Blood, Guts and a Whole Lotta Semen
GWAR & Blood Island Raiders @ The Mean Fiddler, London, 28 April 2005
by: Jackie Smit
GWAR operate on an entirely different plane to any other band on the planet. Whether you worship at their offal-smeared footstool or dismiss their comical thrash as talent-devoid muck, the GWAR live show is an event unto itself; topped only for sheer overpowering pomp by Rammstein.

Tonight is something of a grand event as well: the first time that GWAR have set foot on British soil for nigh on half a decade. The twenty minute queuing time at the merchandise stand is indicative, if anything, that their visit is long overdue. No intellectual snobbery here -- just seven hundred or so lunatics squashed into the confines of the Mean Fiddler with the sole purpose of being drenched in blood, semen, vomit and whatever other synthetic delights God What A Racket may have in store for them.

With enough anticipation to power a small town coursing through the former LA2, it's hardly surprising then that opening act, Blood Island Raiders, get little more than a courteous clap every few songs. Not that they deserve more, mind you. A staple of the London scene for a few years now, I have yet to see this band come anywhere near being more than a cumbersome nuisance on the way to the evening's main event. Their Hell's Angels metal is tawdry to the extreme, and when you consider that it was Dying Fetus who took care of preliminary stage duties when GWAR toured Stateside, you can only surmise that somewhere a tour promoter thinks very little of UK crowds -- and I have to say, if that were indeed the case, it would hardly surprise me.

While it's more than understandable that one would be excited to see the arrival of Oderus Orungus, Beefcake the Mighty, Balsac the Jaws of Death and the rest of their prosthetic-clad crew, there is absolutely no reason nor any call for certain male punters to elbow women half their size out of the way in an attempt to receive the first spewing from the stage. But it's no secret that the majority of London audience members possess intelligence levels that fall considerably short of acceptable human standards, and having already anticipated such bumble-headed behaviour, myself and my associates make ourselves comfortable enough to catch the band kicking off with "The Horror of Ygg". It's chaos from the start, with axes swinging, blood a-spewing and an atmosphere of relentless anarchy both on and off the stage, which is unlike anything I've seen a band being able to elicit.

One has to wonder what manner of uproar this extraordinarily un-PC performance has been causing on the other side of the Atlantic as well. During the course of the evening, not only do George Bush and Paris Hilton get their comeuppance, GWAR-style, but Osama Bin Laden has a nuclear missile inserted in his rectum and Arnold Schwarzenegger has his face ripped off, after admitting that his favourite pass-time is to "finger the women and hide it from the Maria".

The music takes no backseat to this malarkey however; and if, like me, you are a fan of the band, then tonight features a setlist to remember. "Ham on the Bone", "Have You Seen Me?", "The Salaminizer", "Womb With a View", "Bring Back the Bomb" and a number of other (mostly) new tracks are but some of the treats, which the band perform admirably amidst a sound job which should surely see the desk jockey responsible suffer a similar fate to the characters on stage.

But it's not all bloodshed and horror, as the band dedicate "Immortal Corrupter" to Dimebag Darrel, proving that monsters from Antarctica have feelings too -- which may not convince their detractors to take them seriously just yet; but then, not the band, nor anybody in building tonight would really care.

(article submitted 3/5/2005)

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