Gwar tortured and titillated Toronto in perfect timing
Their highly anticipated thirteenth studio album Battle Maximus hit shelves earlier this fall, and after being on hiatus for the last three years, it’s good to see these demonic deviants back on stage.
They hit Toronto on Nov. 12 at the Phoenix, a perfect setting for a band currently being reborn after the traumatic loss of the late Cory Smoot, aka, guitarist Flattus Maximus. The new album is in his dedication.
Gwar is now recovering with Cannabis Corpse guitarist Brent Purgason, who is portraying Pustulus Maximus filling the void.
Just before Gwar graced the stage with its gory presence, American death metallers Whitechapel warmed the crowd up with their own brand of anti-church deathcore metal. The dichotomy between a band like Whitechapel and Gwar, you could say, would be with the former, you feel the death metal, with the ladder, you see the death metal.
Whitechapel destroyed the stage with some good ol’ fashioned Tennessee throwdown. Lead singer Phil Bozeman, although mild in appearance compared to the stage antics of Gwar, is more hardcore than the lot of them.
His disposition on stage alone and the energy he breathes through the microphone while trashing around stage is a different sort of exhilaration all in its own.
After Whitechapel’s set dissipated and the lights dimmed, the audience grew anxious for GWAR and thus began the chant. After a little rustling in the back and sounds of stage arranging quieted down to a dull roar, lead singer Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus screamed out into the blackness “I smoked crack with Rob Ford!” …Then began the real show.
It wasn’t long before the stage light up with the red and orange blazes of hellfire, and the costumed characters of Gwar hit the stage like hell rising up to earth. Opening with a song from the olden days, they proceed to cover the first few rows of fans with blood (well, not real blood.)The rest of the hour and a half set was taken away with aggressive guitaring, lewd lyrics and conduct on stage, and moshing in the pit as Gwar took the audience on a ride between life and death on earth.
On the lighter side of things, they did entertain the crowd with a few oldies. They covered Kansas’ 1976 smash hit “Carry On Wayward Son,” The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” and Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.”
Between the musical antics, Rob Ford wasn’t the only prominent Canadian that fell victim to the dissecting nature of Gwar. Justin Bieber was another that they desecrated on stage and spilled the guts of after they finished with the obvious and easy target that is Toronto’s mayor. Even those symbolic to Canada were put on blast such as Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis. Gwar never spares any punches with their satirical slayings.Story by Devin Size, Photos by Tee Onek