Gwar wreaks musical havoc in Minneapolis

by Tony Libera

I vividly recall the first time I heard of Gwar: I was playing the “Beavis and Butt-head” videogame for Super Nintendo, the goal of which was to collect two tickets for the Gwar show that night, by any ridiculous means necessary. This was back in 1994 (which means I was six, and way too young to be playing that game), but I can still remember thinking that Gwar had to be rad* for these two kids, unparalleled slackers who rarely left the couch, to risk their lives and, even worse, get jobs in order to attend this hallowed concert.

I’ve wanted to see Gwar live ever since that day, but for whatever reason it just never happened. Friends of mine who’d seen their shows would offer high, albeit vague, praise. They’d make every effort to describe the awe, the excess, the insanity, but every one of them would ultimately concede that it, the spectacle, was just something that had to be experienced. When I heard that Gwar was coming to Cabooze on Dec. 6, I decided that after 16 years it was time to see it for myself.

Gwar’s show was everything that scattered hype had led me to believe it would be, but it was also so much more. It really is difficult capturing the magnitude of it in text — the frenetic rock ‘n’ roll thunder, akin to apocalyptic vibrations, the sinister vista of looming monsters battling one another and mangling a vogueing Lady Gaga, the feel of fake blood and alien ejaculate as it douses a gleeful, raving audience and the absolute hilarity of it all. Roland Barthes could have had a field day with Gwar.

The crowd reciprocated by verbally sparring with frontmonster Oderus Urungus, somersaulting across the pit of wet bodies and, as was the case with two young ladies, exposing themselves while dry humping a support beam. This is what it must have been like in Sodom and Gomorrah, or perhaps the mid-’80s.

With that said, I must now make the same concession as my friends before me. Gwar’s show truly is an event that must be experienced firsthand. The energy on display last night is a testament to their love for music, for their show and for their fans. 26 years in and this band has maintained its vitality, turning its amps up well beyond 11 and delivering one the wildest shows around. They won’t be stopping anytime soon.


*This was a term we used back then. See: Awesome.