Many, many boyfriends ago, I was forced to attend DragonCon in Atlanta. Not a big comic collector, I spent the bulk of my time hanging out with the cast of the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at the autograph area (the lady who played Veruca Salt was really cool.) The one indelible image I took away form the Con was that of walking down Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta (from the registration area to the expo center) behind GWAR. I knew the band from their appearances on the Jerry Springer Show and Beavis and Butthead, but to have them standing right in front of me was a sight that has been burned into my retinas. Foam rubber, latex, platform boots, codpieces and the whitest asses I have ever seen in my life (oh, another nice touch was the painted-on six-pack abs. I need to remember that for next bikini season.) I don’t know how this motley assortment of musicians didn’t cause a dozen accidents on the street, as cars screeched to a halt to see the bizarre parade. Fast forward to my first date with who is now my husband. I told him I had always wanted to see them perform live – which pretty much cemented my place as future wife (well, that and a slightly off-key but enthusiastic karaoke rendition of Pat Benatar’s "All Fired Up".) So, when we found out that Oderus Urungus and the gang were coming to Florida, we couldn’t buy tickets fast enough.
The Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale is located (as far too many businesses in Florida are) in a strip mall. The crowd was eccentric – to say the least. Lots of black attire and tats, boys in eyeliner, chicks in patent leather boots and one boy with pink hair wearing a nurse’s outfit. There were 2 opening acts – The Red Chord, who were pretty darn good (best song title “The Thrashin’ of the Christ”). They also dispensed beer bongs to audience members, so much coolness abounded. Of course, there was also much stage diving, crowd surfing and moshing. The second band was called Municipal Waste, and I couldn’t get into them. The lead singer, who looked vaguely like Elliot Yasmin from American Idol was one of those singers who puts the mic really close to his mouth and makes all of the song lyrics sound like “Unga unga unga rowrrr” (or something like that.) The guitar, percussion was cool, but I like my lyrics somewhat decipherable. They weren’t really winning over the crowd – I’ve never heard metal fans giving a golf clap before. Then, it was time for Oderus, Beefcake the Mighty, Balsac the Jaws of Death, Jizmak da Gusha and Flattus Maximus (more like Flat-Ass Maximus from what I saw lo those many years ago in Atlanta!) – the Scumdogs of the Universe themselves, GWAR.
Hubby is a long-time GWAR-rior and was looking forward to being covered in blood and doing a little moshing and stage diving of his own. We crammed ourselves into the middle of the (really hot) room and prepared ourselves for a full-on metal assault. The guy behind me was desperate to start up a chant, but was having no luck (he started with “O-DER-US! O-DER-US!” AND WENT TO “GWAR! GWAR!”) The rest of us were trying to get the lone girl on her boyfriends shoulder’s to “get the f*** down!” The band came out and the first decapitation ensues, spraying everybody with fake blood. The crowd couldn’t break up to form a mosh pit, as it was so tightly packed, so the end result was more of a fleshy wave ebbing and flowing over the floor (sounds sweet, but in actuality it was much more sweaty and aggressive than that.) I lost my footing and hit the floor (and no, I was not drinking or wearing my requisite 4-5” heels.) Someone fell on top of me and I bent in a way I never had before. My hubby finally pulled me out of the fray and I moved to the side to enjoy the show from a less claustrophobic vantaqe point. I have actually only ever heard a few GWAR songs, and the acoustics of the venue were such that I really couldn’t decipher what song was being played at any given moment. The show was pretty much foam rubber-covered character comes out (George Bush, the GWAR “super fan", Adolf Hitler, a cop, a T-Rex, etc.) gets dismembered, disemboweled or suffers some other obscene indignity, spews blood or some other viscous fluid on the crowd and then the band launch into song. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. My husband said he only recognized about 4 of the songs (one of which was called “Sadaam A Go-Go” and the other was “Sick of You”, which they ended their set with…I liked that one a lot), which makes me feel good, as I recognized none of them. The band were musically talented – if you could get past the spectacle on stage, but we have a bunch of their tunes in our shopping cart on I-Tunes, and I’m looking forward to checking them out. Despite the mob, the sweat (I think I lost 2 pounds last night), the smoke (tobacco and the “other” kind) and the risk of being trampled, the big question remains - did I have fun? Hell yeah! Would I do it again? Hell yeah!