The “Gore, Core, Metal and More” Tour has been making its way across America combining some of the most brutal hardcore music with a visual spectacle that is second to none. Gwar teamed up with Hatebreed and enlisted Miss May I and Ringworm for support.
Ringworm opened up the show. James Bullock, known as the “human furnace”, led the Cleveland, Ohio based band in a foot stomping barrage of high decibel hardcore. It was a short set that didn’t mince words as they attacked each song like it was their last. The music blends in thrashy riffs and memorable breakdowns while maintaining an anger that spearheads the vibe that captivated the crowd. Ringworm has spent decades building an allegiance of fans through staying true to themselves and delivering consistent albums using a formula that has served them well. It was fun to see this band for the first time.
Singer Levi Benton instantly raised the bar with his reckless energy as Miss May I took the stage. This outfit from Ohio hit the crowd with songs that fused aggression with melodic interludes that showcased the bands willingness to expand from the basic metalcore approach. The band has stayed virtually intact since its inception in 2007. Besides Benton, the band consists of B.J. Stead (guitar), Justin Aufdemkampe (guitar), Jerod Boyd (drums) and bassist Ryan Neff who left the band but later rejoined. Miss May I was certainly the young gun of the tour with the rest of the bands having a considerably longer history and it felt like they were out to prove they belonged. There was an extra sneer in Benton’s vocals as he worked tirelessly to reach every person in the room. It was clear the hard work paid off the crowd fed off the energy and really dug into the set.
Just when you thought the energy couldn’t get any higher, out comes Hatebreed and they tore the venue down. Within in seconds of the opening “To The Threshold” the pit was open for business and fans got moving. I walked to the back of the room and stood dead center and just took it in. They devoured everything in their path. The music was tight; the vocals on point, and songs came off the stage like daggers. Jamey Jasta led the charge and amongst the aggressive vocal attack he invited everybody into the Hatebreed family. He has a certain charm and charisma that sucks you into the show. The band cruised through a pummeling set that included
“Destroy Everything”, “Under The Knife”, “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today”, and one of my personal favorites, “This Is Now”. An impressive set by the hardcore kingpins and I wouldn’t have expected anything less..
The lights dropped while two screens lit up with the Gwar logo. A voice echoed throughout the room that recapped the bands history and how the intergalactic warriors had retreated to an ice fortress. Two soldiers wondered onto the stage carrying rifles and it was not long before the band joined them while kicking into “War On GWAR. Bonesnapper and Blothar quickly decapitated the two soldiers to the delight of the crowd. The blood blanketed the first couple of rows and we were off and running.
This was my first Gwar show and it was amazing to see so many people dressed in white and more than a few woman wearing formal dresses. These people treated being soaked in blood and other fluids from the stage as a badge of honor. This was not another rock show, but a Gwar show, and to the people that packed into Myth Live, it was another ride into the mythology and music of the band.
The band was dealt a tremendous blow with the passing of their leader Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie). In 2017 the band released its first album without the singer called “The Blood Of Gods”. Michael Bishop (Blothar) has stepped into the lead vocalist role. Brent Purgason (Pustulus Maximus) and Mike Derks (Balsac the Jaws of Death) handled the guitars while Jamison Land (Beefcake the Mighty) provided the bass. On drums was Brad Roberts (Jizmak Da Gusha). Bob Gorman and Matt Maguire played two other characters, Bonesnapper and Sawborg Destructo.
Things started to get hazy as I tried to keep up to the plot and various executions. Dickie Duncan, which looked like some sort of blob, was split in half. The Catholic Church fell victim as well with a sodomy skit that pushed things into the obscene. The traditional presidential killing continued as Donald Trump was disemboweled with blood spewing into the audience. From there the blood and fluids continued to flow and battles were fought but to put a scorecard to it, I’d need a replay, as things just continued to get more chaotic.
Musically the band sounded great. So much is said about the stage show, costumes, and characters while the actual musical performance is overlooked. Blothar does have a gravelly voice but he pulls off the material just fine. The guitars are fantastic and the two play off each perfectly. The rhythm section provided a substantial platform that held the gravity of the musical muscle Gwar packed. I knew the visual aspect was going to be stunning, but I was equally impressed on how well they pulled off the material in a live setting.
As the band was winding down the set, the loincloth-wearing slaves brought out each member of the V.I.P. ticket holders and put them through the grinder on stage. Right at the end of the show, as fluids were flying everywhere, the screen on stage showed a picture of Oderus with the words RIP. It was a fitting tribute to a leader that is gone but never forgotten.
Overall, the “Gore, Core, Metal and More” Tour was a fantastic experience. Each of the bands hit the stage firing on all cylinders and the crowd appreciated all of the performances. This was my first Gwar experience and being drilled in the head with some sort of green substance probably served as my initiation into the club. Next time I wear white.