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The case for: GWAR at Town Ballroom

Here’s a quick scenario to consider: A friend calls, asks you if you have plans for Sunday night, then tells you the following: He has tickets to see a throbbing shock rock collective known for its grotesque on-stage theatrics, spike-laden costumes and such album titles as “We Kill Everything” and “Bloody Pit of Horror.” GWAR is coming to the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) on Sept. 18 and he wants you to go.

After this invitation, do you: A. say yes; B. say no; or C. hang up and delete your friend’s contact info from your iPhone?

If you chose the last one, then maybe elaborating on the Richmond, Va. (via Antarctica) nightmare that is GWAR is unnecessary. Then again, there are plenty of reasons to brave the Hell-spun Fender chords and torture-mimicking performance antics of one of heavy metal’s most frightening institutions — even after founding member Dave Brockie’s 2014 death has left the band’s current lineup without any original members.

Here are some points to consider if an invitation to GWAR’s downtown performance comes your way:

Not enough intergalactic warriors play guitar

Since its inception in 1984, the band’s rotating cast of musicians has inhabited on-stage characters both derived from science fiction-steered imagination, and meant to scare the color from your face. But these hallucination-inducing characters — with names like Balsac the Jaws o’ Death and Pustulus Maximus (played by former Cannibal Corpse axman Brent Purgason) inhabiting oversized rubber attire conceivably imported from seamstresses in the bowels of Hades — can also amplify guitar licks that will melt your colorless face clean off the bone. In a good way.

Like Gallagher smashing a watermelon, but …

One of the more notorious aspects of a GWAR show is the band’s traditional propensity to use an elaborate range of staged atrocities to spray its crowds with water and food coloring to mimic blood, vomit and a wide variety of other undesirable fluids. But remember when '70s prop comic Gallagher used to smash a watermelon on stage and splatter his crowds with fruit juice? Well, it’s just like that — if Gallagher sprayed blood-red melon innards while bellowing like a demon aside thundering bass riffs.

Norse mythology made fun — with heavy metal

Are you familiar with any Scandinavian folklore or tales stemming from Norse paganism? They are old, they are vast, and none of them are typically shouted at full volume by a shield-wielding vocalist known as the Berserker Blothar. But with GWAR — and, specifically, its album “Ragnorok,” which refers to a sort of Armageddon recognized by pre-Christian Norse — normally yawn-inducing tenets of mythology are considered, set ablaze and served with a heavy dose of darkness, splattered liquids and ear-bleeding amplification. Dynamite stuff — if that’s what you’re into.

Closing statement: It’s loud, it’s outrageous and, outside of an intense fever dream, you’ve never seen anything like it. Take your friend’s extra ticket and get to Town Ballroom. Also, note: Bring earplugs. And a rain poncho.


What: GWAR

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 18

Where: Town Ballroom

Tickets: $22 to $25


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