Here is a list of who Gwar killed on stage Nov. 8 at the Knitting Factory:
A priest, who sustained a blow to the head from a battle axe with grace and aplomb; Adolf Hitler, who was accused of being a "complete asshole" before having his eyes and brains ripped from his skull; Jesus, whose re-crucifixion, flaying and quartering were undertaken with malicious glee; Super Cyborg Jesus, whose giant, pinioned arms couldn't save him from being hacked to pieces; and President Barack Obama, who was also hacked to pieces.
All of these deaths were accompanied by jets of pink gore that sprayed deep into the audience obligatory details to seasoned Gwar concertgoers.
Gwar's stage presence is as much about the theater as it is about the music. Every other song, a fresh villain appeared on stage to engage in mock battle with the band's members, only to suffer dismemberment. All the while, the band played tracks spanning its almost three-decade career.
The band's experience shows. When Gwar took the stage, it was hard to believe that the opening bands had occupied that space. Nevertheless, Legacy of Disorder, Cancer Bats and Devil Driver had already frayed the nerves of metalheads earlier that evening.
The straight-faced power metal of New Zealand's Legacy of Disorder can be summed up in one word: Serious.
"We are going to hell tonight," growled frontman James Robinson between songs. It was clear by the way he said it that he was not joking. Legacy of Disorder's thumping beats and linear melodies were enough for even the most docile souls in the room, of which there were a few, to over-leverage their adrenal glands.
Liam Cormier of Toronto's Cancer Bats, however, was more playful, covering the Beastie Boys classic Sabotage, and thrashing through the front rows of the audience in a Dionysian display that flew in the face of the previous act.
Caught in between was Devil Driver. DD took home the prizes for most notes played, longest sustained metal scream and most rocker-type comments directed at the audience. Without Cancer Bats' energy or Legacy of Disorder's force, the band occupied an intermediate space that relied on drummer John Boecklin's double bass more than the charisma of frontman Dez Fafara.
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