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Gwar Live
with Horse the Band and The Amazing Coincidence
July 20 at Soul Kitchen, Mobile, AL

by Progprince


Two big concerts in two weeks in two different venues...it has been quite an interesting week for Prog Prince. I honestly had no clue the Scumdogs of the Universe were coming to The Port City until the day of the 3 Inches of Blood concert that I went to. The second I saw the poster advertising Oderus and company I knew I had to go.

Soul Kitchen is a much larger venue than Cell Block, and you'd be surprised to know that I was lounging around carelessly on a plush leather couch before the first act, The Amazing Coincidence, came onstage. I don't know where these guys are from, but I'm assuming they're local, and for good reason. There's nothing 'amazing' about these guys...just a trio of black-masked crazies with one screaming unintelligibly with manic facial expressions and macroscopic beads of sweat. This guy seemed a little hyperfocused on what he was doing--it's really sad the music didn't reflect his intensity. Sure, I guess it was intense, but in a very messy, goofy way. Next...

I basically just wandered around for a long time before Horse the Band came on stage. Uh, I was tired of sitting and standing and I was anxious because the guy's bathroom had no toilet paper. So finally Horse the Band took the stage and they had quite a good stage presence. The keyboardist was situated right upfront facing the audience, which was a nice change from what seems like standard concert set-up, and he basically made the performance for me. The vocalist's screaming and the jagged guitar playing were good, but it was the pulsating, devious keyboard that created the depth of emotion needed to cloak the band in all its Dillinger Escape Plan hysteria.

There was also a large comedy factor at work as well because the keyboardist honestly looked like a crossbreed of Napoleon Dynamite and a horse. But even more noteworthy than that is the uncanny interplay of the vocalist with the audience. He seemed to make continuous gay jokes about one guy with a hat on and then would make little asides to other band members. This audience member would playfully flip the guy off, and so we had a nice little 'flame war' going on. Though all bands were comedic in some way, Horse the Band were the only ones who seemed very serious musicianship-wise.

Enter Gwar. While waiting for these guys I was standing next to some podium, my knees getting mashed because of the combined pressure of people against me. People chanted 'Gwar' forever it seemed, and then finally they came lumbering onstage like the Titans in Greek mythology. When they first come onstage you do a double take because their costumes make them look so huge. Soon enough, the crowd was gyrating back and forth like some damn ride at the fair and I found myself falling down on this podium, pissing the security guard off. He eventually grabbed me by the shirt and I somehow escaped out of this uncomfortable position. I proceeded to scope out fairly open areas to stand in during the entire show, but it was hard to escape the density of people and the moshing.

Anyway, I didn't recognize most of the songs from their set, but I was feeling the grooves and I definitely recognized "Immortal Corrupter" from the acoustic intro. I'm assuming that this one may be a live favorite or one they like to play a lot because I think I heard the people singing the chorus and it's generally one of Gwar's most memorable, well-written songs. The thrash break in it is totally a nod to all the greats of the genre, though it's not quite as pulverizing as I'd like. Also, the other song I noticed was actually the ending encore song, "Sick of You", which was from the album Scumdogs of the Universe. This was the only old song of theirs that I recognized, and I was a little disappointed, to say the least. I have This Toilet Earth and the diversity and spirit of that overshadows the heavier direction that they've chosen to take. I don't even care that their punk roots were showing a lot back then. 

For any deficit in the choice of songs, however, their actual live show made up for it. Just seeing these guys in their outfits was cool enough, but there were also peons who look like poster children for SlavePit TV doing battle with rubber likenesses of the pope, President Bush, and some large monster. Quite often, you would see one of these slaves using his oversized plastic sword to slash open opponents. For example, one of them continuously slashed the pope figure, exposing his innards while fake blood sprayed everywhere. Later, Bush was 'half-decapitated', and then this large monster was stabbed in the eyes. I must be more morbid than I thought because I had some serious bloodlust after watching all this. Haha. It was rousing.

The icing on the cake was when one of the slaves pulled out this huge gun and started spraying everyone with fake blood. I honestly believe that not a soul was spared in this carnage. I became vampiric by strange means, swallowing it as well as taking it in my eyes. Even my socks became stained with brilliant crimson and even blue.

This show was awesome. I met up with a lot of people I knew there and it was more than just a concert...it was an interplanetary rock(metal) opera. Although I don't hold it in quite as much esteem as the 3 Inches of Blood show I went to just four days earlier, it was still worth the money. 

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