We were a bit skeptical, don't get us wrong. We had done the math and realized that we discovered Gwar when Michael Dukakis was still in the running for Commander-in-Chief. The last time we had seen them play, during the height of their 10-foot-tall-foam-rubber-cock-and-fake-jizz phase, William Jefferson was trying to explain a certain spot of splooge to the Senate. How would Gwar, the band that convinced our middle-school friends' parents that we had a reservation for the cell next to the furnace in hell, hold up after we had achieved our hard fought, “respectable adult”-hood? How would they stack up against our refined, informed tastes in live entertainment?
They fucking ruled, obviously!
Granted, their biggest hits were the result of the endless Beavis & Butt-head marathons that, in hindsight, totally predicted the great Heidi & Spencer fame-wreck of 2008. And, granted, they are a group of grown men dressed in foam rubber suits walking a very thin line between homoeroticism and homophobia, playing with imagery that offends our begrudgingly bleeding hearts. But...
That shit makes us giggle like tourists at a nitrous factory. It's hilarious—like Tim Russert farting during a newscast or pandas yawning on a Youtube video. Sure, they may have puppet of Pope Benedict that gets dissected and a cop that is impaled, a la Cannibal Holocaust, but they also have a devotion to showmanship that is rare in these days of animal collectives and David Cooks. This isn't navel-gazing blog rock for people that contemplate buying wood-paneled iPod docks to match their docksiders or active rock to pump up your cardio routine—it's metal. Thrash. Fucking. Metal. And they've got the merch to prove it.
A big part of the arduous task that is achieving the semblance of responsible adultness involves sitting through thousands of amateur-night-at-the-art-school indie rock bands. Sometimes we think Newt Gingrich forced a bill on us 10 years ago that made playing bad Ben Folds/Billy Joel knockoff bands mandatory for radio licensing. To see a bunch of pro-LARPers spew blood on the cast from Heavy Metal Parking Lot and swing giant squishy swords is a welcome relief from the ironic T-shirts and Kanye sunglasses that pass for adventurous music these days. Gwar are the Blue Man Group for degenerate comic-book geeks and gas station attendants. Satyricon for the spike-belt-and-cooking-job set. Gwar shit bizarro-world adventures every morning before breakfast—all with the kind showmanship that would make Sammy Davis Jr. squirt pus out of his glass eye. Top that, Keane.
The only opening band we saw was only noteworthy for the keyboard player's ability to hold two cold cans of Budweiser in his hot pants. Otherwise, it was pretty much some guys that used to like Poision The Well and Dane Cook but recently discovered The Pet Shop Boys. We think their name was Joe Montana's Ironically Gay Joke Band or something like that. Pretty boring, but sorta almost funny. Sorta. They weren't nearly as entertaining as all the middle-aged trailer trash that were fall-down, black-out drunk before the clock struck 9. And they were definitely not as entertaining as this guy:
His name is Kaniff and he's from the Andromeda Galaxy. He's very happy to be our friend and he won't destroy our planet if we say nice things about Gwar. Ben Folds doesn't have fans that can destroy a planet, now does he? That's what we thought.
As we left it dawned on us why, maybe, our middle-school friends' parents could have been right in thinking that we were on a hellbound trail—and it kinda ruled. We finally get this adulthood thing.