The Belasco Theater – Los Angeles, CA – 10/24/19
Review and Pictures: Dave Blass
There are only two types of Metal Fans. Those who have been blown away by the insanity that is GWAR and those that have to do this as soon as possible. It’s 10 mins before showtime I am standing in the Pit surrounded by throngs of people dressed in brand new white T-Shirts. This isn’t like any Metal show I have been to. They know more than I do. They know what’s coming. I knew enough to wear a poncho and cover my camera, but really, I didn’t know enough, and I was about to get an intense education. How would I describe seeing GWARlive? It’s as if Alice Cooper, Game of Thrones and South Park had a mutant baby that vomited green goo… and did so quite often.
The Belasco Theater was oddly a perfect setting for show. The theater built back in 1926 used to be named the Follies and became a popular Burlesque destination of the day and I was about to be inches away from the quad-penis man-gina that is Blöthar the Berserker, the lead Howler of the band. I still wasn’t ready.
Part Concert, Part Opera, Part Performance Art, GWAR has amassed a loyal fan base since their inception back in 1984. Their music is a unique punk/metal blend, that plays on a variety of themes from media, politics, censorship and violence, and doesn’t shy away from controversy. Their live shows lean heavily into political satire, and in the past political figures like George Bush and Trump are often targets of their wrath.
Sadly front-man Dave Brockie passed in 2014 leaving none of the original founding members of the band. His Oderus Urungus persona was the focal point for the band for nearly 30 year, and many wondered how the band would continue without him. Fans need not worry. The current lineup of Blöthar the Berserker on vocals, Pustulus Maximus on lead guitar, Beefcake the Mighty on bass, Balsac the Jaws of Death on rhythm guitar and Jizmak da Gusha pounding out the rhythm on drums, carry on the legacy of the intergalactic scoundrels with blood, sweat, slime, and crushing riffs.
The “Use Your Collusion Tour” started in Rock Opera fashion with a Mock Trial of GWAR for crimes against humanity, raping, pillaging and parking in handicapped spots. A multi-media experience kicks into gear with “People’s Court” stylized graphics and within minutes we get our first decapitation. The white T-Shirts drip red now as the spectacle begins full force with as Blöthar the Berserker launches into “Fuck this Place” setting the tone for the show.
#SpoilerAlert, it get’s crazier from there. Guest appearances by “Caitlyn Jenner” who gets a surprise C-Section, and “Donald Trump” who gets…well it wasn’t pretty.
When Blöthar doesn’t feel that the audience is wet enough, he has one of his minions come out with a “Pile Driver” that shoots green goo 60 feet into the air, adding a green splatter to the now red T-Shirts. People now looked like they had a nasty sexual experience with a Christmas Elf.
It’s easy to try to dismiss GWAR as a shock factor stage show, but musically these guys are tight. Nominated for Two Grammy Awards they have the full package, though I have NO idea how they are able to shred on stage as magnificently as they do in those giant outfits. Songs like “I’ll Be your Monster” and “If I Could Be That” showcase the range that this band can pull out, going from classic metal to punk as slick as the floors were now at the Belasco.
In an era of $150 concert tickets becoming the norm, for $28 GWAR LITTERALLY spill their guts on stage for a solid 90 min performance that is more entertaining than any damn Marvel Movie. Add to that Sacred Reich, and two other solid opening bands in Toxic Holocaust and Against the Grain, and you get a “can’t miss experience” that will leave you wondering if GWAR has finally figured out what “Covfefe” means for the American Public.