Formed: 1984 in Richmond, Va.—at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Sounds like: Musical theater set to the tunes of garish heavy metal. But how it sounds is a lot less important than how utterly insane it looks—and how drenched you are after the show.
For fans of: Dethklok, Slipknot, KISS, Devo, Frank Zappa and Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive.
Why you care: Gwar is a heavy-metal band that takes the stage theatrics of Alice Cooper to their ultimate conclusion. Dressed as rotting monsters and mechanized villains, the band members spurt homemade slime out of every oversized phallus and motorized orifice imaginable. Giant dinosaur puppets eat members of the crowd, and everyone and everything in the club is regurgitated at least twice. The fact that this spectacle is set to a blistering metal soundtrack just makes it that much more surreal. Sweaty, bloody bodies constantly stagger out of the pit, and it’s impossible to know who is hurt and who is just covered in purple jizz shot out of a cannon. Somehow there have been enough real-life Beavises and Butt-Heads to keep Gwar’s career going for over 25 years. In that time, the band has been interviewed on Jerry Springer and performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos, the latter having become the very definition of shock-rock success. Gwar’s 12th studio album, Bloody Pit of Horror, was released earlier this month—and though members have come and gone, founding guitarist Dave Brockie is still donning the mask (and junk) of Oderus Urungus. Some things never change. In fact, Gwar could conceivably play forever—the Simpsons of heavy metal.
SEE IT: Gwar plays the Roseland on Friday, Nov. 26, with the Casualties, Infernaeon and Mobile Death Camp. 7 pm. $18 advance, $22 day of show. All ages.