There’s really no better way to celebrate Halloween than with the mutant punk rock and metal act Gwar. The intergalactic band graced the mere mortals of New York City with their presence while on ‘The Blood of Gods’ Tour in support of their latest album of the same name.
Humans packed into Irving Plaza for the sold out show which began with U.S. Bastards, the least mutant band on the lineup. The rock trio also hails from Richmond, Va., where Gwar calls their home on Earth.
Next up were Doyle, from right across the Hudson River in New Jersey. The Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, a name that’s spot on, played swift punk rock tunes throughout the set. The jacked guitarist truly does looks like a mix of Frankenstein and the Hulk onstage. Doyle himself is always Halloween-ready with white and black face paint and gelled down hair, and on this evening he fit right in. The band as a whole showed their wide range, spanning the spectrum from doomy punk sounds to speedy fast tempo songs.
Much of the crowd at Irving Plaza dressed up. The list of impressive costumes included, a cow, Pikachu, Beetlejuice, Stone Cold Steve Austin, a decked out mutant who would have made a a damn good addition to Gwar and even Beavis and Butthead themselves showed up.
All the way from Creepsylvania, Ghoul performed with their potato sack masks. The band’s thematic set is heavily influenced by Gwar. Ghoul prepared fans for a serious soaking as they also had various characters that squirt fake blood — from an odd dictator in a cape and gas mask to their dreaded voodoo magician complete with his large fake chicken that streamed red liquid into the crowd. Also, who wouldn’t love a giant distorted looking turnip to to end a set? Their stage presence wasn’t the only thing that kept fans interested, with the song “Gutbucket Blues” serving up one catchy and groovy vibe that just might turn you into a Ghoulunatic too!
As Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” echoed throughout the venue and fans sang the first verse at the top of their lungs. Then it was time for GWAR, who began their set with “War on Gwar” the first track off the new album The Blood of Gods. It’s the band’s first record without longtime front-thing Oderus Urungus, who was portrayed for years by founding member Dave Brockie. Sadly, the singer passed away in 2014 due to a heroin overdose. It’s also the band’s first album to feature new vocalist Michael Bishop, better known as Blothar the Berserker, since he led 1999’s We Kill Everything.
Other new tracks included the catchy “I’ll Be Your Monster Baby” which is probably the closest thing you’ll ever get to a love song by GWAR. Not to mention Blothar covered the first 10 rows of the crowd with fake blood from his two mutant penises.
The crowd of monster lovers also partied to older blood-filled songs like “Hail, Genocide!” and “Saddam a Go-Go.” When you see Gwar live it’s a carefree, no f–ks given performance. They poke fun at politics, corporations, social media and of course religion. One of the most weird yet intriguing parts of the set is seeing the character of a malformed priest being sodomized with a giant cross during “Sexecutioner.” Most of the crowd on the floor was completely drenched from red liquid spewing out its giant mechanical butthole. It’s gross, a little funny, so strange but 100 percent Gwar.
During the new song “El Presidente” they brought out a Jabba the Hut looking Donald Trump which received “Boos” from the crowd as well as a mutant version of Hillary Clinton. Both were slaughtered for the gluttonous fans who wanted blood. Politics doesn’t matter at a GWAR show, mutants rule their world.
Another new infectious song that GWAR performed from the new album was “Fuck This Place” before the encore. The energy was more relaxed and the vibe was somber as the band performed the slower paced “Phantom Limb” for the encore. Vocalist Blothar started chants of “Hail Oderus!” during the song and the chant was a powerful one for fans to shout in honor of their beloved mutant musician.
“Do you want Blood?” asked Blothar. The already soaked crowd wanted more and they got it. GWAR ended the night with a cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got it)” which brought out the big cannon looming above the crowd the entire night and covered everyone on the floor in blue liquid.
The mutant musicians of GWAR allowed New Yorkers to escape. Being part of their show offered a respite from the terror attack that happened just hours before and only a few miles away from Irving Plaza. Their shows are an escape from politics and a journey toward fun. Gwar reminded New Yorkers that they can enjoy themselves, especially on Halloween.
See our photos of GWAR, Doyle, Ghoul and U.S. Bastards below.