by Ian Storck
The Black Death Rager World Tour storms into Milwaukee right in time for Halloween week, bringing along monsters, zombies, goblins and gore.
Nekrogoblikon kicks off the night as the rabid fans pile into The Rave’s intimate two-level bar stage. John Goblikon, the group’s goblin mascot and hype man, runs and jumps about the stage alongside singer Scorpion, adding humor to the energetic set. While playing mostly tracks from their latest album, including “Bones” and “This is It,” they bring out the classic song “Powercore” to close out the short set.
Crobot brings a different flavor to the lineup, with a classic hard rock sound, but doesn’t feel out of place on the bill with the sheer amount of energy and stage presence that they have. Hatching out of an egg to kick off the set, singer Brandon Yeagley seems to be a source of unlimited energy, jumping across the stage and yo-yo-ing the mic stand back and forth. Their track “Golden,” written as a Soundgarden tribute song, sounds so incredibly similar to the group, down to the Chris Cornell vocal tone. They ended their set by bringing Nekrogoblikon keyboardist Raptor on stage to help them perform a rousing cover of Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark.”
Between sets we see a snippet of the upcoming GWAR documentary, chronicling the history and mythos of the group, which seems to be an intriguing watch, even for those unfamiliar with the group.
After a video introduction, it’s time for the arrival of intergalactic depravity that is GWAR. Within seconds, there is a “beheading,” and blood spray immediately begins, arcing wall to wall over the crowd and into the pit. The obscene creatures that make up the modern incarnation of GWAR take the stage, launching into one of their latest singles “The Cutter.”
This is not the type of show for those that are easily offended or grossed out. This is shock rock to the core, with virtually no limits. Throughout the set, different creatures or parodies of celebrities take the stage and are subsequently mutilated in various ways, making sure to include plenty of creative ways to spray blood and fluids into the crowd, who are eating it up (figuratively).
During “Rise Again,” soldiers duke it out before having their faces impaled, followed by being beheaded by members of the band. “Saddam A Go Go” sees Vladimir Putin get his hands cut off. There is an on-stage abortion performed with a giant plunger, before the mother is mutilated and beaten with the baby during “Womb With a View.” The list goes on, but these few should be enough to either intrigue or disgust.
One thing is for certain when it comes to GWAR: this is not a novelty act. Despite the vulgarity and brutality, this is a thought out piece of performance art. It’s designed to both shock and entertain, and there is no denying the sheer technical and artistic value. Their lengthy career and packed shows are a testament to the intrigue and excitement that they’ve created around their act.
Connect with GWAR: Website / Spotify / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
The Issue of Tissue (Spacecake)
Bring Back the Bomb
New Dark Age
Mother Fucking Liar
Bored to Death
Saddam a Go-Go
Womb With a View
Black and Huge
Venom of the Platypus
U Ain’t Shit
None but the Brave
Sick of You
Fuck This Place