Gwar – with The Ex-Cops at Pearl Street – Review


with The Ex-Cops at Pearl Street
by Barracuda Bill

My hands are red with the stains of last night’s blood.

Listen: One of tenants in the rooming house in which I live, Country Bob by name, listens to AM radio and turns me on to winning contests. He “listens to win” things like free lunches and movie passes. He’s already won in his own name and asks if he can use my name and split the prize with me. “Sure,” say I.

Last week, we won passes to every show for the month of June at Pearl Street in Northampton, a venue with the best dance floor I’ve ever slammed on and featuring some of the biggest names in just about every genre of music. Some of the shows I’ve seen there in the past include They Might Be Giants (opening for the Beat Farmers and the Pogues), Modern English, the Three O’clock, Ramones, and Huey Lewis and the News (on their club tour under the pseudonym, “The Sports Page”).

When death punk speed metal theatrical act Gwar played, I went with a mission. The show opened with a decidedly tongue-in-cheek Pro-drugs statement delivered by their alter-ego band, The EX-COPS. (Gwar dressed up as a bunch of hardcore State Troopers whose violent behavior on stage included beating on helpless hippies and blasting everyone in sight with their guns.) I met a staff member, a big, cool guy named Ogre who took me backstage for an interview. I told him I was writing an article for Lollipop. I didn’t correct him when he introduced me as the Western MA rep for the mag. Hey, a little poetic license goes a long way. I didn’t lie. I am writing this up for Lollipop. (Kids, don’t try this at home. I’ll find your home. Ed ) The Ex-Cops transformed themselves into space mutants, with huge costumes full of spikes, chains, melted faces and alien bodies that put the mighty Morphin Power Ranger villains to shame! Huge heads that look like escapees from the staff of Dante’s Inferno with headgear that resemble a space alien’s version of Aztec sun gods and the acid burned devil himself.

Gwar is a six piece band with two hot guitarists trading searing licks and a strong rhythm section featuring Beefcake the Mighty on bass (the very same guy who sang lead for the Ex-Cops dressed up in full Southern sheriff regalia!). Then there’s lead singer, Oderus Urungus, and a female dancer, Slymenstra Hyman, dressed in spiked bra and panties with heavy chain straps and sporting the kind of raccoon-look make-up job that worked so well for Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner. I’d heard rumors about “Slymie” performing awesome and disgusting feats of projectile menstruation and, much to my, and nearly everyone in the club’s, surprise, Ms. Hyman sprayed us with a stream of warm “menstrual blood” that was just part of the 85 gallons of fake blood and human excrement that was spewed on the audience during the show! Pearl Street General Manager, Elijah, said it took ’til 5 AM to clean the place afterward. (And as I said at the beginning, I can’t seem to get the blood stains off of my hands!)

The Sexecutioner introduced a wicked parody version of Michael Jackson whose oversized, deathly white face and greasy geri-curls said as much about how Gwar feels about the “Thriller” as did his sampled answer to the question, “What is the secret of your success?” Said Mikey, “I love children.”

In addition to spewing blood and gore in the many executions that took place on stage, Gwar cranked out speed metal and power stomp extolling the virtues of smoking crack and Gwar’s need to feed the World Maggot, a creature that lives deep within the bowels of the Earth, with countless human souls in order to split the Earth open and ride the maggot back to wherever it is they come from.

excerpted from Barracuda Bill’s Road Show