You think you’re ready for it. You really think you are.
You think that if you tell yourself what will happen enough times—if you repeat the idea ad nauseam to friends who ask what concert you’re going to—that the prospect of watching imitation blood spray from a fake penis onto a moshing crowd of metalheads will somehow lose its power.
Let me tell you, it does not.
Last week, I discovered that Gwar—the heavy metal band that dresses in absurd costumes, purports to be a group of chaos warriors from outer space and is famous for shock-rock live shows heavy on blood, guts, blood and more blood—would be coming to Madison. In the name of journalistic curiosity, and because a Gwar show seems like the kind of thing one has to experience to see the lowest points of humanity (not unlike watching “The Room” or eating a Doritos Locos Taco) I decided to go.
During my research in the days leading up to the concert, I learned that Gwar would likely spend a good portion of the show spraying the audience with any number of fluids while acting out grotesque skits parodying popular culture and politics in between songs. Monday’s show would live up to that billing.
The set began with an alien landlord having Gwar sign a lease on their new “Apartment of Death” before he was swiftly decapitated by a band member. Blood sprayed into the crowd. A song began.
Later the band invited their version of Snooki out, only to be disemboweled. Blood sprayed onto gracious fans.
Then a mutant Nazi doctor from the Amazon came out and threw a bucket of radioactive slime on the crowd. He, too, was disemboweled. Blood sprayed.
Perhaps you are sensing a theme.
But as Gwar came out for their encore, I realized the moment I’d heard so much about —when the band would shower fans with blood from a giant fake penis—had not yet happened. Had Gwar toned it down? Had they ditched one of their most famous and disgusting moves?
Of course not.
We had all noticed the two-foot green and yellow appendage hanging from lead singer Oderus Urungus’ codpiece, known as his “Cuttlefish of Cthulhu.” I’d assumed it was just for show and hadn’t guessed that it might serve some practical purpose. Little did I know.
During the final song—because you must build up to the blood-spraying penis, not just let the audience have it right away—Oderus let his Cuttlefish loose. For minutes at a time, it sprayed fake blood on the adoring crowd during Balzac the Jaws of Death’s guitar solo.
The sight, for all I had done to prepare myself for it, was incredible. It’s one of those things you can’t truly understand until you see it—like the Grand Canyon or Northern Lights, if you replace stunning natural beauty with blood gushing from a green, rubber penis worn by a 48-year-old metal singer.
The song eventually finished, the blood stopped and the Majestic’s house lights came on. Roadies and band members, some of them still partially in costume but with towels covering their waists (because now was the time for modesty), packed up the stage.
Die-hard fans played in puddles of fake blood pooling in front of the stage. Others went outside for a cigarette. Others, like me, walked home.
We would go home to families who knew nothing of the gore we’d just experienced, or go to jobs the next day with co-workers who had never heard of Oderus Urungus and his Cuttlefish. We would return to our lives, no longer slaves to imperial warlords. We would be human again.
But we would be, in some way, less human. Because holy shit, dude, did you see the blood spraying from that fake penis?
Got some more shock-rock recommendations for Nico? Send it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.