Gwar Kool Haus, Toronto ON — November 4, 2004

Gwar Kool Haus, Toronto ON — November 4, 2004
These clown princes of cartoon violence and destruction straight out of Antarctica paid tribute to the American election in their own blood-drenched way. Decapitating an effigy of John Kerry so singer Oderus Urungus could drink his blood and bathe the band's loving minions in a crimson shower was just the beginning, From there the onslaught(er) of pop culture icons continued as likenesses of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Laci Peterson, Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Osama Bin Laden, Dubya, a part-mechanical monster known as the Reaganator and even the president of the band's fan club were disembowelled, decapitated and dismembered to the strains of their punk-metal thrash. Musically, the 80-minute set was heavy on War Party material, their latest album and first in more than three years, but it was tracks from early '90s offerings America Must Be Destroyed and Scumdogs of the Universe that were best received. And performance-wise, the quintet, which features the same characters with different players beneath the alien armour, was tight. Theatrically speaking, though, for those who saw the band at their peak a decade ago, this show was something of a disappointment. It seems they've gone from staging a production with something resembling a story line to simply putting on a show during which icons are ritually killed as an excuse to spray the audience with goo. Fun enough, I suppose, but I really miss the days when Sleazy P. Martini, Slymenstra Hyman and the Sexecutioner were on hand to make "sense" of the chaos and senseless violence. Call me sentimental but the thought of Slymenstra hoofing a stinking hippie in the nuts during "Slaughterama" is enough to bring a tear of joy to my eye. God I miss her so.