(First posted on http://www.recessiondodgetovictory.wordpress.com on 14/06/2011)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band.

Before I do anything, these:

Now that’s out of the way, I went to this gig to see the Gwar spectacle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some of their songs too – “Meat Sandwich”, “Penguin Attack” and “Hate Love Songs” are all top notch, but mostly I went to get covered in fake blood and have a good time.

Clutch were a great added bonus too. I’m not a Clutch fan but I’d heard of them and their country infused metal before. My only concern was that as a joint headliner, and as indicated by some of their fans on Lastfm, the Clutch crowd would leave the crowd bear after their show with only few people staying for Gwar.

My concerns increased when I arrived at the venue at 7.15pm and the place was empty. An hour and 45 minutes later of standing around and the room filling up, Clutch took the stage. One of these days I’ll go to a gig and not be left standing around with my hands in my pockets waiting for music. Complaints aside, I can see why the organisers had the doors open 2 hours before the first act considering that both headliners brought different crowds, and leaving this gap ensured that the Gwar crowd would show up to see Clutch. Unfortunately this left both bands with only about an hour and fifteen minutes each to play… and me standing around like Nigel-no-pals. Fuckers.

I stood near the back to get a good idea of Clutch and take them in. With hindsight there was no real need; what the band did was straightforward enough – bang out good tunes. The band were tight and produced some tasty guitar and drum solos throughout and the crowd lapped it up. I could try to pick holes in the performance and say that they were so tight that it left little room for  creative solo-ing in what I imagined was a live sound that sounded exactly as it was captured on record, but to be honest, there’s no need; Clutch were and are great at what they do and I imagine will be everytime they take to the stage. A solid no gimmicks, 4 out of 5, 8 out of 10 performance, which would no doubt be higher if I really appreciated the country stylings of their music. Bish-bash-bosh, good job, nice show.

From a gimmick-less band to one that has made its career by shamelessly reveling in camp, the co-headliners couldn’t have been more different. A managed to make my way to the front of the gig after the Clutch fans piled out to the bar into a group of really enthusiastic young Gwar fans, one spotting my the GJ logo on my sweater and brofisting me out of Glassjaw respect. Roll on Glassjaw and my 28th birthday!

Meanwhile, I kept looking up to see if the rumours were true and whether or not there would be a large container of fake blood or gunge dropped onto us from above. Unfortunately no such container presented itself. However, soon afterwards roadies started taping plastic bin liner over the speakers, foreshadowing the messy show to come. If this wasn’t enough to send the front rows into further frenzy, security staff and camera men started putting on goggles and plastic ponchos. Chants for Gwar went up and some kids behind me were rough-housing before the show even started. This was gonna be good.

As the band arrived on stage a helper slave, gimped up in a mask and loincloth, tore something – a fake dead dog, the arm off one of the band’s antagonists, another slave – I can’t remember which – but it shot fake blood into the audience and from that point on it had truly begun. Between and during most songs more fake blood was – sometimes literally! – pissed onto the crowd.

Beyond the messy fun, the spectacle of seeing 5 men dressed in a combination of bondage gear and LARP kit playing speed metal/punk was ridiculous enough and if I hadn’t seen The Dwarves before I would’ve been less inured to it. As a result I want to say the gig was wholeheartedly awesome, and it was but I would have liked to have heard some of their bigger songs that I mentioned above. Had they played their more recognisable music I would be more likely to have come away from the experience wanting to listen to a whole lot more of their music.

In spite of that I would gladly go see them again and recommend anyone to witness the spectacle. However, the last time they came here was 17 years ago. If you missed them, fingers crossed they’ll come back soon enough for you to get covered in blood shot from the Queen’s tits, Lady Gaga’s fecal matter or even shot in the mouth by blood piss from an invincible alien. Speaking of which, here’s some footage of that…

… And some simulated necrophiliac bestiality