Well, I finally had occasion to see Gwar over the weekend. I have missed out on several opportunities in the past to see them, but I decided that it was not going to happen again. Of course it is a little disappointing to see them without the great Oderus Urungus fronting the band, but Blothar still does a pretty damn good job. This concert occurred at the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City, Iowa a venue I have not previously been to. My wife was a little interested in this one too, given Gwar's theatricality.
The opening band was U.S. Bastards, a band fronted by Gwar guitarist Brent Purgason, aka Pustulus Maximus. Their style is drenched in dirty, raw, Motorhead-influenced punk rock 'n roll. To drive the point home, they even covered the Motorhead classic "Killed by Death". I enjoyed them quite a bit more than I thought that I would honestly. I am not sure my wife agreed. She did not look up from her phone once during their set.
Up next was Doyle, a band named for bandleader, former Misfits guitarist and certified gigantic human being Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. Misfits were a rarity, a punk band that I truly loved listening to, due to their infectious songs, presence of Glenn Danzig, and crossing over into metal on occasion. Their later material with Michale Graves was very close to metal and Doyle's solo band continued in this style. Oh, there is still quite a bit of horror punk, but a lot of metal riffing as well. Singer Alex Story introduced almost every song with "This next song is a bit of a love song, you can dance to it, if you like", a joke which got a little old after about the third time. My wife liked Doyle, the guitarist, for reasons other than his musicianship.
Ghoul came next, and honestly I was more excited to see them than Gwar. I just generally enjoy their music more. This is where things got more theatrical as two people in costumes began doing a skit about finding some sort of portal to another dimension and talking specifically about the band, who then showed up, complete with burlap masks covered in blood over their faces and decapitating one of the people, spraying the crowd with blood. Some of the prop usage left a bit to be desired. One of the "soldiers" clearly had no idea how guns were supposed to work. The show went on like this, eventually peaking with a Nazi-esque leader discussing building a "bigly wall" to keep out all the aliens before beating one of the Ghoul members with a nightstick. Yes, the music was damn fun too. Ghoul's sound is a mix of thrash and grind with very few moments of melody.
Gwar was next on the stage and they delivered exactly what I was expecting. Lots of costumes, some sick humor, lots of body mutilation and fake blood spraying into the crowd, and some damn catchy songs. They played a lot of material from the new album, but peppered in classics like "Black and Huge" and "Saddam A Go-Go". Gwar brought out a Trump character as well, before disemboweling him and Blothar taking over as President of the United States. About the only down side was that Gwar no longer feeds the World Maggot on stage. But they still put on one hell of an entertaining show all the same.
This show was a lot of fun. I am not a huge fan of any of the bands for their music, but Gwar and Ghoul in particular are bands that must be experienced live. I am definitely glad we had the chance to go. My wife enjoyed it quite a bit as well.