GWAR is a shock-rock band that wears creeped-out costumes on loan from the devil, comic books, and sci-fi. The band is Kiss on steroids. If nothing else, GWAR shows are memorable. They are something of a thrash-metal band — a loudfest of hammering guitars and wicked pounding — that spews nasty goo and fluids on each other and any audience member within reach. You go to a GWAR show expecting this, much in the same way that spectators seated in the front rows of Shamu Stadium know that the big cold saltwater whale-bath might drench them at some point. When they get soaked, they like it. Same idea.
David Brockie is the one name that appears in each of the many lineups that GWAR has had. In Virginia, 1984, Brockie sang in a punk band that experimented with the use of props and costumes. Called Gwarggh at first, it was later shortened to GWAR. Brockie, as his stage alter-ego Oderus Urungus (all GWAR members have similar names), has served as the band’s mastermind, bassist, and guitarist and is now GWAR’s vocalist. Somehow GWAR has managed to stay afloat as a touring act for two decades and has inspired a legion of followers and musicians. Slipknot comes to mind.
In a way, GWAR has a social conscience. They lampoon costumed effigies of public figures onstage in Mardi Gras style, ranging from Osama to Paris Hilton — whoever, at the moment, is most disdained. As an underground band that has gotten virtually no airplay, it was surprising when GWAR appeared on The Jerry Springer Show in 1997.
Let me add this caveat: Some of GWAR’s Beavis and Butt-Head level of humor goes beyond what I consider decent, and I have a high tolerance for this sort of thing.
GWAR, House of Blues, Sunday, November 23, 6 p.m. 619-299-2583. $17.50.