Gwar at First Avenue, 11/18/12
Photo by Erik Hess
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The packed First Avenue mainroom began to bubble over with anticipation as Gwar was about to take the stage. One year after last year's now legendary performance in the same room that will forever be remembered as the band's last with guitarist Cory Smoot AKA Flattus Maximus who passed away mere hours after the band's performance. A mosh pit was already taking form as the sound system lit up with Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," inspiring a singalong which segued into a gospel and a choir singing "Hallelujah!"
As they finally entered, the stage lead alien Oderus Urungus shouted "Shut the fuck up! Yeah, God created life and all that. The Mayans, the Rapture. This is the hour of your doom!" as the band charged full throttle into a scorching 90-minute set of thrashing punk metal and stage antic insanity.
Slideshow: Gwar at First Avenue
Gwar replace Cory "Flattus Maximus" Smoot, tour dates include First Avenue return
Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot found dead on tour bus this morning following show in Minneapolis
"Oh no! It's the 47 percent" Oderous cried out as the first guest character to be skewered through the evening joined the stage. Mitt Romney didn't last very long and accepted the wrath of Gwar and their various methods of torture beginning with a swift beheading. With blood spritzing in all directions, curdling guitars and pummeling drums, Gwar powered through "Womb with a View," "Madness at the Core of Time" and "Saddam a Go-Go" that quite graphically depicted the dictator getting brutally ass raped with an iron cross.
Though not immediately acknowledged, a remberence for Flattus Maximus in spirit Oderus introduced the new guitarist and "cousin" of the former axeman, Pustulus Maximus, "Gwar is alive and strong! We have a new scumdog of the universe. Here's one from our new album. It will be out whenever the fuck we feel like it." tearing into a fresh one of the band's patented brand of spazzed-up thrash.
"This one is for the United States government. The only government in the world to drop nuclear bombs on innocent people. We love them for that." Urungus lovingly commented As their henchmen in loincloths and elongated scrotums cleared out some of the debris.
Photos by Erik Hess
As blood continued spraying all over the audience, the rapid pacing and theatrically unhinged performance continued to take bizarre and fantastic turns as suddenly Hitler found himself on stage to be the next victim of their bloody axes. "Take a minute to say 'Heil Hitler.' I mean say hi to Hitler. He's a real asshole." Not lasting long Hitler suffered the traditional tearing off of his face until only his eye balls, tongue and skeleton in place engulfed in yet even more splattering blood.
Eventually, it was finally time for the "Second Crucifiction of Jesus Christ" as it took more than one band member to cut Jesus, already mounted on the cross, straight into half and blood drenched bits. "You know things are going good so far but we haven't yet had sex with dead babies." Oderus explained sounding a bit forlorn as band laid down the jazz groove of "Have You Seen Me?" with a chain of dead babies handling some of the background vocals.
In a post-political season, Gwar had no shame in unleashing upon characters from current events and in between Super Cyborg Jesus and their own self-mutilation Gwar encored with a somewhat predictable climax, the beheading of Barack Obama. With a somewhat borderline racist impersonation the character would suffer an even more extreme destiny as blood and bile rushed from his torso and out into the adoring crowd who were loving every minute of it.
Photos by Erik Hess
As was evident all night it wasn't until during the encore there was a heartwarming tribute to Smoot's absence. "Let me hear it one time for Flattus Maximus. We've spent the last year mourning him, we've cried for him, we've flatulated on our genitals for him." bringing everyone together Gwar seared through a surprising cover of Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" done only the way Gwar could perform it and while tossing some of the willing women from the audience into a giant meat grinder.
For almost thirty years now Gwar has been a super-charged performance group. It's amazing they have been able to continually build on their characters and reputation. As alien visitors they never hold back and been able to capitalize on a melange of a disgustingly brilliant approach to staged metal theater that always causes mouths to drop and silly grins to open up to the dark side of the human psyche that shares in the joy of not taking too much terribly seriously.
Critic's Bias:Being completely possessed by Gwar before I will always bow and kneel before the monstrous dong of Oderus Urungus.
The Crowd: Virtually as insane as the band themselves. You don't go to a Gwar show not ready and willing to be completely drenched in blood, bile and semen by the end of the night.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I want to be in Gwar sooo bad!!"
Random Notebook Dump: Flattus Maximus would be very proud.
Horror of Yig
Womb with a View
Madness at the Core of Time
Saddam A Go-Go
Bring Back the Bomb
Black and Huge
Metal Metal Land
The Years without Light
Let Us Slay
Have You Seen Me?
War Is All We Know
A Short History of the End of the World
Rock & Roll Never Felt So Good
Carry On Wayward Son
Sick of You
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