In an announcement fitting of the late galactic mutant overlords, High on Plastics (H.O.P.) Toys will release a 10-inch figure of Oderous Urungus of GWAR later this year. HOP makes amazing, high-quality monster toys and Oderus is a fitting addition to class up the brand. They made the announcement at this weekends’ appearance at Spooky Empire Con in Florida. Oderus a.k.a. Dave Brockie passed away seven years ago on March 23rd, 2014. Pre-orders are not live yet.
This weekend (August 30th) GWAR will unveil a public memorial monument to the late Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, on what have been his 56th birthday. Hollywood Cemetery (412 S Cherry St, Richmond, VA). All are invited to the unveiling, and to a free party the next day, August 31st, at the GWARbar (217 W Clay St, Richmond, VA). As a tribute to Dave, we are running our never before released full audio interview between Dave and Ghost Cult’s Omar Cordy. An excerpt of this long chat ran in issue #15 of Ghost Cult Magazine in 2014, when he passed away. As one of the last interviews he ever did, Dave conducted the interview as Dave (not Oderous, which is rare) and talked about his entire career, coming up in the old-school DC Punk scene, the music industry, valuing art over business, the late Cory Smoot, and his prophetic plans for GWAR to continue on without him in the event of his death. Rest in Power Dave! Hail Oderous!Continue reading
The almighty GWAR has revealed that their new album, The Blood Of Gods, will be coming out on October 20th via Metal Blade. Continue reading
The last time I saw GWAR and Battlecross together in New York was in 2013 with Oderus Urungus (RIP). It took me awhile to get adjusted to the change and I was nervous about the future. With this tour being a part of their year-long 30th anniversary celebration. It was time to see a return to the slavepits.
Skya opened the show with their brand of hard rock. Solid band with catchy riffs. Battlecross knocked it out with probably their best NY show to date. With new drummer Brian Zink in tow, they hammered a selection of through three albums worth of thrashers. With extra time in their set due to Born of Osiris dropping off the tour because of an injury. GWAR guitarist Pustulus Maximus joined them for a suped-up rendition of Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’. You can never go wrong with Pantera.
For the headliner tonight, it’s GWAR vs the internet and all types of social media. Going after Twitter to Tinder; no one is safe. GWAR has always been a multi-headed beast and it has never been more prevalent than now with both Pustulus and Balsac, The Jaws of Death stepping up with more vocal duties. New singer Blothar sounds great on the newer songs like ‘Madness At The Core of Time’ and ‘Bloodbath’, as well as classics like ‘Saddam A Go-Go’ and ‘Sick Of You’. The return of ‘Sexecutioner’ was met with joyous roars from the crowd. They played a varied set from songs from their whole career and sounded just as tight as ever.
It’s been said that GWAR by design is a band meant to last a thousand years and can continue on into the next century and beyond. They have some rough edges they’re working out, but that’s expected. The future of GWAR looks bright and I’m excited for what’s next.
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Slipknot brought back heavy music into their brand of a festival called Knotfest once again to Southern California as they packed two days (plus a VIP only Friday evening event for campers) full of headbanging and mayhem at San Manuel Amphitheatre in Devore, CA.
The VIP pre-party show consisted of brief sets by Khaotika, Motorbreath, Rings of Saturn and The Faceless, while Sepultura became the main focus of that evening, performing many longtime favorites from their 30th anniversary tour, such as ‘Refuse/Resist’, ‘Arise’ and ‘Propaganda,’ while working on a few of the newer songs such as ‘Choke.’
Saturday’s main stage led the charge with the return of Pepper Keenan with Corrosion of Conformity, working in favorites such as ‘Clean My Wounds’ and ‘Albatross’; then Trivium and Mastodon both brought out powerful sets of powerful guitar driven hard rock leading into Korn’s semi-setlist of their début self titled album (ie they played only half of the album but they still brought their usual powerful live show) while working in other favorites like ‘Freak on a Leash’ and ‘Falling Away From Me.’
