While Portland lay tired and still slightly smokey from an amazing, legalized Hempstalk Harvest Festival (October 17th & 18th), the lingering spirit of Freedom had not yet dissipated for some of those metallic at heart. Last Monday night, something loud and dirty, even downright filthy loomed, rearranging the Portland city with a certain funk! Celebrating 30 years of irresponsible entertainment, touring, and heavy music, an enthusiastic Portland crowd welcomed Metal Blade Records’ almighty GWAR. All the way from outer space, descending down to spew piss and blood all over us earthlings through the veins of heavy music and legalized mischief! After a surreal time hanging backstage at the Roseland Theater where I interviewed three of GWAR’s alien-like members (Beefcake the Mighty, Blóthar, and Pustulus Maximus—watch the video below), the show basically could be summed up in two words: GWAR LIVES!
Currently on a North American tour, demolishing cities with direct support from Born of Osirus and Michigan thrashers Battlecross, the old, new, and newer faces of GWAR are clearly on a mission to earth, here to prove that GWAR is a machine, a institution for the corroded alternative, and a Heavy Metal tradition that will live forever! The live show, which included GWAR killing whoever GWAR wants such as Kayne West, Jared Fogle, Hilary Clinton and other easy mainstream news targets, featured a set with many of the classic tunes, as well as an obvious theme—the Internet’s manifestation within our reality and its role in hijacking our souls with complete disdain. Using their own cleverly designed stage props, the band used a giant Barney Rubble-looking iPad/remote connected to two large screens to click their way through satirical apps such as Fax News, Insta (g)ram, Fistbook or Spew’tube amongst others, enabling GWAR to deal with trolls and other internet jerk-offs in their own hilarious way! Heck, even Beefcake got fired by the internet (through email) while on stage. But he’s Beefcake, and not even Donald Trump has the balls to fire him, or more importantly, tell him to leave.
After 30 years of excellence and mayhem, led for the most part by the late mighty Oderus Urungus (RIP sir), the current band is now packed with Beefcake the Mighty, Blóthar, Pustulus Maximus, Balsac the Jaws of Death, and Jizmac Da Gusha, and is still as heavy and entertaining as ever! With myself standing in the bloody pit of horror, gargling and ducking flying buckets full of blood and piss, it was near-impossible to capture the full set-list or completely keep up, especially with 13 albums of gore-tastic music for the band to choose from and fight over, but we managed to get the angled shot! Known fan favorites like “Crush Kill Destroy,” “Madness at the Core of Time,” “Jack The World,” “Meat Sandwich,” “Let Them Slay,” “You Can’t Kill Terror,” “Hail, Genocide,” “Sick of You,” and a few more were all slayed with the same domineering force and fanatical theatrics the band is known for. Newly added lead vocalist Blóthar, a space warrior with the stage presence of a regal buck, seems to also have the nutz, vision, and perfect temperament to help carry GWAR into their next chapter!
The diversified attendees, new kids in plain white shirts and adults wearing the same blood-stained shirts they wore to GWAR shows in years past, were there in force, giving our guests from space a packed Monday night show. There is no other like GWAR, and I’m pretty sure there never will be. Happily on yet another tour after 30 years spent dealing out amazing, everlasting bloody music while providing comedy, satire, laughter, and even an occasional deep thought for those who care to reflect. But underneath all the dirty bong water, perhaps GWAR is sending another, more subtle message on this tour. It’s pretty simple: nothing is constant and things change, people pass or move on, but in the end, if you allow your favorite music and musicians to remain in your heart, the bands you grew up loving will remain strong, no matter who is behind the mask or mic! The most important message GWAR has sent this year through the INTERNET, live touring, or even through their coveted GWAR BBQ is that GWAR LIVES! Can’t wait for 30 more years!