You can’t keep a good Scumdog down. After countless lineup changes and tragic losses including that of founding figurehead Dave Brockie (AKA Oderus Urungus), shock metal institution GWAR continues their foam and latex covered mission of intergalactic doom, which steamrolled the Electric Factory last Thursday night, leaving a trail of fake blood and huge smiles in its wake.
First up were local heroes Wolves Attack!!, whose stickers are hard to miss pasted up all over the city but who I had yet to actually hear or see for myself. Big mistake, these guys kick all kinds of ass. With dual singers, dual guitarists and even a mascot in the form of “Party Wolf” they brought an infectious and anarchic stage energy to match their hardcore grind/thrash sonic assault. Plenty of their friends and family were in tow to watch the band dominate the huge stage at the Factory and the Wolves seemed genuinely appreciative of the opportunity. A great band and good dudes, definitely one to watch. Check them out on Bandcamp.
We here at Riot Nerd World Headquarters can’t seem to say enough good things about Battlecross, and there’s no reason to stop now. We’d previously loved BC this year at Underground Arts and Voltage Lounge and to witness “Gumby” and Co. rip shit up in a venue as large as the Factory with a damn near full floor firmly in their grasp was a treat indeed. “Force Fed Lies” from War of Will started the set which then led to a majority of tracks from their awesome new record Rise to Power, including favorites “Absence” and “Not Your Slave”. The Detroit thrashers then closed things out with a raucous cover of Pantera’s Fucking Hostile that got the whole building on their feet. If you weren’t a Battlecross fan before you sure as hell were now.
After a fairly lengthy break, understandable due to the grindhouse Jim Henson on crack experience we were about to be gifted with, the audience was beaten about the head and shoulders with all that is GWAR. Celebrating their 30th anniversary, the 2015 iteration of the band took the stage after a short video explaining their mythology and the murder of the so-called ‘New Gwar” with his own giant fake Keytar/Scimitar hybrid, resulting in the first (far from last) instance of the rapturous crowd being drowned with buckets of fake arterial spray, and several hilarious, tongue-in-cheek references to the group’s many personnel changes. “I’m a lame new character” stated new frontman Blothar, AKA longtime band associate Mike Bishop.
Befitting of a band with a record called We Kill Everything, GWAR definitely brings it on the musical front, a setlist as heavy as it is catchy, spanning their entire 30 year career including 90’s favorites ‘”Jack The World” and “Saddam a Go-Go” and new tracks from 2013’s Battle Maximus “Madness at the Core of Time” and “I, Bonesnapper”, sung by charming, armored, green-skinned Lizardman meets the baby from Dinosaurs uh… thing Bonesnapper. Some might even call him cute. Not having plush versions for sale is just leaving money on the table. Though the songwriting is great and the performances are spot on the real impressive part of the presentation is on the special effects side of things. With amazing looking costumes and props and great results on the various blood, guts, sperm and Oderus-knows-whatever else the GWAR-riors foist upon their fanbase, keeping this stuff going smoothly every night must be no small feat on the part of the band and their production team but how perfectly and effortlessly the whole show runs makes it all look easy.
Look, these guys have been at it in some capacity or another for three decades so they’re obviously good at what they do, but until you see it for yourself you just can’t understand HOW good they are. I came away highly impressed, and more than ready for my next dose of highly concentrated alien metal mutilation and madness. Here’s a bloodsoaked cheer for 30 years of GWAR, and hopefully 30 more.
Photos by Megan Hawkey
Words by Kevin Hawkey