LIVE REVIEW: Gwar – Toad’s Place, New Haven, Connecticut 10/15/2012


There are generally two kinds of live shows I go to: shows where you see some bands that you put on a pedestal; you worship them wherever they go and you have to know everything they do, they swallow you whole and devour your soul. Your taste curbs to their output, even when it shames you. Live shows from bands like that can be heartbreaking, as if they don’t deliver, then what is there left? They also have the potential to be those weird, transcendental experiences that feel like holy moments in life, connecting with people in a way you never thought you could connect. Then there are those concerts where you just hear things about the live show – “oh, they were amazing live”, “no one went home unhappy”, “I had to throw out my clothes from Lady Gaga’s blood”, etc. Wait, what?

Gwar has always been the latter, but it always came off as a gimmick – Space alien mutants play thrash music and tear human beings to pieces and jerk off and have sex on stage and sacrifice things to the gods or something. I don’t know, I’d never been. But I knew to expect something that would dirty my shirt.

That’s me in the back right. Look at how clean we are. Also ignore my face.

The show was awesome. I’m not a big enough Gwar fan to know any songs they did outside of covers, but I know their “story” of being from a distant planet and etc. Apparently, each tour they come up with a plot, and the show is a telling of a new chapter in the story: on this tour, God has challenged them and aims to destroy Gwar, sends out many of his minions, and Gwar defends themselves. Some of God’s assassin’s include Hitler and Jesus Christ (if this were a movie, this is where Dane would write a What The Film!? on Jesus and Hitler being on the same team.)

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but everything that challenges Gwar fails, and tends to end with the character either being brutally raped or horribly murdered. They don’t get killed with kindness, either; they get pulled from limb to limb or chain sawed to pieces. I would show photos, but I intentionally didn’t take my camera because I didn’t want to get it covered in blood.

The show was compelling, even if the plot was silly. I feel like a Gwar show is a life experience that everyone should try at least once. No other rock act murders Mitt Romney and sprays his blood everywhere before they play their first song (to my knowledge). The music itself is surprisingly worth listening to – but if you’re not a fan of the band, you’re probably not going to learn the lyrics before the show. But honestly, if you don’t catch them on this tour and haven’t seen them before, try for the next one. The whole stage act is completely unlike everything I’ve ever seen – and we can try to pretend that Slipknot took the mask idea from Gwar, or that shock rockers are imitating them… but it’s still absolutely nothing like it.

I had a great time. But I won’t be wearing that shirt ever again.


Review by: Dan Bogosian (Twitter)

Dan Bogosian

I finished school with a music theory degree. Before I finished school, I was a janitor. You really should apologize to all the janitors you've ever had. You hurt them. Seriously. You did.

But, now that we've cleared that up and you called your high school janitor, know that I quit being a janitor to pursue writing about music. So here I am, and here you are, and hey how are you?
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