LIVE IN TORONTO
Written By: Shawn Haynes
On Tuesday October 25th, over 1200 fans filled the Phoenix Concert House, with one thing in common, GWAR. The Satirical Heavy Metal band from the 80’s known for their costumed stage performance and vulgar lyrics was back for one night in Toronto on their “Return of the World Maggot” Tour. Before we continue on with this review here is a little note from the editor.
“On Thursday November 3rd 2011 Gwar lost one of their brothers, I was shocked by the tragic death of Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus who has been Lead Guitarist for Gwar since 2002. Smoot was found dead in his bunk on the bands tour bus just hours prior to crossing the border for Gwar’s scheduled tour dates in Western Canada. The cause of death is still unknown and the band is requesting their privacy as they grieve their lost friend. Out of respect for their fallen soldier Cory Smoot, Gwar will be retiring the Flattus Maximus character and its costume’s Dinosaur skull shoulder pads but will continue on with the rest of the tour. My condolences go out to all of Cory Smoot’s family and friends for their sudden loss.” — Fridae Mattas, Editor.
Prior to doors, the line outside the Phoenix Concert Hall stretched down Sherbourne Street, with fans of all ages dressed up in Gwar gear. It seems as though everyone was prepared for what was in store for us inside the venue, everyone but me. The minute the Doors opened fans filed in like cattle ready for the slaughter; they flooded the main room and headed directly for the front of the stage where all the action was to place. You take in your surroundings and notice everything is covered in plastic, like a kill room from HBO’s Dexter. This was evidently going to be an experience like no other.
One of the Supporting acts was “Ghoul” a four piece band based out ofCalifornia, But Hail from “Creepsylvania” were on the stage first. They Commanded people’s attention by having each member wear a Scarecrow mask as they went into their set. The band seemed tight even though the sound was a bit off, but this is Thrash metal and people didn’t care. Never breaking character, Digestor (Vocals) would Yell to the crowd “We love the way you dance, Keep Dancing” then broke into a dirty Metal riff (Graveyard Mosh) . The middle of the room began to stir and then it started…MOSH PIT! The band was feeding off the energy of the crowd giving them an adrenaline boost and they yelled “We need a sacrifice”!
Out came a Voodoo man holding what appears to be a chicken. Not missing a beat, he bites the head off the (faux) chicken and sprays the crowd with blood. Wow! What a way to start a concert and this didn’t even include the Robot they call “Kill-Bot” A.K.A (Walt Disney) who made an appearance and fought with the band and other creatures that were brought out on stage for the audiences entertainment. how could the next band even compare?
Next band to hit the stage was New York Natives “Every Time I Die”.
They were not wearing crazy costumes or doing interesting antics like the first band but started off with a Smash! People poured into the centre, going nuts to the amazing Vocals by lead singer, Keith Buckley. All the band members were full of energy and the crowd loved it, Every Time I Die had better crowd interaction and liveliness than the first band but that could also be because they didn’t have masks on. I haven’t seen a lead guitar player go crazy like Jordan Buckley did on that stage in a long time. He climbed up the speaker towers, threw his guitar in the air and spun around in circles that was highly enjoyable to watch. Overall performance from Every Time I Die was great and would love to see them when they come back to the city again but the only set back is they didn’t fit in with Ghoul and Gwar.
The Room is now packed, not an inch to give in any direction, the second floor was even spilling over. The hot sticky stench filled the room like smoke and the crowd started to chant. Gwar! Gwar! Gwar! And it got louder GWAR! The lights were dim the crowd screamed with excitement and out came a cloaked figure. “Greetings my friends, my name is Death and this is my domain” as he continued his speech Gwar migrates on stage. Five Grown men wearing the most extreme costumes and showing large amounts of man thigh and ass even Gene Simmons would be jealous about.
Included in the monster crew was this Giant horse like creature named “Jagermonsta” and once its head was loped off, Jager was shot into the crowd. Even a “Snooki” was stretched out on a rack and had her insides ripped open and with each kill the crowd grew louder and louder, demanding more. For an hour and half that’s just what they got. Plenty of blood, sweat and for some of the smaller frail fans, tears.
Gwar left the stage, to the chant of their name only to come back a few minutes later for an encore. Upon their return they brought back three female treats for the castle monster that was chained up under the drum raiser. Oderus cut the chain freeing the beast as it emerged, growing in size; they fed the monster blood covered girls. One by one the beast devoured the tasty treats, only to meet its own demise when Oderus turned on it and chopped its head off all while playing “Maggots Are Falling Rain”. Ending the night off with a bang they finished their set with “Sick of you” while Oderus’s big shlong spewed blood all over the fans like nasty money shots.
The evening’s festivities were over, not one person left the venue without being doused in blood. Most of the concert goers with giant grins from ear to ear, were already talking about their favorite parts of the show reliving it and comparing blood spatter on their Gwar merch. That must have been a crazy sight for any passengers on the bus or by-standers on the street that happened to witness these Gwar fans leaving the venue that night. What a phenomenal way to start off the Halloween week, this is a show you need to experience, check out the highlight reel and below are more photos in the slide show. Thank you so much to the exceptional people at Metal Blade Records for having us and to amazing photographer Jaylyn Todd for being in the front lines to capture some spectacular shots.