Friday, April 27, 2012

Meaningless violence, courtesy of GWAR!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
GWAR, Kylesa, Ghoul, Legacy of Disorder
Marathon Music Works, Nashville, TN

It's been a LOOOOONG 2012 so far. Aside from one small show at the Rutledge in February (where I didn't take any photos), I hadn't made it to any major concerts or shows since Boondox last December. Needless to say, I was more than ready get back out there and head to a show that I've been anticipating for a while now...GWAR! I remember having friends in high school who went to a GWAR show and came back raving about how much fun they'd had. So when I noticed that there was a GWAR show booked for the new Marathon Music Works, I was super excited to go to the show and see the spectacle for myself! As well, I was interested in checking out this new-to-me venue.

Duly noted. Thank you.


I arrived shortly after the doors opened, and was just in time to see the first act, Legacy of Disorder, take the stage. I had moved up about three people away from the barricade on the far left side, but I quickly realized that even that far over was too close not to get tangled in the mosh pit. The crowd was instantly moshing, and I had to throw quite a few guys back into the pit when they came my way. I normally don't mind moshing, and I expect it at the majority of shows that I go to, but a couple of the guys really were taking it too far. One guy (who later ended up getting kicked out) was clotheslining people, putting people in choke holds and basically just being way too rough. Then later another guy went along the edge of the pit, in the first row of people who were NOT moshing, and started shoving each person violently. I'd just really never seen anything like that at a show. Normally the moshers keep to themselves and only bump into the non-moshers by accident, but this was certainly not the case with this crowd!


With my lesson learned, I retreated to about halfway back in the venue from the stage.

After Legacy of Disorder was done, Ghoul took the stage.



They used synthesized vocals throughout the performance, and performed with what looked like linen wrappings on their heads. They were very entertaining, even at one point growling that they'd only come to Nashville for the BK tender strips haha (this was said by the guitarist who was wearing a Burger King crown through the whole first song!).


Later in the set, they had a large robot looking character come out, followed by another type of character with a large spikey ball. The crowd continued with the high energy moshing throughout their entire set, and seemed very into the performance.

After another break, it was time for Kylesa.



From the get go, the crowd didn't seem as interested in Kylesa as they had been for Ghoul and Legacy of Disorder. There was almost no moshing, despite the music being similarly intense. They didn't wear any costumes, and didn't move around the stage or do much besides just stand there and play. I guess they served as the break that the moshers needed so they could be rested up for GWAR haha

Finally it was time for the main event, and the crowd was writhing with excitement. One by one, the members of GWAR took the stage, and I couldn't help but feel that the long years of waiting for this show had been worth it. I really couldn't understand a word that was being said (and the fact that I'm not familiar with most of their music didn't help), but it didn't matter. I was too consumed with the performance itself to worry about what was being said!


Through the show, they had numerous characters come out onstage, each of which met its demise and spewed blood, puke, diarrhea and other such body fluids all over the crowd.


At one point, a big pregnant Snooki monster came out on stage, and was promptly eviscerated, with blood spraying all over the crowd and the fetus dangling from its umbilical cord.


There was a skeleton deer/goat looking character that had its head cut off and sprayed blood.


Then there was some other kind of thing with a big mouth and sharp teeth...and man, it really made me wish that I was more well versed in GWAR and what each of the characters meant!

Crazy moshing as the band performs





The performance went on for well more than an hour including the encore, and never let up in the amount of entertainment they were providing. As the finale, Oderus Urungus (the lead singer/monster guy) had something in his hand that was spraying a forceful stream of "blood" into the crowd. Everyone within about 20 feet of the stage was getting completely soaked, and eventhough I was further back, I ended up with a couple of good splashes of blood myself!


At one point, he aimed the stream of blood directly at one of the overhead lights, which made it rain down in a sparkly shower of red liquid.

At the end of the show, as the crowd started to slowly disperse, it seemed like everyone was completely soaked in the red blood the band had sprayed. It was only then that I realized why everyone was wearing white. I had noticed during the openers that an abnormally large percent of the crowd was wearing solid white shirts. But once the show was done, all of those people looked like they'd been massacred and were covered in blood! Awesome! As the venue emptied out, everyone looked like they'd had a blast, and there were plenty of smiles all around.

In general, very heavy metal isn't the genre I'm naturally drawn to. But over the years, I've grown to really appreciate the kind of music and performances that bands like GWAR produce. It's exceptionally obvious that they put their hearts and souls into everything they do, and are as fiercely loyal to their fans as their fans are to them. Granted, I did find quite a few similarities that I can draw between GWAR and ICP...both have over the top, theatrical live performances, both spray their audiences with various fluids, and both have devoted fan bases. The vibe was very similar, and I feel much closer to understanding GWAR's appeal now than ever before.

As for the venue itself, I was very impressed. It's just one big room with a relatively high ceiling, totally flat floors and convenient bars and bathrooms. Nashville really needed a venue this size, so we can accommodate acts that are too popular for a place like the Exit/In, but are not popular enough to fill the entire Bridgestone arena (acts like Twiztid or Tech N9ne, for example, would fit perfectly into this venue). It will be very fun to watch this venue in the future to see what kind of acts will play there.

So yeah...overall I had a fantastic time at this show! At the end of the day, all I can really ask out of a live performance is that I be entertained. And GWAR was definitely entertaining. I can't wait to see them again, but trust, next time I will be wearing white :-)

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