Friday, October 19, 2012

GWAR at Music Hall of Williamsburg

They killed Jesus. They killed babies. They brought Jesus back as Monster Robot Undead Jesus and killed him again. They killed Mitt Romney at the opening and slaughtered Barack Obama for the encore. All in your average Michael McDonald show.

No, of course, this was GWAR. Without having a single song that you remember, GWAR are approaching AC/DC's record for consistently delivering a great metal show. The basics are the same--escaped aliens from Antarctica dismembering celebrities between a no holds barred horror-comedy routine and a soundtrack that includes songs like "A Womb with a View." The dismemberments could have made Peter Jackson sick, and included every imaginable (and some previously unimaginable) orifice and bodily fluid. The fans, some in metal band t-shirts and others in plain whites intended to show off the carnage that landed on us, sopped it all up.

Few bands ever have done a better job of carving out a niche and perfecting it. Reinventing Alice Cooper's Halloween theatrics with death metal extremity seems like a given now that we have Lordi, but GWAR reminded us that they did it best. If KISS is too commercial and Buruzm is too self-serious, girl do I have the band for you.

Sans costumes, weapons and codpieces, frontman Oderus Urungus would still be a worthy comedian. His stabs at the Lord were as savage as Christopher Hitchens', and the swipe he took at rivals "Zob Romney and Manson Marilyn" (feuding on their co-headlining tour this week) sounded just like the one my high school English teacher made in the '90s. Still, the banter, like GWAR's music, mainly served to support the band's next round of killings. I think Adolf Hitler, who was shown about as much respect as Jesus Christ, was next.

For their encore, GWAR dedicated a metalized take on Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son" to recently departed guitarist Flattus Maximus. Some sources will tell you that Flattus' real name was Cory Smoot and that he did of a heart attack, but Oderus informed us that his comrade had safely returned to outer space and been replaced by his brother Pustulus Maximus. It was somehow an appropriately mournful and joival tribute to Flattus, a testament to GWAR's professionalism that climaxed at the arrival of Techno Destructo to saw a few monsters' limbs off.

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