GWAR w/ Alabama Thunderpussy -- Santa Cruz, CA -- February 17th, 2005
TOUR: GWAR / "Mock The Vote"
SUPPORT: All That Remains, Alabama Thunderpussy
VENUE: The Catalyst -- Santa Cruz, CA
DATE: Thursday, February 17th, 2005
ATTENDED W/: Bouville, Lokia
GEAR WORN: Light Grey Sweat Suit For Post-Concert Display of Blood and Shit
MERCH PURCHASED: Red Flying Eye GWAR Shirt
EDDIES AWARDED (GWAR): 9.75
REVIEWED: March 6th, 2005
Queensryche made me sick. That’s right... SICK. Some bastard broke his quarantine and spread his plaque upon the lower pit at the Warfield. The morning after the concert, I felt so damn bad that I canceled an overnight jaunt to Hollywood for GWAR’s gig at the Key Club. The night of rest helped but I was nowhere near concert condition by Thursday. Outside, Northern California was cold and wet from days of unrelenting winter storms. God damn, I was so sick that I could return fire at Oderus with some green shit of my own. The truth is that I should have not broken quarantine and just stayed home. However, neither Bouville or Lokia had ever been duly rewarded and only my ID could retrieve our tickets at will-call. Fuck, I hate it when I have to go a metal concert, especially when one of my favorite bands is playing.
The Catalyst is located in downtown Santa Cruz on Pacific Avenue. It’s a combination restaurant / bar / dance club/ concert hall. Beyond the street side dining area, the midsize rectangular hall offers a modest elevated stage. Backstage may be an outside parking lot because you see the night sky through one of the stage side exit doors. Wooden benches run lengthwise on each side of the hall, reminiscent of a 50’s boys-on-one-side-and-girls-on-the-other thing. Balconies lengthwise hang over them, housing tables and the sound booth. The main floor is about 5000 sq. ft and holds about 800 people; the balconies, another 200 or so. Two disco balls hang from the ceiling. You know the place is old because the men’s restrooms have nasty Candlestick Park-like troughs. Hey, no splashing, pal!
GWAR easily sold out the Catalyst, no less on a weekday and a stormy night to boot in a very small ocean-side town. The day before, they sold out the Key Club in Hollywood, a feat they accomplished just two months prior last December. Out-fucking-standing!
Bouville, Lokia, and I entered the concert hall midway through Alabama Thunderpussy’s set. The crowd was pretty sparse for them, a damn shame, because they deserve much better. People stood a couple of rows deep at the rail with twenty feet of unused pit space behind them and the vast majority of the crowd standing behind it all or loitering near the walls. Occasionally, a couple of teenagers would throw an elbow at one another but that was about it. Kids mostly lined the benches, some even bringing homework.
Alabama Thunderpussy plays the kind of music you’d expect to hear at some locals-only roadhouse ten miles from the backside of butt fucking nowhere. Moonshine metal or just plain ol’ stoner rock? Whatever. Orange Goblin is the closest sound to them in my collection. Alabama Thunderpussy had excellent stage presence and seemed very excited to be performing. I fucking applaud anyone who plays a small house like it was an arena, especially when the crowd is not doing their part because they were studying instead of throwing up horns.
I wrote down their set list but all of my papers were destroyed later in the evening. I found the following set list on the official ATP site. It seems close but I think it may be slightly off:
I have to give some to credit to our Resident Dean of Black Metal, SnakeCharmer, who bird-dogged me onto this band. Alabama Thunderpussy is now another one of those relatively unknown bands that get extra playtime on my ipod. I own three of their albums now and hope like hell that I get to see hear them live again but with a better crowd.
All That Remains didn’t impress me anymore than the last time I saw them in December. Again, I won’t take issue with their music because it just isn’t my thing. The mohawked skinny singer was very energetic, and the bass player often worked center stage. The drummer doesn’t look much like one but he held things together well. The guitarists are boring on stage and need lessons on how to work a crowd. After the concert, the singer manned their merch table. I’m a sucker for that kind of grit and effort.
The crowd in Santa Cruz really loved All That Remains. Seconds into their first song, a massive circle pit exploded: mostly moshers swirling round and round with the sporadic hardcore dancer throwing their ten second epileptic fits. Given this was obscenely liberal Santa Cruz, I was extremely shocked by the large number of white power tards mixing it up in the pit. Lokia, an ex-cop from Idaho, clearly identified many of their insignia to Bouville. My approach was less informed; too many ugly fucks looked like extras from American History X.
After All That Remains finished, I seriously considered leaving. I was that fucking miserable and uncomfortable. Bouville, Lokia, and I shuffled up to about third off center stage, slightly to the right. A couple of guys tried to barge their way in front of me, but I shoved them back yelling, “Dude, get the FUCK off me!” GWAR came on stage before I could pull the trigger on a decision to leave and go home. I remember Lokia’s very pretty “What the FUCK!?!” smile-grimace as the crowd condensed and squeezed her out from the center. I used the melee to fight my way dead center on the rail in front of Oderus himself and remained there for the entire concert.
The Maiden Sardine Can is open space compared to the front lines of a Slave Pit. There’s always some fat bastard out to the crush the littler folk at any metal concert, but you don’t worry about him specifically at a GWAR concert. You worry about the entire fucking pit immediately behind and frequently even above you. The throbbing hoards become an ocean of crushing weight, pulling and pushing your almost helpless body with its ebbs and flows. You have to defend (yes, DEFEND) every bit of territory from other slaves clawing forward to their master. Taller people try to use you to an armrest. Smaller people -- most often metal skanks -- abuse whatever space the more courteous give them. Fat fucks have the weight to throw around and expect to fit in the same space as the skanks. Remaining at the center requires constant diligence in body position, or some asshole will take advantage of your body’s lack of balance to peel you away. Failure to throw up your arms and hands will be punished by another slave squatting on your breathing space by throwing his hands or arms in directly front of your face. Every fucking thing is negotiable by force in the heart of the Slave Pit.