Headliners Judas Priest came out strong with a cross-section of newer songs such as ‘Dragonaut’ and ‘Valhalla’ while working in longtime favorites such as ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Hell Bent For Leather,’ as well as ‘Turbo Lover’. Following a strong showing on their previous tour, they did not disappoint and showed that after all of these years they can still deliver classic metal the right way.
Unlike the 2014 edition, Slipknot only played one day instead of both days, and they brought back the mini roller coasters and the Slipknot museum for attendees to enjoy. Another addition to this year’s edition was the Extreme Stage with such bands as Kataklysm, Abysmal Dawn, Belphagor and Inquisition living up to their musical brand and the headbangers representing as well.
The only band who did not quite fit the stage was Chilean-Canadian alternative-metallers The ReAktion, where their synth-driven riff metal was something fans grew accustomed to but was greatly out of place on that stage. The early set time worked in their favor on Sunday, with fans enjoying sightings of Slipknot DJ Sid Wilson around their set. Despite that, their eclectic sound was refreshing and somewhat interesting to see how they evolve from here.
Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor made a brief appearance with fellow Iowans Green Death during their brief set later on Sunday. Fans got acquainted quickly with the band despite their lack of recognition prior to the show.
Stages 2 and 3 were placed on the revolving stage where bands could get going much easier. Saturday’s set began with Battlecross, Red Fang and Goatwhore getting early set calls, but the packed crowd showed up to rock out with each band. Even the well publicized Josh Barnett joined in the pit action early on.
Veteran metallic hardcore outfit Earth Crisis brought back memories of their appearance of Ozzfest 1996 at this venue. Other highlights included At The Gates’ aggression driven set, while Body Count plowed through their set of classics (despite minor technical difficulties with Ice T killing time with his attempt at telling jokes on stage). GWAR capped out the stage with their usual antics and over the top stage show, moving forward post Oderus Urungus (a.k.a. Dave Brockie).
Sunday’s main stage opened with Ghostface Killa and Mobb Deep’s brief old school hip hop set that attracted curious onlookers, while Clutch came in with their usual power riff rock set that their stripped down stage show appeared a bit bare for such a large sized stage.
Bring Me The Horizon’s updated stage show and sound definitely caught the attention of the crowd with their LED powered backdrops with the letters to SPIRIT aligning with each word of their opening song ‘Happy Song.’ Frontman Oli Sykes had the crowd moving along with his commands, and kept the show entertaining. Plus their newer synth oriented melodic rock sound on songs like ‘Throne,’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ made their live show much more anthemic driven tunes for the crowd to sing along to. Even with the older heavier songs like ‘Chelsea Smile,’ Bring Me The Horizon showed that they have a full arsenal within their bag of tricks and is no surprise why they have the attention of the hard music world.
When Slipknot took the stage, they unveiled their new stage setup that resembled the carnival from hell, and they took charge from the opening minute. Opening with ‘Sarcastrophe’ and leading into ‘The Heretic Anthem’, Slipknot was on a mission to show why they are one of the biggest hard acts on the planet and can command their own festival. They even worked in ‘Me Inside’ (which they have never played live before apparently) and ‘Eeyore,’ giving the crowd more to get manic over.
The second and third stages on Sunday featured hard rockers Devour the Day and Kyng giving the crowd energetic melodic rock to nibble on, while semi-hometown favorites Snot got the crowd rocking with selections from their Get Some album while paying tribute to their late singer Lynn Strait.
Helmet, All That Remains and Beartooth all plowed through power sets of rock and metal that got the crowds working up a sweat, while led into the massive stampede of fans eagerly awaiting Cannibal Corpse and Suicidal Tendencies to perform. Cannibal Corpse simply owned Knotfest’s second stage and possibly had the largest crowd of headbangers and mosh pit participants of any act, which bled into Suicidal’s already veteran LA punk rock fan base. Overall, the insanity that came with those acts simply made the observing that much more enjoyable.
