A crowd wound up by Band of Orcs, Iron Reagan, and Whitechapel had built at the Roseland, and somehow I managed to barrel my way to the front. In front of me two tall, bald, german bodybuilder/ biker types I have named Olaf and Igor parted and offered me a space at the barrier between them. As the crowd surged I became pinned, there was fat-guy sweat and testosterone in the air. Loud choruses of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” gave way to chants of “We want GWAR! GWAR! GWAR! GWAR!”
Oh the spectacle that is GWAR. Their satirical thrash has been visiting our realm for 28 years, with many members portraying the intergalactic beings and their crude studies of Earth. Current line-up features long-term members Oderus Urungus, Balsac the Jaws of Death, Jizmak Da Gusha, and more recently Beefcake the Mighty, and Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason of Cannabis Corpse to replace Cory Smoot, AKA Flattus Maximus of the planet Pot, R.I.P.).
2013 brings a thirteenth studio album, Battle Maximus, and a Portland date just in time for Halloween. Tracks like “Hail, Genocide” and “Lust in Space” are indomitable, but really, it’s all about the live show. The Props, the costumes, the little (big) Oderus with bulging eyes, a drum fortress. As in every show, they took political (playing catch with the queen’s new grandson), social (the perfect female creature with rows of boobies and “Womb With A View”), and pop culture (a guy was wheeled onto the stage. Oderus asked “Is that Vanilla Ice?” and shouts from the audience exclaimed “Justin Bieber!”). And so it was. We killed each character and ripped them apart. Limbs, to segments, to bloody stumps spraying the entire audience, a bloodbath of moshing, blood flying in all directions from shaking heads.
I thrust my giant inflatable sword into the air and sent it into the crowd, seeing it float along throughout the show. Drenched security guards pulled down a hundred crowd surfers, including a ninja-turtle. In the end, we finished off “Mr. Perfect” after he finally got his body. We knew the effigy of the pope was going to be beheaded for being so nice and tolerant and humble. GWAR kills everything. What we didn’t expect was the encore cover of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams” and The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland”, as they used their universal super-soakers to drown us in the blood of three pretty girls fed to a stage meat grinder. Like I said, I was pinned right in the front. I spent the evening wringing blood out of my hair, and getting on the 20 to ride home with a fellow gang of red stained hooligans.
Words and Photos by Brandy Crowe.