Gwar came to Glasgow from the frozen wastes of Antarctica bringing the weather with them! A bitter cold night outside of the venue but hot and sticky (as well as drenched) inside, the fans were treated to the usual (or unusual depending on your knowledge of the band) crazy antics with a set that actually featured more songs from the album seen as their breakthrough (Scumdogs Of The Universe) than any other including their latest and possibly most socially aware/political album to date in The Blood Of The Gods. The set took songs from most of their catalogue with tracks from 9 albums featured in the set.
At a GWAR Show…
As is the norm for Gwar there was plenty of blood, guts and shock rock with various characters coming and going, some leaving alive some very dead along with the slightly scary sight of various slaves wearing very wandering around when required. The music is punky thrash metal for the most part, although it does go into jazz at one point! The first song with stage shenanigans was “Krak Down” where a policeman entered the scene. With a “hands in the air… on your hips” he is soon overpowered leading him to be skewered on a pole like a roasted pig and carried off stage after being sliced open. By this point, the folks at the front already had a fair covering of fake blood over their shirts and looked a sight. By the end, they were absolutely drenched in it!
The way lead vocalist Blothar speaks to the audience is in time-honoured tradition. One of his first comments is to say that it is good to be back in “the land of shitty food and ugly women” which gets a cheer from an audience that understands the pantomime of the show.
GWAR songs…and targets
In amongst all the blood and gore, they can write some very catchy songs in the same way that KISS or Alice Cooper do but just performed in a heavier style. Tracks like “I’ll Be Your Monster”, “Maggots”, “Sick Of You” and the tribute to the late departed Oderus song “Fuck This Place” give plenty chance to the crowd to bounce along and sung gustily along with smiles on their faces.
The band tend to target powerful or important people in the show and on this occasion they managed to get torn into both Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump with the latter getting sliced and diced whilst on bended knees sucking on one of Blothar’s many appendages to the sound of a porn soundtrack! No one complained and everyone seemed to be cheering. (As fans have done when they have done similar or worse to Popes, royalty and celebrities!)
There are plenty of laughs to be had whether it be the comment about the crowd being a “sausage fest”, introducing the most “beautiful woman in the world” who is 9 years pregnant (yes you read that right), the answer to the question “where should we hide” being answered by the suggestion “Epstein’s place?” and the jazz to thrash metal workout that is “Have You Seen Me?”. Yes, it is all either rude or childish but it is theatre. Vaudeville for a twisted generation.
“We are GWAR…”
All this and the “Gwar Theme” which features the lyrics… “cause we are Gwar, and we’ll go far, we’ve got guitars, we’ll go to war” which makes me smile every time I hear it.
Gwar from the early days always said they wanted to combine the theatrics of artists like the aforementioned KISS or Alice Cooper with the music of bands like Slayer or Napalm Death and that is what they do. As long as you leave the brain at the door and prepare for a night of entertainment then you will not be disappointed. Having spoken to folks outside afterwards who were covered in fake blood, some with their tops off (brave in that weather I will tell you), all I heard was positivity and just how much fun they had. How can you argue with that? I can’t, but then again I enjoyed it anyway.
Support from VOIVOD
Main support on the night, and bringing quite a number of their own dedicated fans were Canadian weird proggers Voivod. They got a fabulous reception as they walked on with singer Denis Belanger who goes by the nickname Snake sauntering onstage last in his own inimitable style. Part sneer (ala Johnny Rotten) but with a friendly grin on his face.
He soon got rid of the mike stand as he moved around the stage prowling and encouraging the audience to join in. He has a nice line in understated humour like the moment he welcomed us all to “our flying saucer” which the lighting rig definitely had a hint of shape-wise. His encouragement to chant before the second song led to the Glasgow/Scotland response of “here we, here we, here we fucking go” which caused the guys on stage to have huge grins on their faces chuffed to bits with the reaction.
The VOIVOD Material
Like the headliners, they delivered a set from through the years with a couple each from both the latest album and previous EP along with tracks from another 5 albums, which was impressive only having an hour of stage time to play with. They reached all the way back as well to the first album playing their own named tune “Voivod”. They celebrated 30 years from Nothingface (is it really that long ago? Jeez I am getting old!) with “The Unknown Knows”.
They are an interesting band as they are quite punky in places yet are also very progressive and the music is difficult to headbang along to, even if you know the songs. They cross a few boundaries musically and know how to entertain with guitarist Dan “Chewy” Mongrain smiling away at the audience, reacting to people in the crowd and vocalist Snake dancing crazily and gurning like a madman.
I know they picked up some new fans on the night and their hardcore were raving to me at the bar at how bloody awesome they were. A great set well played by a talented foursome who hopefully will play their own show here again soon.
Overall and thanks…
A great night in Glasgow with both Gwar and Voivod
All photos by Sinclair MacKenzie. Huge thanks to him.
Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Tom Cornell
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GWAR – Blothar Speaks to Insignificant Human (Interview)