Where: Edmonton Event Centre
When: November 4, 2011
When I found out that GWAR were coming back to Edmonton for the second time in (barely) less than a year I was stoked. Blood was going to flow once more. And this time around they were bringing Every Time I Die and Ghoul! ETID have been a band I’ve only heard bits and pieces of, and liked what I’ve heard. And I’ve only heard Ghoul through the other band of two of its members, Impaled. So it was exciting.
Ghoul came onto the stage to lots of people shouting for them, which is pretty rare. An opener getting cheered by name from the crowd? Must be an Edmonton show. The band themselves were really good, high energy punk/thrash hybrid full of pit-inducing gory lyrics. They even brought up a stage show, spraying blood onto the crowd with a decapitated chicken as well as Killbot and Goreboar’s battle. Fucking awesome, and I hope they make it back to Canada again.
Every Time I Die were great, full of the acrobatics that many of their members have been known for. The crowd really got into them, moshing like crazy for breakdowns and crowdsurfing all over the place. I honestly didn’t know these guys were that big. I’ve seen them in tons of magazines and the like, but never figured they have this strong of a following. The music was loud, fast, and punk as fuck, with tons of hardcore breakdowns. If you get the chance to see these guys, do it, you won’t regret it. Even if the music isn’t for you, the show should be good.
At the end of the night though, this whole show was about one band and only one band. GWAR. Their stage was unveiled, and Corey’s guitar was brought out, placed on a stand with a light on it, and the tech that brought it took a knee before it. I can’t explain how moving that in itself was. For those that don’t know, Corey Smoot played the part of Flattus Maximus, and he had passed away in the tour bus the morning before, and GWAR still decided to finish the tour, the way Corey would want. The crowd, of course, loved it. Cheers were heard all over the EEC.
The band then came out and we let them slay as per their usual. But it wasn’t usual. A very palpable sense of sadness, mixed with anger and anticipation was coming from Oderus, Balsac, Beefcake and Jizmac, and I think it brought them to a closer level to the fans, who were also feeling the same. The set was very much emotionally charged, with Oderus frequently asking Flattus why he went to Planet Home, leaving them all behind. There was even one moment where it truly looked like Beefcake was genuinely choking down tears.
The blood and sweat and goo were all present, and Edmonton was well soaked by the end of the night, turned out into the cold November air. Everyone I saw was elated, full of the GWAR experience, but there was still some melancholy at the end of the amazing night.
Thank you GWAR for sharing your grief with us, and thank you Ghoul and Every Time I Die for joining them. Rest in Peace Corey, and have fun Flattus Maximus on Planet Home. Oderus says you’ll be killing shit and fucking it. I hope so.
Photos from the show are available for your viewing pleasure at the FRPC Facebook page.