It’s Halloween time, and what better way to celebrate the spirit of Halloween than experiencing the legendary force known as GWAR. Since the group’s inception in 1984, they have turned their initial cult following into an artistic institution. The band will storm the stage at The Norva this coming Thursday for a performance that should be nothing short of extraordinary or lacking fake bodily fluids.
Easily identified by their one-of-a-kind, grotesque costumes, the group’s core thematic and visual concept revolves around elaborate science-fiction-themed mythology that portrays its members as barbaric interplanetary warriors. This narrative has served as a recurring theme throughout all of their albums and videos. Musically, their sound is a mix of metal, punk, and rock n’ roll. Their elaborate stage show includes the band spraying the audiences with simulated bodily fluids and mock mutilations of celebrities and public figures. Put all of this together, and a GWAR show plays out like a pack of 1980’s professional wrestlers performing a musical somewhere between “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and Peter Jacksons 1989 cult classic, “Meet The Feebles,” with a dash of Gerald Potterton’s “Heavy Metal” thrown in for good measure.
On this tour, the band is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their landmark album “Scumdogs Of The Universe,” which features such classics as “Sick Of You,” “Slaughterama,” “Maggots,” and “Love Surgery.” The group also recently released a full-length documentary titled “This Is GWAR.” The doc features never-before-seen footage of their legendary frontman Dave Brockie aka Oderous Urungus, who passed away in 2014. It also includes interviews with band members past and present and other artists, including Weird Al Yankovic, Thomas Lennon, Ethan Embry, and Alex Winter.
English legends Napalm Death are also on the bill. The group recently put out their 16th studio album, “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism,” which shows no signs of slowing down. Often sighted as one of the pioneers of the “grindcore” subgenre, Napalm Death blend aspects of crust punk and death metal, with a combination of down-tuned guitars and overdriven bass alongside a whirlwind of blast beats and a vocal style characterized by guttural growls and high pitched shrieks. Although there have been multiple line-up changes over the years, the core of vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, and drummer Danny Herrera have remained intact since 1992’s “Utopia Banished” LP.
Dave Allison runs the record label and website Custom Made Music and is part of the bands The Quintz and Last Remaining Pinnacle. He also makes his own solo recordings and has worked in the music biz for over 30 years. His first-ever performance was playing "Shout At The Devil" at the age of 10 at his Catholic Elementary School. He's regularly out in Norfolk watching bands and vending at various events around the area.