GWAR at Marquee Theatre, 11/14/11

Categories: Last Night
Melissa Fossum
​I had the craziest dream last night. 

Normally when people say that, their dream is actually pretty boring, but I swear to you, this all happened. 
I'm the kind of girl who would rather see Sea Wolf every time he comes through town than take any risks at a metal show. And in the past, my distaste for metal has kept me from ever reviewing it. It just wouldn't be fair to readers and frankly, it would really suck for me. But new experiences are important, so last night, I decided it dive right in: GWAR. Sex demons from space. A metal show, yeah, but a metal show on acid. 

I showed up in a plain white t-shirt my friend insisted I wear. I noticed, hey, there are an awful lot of people here dressed quite similar. It turns out, no one makes it out of one of these shows alive, and everyone wants a T-shirt to prove it. That logic made no sense to me. 

To get an idea of where I was, my friend and I began to talk to audience members before the show. They reassured me I shouldn't be afraid. They even customized my bare t-shirt by using a cigarette to scrawl the word "GWAR." I was yet to fully experience what the word meant. 

The fans were some of the nicest, least pretentious rock fans I've ever encountered. Everyone embraced my fear with love. It was a shame that we were all going to perish, because in another life, I could be friends with people like this. 

"I'm going to die. This is how it happens," I thought as Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" started blaring over the stereo system to pump up the crowd. It worked. An audience member got so riled up, he threw an $8 Bud Light behind him, slamming me in the side, and coating me with piss beer. In all my dreams where I swim through beer, this was my least favorite. 

And then they appeared, spikes and all. I backed away. A two-hour-long series of bass and screams began, all from the mouths of spiked, horned, bloodied characters. I have a feeling they'll haunt my dreams beyond last night. 

Then they shot blood. Then they shot shit. Then they shot some green stuff. And oddly, I was way into it. I wanted to coat myself in their space defecation. They called the crowd "motherfuckers," and the crowd loved it. 

I couldn't really tell you what their music sounds like. It's one of those dream details I've seemed to block out. If I had to categorize it, I'd call it loud and shouty. 

You got the impression that it was a put-on. All the fans were in on an elaborate joke. They were expelling rage while simultaneously creating an underground hippie love fest. Even as they disemboweled an unflattering effigy of Snooki from Jersey Shore. Even GWAR themselves had enough decency to remember their late guitarist Flattus Maximus, who, they said, "Left for his home planet, 'Home,' without our fucking permission." 

Melissa Fossum

Maybe I narrowly escaped with my life, but for some reason, I want to go back. I want to be shat on again. I'm some sort of masochist now, I guess. I couldn't tolerate the music and normally, I'm a right proper kind of girl. But goddamn, GWAR fueled something in me I didn't know existed. 

When I woke up this morning, I looked in the mirror. I was greeted by red stains all up and down my arms.

Want more GWAR photos? Check out our slideshow. 

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Location Info


Marquee Theatre

730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

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Julie Stout
Julie Stout

Great review.  Most people who aren't that into GWAR, who review them, are metalheads who want to talk about which "scene" or "core" they can wedge the band into, which is frankly irritating.  GWAR has been around longer than any of that nonsense.  I'm a long time fan and acquaintance of recent years, and I love the first timers and value your perspective.  I'm not normally into metal either, but GWAR is my favorite band of all time.  Next time you go (and you probably will) try to hang around (near the buses if necessary) after the show to meet the guys.  You will find that, like the diehard fans, they also lack the pretentious attitude you might expect from an internationally famous rock group.  They are, in fact, really great people, and under the rubber and spew (which is just colored water mostly)...they love their audience just as much as the audience loves them.  You might also be surprised to find that not all of their music is thundrous metal, although that's the focus of the last 5 albums.  Early on they were punk, and over the years they've done a lot of different things.  I don't know what you're into, but I believe there is a GWAR song for practically anyone.  Fun fact: Lead singer Dave Brockie, his favorite band is U2.  You'd never have guessed that, would you?  If you want to read something interesting, check out his memoirs at

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