I rather like VOIVOD, so was pleased to hear they were playing another gig in the UK – and a local one at that! Alas, I must admit to some weakness beforehand, having such a bad case of man-flu I nearly didn’t go. Still, common sense prevailed and with minutes to spare dragged myself from the old sick bed, fumbled the car along the Black Country Relief Road to Wolverhampton, with the window open just in case, entered the large and actually quite charming KK’s Steel Mill and got a pint of coca cola for the first time in a fair few years.
2015’s Post Society EP proved beyond any doubt that Voivod still have it and that’s the track they open with tonight, following it with ‘Psychic Vacuum’ from Dimension Hatross ( probably my favourite album, but certainly not the best track ) before playing one from their new album The Wake – I can’t remember which one, but it’s the one that would have been a single. ( Edit, yes this one ):
Snake attempts some intersong banter at this point and tries to warm the crowd, which is difficult for varying unknown reasons – perhaps it is cold, perhaps everyone is ill, perhaps people in Wolverhampton are boring, or perhaps they have all come to see Gwar? Whatever, it is only the first three rows who are into it, and you get the feeling that Snake feels he is pouring light into a black hole at times, but fair play to the band, they still pull out all the stops to make it a great show with lots of energy and stage movement.
The sound where I’m standing isn’t great and there is a bit where I am lost and can’t recognise the songs – maybe tracks from the middle period when I drifted away from them a bit, then a couple more new tracks from The Wake, one of them is good, and the other a bit shit, the first track from Nothingface which is of course fantastic, the 6/8 chuggy one from Post Society EP, and ermm…then I think they finished with ‘Voivod’. I think. Good god, what a shit reviewer I am. Is this any use to you? Perhaps I should have stayed at home with a Lemsip. Are you even going to put up with any more of this?
GWAR, perhaps the daftest band on the planet, play old school chuggy thrash / heavy metal, but with pretty strong songwriting. As many of you know, they are a messy band to watch. I first saw them, accidentally, at Edwards No 8 in Birmingham in about 93(?), I was already a bit drunk, ended up at the front, got absolutely covered in fake blood, and then had to get a very rammed night bus home, you know the situation – when there’s only one seat upstairs at the back which is packed with loads of drunk angry trendies from the city nightclubs, reeking of aftershave and Stella Artois. Haha! Second time I saw GWAR was at the Hummingbird and was more careful, staying right at the back of the room. I remember thinking they still sounded really good though. Tonight, whilst gauging a safe place to stand at KK’s Steelmill, I text Dave Cain to see if he is coming, and mention my plight. He isn’t, but tells me that when he saw them at The Foundry he stood right back by the doors and, I quote, ‘even then, they still managed to jizz in Glen’s pint‘
So, we watched them from a safe forty feet away, perhaps just catching the odd few drops of fluid squirted from a prosthetic penis, yes, but close enough to see the stage show anyway, which is as bizarre as it ever was. It was also good to see some enthusiastic youths in the pit getting a good hosing – but I couldn’t help thinking to my self, ‘I bet they’re going home in a car’, and then a bit later, ‘Perhaps they even have towels?’.
Music-wise the Steelmill is maybe a bit cavernous and echoey for fast music, so it’s a big fight tonight between bass and detail, and Gwar don’t sound the best I’ve heard them ( nor did Voivod to be fair ). I bet it is a fantastic venue for mid pace heavy metal though, and I hope it does well, so check out the gigs listing if you are within driving distance.
As for the set, Scumdogs of the Universe is GWAR’s most famous album – well in my house it is anyway – and those old songs like Maggots still stand out, as does ‘I Bone Crusher‘ from a bit later on. After an hour, and they have disemboweled Donald Trump, they have yet one stand out anthem from their set to close the gig, which I’ll leave you with as I crawl back to bed.
Psst – I just found out that Savage Master were supporting GWAR on their US tour and they are definitely worth checking out.