Gwar / Job for a Cowboy / The Red Chord Sound Academy, Toronto, ON November 2

Gwar / Job for a Cowboy / The Red Chord Sound Academy, Toronto, ON November 2
With the show touted as part of their 25th anniversary tour and in support of one of their finest records in 15 of those years, who would have thought that seeing Gwar could feel like little more than a business transaction?

Unfortunately, such was the case on this particular evening of their current tour in support of Lust In Space. Things seemed somewhat shaky from the get-go, however, as openers the Red Chord and Job for a Cowboy struggled to get even a subdued reaction from the ample crowd, despite energized performances.

The general feeling of listlessness pervaded, though, not necessarily from the audience once Gwar hit the stage. Frantic and loud, the crowd responded to the Scumdogs' return wildly, even though the band seemed intent on playing only material from their last three albums, save a roughshod rendition of "Jak the World," "Have You Seen Me" and obvious "Sick of You."

Visually, the shock rockers delivered with a bevy of current media figures and Gwar enemies to obliterate. The likes of Michael Jackson, Cardinal Syn and U.S. President Barack Obama were decapitated, skinned or mutilated as the crowd was soaked with bile and gore. It was everything one would expect from Gwar: dirty, tongue-in-cheek offence and plenty of mock body fluid.

However, aside from the aesthetics, there seemed to be a sense of simply going through the motions — of that listlessness previously mentioned. Sure, the band were fine musically, yet were it not for their garish outfits and the goings-on behind them, they would have been one of the most boring concerts of the last year. Even front-thing Oderus Urungus did little other than his obligatory killing of this, maiming of that. He spoke little, moved less and just seemed to be hitting his marks, not revelling in the moment.

While there was nothing particularly wrong with this stop of the tour, one can't deny that there was still something lacking. Everything felt less like a celebration of their silver jubilee and more of a resignation to their fate as costumed critters claiming adoration for drugs and dismemberment. Seeing as Urungus has deemed this a two-year endeavour, let's hope this was a bum night in an otherwise enthusiastic venture.