Southern Rock inspired punk/metal, 80’s Thrash Metal, a band comeback after twenty-three years, Trump decapitations, crack busts, and semen canons?! You, my friend, either just walked into your new neighbor’s apartment… OR a GWAR concert. Let’s pray for the latter and jump into the fray! The Paradise Rock Club. Legendary venue, tiny floor space, and a sold-out show. All the makings for a Sunday night show to share with everyone at the office on Monday morning.
Starting off the night was Against The Grain. A straight-up rock and roll band out of Detroit, Michigan with subtle hits of southern rock influence and punk rock sensibility. Having only heard of these guys just last year, as they played RPM Fest 2018, I knew what I was walking into. I’ve loved this band since the moment I heard them last year and my love has only grown. This is a band that is just all about having a fun time and going wherever the music takes them, both mentally and physically. You really can’t go wrong here folks. Go listen to their newest album Cheated Death if you want some good old-fashioned, high-octane, bar music.
Coming to the stage next was a band that I’ve always heard of but never seen, Toxic Holocaust. This is a band that looks exactly like what would happen if three kids in Portland, Oregon stopped going to school and just watched and studied Metallica and Exodus until their eyes were bleeding. Everything from the sound, the attitude, and the look. Beat up white Air Jordan’s, skinny jeans, Thin Lizzy shirt, a chain as a guitar strap, and a hair-do that would make Dee Snider and David Coverdale jealous. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect with these guys. But I gotta say, I’m a fan now.
Coming back to the spotlight with a new album, Awakening (Metal Blade), after a twenty-three-year hiatus between albums we have Arizona’s own Sacred Reich! These guys were phenomenal! Granted, I didn’t have anything to compare it to from their back catalog, but I loved their sound. Fast, aggressive, thought-provoking, and genuine. Bassist and vocalist, Phil Rind, spoke very passionately in between songs just being thankful and heartfelt about how the community has accepted them after being gone for a long time. I ran into Mr. Rind after the show and just told him how I really enjoyed his music. Really a down to earth guy and someone who reminds you of your best friend’s dad, he just had that presence about him. Go check out Sacred Reich’s new album Awakening!
On to the main event. Crawling out from the depths of Antarctica, the Scumdogs of the Universe… GWAR! This was my first time seeing GWAR, shocking I know, so I had only ever heard stories about what their shows were like. And let me tell ya, they’re all true. Talking toilets, crack busts, decapitations of a certain President that’s currently in office, and of course, the ever-present spray of blood, piss, semen, and God only knows what else onto the audience. It really is hard to describe what witnessing this shit show is like. Take Ren & Stimpy, The Angry Beavers, crack cocaine, meth, and the sounds of the skateboard scene in the mid to late ’90s and throw it all into a blender and you get a GWAR concert. Songs like ‘Fuck This Place’ and ‘Kill You To Death’ while yes, are vulgar as all hell, really just go to show that these guys are just having a fun time. Never taking themselves too seriously, but at the same time being the most serious about their own nonsense as possible. I loved it, plain and simple.
If you had the option of going to this show or getting ready for work the next morning and choose Option B, ya done fucked up. If this show is making its way around to your area, go see it! Also, as a side note. The security at The Paradise Rock Club needs to lighten up and let us photographers do our jobs. Being in such a small space and not being allowed in the photo pit doesn’t make sense.
This is your friendly neighborhood Smallz, signing off…
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS SMALL