If you’re looking for a show that is quite literally out of this world then you need not look any further than the gang of interplanetary barbarians known as GWAR. The band are currently on their “Use Your Collusion” Tour and took a stop at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey to wreak havoc on attendees. The band is well known for their theatrical performance, as well as the amount of liquids sprayed at the audience. I don’t think anybody left the venue dry and without a huge grin from ear to ear.
Upon entering the familiar venue, I saw some not so familiar things. Normally Starland Ballroom has several bars open at a time (one in the back and two on the sides in the front near the stage). However, in preparation for what they knew was coming, the venue covered and closed the front bars in giant black plastic tarps, covered the lighting and sound boards, and covered anything hanging from the ceiling, such as the lighting rig and projector. It was my first time getting to experience the insanity that would be a GWAR show and the only thought running through my head at that moment was, “Exactly HOW FAR does this GWAR juice reach!?” (Spoiler Alert: further than you think ).
The band opened up the show with the start of our story: their lead singer, The Berserker Blothar, is accused of an extensive list of crimes and is being put on trial in front of a judge. Our first character is beheaded as the band takes the stage and the bloodbath starts! The entire front row (many of which are dressed in all white in preparation for the moment) was completely drenched in the red “blood” coming from the beheaded. As the band continued the show, they played through tracks such as “Fuck this Place”, “Beat You to Death”, and “Death to Dickie Duncan”. Not only were the visuals from the band impressive, but the performance of their songs was as well. The band members performed in very large, elaborate costumes while still rocking out.
During the entirety of the show, different characters came out to help progress the story line, as well as to provide the “blood” used to soak the audience. Whether you were standing in the front or all the way in the back, you were doomed to be soaked. In those moments, however, one was definitely too busy rocking out to care. Before their encore, the audience was greeted with a booming, “New Jersey, do you want blood?”. The band took the stage one last time to finish the show with a cover of “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”.
I really do commend GWAR not only for a great musical performance, but also for truly putting on a show worth watching. It’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off the stage for even a minute. If you ever get the chance the check them out, I can’t recommend it enough. Just make sure you bring a towel and a change of clothes for after the show. You’re going to need it!
Nicole DiBenedetto is a photographer based out of New Jersey. She likes making new friends and meeting new people so catch her out in the pit and say hi!