On December 10th, 2017, the Scumdogs of the Universe, better known as Gwar brought their live-action comic book antics to Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, MI. Bringing along with them on The Blood of Gods tour was U.S. Bastards, He Is Legend and Ghoul.
U.S. Bastards kicked off the show with some gritty speedy metal. This three-piece out of Richmond, Virginia got the crowd warmed up after standing outside in the freezing cold waiting for the doors to open. You could say they had thawing duty as the crowd was slow to respond at first but eventually getting into the groove. The lead singer had his microphone set up akin to how Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead did it with the microphone high up, so it made you look up as you sang into it. There was also a guest appearance by a couple of guitarists from the Michigan based band Against The Grain, who they’ve toured with in the past.
He Is Legend kept the rock and roll going as they played a set of heavy groovy infused music. You felt a hippy kind of vibe, especially when lead singer Schuylar Croom lit up a joint for lead guitarist Adam Tanbouz to start toking then hands it to Croom who takes a hit then flicks it out to the audience, it landed underneath a fellow photographer, I pointed it out to her and she picked it up and handed to an audience member. Later, I noticed another joint was flicked out from the band into the crowd but was quickly seized by security, even though the world may be getting a bit friendlier about marijuana, there’s many places it’s still illegal. But that didn’t keep the fans from having an enjoyable time as He Is Legend rocked on. Drummer Jesse Shelley was an energetic presence behind the kit and Matty Williams rounded out the rhythm session with some thunderous bass guitars beats. Denis Desloge made himself known with his pulsating rhythm guitar and backing vocals.
When Ghoul took the stage next, I had my camera covered in a bag in anticipation of fluids getting shot out. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any from them this night; Just some good ole hard heavy rock and roll. This four-member group out of Oakland, California has a unique look as they all wear mask like a burlap sack that would be on a scarecrow. One of the members mentioned that the rest of their crew was unable to make it, so I figure that’s why there weren’t any extracurricular activities going on while they performed. I was looking forward to seeing the antics, but Ghoul played on and got the job done with rocking the crowd.
And now the moment we had all been waiting for. Seeing the venue packed and full of fans wearing white t-shirts out on the floor just ready for a bloody good time. There was even a guy dressed up in a wolf costume. I’ve known about Gwar since the late 1980’s and I’ve seen their performances on television, but this was finally my first time getting to see them live in person. I was stoked and prepared by having my camera covered and wearing a poncho, I was geared up to keep shooting through the torrential blood baths that would ensue.
This was the final night of The Blood of Gods tour which was in support of their latest album by the same name. It’s great to see that Gwar has put out new material since long time lead singer Oderus Urungus passed away in 2014. Picking up the helm on vocals is the hefty Blothar who wears a giant rack of horns on his head and possesses several teats which spew blood onto the willing and waiting crowd. This band has great visuals as each member is decked out in a wild outfit that is otherworldly. Jizmak Da Gusha on drums has a giant dog-like looking head covering his head. Balsac the Jaws of Death on rhythm guitar, who wears giant jaws of death on his head that you wouldn’t want to get caught in. Hopefully Balsac has a successful bone marrow transplant so he can continue to keep rocking.
Beefcake the Mighty on bass wears oversized Roman Gladiator-type armor, certainly not a guy I’d want to face in an arena battle with them big spikes on his head. Pustulus Maximus on lead guitar, looks like some sort of tiki god with bad acne and a bad attitude.
With several supporting characters in tow, Gwar has one of the best shock rock shows around, touching on subjects from religion to politics and beheading or ripping apart public figures to the audience’s delight. President Trump was one of the several victims slaughtered this night. And that sea of people in white t-shirts, well, they all left wearing red blood-soaked shirts and smiles on their faces. That was such a fun transition to experience.
Be damned to anyone who hasn’t gone to a Gwar show; get off your ass and check these guys out the next time they come near you. I’m sure they’re just eager to cover you with their blood and rock your face off, and maybe you’ll get lucky and get put through the meat grinder.