Recap: Every Time I Die + Gwar at Northern Lights

Gwar crawled out of their cave in hell Saturday night, dragging Every Time I Die and Ghoul alongside them, to play to a sweat-soaked-turned-fake-blood-soaked crowd at Northern Lights, as part of the “Return of the World Maggot” tour. The national tour kicked off on Tuesday of this past week and will also make an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this Thursday, the 27th. Seeing Every Time I Die on the bill was a huge draw for many (including myself) and they very well could have headlined the night and have had just as much of a successfully packed turn out, if not more.

ETID is a staple in the music that shaped my youth and last night easily made my own personal ‘best shows in 2k11’ list. Judging off their tweet from last night, they felt the same way.

ETID also made it very easy for me to cave and buy a t-shirt – they had a $10 bargain bin of old shirts – while simultaneously making me wonder why more bands don’t do this. (Bands, do tell.. is there a dedicated-tumblr where old, unsold merch goes to die?) Anyhow fun fact #2 – ETID also has started collecting McDonald’s monopoly pieces from fans in exchange for free merch. Also brilliant, hope they win something epic while on the road the next 5 weeks.

Their set was one that concluded with people begging for an encore (one that didn’t come unfortunately) and from the beginning until the end, their selection of songs and delivery very much reminded us how ETID is very much a band for their crowd, (without the gimmicks of Gwar, for example) that knows what they are doing without being all that safe at the same time. Lead singer Keith Buckley also acknowledged this, riffing on how they might not be Alice Cooper, but they are still rather theatrical in their own way. They also talked about how it felt a bit random to be touring with Gwar, but that it’s proven to be one of the best touring experiences they’ve had to date. It was also noteworthy how they thanked the promoter and owner of the venue, Ted Etoll — sharing with fans how influential Ted has been to their career, booking them early on and helping them with shows. Big ups Ted!

Band chatter aside, they delivered a quality range of material spanning all albums of their career, with what felt like a slight focus on older material. Perhaps this was due to their old bassist Stephen Micciche returning to the band after Josh Newton left (who announced his departure a week prior to tour), or simply going back to the undeniable fact that the band knows their fan base and knows what people want to hear. Everyone was very receptive to new material, including an unreleased track (which K. Buckley dubbed ‘youtube gold’) called something along the lines of “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space”. ETID is also at work on a new album that is said to be released sometime early next year.

Other set highlights included “Floater”, “She’s My Rushmore”, “Ebolamara” and “I’ve Been Gone A Long Time” off 2003’s Hot Damn! Off newer albums, The Big Dirty and New Junk Aesthetic they also treated us with “No Son of Mine”, “We’rewolf” and “Wanderlust”. Call me an ETIDiot if you must…but if I was the type to believe in and actively follow some sort of rating system for concert reviews (which I’m mostly not) I’d give their set a subjective high score. Which also seems to reinforce the shift in vibe from the crowd in between Gwar and ETID. The density towards the stage filtered out into the rest of the venue following ETID and gave those willing and ready to be sprayed with various fluids from Gwar the space closer to the stage.

Gwar is known for their elaborate horrific costumes and their satirical, heavy metal live performance, which is now aged over two decades. The story of Gwar, which may be misconstrued as an acronym for “God what an awful racket”, is an intricate, obscene and complex one that extends past their five main members web of involvement to also include a history of various side members, “slaves” and guest victims, who are all involved with the entire production.

I personally didn’t wander too close and found myself enjoying their set more when “fat whore” Snooki (a reference to their theatrics I actually got without being a fan of the band) came out on stage and they destroyed her during one song. Their songs sounded the same to me and they caught my attention more in between songs when they acted out mini-skits than when they played their material (sorry, don’t come back to haunt me!). Their frontman, Orderus Urungus, has a pretty funny twitter account, and their time on stage was moderately enjoyable until about halfway through when my attention span clocked out. Seeing Gwar was a quick cross off of my bucket list and I went on with the evening’s adventure wearing the shirt I bought and listening to New Junk Aesthetic for the remainder of my weekend.

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