An experienced denizen of the rail, I expect what comes naturally to the Slave Pit. I do have one complaint and we’ve all experienced it at some point or another. A young lady (a lady in the Slave Pit?!?) was half way in front of me on my right leg. Some clown kept pushing me into her ass while attempting something similar into my mine. Besides being a gentleman, I don’t play for that team. A few very sharply placed elbows into the pervert’s sternum forced his immediate retreat. No dryfucking at concerts please.
Crowd surfers were a real problem because we old fucks at the front kept getting kicked in the head. Security was throwing the fishes back rather than pulling them down on the barricade. I only have to get kicked in the head ten or fifteen times to get pissed off enough to go on offense. When security stalled a surfer’s forward momentum, we started holding and pummeling the poor fuckers wherever we could land a closed fist.
Within minutes of GWAR opening, the heat in the pit became intense. At several points in the concert, I didn’t want GWAR to fire blood at us for fun. We needed to be hosed down and cooled off. In Santa Cruz, GWAR maimed or executed:
Annoying fan Melvin gets beheaded. Blood erupts from his bloody stump of a neck and drenches the pit.
Arnold Schwarzenegger loses his hands during a swordfight and later has his guts ripped open.
Paris Hilton is strapped down to an upright torture table. During a bit of over-the-top sexual violence, she loses her legs and lower torso before having her face ripped off. Afterwards, Oderus tells the crowd that GWAR will be leaving Paris’ remains outside after the concert and that “you can fuck her if you want to…. we don’t care.”
Michael Jackson arrives with dead baby friend in a baby blanket. After the baby is worked over and blown, Jacko is beaten relentless before losing his face.
Osama Bin Laden prances on stage with a nuclear bomb. His face and chest is ripped open and put on display.
President George Bush arrives strapped down a la Paris. GWAR removes the Presidential pants, rips off 43’s penis (which Oderus nibbles on), and removes all of our President’s intestines.
Oderus introduces the next maiming this way: “Some of us think GWAR has gone soft. To prove you all wrong, here’s our next guest.” A water-soaked, pregnant corpse walks on a stage. Yes, GWAR’s special guest is Laci Peterson with baby Connor. Over the course of two songs, Oderus pulls a dead snakehead fish from her womb before delivering/aborting Connor. Of course, Conner puked up all kinds of green shit. This is likely to be the most revolting act I’ll ever see at a metal show.
GWAR presents The Reaganator, a rebuilt mechanized Ronaldo Maximus. While most of the crowd jeered him, I fucking saluted the memory of one America’s truly great presidents, God rest his soul. Fuck you very much.
During the last song of the main set, Oderus uses his four-foot cock to spray his filthy green urine over the pit to duly reward the most excellent crowd.
Bonesnapper The Cave Boy is a giant monster-dinosaur-like thing and dukes it out with the band. After Bonesnapper loses a claw, Oderus impales the fucker in the head with a giant sword.
During the final encore, GWAR brings out a blood cannon and drenches the crowd. After most of the band leaves the stage, one guy remains to cool off the crowd to the tunes of Beat It with one last shower of blood.
The set list in Santa Cruz was slightly different from December’s show in Hollywood with the inclusion of Fistful of Teeth and the elimination of The Salaminzer and Lost Gods. In Hollywood, John Kerry was the opening execution during Yig with Melvin’s demise during the first encore Salaminzer. In Santa Cruz, Oderus messed up Crush, Kill, Destroy by singing the lyrics to another unknown song. I could not take notes during the concert, so this is my best guesstimate of a set list with executions:
Horror Of Yig / Melvin
War Party / Arnold
Ham On The Bone / Paris Hilton
Fistful Of Teeth
Crack In The Egg
Crush Kill Destroy / Michael Jackson
Bring Back The Bomb / Osama Bin Laden
You Can't Kill Terror / George Bush
Womb With A View / Laci Petersen
Have You Seen Me? / The Abortion Of Connor
The Reaganator / Mechanized Ronald Reagan
Sick Of You
Bonesnapper / Bonesnapper The Caveboy)
After the concert, I purchased a $20 red flying eye GWAR shirt. I am off black concert shirts for the most part because what’s metal about looking like everyone else? I am taking it as a personal challenge to express myself without resorting the stereotypes of our community. We’ll see who is more metal in the future.
In a rainy downtown parking lot, I stripped down and changed into my new shirt and some running shirts left in the back of my care. I really enjoyed driving only 40 minutes to get home. In Los Angeles, I have to spend twice that driving to Rancho Motorhead Jeff. In San Francisco, it’s over two including dropping off people in San Mateo or Bouville at Stanford. In my state of post concert euphoria, I wanted nothing close to loud and metal to distract me. I put on a guilty muzak pleasure, Green Day’s American Idiot, and drove home in the rain. Five minutes from home, I stopped at an AM/PM gas station to fetch a coke and cheese puffs, and met another guy who had the same shit grin I had. Of course, he was wearing his new purchased GWAR shirt too.
GWAR gets even more Eddies than last time: 9.75.
Jaco died for our sins so that modern bass players could be free to play more and be heard.