Overall, Knotfest 2015 brought together a strong collection of acts within the heavy music world once again and gave fans something to be excited about. After two consecutive years, hopefully Knotfest will continue to be an annual event (or something close to it).
PHOTO SET DAY 1:
PHOTO SET DAY 2:
It’s Friday, you’re out of work, and everyone’s either at the bar or out on a date. What’s a girl to do? Make her way down to Cambridge, MA to catch a show at the Middle East Upstairs with her friends, obviously.
Homegrown trio Rozamov took the stage first. I was familiar with them in name, but not in sound. I’m sure fans of doom would have enjoyed them but things require a little more energy and variety to keep my short attention span engaged. It wasn’t until the final song in their set that I started to get into things. I don’t remember what it was called but I believed the band mentioned that it was going to be featured on an upcoming split so keep an eye out for that.Gozu, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography
Also hailing from Boston, MA were my favorite surprise of the evening; Gozu. Again, I was familiar with their name but not their music. I can’t say enough great things about this band and I’m actually listening to their album Locust Season (Small Stone Records) as I write this. It’s some dirty, stoner rock that makes you want to knock back a few beers and maybe one of your friends. In my case, the evening involved a lot of shaking my friends due to my excitement and an inability to shut up about their bassist. So, business as usual, really.
Exalt brought their brand of metalcore to the stage next. I have never been much of a metalcore fan and as such, there were bits and pieces of songs that I enjoyed but nothing that I could really get into overall. It may prove to be a different story for fans of the genre. They were interesting to watch if anything and I can appreciate the hard work put into their performance even if it wasn’t really my thing.
Headlining this little shindig in the tiny show space were the one and only Cancer Bats. I had seen them three times before, as they have a habit of playing with bands I love, but this was my first time having the chance to see the boys headline their own tour in the US. Anyone who has had the chance to see the Bats live before knows that they always bring a lot of energy to their performances. Vocalist Liam Cormier is like a fire cracker in tight pants bouncing around the stage and it’s impossible to avoid getting swept along with him. The set list for the evening primarily revolved around songs in support of their latest release, Searching for Zero (Metal Blade Records). They play some of my favorites off of the album including ‘True Zero’, ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’, ‘Beezlebub’, and ‘Buds’. I would have liked to have heard ‘Cursed with a Conscience’ as well, maybe next time. The set also included fan favorites such as ‘Bricks and Mortar’, ‘Hail Destroyer’, and everyone’s favorite Beastie Boys cover; ‘Sabotage’. I ran into a few bohabs during the course of the evening and even more made themselves known once the band’s tribute to Dave Brockie a.k.a. Oderus Urungus of GWAR, ‘All Hail’, began.
All in all, it was a great show. My main complaint was that Cancer Bats’ set seemed unusually short for a headlining band. I would have liked to have gotten at least another half hour out of them. The sound for the show in general was quieter than I would have expected as well but that may have been because there was another show going on downstairs at the same time. Apart from that, I’d say it was a job well done and now I get to go back to complaining about them needing to tour again until the next one!
WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE
GWAR’s 30th year of conquest will be celebrated on the weekend of August 14th through 16, 2015 at the sixth annual GWAR B Q at Hadad’s Lake (7900 Osborne Turnpike Richmond, VA 23231). Watch a trailer below.
In related news, March 23, 2015 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of GWAR founder Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus). We celebrate him on this day as we celebrate and worship him every day. Hail Oderus!
A three-hour drive brought me to New Haven for the first time in almost exactly a year. I had gone down for a GWAR show back then as well. I remember being excited about having Iron Reagan on the bill. This was only my second time going to the venue and it was strange to be back in the last place that we had seen Dave (Brockie) before he passed away just three months later I didn’t remember it being so packed, especially not with so many bro’s and wannabe thugs. It was a weird crowd and there were a lot of fights throughout the evening.
Openers American Sharks took the stage first. I had no idea who they were before the show but I was pleasantly surprised. Stoner metal from Texas, I dug it. If you like groups like The Sword or Red Fang, you’ll likely enjoy them as well. I was only able to catch about the last third or so of their set due to medical emergencies involving police and pizza. Hopefully they’ll come back around with a date somewhere in MA next time.
