Seeing some bands will never get old. Last night may have been my 48th time seeing Gwar in concert but I felt just as excited as I did the first time I saw them. A little obsessive? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just that this band knows how to put on a hell of a show that keeps me coming back time after time. Regardless, last night was another chance for me to catch this favorite live and I wasn’t going to miss it so after a couple of drinks and one too many chips from the Mexican restaurant down the street from the venue, my friends and ventured to The Myth Nightclub.
Per usual, I thought our timing was dead on but apparently advertised set times mean nothing to some venues and we completely missed opening act Ringworm. My apologies to the band. I didn’t have to see their set to know that the thrashy punk band killed it but it would have been amazing to actually see it happen. Thankfully, my photographer made it on time and she confirmed that Ringworm absolutely killed it.
The first band we did catch was the one and only Miss May I. Much like Gwar, I’ve seen these guys almost too many times to count but they never disappoint. The Ohio based metalcore band took the stage with a sense of fury and aggression. They blasted through their quick set and easily captivated the rowdy Saturday night crowd. Although their sound was a bit more mainstream (or as mainstream as metalcore can get) than the rest of the bands, they held their own and proved why they belonged on such a heavy-hitting tour. The power behind vocalist Levi Benton’s voice seemed to be a bit more intense than my past interactions with the band. I don’t know if that was them trying to cater to the audience that was expecting heavy and dark or if it’s the new way of the band. Regardless, I loved it and instead of feeling like a recycled set or something I had seem many times before, they were able to keep me interested and listening. After their set, Levi and the rest of the band could be spotted mingling with fans near the merch table. This is an aspect of this group that has always kept me in love with them. No matter what tour they are on, no matter if they are headlining or not, they always take the time to talk to their fans. That’s something that doesn’t happen enough.
Following the intense set from Miss May I was even more intensity from Hatebreed. It didn’t matter that I just saw these guys in March, an uncontrollable sense of excitement hit me as I watched these veterans take the stage. They wasted no time in jumping into a set full of their signature hardcore sounds and overall aggression. The crowd matched that and, within the first song, a decent sized hole had opened up in the audience for people to push shove and dance. I was pleasantly surprised when the band played a set different from the one in March. Although I was happy just to see these legends again, it was nice that they didn’t just phone in their show or play the exact same set list. With songs both old and new, they did a great job of welcoming everyone in the audience to enjoy their set. They made it clear that, even if last night was your first time experiencing their intense live show, you were now part of their crew. I wrote about it last time and I’ll say it again, this is the vibe that got me into the hardcore scene. It’s a family with no judgement and a family that is always accepting new members. Much like Miss May I’s set, Hatebreed seemed to be leaving the stage as soon as they had gotten on. I was bummed to see them leave but knew what was coming for me and my excitement skyrocketed back up as soon as the tarps covering various things on stage were removed and showed the always elaborate stage set up for Gwar.
Now, having seen Gwar nearly fifty times, I knew what to expect but, as I mentioned, it never gets old. The highlight of last night’s show was the father and son duo in front of me. Both of them had just plain white t-shirts on with the year Sharpied onto the back. Before I go any further, let me explain the white shirt thing. Gwar sprays fake blood and other bodily fluids on the crowd. It’s gross, it’s obscene and it is exactly what every Gwar fan waits for and comes back for time after time. Wearing a white shirt gives you the opportunity to walk away with a commemorative t-shirt without paying the obnoxious $35 fee for an actual tour shirt. Going to see Gwar is like a rite of passage and to see this father with his son in tow right up against the railing to make sure to get the optimal amount of blood splattered on them truly made my night and made my heart warm.
Gwar took the stage and instantly jumped into their usual antics. There was the predictable killing of President Trumps, the obscene and unsettling cross in the butt of priest ( that was kind of pushing it for me as far as the graphic-ness goes), and a couple of other killings spattered throughout their set finally coming to the dramatic end of fighting the megaboss of a company taking over the world (are you lost yet?). One of the main reasons I keep going to see Gwar is their story is always changing. Yes, there’s a story in here no matter what my mom thinks. The creativity behind their live show is jaw dropping and, when mixed with their music you are left with a show that you will never forget. I just saw Gwar in last month at Riot Fest and figured that their show last night would be about the same but I was so wrong. They added things, added characters, took some away, changed the set list. Honestly, for such a theatrical show, I was shocked that they were able to make so many changes within just a couple of weeks but, hey, it’s Gwar and they are true masters of their craft.
The music of Gwar is, well, the music of Gwar. Intense, trashy, and in your face, although it’s clear that each of the band members is a hell of a musician, the music always seems to take a backseat to their live show. They always sound great but when watching them perform, you can see that there’s potential for so much more. That being said, people go to Gwar for the show first and music second to it works quite perfectly. If they ever announce a show where it’s just music and no show, I would fly to wherever that is out of curiosity (hint to the Gwar guys– make it happen please).
I didn’t get drenched in blood out of respect for my buddy’s car but I still got that feeling of the cold liquid hitting my skin and a giant smile stretching across my face at the same time. Who’s the band that you could see time and time again and still get a euphoric feeling from?