GWAR Came to The Marquee Theater and Splattered the Crowd with Their Outrageous Stage Show


Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Venue: The Marquee Theatre, Tempe
Date: Thanksgiving Nov 23rd, 2017

If you have never been to a GWAR concert then you have really missed a wicked stage production.  If you want to see a good wholesome family show, then don’t waste your money seeing GWAR.  The best way I can represent a GWAR experience is to call it a “Combination of Alice Cooper and Slipknot, but dialed up to 11”.  If you have ever seen a Rob Zombie movie and liked it then you owe it to at least once in your life to experience the shear odious and shocking show that is GWAR.  A GWAR concert is more then just music, it is truly an experience.  A special note, if you go to see GWAR, be prepared to get spattered with fake blood and a lot of it.  The last time I saw them, I only got a little on my shoes, but this time I joined in and got sprayed.  However, I was not among the people in the front of the stage that looked like red “Oompa-Loompas” by the time the show was over.  Special note, they sell “White” GWAR tee-shirts that by the end of the show will probably no longer be white.  I have seen numerous fans that have worn the same shirt to multiple concerts and have added to the “blood” collection on their shirts.  Having been at prior shows, I am smart enough to cover my camera and lens with a plastic bag, myself not so much.  Even the security people wear rain ponchos.


The show starts with 2 costumed Scumdogs coming on.  They lose their heads and start to spray a blood looking substance out of their necks onto the crowd.  And so, it starts.  For those that don’t know, Scumdogs is the term used to represent the band members and their helpers.  It is part of the GWAR Mythos, .  The main members of GWAR are, The Berserker Blothar as lead howler, BälSäc the Jaws ‘o Death on guitar, Beefcake the Mighty on bass, JiZMak da Gusha on drums and Pustulus Maximus on guitar.  They are joined on stage during different parts by fellow Scumdogs, Bonesnapper and Sawborg Destructo.  Nothing is scared to GWAR.  They take on politics, organized religion, fast food and factory farming.  Along the way they show their distain for the human race.  I have not included all of the photos I took since some are too explicate for this review.  If you want to see all of my photos, you can go here: .

The Berserker Blöthar of GWAR

You would think that with all of the stage antics going on and the outrageous costumes that the band would only be so-so.  But in reality, they are very good musicians.  Both of the guitarists are very talented and trade off playing rhythm and then playing lead with driving riffs.  It has been an adjustment for long time GWAR fans after Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) died in 2014.  Bassist Michael Bishop (Beefcake the Mighty) stepped up and took over lead vocals as The Berserker Blothar.  This is the second time I have seen Dave perform and both times he has done a great job.  The entire band is outstanding with both their playing and on-stage antics.  GWAR’s music is an explicit ridden Heavy Metal assault.  But what really sets them apart is their stage show.  For tonight’s show it had everything from beheadings, to the typical finality of the crowd spraying by Sawborg Destructo and his rotating sawblade.

Sawborg Destructo (GWAR)

I thoroughly enjoyed the show.  Even getting sprayed was not so bad.  I planned on the possibility and came with an extra shirt and a towel to place over the driver’s seat.  My biggest complaint is an ongoing complaint, very little front lighting on the band.  I have been thinking about this and I wonder if this is an attempt to limit the quality of cell phone videos.  GWAR is not the only band that does this, and not at this venue only.  If this is not the case, I would make a request to the band and its management team to please look at using more front lighting not only for my reasons, but also for the fans so they can see the performers better.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017

GWAR Setlist:
War on GWAR                                              (The Blood Of Gods)
Hail, Genocide!                                             (Bloody Pit of Horror)
I’ll Be Your Monster                                       (The Blood Of Gods)
Death to Dickie Duncan                                 (The Blood Of Gods)
Saddam a Go-Go                                         (This Toilet Earth)
Womb With a View                                       (War Party)
Crushed by the Cross                                   (The Blood Of Gods)
Viking Death Machine                                    (The Blood Of Gods)
Bring Back the Bomb
El Presidente                                                 (The Blood Of Gods)
Swarm                                                         (The Blood Of Gods)
Black and Huge                                             (Scumdogs of the Universe)
The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo    (The Blood Of Gods)
The Morality Squad                                        (America Must Be Destroyed)
Fuck This Place                                              (The Blood Of Gods)
Phantom Limb                                               (The Blood Of Gods)
If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)                   (The Blood Of Gods, AC/DC cover)


U.S. Bastards

The show started with the Speed Metal/Heavy Metal band, U.S. BASTARDS.  It was founded by front man, lead guitarist and lead singer Brent Purgason.  In 2012 Jeremy Dutra came aboard on drums and the band returned to being a three piece with Kelly moving from guitar to bass.  Originally the band was known as U.S. BRASS, but renamed themselves U.S. BASTARDS in 2014.  They claim to be one of the fastest and loudest metal bands and I am glad that I wore earplugs.  Brent is an amazing guitarist and not to bad a singer.  In 2012 Brent joined the legendary band of intergalactic Scumdogs known as GWAR as lead guitarist.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017

He Is Legend

He Is Legend

Next up was He Is Legend, a metal band from North Carolina.  It is a 4-piece group made up of Schuylar Croom (vocals), Adam Tanbouz (lead guitar), Matty Williams (bass), and Denis Desloge (guitar).  For this tour they have added Jesse Shelley on drums.  Their musical style is Metalcore with a leaning toward the dark and occult.  This fit in perfectly with tonight’s other performances.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017



Ghoul is an American thrash metal band from Oakland, California.  Their claim to fame is that no member of the band is recognizable, they all wear burlap bags that cover their heads.  Some have 1 eye hole and some have 2.  They use stage names: Cremator, Fermentor, Digestor, and Dissector.  The show starts with 2 characters coming out on stage, one in a wheelchair.  Finally, the band enters and starts blasting the crowd with heavy riffs.  Having never seen Ghoul, I was surprised when all of a sudden, I was getting sprayed with fake blood.  Throughout their set they had different characters come on stage and perform different blood/juice spraying on the crowd.  At one point they had a werewolf and a mutant both with machine guns spraying the crowd.  The character in the wheelchair also returned later and had his chest ripped opened and then he sprayed blood out of his guts.  The best was this giant blob that wandered around the stage with a set of teeth on his hand.  As for the band they were good and loud.  They were also extremely fast.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017


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