Corrosion of Conformity were in the middle of the action and opened their set with ‘Seven Days’ before transitioning into ‘Brand New Sleep’ off of their last album; IX (Candlelight Records). I had expected more of a plug of newer material to promote their latest release but I was wrong. We got a decent mix of things including ‘Vote with a Bullet’, ‘Psychic Vampire’, and personal favorite of mine in ‘Deliverance’. CoC always puts on a great show and they had every head moving in the building.
Third time seeing GWAR since Dave’s passing, second stop on the current tour, and, somehow, it never gets old. Just like last time, the set opened with ‘Fly Now’ accompanied by Oderus Urungus on a screen. I understand that they are paying tribute to the fallen but it still makes me uncomfortable. Kill all of the babies, politicians, and celebrities that you want but this just hits too close to home. I still can’t get over how great it is to have Michael Bishop back in the swing of things. Whether you like Blothar or not, the man is a top notch performer and I love his digs at Beefcake the Mighty (Jamison Land). All in all, the Scumdogs gave us a nineteen song set including staples like ‘The Private Pain of Sawborg Destructo’ and ‘Hate Love Songs’. A tribute was paid to their fallen brothers in the form of a moment of violence in which every was encourage to let out a war cry. My voice cracked from one too many Jager Bombs, but damn, did it feel good. The last few songs of the performance consisted of the band’s renditions of ‘West End Girls’ by Pet Shop Boys and ‘People Who Died’ by The Jim Carroll Band, the combination of which went on to win this year’s A.V. Undercover competition.
I held myself together far better than the last two times I saw the band. I blame it on them not having played ‘Gor-Gor’ this time around, but it’s okay, I didn’t mind. Like most, I managed to save my tears for ‘The Road Behind’, which makes slightly more sense than getting emotional over a song about a zombie T-Rex. I can’t say what will happen in the future, but, we’ve got one tour behind us and things are starting to look up.
WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE
GWAR is on the road again for the GWAR Eternal tour, searching for their missing leader, Oderus Urungus, and steamrolling every venue, and every fan with madcap mayhem in the process. The band is out on their first tour since the passing of Dave Brockie earlier in the year and they last show of the current leg ends tonight in Seattle with Decapitated and American Shark. With Decapitated leaving and, the band is being joined by their fellow metal/punk brethren in Corrosion of Conformity for the next leg beginning on 11/15. The current stage show, which addresses the disappearance of Oderus, and features of who’s who’s of scumdogs, including new additions Blothar and Vulvatron, in a hilarious, wholly reprehensible and heartfelt way that Brockie would have loved. Meg Loyal caught GWAR in front her lens during their stop at this years’ Rock And Shock Festival in Worcester MA. Check out her photo set:
MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY
This year’s pilgrimage to Richmond, VA was full of a lot of strong and, at times, conflicting emotions. I didn’t make this trip as a writer. I did it as a Bohab and a human being who just wanted a chance to pay her respects to someone who had shown her kindness and had a profound effect on her life and to celebrate his life as well as grieve with some of the incredible people that make up an extensive hab family.
We arrived Friday morning and had breakfast with some of our bohab brethren staying at the same hotel before taking a nap and heading out for Hadad’s Lake and Dave Brockie/Oderus’ viking funeral. It was strange seeing the costume laid out in such a way, it was all very peaceful for a blood thirsty alien. I saw many habs sitting by the shore, some in quiet reflection, while others had their own conversations with our beloved monster.
The official memorial service featured eulogies by Jello Biafra, Randy Blythe, Adam Green, Michael Bishop,and others. There were a lot of tears but there was also a lot of laughter as jokes and stories about Brockie’s antics were shared. There was singing and the entire crowd let out a primal scream in his honor. Green played a voice mail that Brockie had left him. I had listened to it several months before but hearing his voice was still difficult.
