Photos by John Oakes
My hands are dyed red and my eyes are still a bit bloodshot. My legs feel like spaghetti and my face looks a bit streaky. You know what this all means– Monday night was Gwar night! It’s one of those nights that I always look forward to, no matter how many times I see the legendary band live, it never gets old but, before I get into Gwar’s performance on Monday night, let’s talk about the two openers that absolutely held their own against the giants of the scene.
Up first was 200 Stab Wounds. Although I was having a great time pre-gaming with a bunch of friends next door at The Depot, I was not going to miss 200 Stab Wounds. I first caught this band in December of 2021 when they came to town with The Acacia Strain. I knew what I was getting into when they took the stage on Monday night but I think I forgot just how flawless this band is. From their more classic leaning death metal sound to the way the members play so perfectly together and the energy they bring to a venue, I felt like I was falling head over heels for this band all over again. Sure, their set was short and there’s no denying that everyone in the venue (myself included) was clearly ready for the headliner of the night but that didn’t mean that 200 Stab Wounds didn’t do their job. They got the audience warmed up perfectly and continue to be one of the few death metal bands that I truly look forward to seeing when they come through town.
Vocalist Brandon Yeagley was a true showman as he let his hair get caught in the fan creating a larger-than-life kind of persona that radiated from the stage. Although this band clearly takes their music seriously (Brandon’s vocals are truly something to be envied), there was also something perfectly campy about their performance. I’m not sure if it was the purple rhinestone jacket that Brandon was wearing or the fact that the set started off with Brandon hidden in an egg of sorts that “exploded” after a short intro. It was just the perfect balance of fun and seriousness.
Gwar are staples of the metal scene and have been around since 1984. Although there are no original members left in this group, they have never once sacrificed anything to please the masses. I think that’s one of the big reasons (outside of their live show) that I keep on coming back for more from this band every chance I get. From the tragic and sudden death of frontman Dave Brockie in 2014 (RIP) to the controversy that seems to follow this band just due to the extreme nature of it all, Gwar have remained Gwar and, love them or hate them, they are here to stay. There’s something about that to be admired and, although I think it’s safe to assume that Gwar would never be able to change just due to the storylines throughout their albums and surrounding the band itself, I just really like knowing that there’s a constant in my life when everything else seems to move and change so quickly around me.
Deep thoughts on Gwar, I know, but after covering them time and time again, I feel like I’m almost burnt out on writing about them. It’s always the same– you come for the show, stay for the blood. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great time and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the time of my life getting drenched in blood with my best friend and boyfriend by my side but, if you weren’t there and have never seen Gwar before, it would mean nothing to you. My words would fall on deaf ears because, well, to those who haven’t experienced it, this is just a spectacle. A messy and, honestly, kind of trashy, spectacle but for those of us who walked out of First Avenue wearing our drenched clothing like a badge of honor, Monday night was amazing.
Go see Gwar. Don’t just stand on the sidelines. Get in there, get messy, and let that cold blood rain over you. It’s an experience like nothing else and something I hope everyone takes a chance on if only one time in their life.