woman have her chest and legs severed while spinning on a spiked wheel; Osama Bin Laden get castrated and probed with his own unit, the Pope get eaten by a giant dinosaur and a bunch of really big idiots play some really, really bad music while spraying fans with fake blood, urine, and something green. And you know what? It was quite entertaining.

Needless to say, murder and rape is a horrid part of the world, and in no way something to glorify or profit from (isn’t that right, Russell Yates??). But GWAR goes beyond the gore-obsessed, and treads into the world of satire with their over-produced, way-too-much-thought-has-gone-into-this-show stage props and costumes. It goes miles beyond profane, and head-first into comical.

Dressed like something you’d see in a goth/drag queen version of the movie Flash Gordon, the 5-piece band has the following members: Oderus Urungus on vocals, BalSac the Jaws of Death on rhythm guitar, Flattus Maximus playing lead axe, Beefcake the Mighty on Bass and Jizmak Da Gusha. Obviously, they don’t take themselves very seriously, or their music. Normally, that’s a combo that’ll send a band packing faster than Rosie O’Donnell at a closed buffet. But not for GWAR.

If it weren’t for the gimmicks, GWAR and their tunes would be best smeared on a neatly folded pile of double-ply toilet paper. But, anyone who knows anything about GWAR (an acronym for God What an Awful Racket) knows that it’s not about the music…it’s about the show and the scene. Hell, who wants to listen to a band that was formed only as a marketing project at a Virginia university in the ‘80s? Who wants to listen to gibberish about the members being sent to enslave the human race, being 17,000 years old, and being interplanetary warriors created from the most horrid scum in the universe? Tons of people, apparently.

The crowd broke into seriously nasty pits during GWAR’s only half-popular tune “Sick Of You”, and frenzied as their favorite monsters closed the set with “Happy Death-Day”. As the thrash trash left the stage and crowd simmering in a filthy puddle of fake blood, piss and whatever-the-hell-else-they-sprayed-on-us, the hyper-speed chants of “GWAR! GWAR!” were twice as loud as they rang an hour earlier. Those in attendance left the show exactly how they wanted to: dripping with sticky goo, riled up from angry, angry music, and in awe of their demi-gods of guttural guitar hogwash.

While GWAR was all spectacle, opening band Disarray showed the Providence crowd that just because the headliner can't play worth a lick, the openers don't have to follow suit. The Tennessee boys of Disarray are a heavy, HEAVY metal trio, something that isnt's too common these days. While most bands opt for volume-by-numbers, Disarray finds strength in knowing how to make an amp sound like a hellbound freight train.

Singer/guitarist/founder Chuck Bonnett resembles a 1984 James Hetfield, as he headbangs his waist-length hair, and shoots a heavy metal roman candle straight up your ass with sternum-crushing riffs and southern thickness. The vocals resemble a bit of hardcore '80s metal, opting for more harmony than scream, but Bonnett and buds thrashed and destroyed the crowd before all the tarps were even set up for GWAR. Be on the lookout for these guys to kick your ass in a nearby venue soon.

 

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