GWAR & A Dozen Furies Live In Vancouver: November 12, 2005

Spread the metal:

GWAR/A Dozen Furies
Saturday, November 12, 2005
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC  Canada

Review & All Live Photos By Lord of The Wasteland

There are certain things that everyone should experience before dying.  Some may find those things in religion, some in love and others may find it in the traveling sideshow known as GWAR.  See, it’s one thing to hunker down at home with a classic like AMERICA MUST BE DESTROYED or the thrash-influenced genius of last year’s WAR PARTY but GWAR can not be fully appreciated until seeing them live.  The blood, the guts, the seminal fluid—it really is quite remarkable to witness what the band puts into entertaining their devoted fans.  Many outsiders will instantly dismiss GWAR’s music as an accessory to the show—even unnecessary—but the whole kit-and-caboodle is what makes a GWAR show special.  Watching a bunch of blood-soaked mutants disembowelling some guy in a George W. Bush mask and spraying the crowd with fake blood would get old pretty quick without a solid batch of tunes to back it up and this being GWAR’s 20th anniversary tour, someone must be giving them the juice to keep this thing going.  Granted, GWAR’s peak period was the early nineties and the latter half of that decade saw a wayward band releasing some questionable material that was all over the place musically (CARNIVAL OF CHAOS and WE KILL EVERYTHING, especially) but their latest releases, VIOLENCE HAS ARRIVED and WAR PARTY, are two of the band’s best and they show no sign of slowing down.


A Dozen Furies and Devildriver were brought along for the ride, but the former is coasting by on their first album and a win on MTV’s “Battle of The Bands” show, while Devildriver missed this stop reportedly due to “bus problems.”  Opening for GWAR is not an enviable position as the band’s fans are hungry for the carnage brought on by their heroes and A Dozen Furies did their best under the circumstances.  I saw the band on this summer’s Ozzfest and while they didn’t blow me away, they do what they do well, I suppose.  A Dozen Furies is metalcore, through and through, and they certainly appeal to the younger crowd but the GWAR die-hards just wanted their set to be over.  Strangely, the members of A Dozen Furies seemed quite happy spitting on each other throughout their set and the lead-in of the theme from TV’s “Knight Rider” laid the groundwork for a half-hour set drawing from the band’s one-and-only release, A CONCEPT FROM FIRE.  I have not heard the CD so I cannot compare what I heard live to the original versions but every song seemed to follow the same formula: infectious riffs wrapped around alternating harsh and clean vocals (supplemented by bassist Keith Reber) capped off by a melodic chorus and a breakdown.  Vocalist Bucky (Bucky?!?!?!?) Garrett toyed with the crowd by saying “GWAR will not be playing tonight” but his between-song banter mostly fell upon deaf ears.  There were a few fans in the crowd that seemed to be digging A Dozen Furies but most were just waiting for the Dallas-based band to get hell off the stage.  Nothing personal, of course, as just about any band that opens for GWAR gets the same treatment but don’t expect A Dozen Furies to be re-inventing the wheel anytime soon.

As the hour neared, the crowd of white t-shirts elbowed their way to the front of the barricade, ensuring maximum splatter.  With the stage being set up, house monitors, the stage surface and the much-lauded floor of The Commodore Ballroom were swathed in beat-up carpet remnants and garbage bags to protect from the onslaught of flying, pooling liquids from GWAR’s litany of blood/ooze cannons and, of course, Oderus Urungus’ scaly cock.  I couldn’t help but chuckle as one of the stage hands scurried by with a 5-gallon bucket in hand labelled “GWAR JUICE.”  Once the lights lowered, the frenzied crowd began swirling in anticipation for the arrival of Oderus, Balsac, Flattus, Beefcake and Jizmak along with their merry entourage of “slaves.”  Since this was GWAR’s 20th anniversary tour (later dedicated to Dimebag Darrell by Oderus), I was hoping to see the full cast of characters from days past—a family reunion so to speak—however Slymenstra Hymen and The Sexecutioner were nowhere to be seen.  Gor-Gor did make an appearance (complete with Christmas hat) on a set highlighted by the band’s earliest material including a nine-song, seven-minute medley of tracks from 1988’s debut, HELL-O.  SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE was also heavily featured along with VIOLENCE HAS ARRIVED and WAR PARTY and with the exception of CARNIVAL OF CHAOS and RAGNAROK, every GWAR studio release received at least one tip of the hat.  Oderus’ commanding stage presence was made all the more enjoyable with comments like “Good evening ladies and genitals” and “Devildriver’s bus burst into flames and they are all dead” followed by him questioning the crowd’s curious applause to the latter remark.  Right from the get-go, Oderus had the crowd in his hands.  As always, political, social and celebrity skewering was the order of business.  The appearance of the Nazi Pope and his decapitation from Oderus’ seven-foot broadsword during “The Horror of Yig” saw the first blood drenching of the night and the crowd reached out for more like hungry baby birds eager for food.  Besides The Nazi Pope, other celebrities given the GWAR treatment including a pre-op transsexual Michael Jackson for “Babyraper,” an eviscerated Dick Cheney during “Salamanizer,” George W. Bush during “Death Pod” and Sharon Osbourne (with an Ozzy puppet) for “Love Surgery.” 

The Horror of Yig
Death Pod
Womb With A View
Love Surgery
Battle Lust
Bring Back The Bomb
Road Behind
Bile Driver
HELL-O Medley:
GWAR Theme
Pure As The Arctic Snow
Bone Meal
I’m In Love With A Dead Dog
Time For Death
War Toy
Captain Crunch
Rock ‘n Roll Party Town

The 75-minute setlist seemed rather short given the speciality of this tour however the energy that GWAR puts into a show must leave them dog-tired.  Those fans who got a taste of the GWAR experience during their “half-time show” at Sounds of The Underground finally saw the band in all their blood-soaked glory and the band never disappoints.  Openers A Dozen Furies took their lumps and there may have been one or two people among the crowd who rushed over to the merch table to lay down some green for their new CD but not many.  For those who missed Devildriver, they will be back in January with In Flames and Trivium.


**Thanks to Erin at Timbre Productions for the ticket and photo pass.

GWAR—official site
A Dozen Furies—official site