Review: GWAR reshapes, gets wild at the Hawaiian Village at the Stadium Green Iguana in Tampa
With so many unanswered questions from fans, at least one of them was answered on Nov. 23 when GWAR played at the Hawaiian Village at the Stadium Green Iguana in Tampa. GWAR's Bloody Pit of Horror Tour is powering on as a tribute to guitarist Cory Smoot, a.k.a. Flattus Maximus.
Smoot was found dead on GWAR's tour bus on Nov. 3, leaving friends, family and fans in shock. The tragic event left many unknowns about the future of GWAR. Who, if anyone, could replace Smoot for their tour? Would they retire the character of Flattus Maximus, played by Smoot since 2002? Would they cancel any shows or even continue the tour?
For now, we have a few answers. As I'll explain later on, the show is still going on, and while a key element is missing, the human-hating aliens of GWAR are still bloodying their audience and causing chaos throughout planet Earth.
The audience was eager and anxious. Many fans were wearing homemade "RIP Cory Smoot" T-shirts. I heard conversations throughout the crowd -- "It's not going to be the same," and "They have to retire Flattus," and a "Gwar just isn't going to sound right without the leads of Flattus." So it was obvious that fans had their concerns.
Another question was answered when the lights went down, and the Aliens took the stage. Four members, no replacement or "fill-in." They were pulling this show off without a lead guitarist. Oderus Urungus (alien vocals), Beefcake the Mighty (grumbling bass), Basak the Jaws of Death (guitarist on platform stilts), and Jizmak Da Gusha (pounder of skulls) filled the darkness of the stage, which was soon to be a scene of chaos.
The crowd was packed in, with approximately 2,000 in attendance. Oderus Urungus immediately started the first song, Zombies, March!. He commenced by removing the head of an unwanted stage character, spraying the crowd with the much-expected red Gwar goo.
After the first song, and throughout the show, Oderus payed his respects to the fallen Flattus, and stated that Flattus left this filthy planet Earth without permission, and returned to 'Planet Home,' and will never return.
Oderus Urungus, a.k.a. Dave Brockie, has a very mean growl. And given how many times he screamed out the name Flattus throughout the show, you could hear the emotional and mournful cry in his voice. Brockie was a longtime friend of Smoot. As much as this was still a stage show from the professionals in GWAR, it was obvious that this tour had also become a memorial service, during which fans could pay their respects.
The messy fans concurred. This show was GWAR, as good as they were allowed to be. Their stage antics were just as amusing, with sword fights, buzz saw head trimmings, and even the dismemberment of a Kim Kardashian character strapped to a gurney. It was GWAR doing what they do best: killing, maiming and showering their fans with bloody red slime.
They played a variety of songs from their latest release Bloody Pit of Horror, and 18 songs later, closed their night out with oldies Maggots and Sick of You, from their 1990's Scumdogs of the Universe. You can see their closing songs here.
Dallas' Warbeast started the evening, and I really got into their music. They reminded me of old-school Forbidden. Their drummer Joe Gonzalez kicked the double bass like a god.
Though the crowd gave them a warm welcome, it wasn't until Every Time I Die took the stage, that the crowd began to float. People were crowd surfing and in prime-time mosh mode for GWAR.
This is the second time I have seen a show at the Stadium Green Iguana. And I still hadn't seen anyone jump into the pool located at the venue. Well, leave it to GWAR fans to make it happen. Maybe it was the red-soaked shirts that urged the call, but after the show, some messy fans found the water.
This was a great night at a great new venue. I hope for much success for GWAR, and for their memorial tour for Flattus Maximus. I have a feeling in the near future we will see a new character in the alien lineup, but for now we used this evening to salute a fallen fellow metalhead, who will always be a part of the show.
-- Andrew Carlton, tbt*
A Gathering of Ghouls
Storm if Coming
Crack in the Egg
Bring Back the Bomb
Metal Metal Land
Let Us Slay
Damnation Under God
Ham On The Bone
Sick of You