The actual send off itself was beautiful and included an archer launching a flaming arrow onto the small ship and Danielle Stampe a.k.a. Slymenstra Hymen tossing a flaming torch into the water as bagpipes continued to play in the background. There were a number of different chants going around the crowd but it was very quiet until the firefighters showed up – after the flames and smoke had nearly completely died out. We have no idea if a neighbor called them but it gave us all a good laugh and seemed like a fitting way to end Brockie’s public memorial service.
Cut to the next day’s GWAR-B-QUE back at Hadad’s. There were a number of hiccups with regards to the event’s planning such as VIP ticket holders (myself included) not getting their lanyards, some people getting two of them in their bags, and some premium ticket holders winding up with them instead. Tents were not labeled properly and we wasted a lot of time in line at the GWAR merch booth before being told that we had to go to another line to start all over again just to be told that they were out of lanyards and to come back in an hour. We had already missed a number of bands and signings by this point and by the time we got our VIP stickers, the GWAR signing was well underway. I decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle of waiting around for a few hours in yet another line just to be rushed through the meet & greet and spent some time by the lake with some habs while listening to the festivities behind us.
There was quite a bit going on apart from the music as well. There were the mandatory band merch booths, the pool was open, there were a number of food vendors, a jewelry tent, tattooing, and a cigar truck selling CiGWARS. And that, kids, is how I had my first cigar. There were more bathrooms than last year but the lines were horrendous. You were looking at a minimum of a half hour wait for everything.
Unfortunately, I missed a number of bands due to being stuck in line hell but at least I had seen Bishop’s Kepone and Iron Reagan in recent months and they always shred. Revocation had to drop off the bill and, as far as I know, Goatwhore just didn’t show up. I can’t complain about the line for those delicious pulled pork sandwiches because that’s where I was watching Body Count from. They were fantastic! Ice-T and crew looked right at home among us and I saw more than my fair share of reciting every song word for word.
What about GWAR? They shared vocal duties with Bishop’s new character, Blothar, Slymenstra, and Don Drakulich’s Sleazy P. Martini. Blothar looked interesting, like some kind of weird wizard with antlers on his back. I’m sure the costume will have been changed and refined a bit by the time the fall tour comes through town. Slymenstra did some of her fire dancing but I would have liked to have seen more. Singe off my eyebrows! I hadn’t seen Sleazy since 2008/9 but it was nice to have him back on stage, even if he was, understandably, less energetic than usual.
I had a difficult time watching the performance. This is not by any means a reflection on the band, they were incredible, it was simply hard for me personally. There were people climbing on top of the smaller buildings to get a good view of the stage. I hung around the back of the crowd and caught maybe a minute of ‘The Years Without Light’ before my emotions got the best of me and I had to retreat back to the safety of our bohab base camp. I was content with staying behind and merely listening…Until those first few notes of ‘Gor-Gor’ hit my ear holes and I ran back into the middle of the crowd with Mama Hab. That Gor-Gor puppet is the beautiful demented dinosaur that I’ve ever seen. The song had been on my bucket list of songs that I wanted to see performed live but I just wish that it had been under better circumstances. There were more tears following its end than at any other time the entire weekend. ‘The Road Behind’ was played as expected and while my mind will always associate it with Cory Smoot first, I think there’s a little room in there for Dave too. GWAR & Company wrapped things up with a ‘Slaughterama’ that felt a bit rushed.
I know that there are going to be people criticizing the event and I know that with better planning, the problems of this year’s event can be minimized the next time around. With regards to GWAR’s performance after losing such an electric front man, all I ask is that you give them a chance. GWAR is more than just any one person and they’ve suffered a heavy loss, not of a musician, but that of a friend and family member. Picking up the pieces is no easy task but I think that they’re up to the challenge and I am optimistic about what the future holds for them and all of us.
For me, the main event of this weekend was the funeral and I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to grieve and celebrate with me, even if we did almost get the cops called on us. There will always be a cuttlefish shaped hole in our hearts but good friends and good music work wonders.
WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE