TVD Live: Gwar at the 9:30 Club, 11/9

PHOTOS: DAVE BARNHOUSER | It’s been over a year since the untimely passing of Gwar leader and founder Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, but the Gwar machine is still rolling full steam ahead. Soldiering on with a new book, a Gwar-themed bar, the yearly Gwar-B-Q and more, they have hit the road for a fall tour as is their norm, leaving a path of gore and destruction in their wake.

This time around, they stopped at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. with Michigan thrashers Battlecross in tow. Entering the venue, the telltale signs were evident that Gwar was in town. The 9:30 staff dressed in white for maximum visual effect, and sheets of plastic draped around the club to protect the bars and equipment from the forthcoming bloodbath.

The self-proclaimed “blue-collar thrashers,” Battlecross got things going in a hurry, beginning with “Force Fed Lies” and “Not Your Slave.” With a bit of prodding from vocalist Kyle Gunther, the crowd who was a bit reluctant at first (not surprising for a cold, rainy Monday evening), eventually warmed up and increased the enthusiasm with a pit starting here and there during the set. Gunther was a blur of energy, injecting both humor and fire into the band’s set.

The front three of guitarists Hiran Deraniyagala and Tony Asta, along with bassist Don Slater, were all on point and shredding like hell. Gunther announced that their drummer, Alex Bent was the new guy and that after another band dropped off of the tour, they got their set extended—therefore having to play more songs. To remedy the situation, the band closed with an amped-up version of the Pantera classic “Fucking Hostile.”

After an intro of “War Pigs,” the hilarity began when two costumed members came out, dancing to a dubstep version of the band’s anthem “Sick of You,” while the logo for “New Gwar” was displayed on the video screens. This was quickly shut down as the true band took the stage and rampaged through “Crush, Kill, Destroy” and “Madness at the Core of Time.” Singer Blöthar has found his stride with the band, leading the way as he gushed gallons of viscera from his vile udders.

The mayhem continued on through the set as Blöthar periodically checked his gigantic cell phone (with the oh-so-cute kitten background), talked to manager Sleazy P. Martini over Grype (Gwar’s version of Skype), and hosed down the crowd through “Vlad the Impaler,” “Meat Sandwich,” and “Let Us Slay.” Only at a Gwar show will you see costumed slaves playing catch with a crack rock the size of a boulder.

The set ended with “Metal Metal Land,” and the scumdogs returned to the stage to finish the night out with classics “The Salamanizer” and “Sick of You,” which saw brightly colored arms raised high as the Gwar faithful sang along.

So ended another gruesome night of metal from the Richmond masters of the outlandish. As the crowd tiredly spilled out into the rainy night, the customary looks from passers-by at the spew-soaked patrons clearly said, “What the hell?” without having to utter a word.

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