Thursday, October 09, 2008

GWAR at Irving Plaza

GWAR, it seems has a pattern when it comes to opening bands: one thrash revival act, one "core" group, run for an hour and a half and then hit the stage. Two years ago, it was Municipal Waste and The Red Chord; this time around, we had Toxic Holocaust and Kingdom of Sorrow. The format might be slipping a bit: Toxic Holocaust is fun, but they're no Municipal Waste and I know I liked The Red Chord better than the modern metalcore stylings of Kingdom of Sorrow, a side project for guys from Hatebreed, Crowbar, and (because Kirk Windstein is off touring with Down) Type O Negative.

While taking refuge at the bar during Kingdom of Sorrow's set and discussing Guy Kozowyk's take on the origins of modern metalcore with my usual concert crew, I came to an important realization: one that could and should change this iffy form of music into some far more palatable. It's simple: anything that's not a breakdown (and I have no problem with the breakdowns: you can keep ripping off groove metal as much as you'd like) should be played at the same speed as a Slayer riff. Can you imagine how great that'd be? Instead of chopping along on eighth notes, all of those guitarists could tune in to the true brutality of sixteenth and thirty-second notes, channeling some Slayer-like energy into their lifeless riffs and drastically decreasing their suckitude at the same time. Think about it: everything tastes better with Slayer. Everything. And as an added inducement towards implementation, I say we ban Kingdom of Sorrow from using their kickass album graphic until they start applying The Slayer Method to their material.

So much for the openers. GWAR's performance was an evening of solid, sleazy entertainment. Three areas of note: first, GWAR seems to have finally realized that playing in clubs means people in the back can't see what's going down on the stage, and being a visual band, decided to fix the problem by using a video screen. It wasn't a complete success - some of the graphics looked like they were taken out of a digital special effects kit circa 1999 - but it helped give a bit more context to the action (unfortunately still rendered partially invisible by the heads of the taller people in front of me) on the stage. Speaking of action, we had a biology lesson: it turns out that breasts are full of green fluid. Who knew?

Second, Dave Brockie seems to love turning the words of his older material into complete mush. I'm not sure if it's laziness, material fatigue, or just a way to make fun of the bohabs, but the lyrics of the verses of "Sick of You," for example, were a wordless garble.

Third, Sleazy P. Martini came back for the tour. He set up the show's theme, killed a bunch of people in a revival of "Slaughterama" (easily the show's highlight, with the numerous faithful in the crowd supplanting Martini's role as host by shouting out the answers to each round's question), and announced his candidacy for President of the United States. I think you should vote for him.

No comments: