Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I've got a shield!

"I just got in from Indonesia, and boy did my family drown!"
--Oderus Urungus, GWAR

I went to Gwar with Angelo, Nikki, and two of Nikki's housemates, one of whom obtained the tickets.

We got to the Catalyst at about 7:30. The club was surrounded by seedy gutter punks, which aren't really what I think of when I think of Gwar. Maybe they're always there, I don't know. There were also misc. metal-looking folk, who seemed quite displeased that the show was sold out. I felt sort of bad that I got to go in when they didn't, but they were probably to metal to have planned ahead, so I guess it makes sense.

The security was pretty high. They patted us down when we went in and took my digital camera (it didn't occur to me they wouldn't want those there, though I guess it's kind of obvious). They also wouldn't let anyone under 21 leave and come back for some bizarre reason, which turned out to rather suck as we had to sit through two nothing-bands before Gwar showed up.

The first was called Alabama Thunder Pussy. "Pussy" because they're an all-male band, "Thunder" because they're loud, and "Alabama" because they're from Virginia. They weren't bad at all, but there was also no reason to care. I can probably never be as good a musician as anyone in Alabama Thunder Pussy, but any band I was in band would, regardless of quality, be more interesting. I paid slightly more attention when their singer announced, "Ok, this next song is about werewolves." But it was pretty much the same thing, so it was back to earplugs for me.

Next was a band called All That Remains. This one guy with poofy hair whose name I forget was there, and he said, "Judging from the name, this band's going to be obnoxious goth metal like Cradle of Filth, only worse." He was absolutely right. Very loud tedium ensued.
All That Remains played for what felt like about 5 hours, during which time I was seriously ruing the prohibition on going outside, because I needed a break from suck.

"I miss Alabama Thunder Pussy!"

Some guy in the back lit a joint, which was annoying, but I can't say I blame him.
Poofy haired guy made and held up a sign that read, "YOU SUCK". No one argured. The majority of the crowd was cool with A.T.R. at first, but everyone was there to see Gwar, and clearly their patience was being tried.
"Are you guys ready for Gwar?" All That Remains guy yelled.
The audience exploded into applause, growls, etc. "Great, cause we've only got 2 more songs to do!"
A collective, metal-filled slump.

Finally, it the lame people slumped away, and it was time for Gwar. Everyone crowded toward the stage. Black tarps were removed to reveal Gwar's set--sort of cross between Rob Zombie and an 80s fantasy movie. A guy in a foam redneck rapper costume came out and acted lame. Then the lead singer, looking vaguely like the villian from The Sword and the Sorceror and decapitated him. After being decapitated, he politely stayed in place and leaned foward so he could squirt Koolaid blood from his neck stump into the audience. Gwar started playing.

Best picture of Gwar I could find online.

You know, I really don't remember the music at all. I've listened to Gwar before, mostly courtesty of Angelo, and a lot of it is pretty funny*, but unless you know the songs well already, which I don't, the songs become a blur admist the all-encompassing spectacle. Between each song they'd have various famous people they didn't like come out in the form of people in foam suits, and they'd dismember them with big fake swords, making them spray every conceivable bodily fluid into the crowd.

"The semen tastes like coconut!"
--Poofy-haired guy

Everyone mashed pretty much the entire time. For awhile, I was into that. Everyone was pretty nice, and releasing that kind of energy is exhillarating. Then, some dude decided to crowd surf. There were thugs at the front to provent anyone from getting onto the stage, but whatever. That was fine too until the guy in question slammed his elbow, with most of his wait behind it, straight into my nose.
A security thug saw and asked if I was ok. I said I was fine, and he left. Then, blood started gushing out of my nose.
In most settings, perhaps even most mosh pits, this would some attention. But Gwar was spraying the audience with fake blood the entire time, and I was already covered in that, so it was difficult to notice the difference. I tried to get away from the moshery, and moved onto the stairs at the sides of the room, but the thugs thought I was trying to sneak into the bar upstairs and stopped me, so I was stuck at the far left side of the room, on the outskirts of the giant people wad. In fleeing, I lost Angelo and Nikki, and didn't see them or anyone else I knew until after the show.

