“I can’t believe you guys rebuilt this place... and then invited GWAR to come here!” So rambled evil frontmonster Oderus Urungus last night, shortly after performing an impromptu on-stage mastectomy on the Queen of England in a gory shower of blood and British flags.
There’s no concert in the universe like a GWAR concert, and Sunday night’s monstrous bill with Hatebreed was the first chance for metal fans to return to the reconstructed Starland Ballroom, fresh off a yearlong renovation from Hurricane Sandy. The famous Jersey venue is no longer a grimy, questionably up-to-code hole, but a gleaming, spacious club that still feels like home, but with impeccably clean bathrooms, plenty of space by the bars, and a new lease on life.
Hatebreed made sure that fans broke the new building in right, delivering a 45 minute set packed with hardcore metal power and a few bonus surprises too. Favorites like Everyone Bleeds Now and In Ashes They Shall Reap kept the floor moving with full blown mosh pits and fist-pumping crowdsurfers, and Jamey Jasta introduced their cover of Ghosts of War by warning the audience “Never marry a woman who doesn’t like Slayer!”
As usual, the band wrapped up with the epic I Will Be Heard and Destroy Everything, and then surprise encored with a cover of The Misfits’ Hatebreeders with none other than Jersey’s own Jerry Only joining Jamey on vocals in full devil regalia. Just like last year’s show with Lamb of God (read my review here), Hatebreed proved that they can cram a headlining set into an opening slot, making Sunday night’s ticket well worth every penny.
But as impressive as Hatebreed was, GWAR blew them away with a bloodsoaked performance full of heavy metal murder. Blood drenched the front rows of the audience as Oderus Urungus and his band of immortal space beings blasted through songs like Bloodbath and Bring Back The Bomb, while slaves tortured and beheaded gratuitously across the stage.
Father Bohab made an appearance early on, only to get axe-chopped in the head, flipped upside down, and rectally brutalized with his own cross (see photos on the sidebar), unleashing geysers of blood that fans eagerly bathed in as mosh pits raged behind them. The aforementioned Queen of England followed soon after, joined by her princely grandson fetus for a gruesome dismemberment.
GWAR revisited some plot points from last year’s tour (read my review of their Brooklyn show here), but that didn’t make watching the band re-crucify Jesus and then battle a massive robot zombie Jesus any less fun. It also always impresses this fan when GWAR jams out instrumentally during the big fight scenes. The band has some serious metal shredding power, and it’s almost a shame that their hysterical stageshow tends to overshadow the actual music.
President Obama made an appearance for the encore, declaring his intention to possibly but probably not maybe possibly invade Syria, for which he was, of course, beheaded. With almost 30 years of executing standing government officials, it’s really a wonder the Secret Service doesn’t keep a closer tab on GWAR. Or do they...?
Oderus also warbled out some surprise cover songs to finish the show, from Born In The USA to Billy Ocean’s Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, and a surprisingly heartfelt Baba O’Riley to end it all.
The masses of Jersey fans exited Starland with smiles on their faces, even as they stepped through soggy puddles of blood and wiped green Oderus jism off their foreheads. A visit from GWAR continues to be a metal highlight of the year, and no doubt everyone from last night will be back next time the scumdogs of the universe see fit to come this way.
Tonight, however, New Yorkers can meet Oderus face-to-face at GWAR’s album release party at Idle Hands in the East Village, where the new record will be played throughout the night as Oderus gladhands, or perhaps gladclaws with his loyal fans. Read my recent interview with Oderus right here, and as always, get monthly previews of New York concerts delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to the New York Hard Rock Examiner at the top of this page, or follow me at twitter.com/NYROCKEXAMINER.