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The Savage Spectacle


Gwar

It is the summer of 2005, and a wild cacophony of metal and mayhem filled the air as the Sounds of the Underground Tour thundered through Cleveland. A young and impressionable 18-year-old, deep in the throes of a skater punk metal obsession, I found myself amidst the chaos. This was one of my first festivals. My first time away from adults chaperoning my every move. This was me arriving in my element. I arrived at the festival ready to douse in the raw energy of the strong lineup, and I had stolen a joint from a friend's mom. I was going to get BLASTED. But it wasn't just the promise of a stolen mediocre joint and live music that encouraged me to make the long, for an 18-year-old, drive – it was the theatrical spectacle of GWAR, prowling the festival grounds in all their grotesque glory. They were infamous. They still are. Now, nearly two decades later, armed with nothing but a camera and a head full of memories, I found myself preparing to arrive at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio, ready to dive headfirst into a night of metal madness. Let the show begin. Let the spectacle be witnessed. 


 

Fuming Mouth

Fuming Mouth

The stage crackled with electricity as Fuming Mouth exploded into their set, seizing the crowd's attention with an iron grip. Despite being unfamiliar with their sound, their high-octane performance demanded recognition. Clad in a GWAR shirt, the vocalist paid homage to the headliners, reminding everyone of the main event to come. With relentless energy, they tore through their set, each song a sonic assault on the senses. And as the bassist celebrated his birthday on this auspicious night, the crowd erupted in a chorus of cheers, joining in the festivities. Their cover of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was a particular highlight, infusing the air with a sense of nostalgia and excitement. In their music, I detected a hint of Acid Bath, a subtle nod to the roots of metal's darker side. Fuming Mouth left an undeniable mark, setting the stage for what was to come.




 

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

As Cancer Bats took the stage, the line between hardcore and metal blurred into oblivion. With boundless energy and unbridled ferocity, the band tore through their set with the fury of a thousand storms. The singer, a whirlwind of motion and emotion, convulsed and screamed, his voice raw with passion and purpose. It was as if he was fighting a battle against invisible demons, each lyric a battle cry in the war of the soul. Meanwhile, the guitarist, sporting a crop top and flowing hair, unleashed a torrent of riffs that shook the very foundations of the venue. From start to finish, Cancer Bats' performance was a relentless onslaught of sound and fury, leaving the crowd breathless and exhilarated.



 

GWAR


GWAR

With memories of the Sounds of the Underground Tour swirling in my mind, GWAR descended upon the stage like avenging angels of chaos. The air was thick with anticipation, the taste of salt mingling with the metallic tang of a performance yet to come. And then, with a burst of sound and fury, the band unleashed their unique brand of mayhem upon the crowd.


The Prime Minister of Israel met a gruesome fate, his face torn asunder as blood spewed forth from his exposed brain. It was a grotesque tableau, a visceral reminder of GWAR's penchant for pushing the boundaries of taste and decency. But amidst the chaos, there was a method to the madness – decades of touring had honed the band into masters of the live show, every moment meticulously orchestrated for maximum impact.


From comedic interludes to jaw-dropping set pieces, GWAR spared no expense in their quest to entertain and provoke. For the initiated, it was a feast for the eyes and ears, a journey into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. But for the uninitiated, it was a wake-up call – a reminder that in the world of GWAR, nothing is sacred, and no one is safe. As the final notes faded into the night, I couldn't help but feel a sense of exhilaration and exhaustion wash over me. GWAR isn't for the faint of heart, but for those willing to embrace the madness, it's an experience unlike any other.



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