At this point I realized my hands were covered in (real) blood, and I was worried about getting it on other people. I didn't want to wipe it on my clothes, because I was worried it would stain (I was wearing all black and dark grey so this shouldn't have been a concern, but the loss of blood wasn't helping me think clearly), so I tried to lick it all up. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking.
After that, I felt lightheaded from the loss of blood in my veins, and nautious from the preponderence of it in my stomach. I held onto a poll so I wouldn't fall over.
Gwar spewed more fluid at everybody, dismembering Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush.
Everyone was screaming along with the band, slamming into each other and throwing metal signs and middle fingers into the air.
I closed my eyes and felt like I could seriously have lost consciousness right there...but I couldn't and wouldn't. Gwar was incredible to see, and my semi-consciousness made it all the more intense...I expected it to be funny, and it was funny, but it had the frenetic sinister energy of a fever dream.
I wanted to politely headbang from the sidelines, but moving my head wasn't happening. Whenever the singer (Oderus Urungus) looked in my direction, I became worried that my lack of rocking would offend him and tried to desperately to look more energetic. In retrospect, this also makes no sense.

My favorite part of the show was when Oderus said that they were bringing out a giant alien worm who was the incarnation of pure evil. The worm hobbled out** and made small talk about how long he'd known the band, etc. They apologized for his lack of obviously evil behavoir, and then they asked him about the metal circle on his chest.

Worm: I have a shield!
Gwar: Oh...Is it an evil shield?
Worm: I have a shield!

Some indeterminate and terrifying amount of time later, the whole thing was over. It climaxed (no pun intended) with the singer spraying the audience with "syphilitic urine" from his giant fake penis.
The band went offstage, and the background music became "Beat It". I barely noticed the difference.

Nikki, Angelo, and I, post-GWAR. Prior to the show, Angelo's shirt was white.

After we went back and got our stuff from Angelo's apartment (Jocelyn told me that having a book was unacceptable in the precense of Gwar, so I left it there), we went to Saturn Cafe, because it was nearby and open at 1 am. I put Queen on the jukebox (Nikki called this "detox"). They fucked up and forgot to give us food for a long time, so I got my chocolate shake free.***
I was shaking and giggling from the blood loss. I realized that the restaurant was decored with inexpensive children's toys, and I started playing with them. I found a doughnut-shaped rattle incredibly entertaining for a couple minutes (and helpful to my jittering state), which probably didn't do much to convince people I wasn't high, but I was completely beyond caring about such things.
Then I saw it--
A brown plastic cow.

I made him walk around as I said, "Moo-cow" over and over again. I can't articulate that in a way that doesn't make it sound totally insane, and I guess it was, but I found this cow so endlessly entertaining. It was bizarre, because I know how silly I must have seemed--Nikki tried to bring me out of it by telling me to complain about The Da Vinci Code, and all the normal stuff went through my head, but I just murmered something about Essenes and then went back to saying "Moo-cow".
I asked the waitress if I could keep Moo-cow and, either because she felt bad about the serving mistake or because she didn't know what I was talking about, agreed.
By the time we left I'd stopped shaking or anything, but then I was spinning Moo-cow around while humming "The Blue Danube", which probably isn't much of an improvement.

Nikki and I caught the last bus leaving downtown (Angelo lives feet away). I stumbled back, took a shower, ran into Hillary in the bathroom and told her about Moo-cow, then I went to bed and happily slept through class.
"I got hit in the nose til I bled," I told anyone who would listen, "I fucking earned a day without Earth Science."

*"In the name of GWAR, in the name of love/In the name of the blood dripping out of the sun/I call out your God, till before me he stands/But don't send me Jesus, he's only a man/Meat Sandwich!!!"
**My vantage point let me see the guy getting into the incredibly elaborate worm suit all through the previous song. Surreal.
***I think the fact that I got a soyshake instead of a milk one underscores how un-metal I am.

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Location: Oakland, CA, United States