Review - GWAR @ the Regency Ballroom (11/22/21)

GWAR @ the Regency Ballroom (Photo: Akshay Sawhney)
GWAR @ the Regency Ballroom (Photo: Akshay Sawhney)

When I went to see GWAR perform at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco this week I knew very little about the band and what to expect from their performance. I just knew I had to shoot the event because it was by reputation going to be somewhat crazy. The show did not disappoint, and here’s 8 things you need to know if you’re going to see them live:
  1. GWAR is currently touring to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their second album, 1990’s “Scumdogs of the Universe”. This is arguably their most well-received album. The Scumdogs 30th Anniversary Tour kicked off in September in their hometown of Richmond, VA.
  2. GWAR formed in 1984 which means that they’ve been around as long as Primus or even New Kids on the Block! The band is the combination of two artistic projects, the more important one being a punk outfit called Death Piggy that staged mini-plays with props. Death Piggy was led by vocalist and bassist Dave Brockie who became the frontman for GWAR.
  3. GWAR has kept up their tradition of stage performances that are at times shocking, humorous & goofy. According to Wikipedia, the group's “visual concept revolves around an elaborate science fiction-themed mythology, which portrays each of the band members as barbaric interplanetary warriors”. That’s right, they hate Earth. And their performances will often showcase simulated violence that results in the audience getting sprayed with fake blood, semen and other alien fluids. Show up in the front row with a white t-shirt and you’re immediately Instagram-worthy!
    GWAR @ the Regency Ballroom (Photo: Akshay Sawhney)
  4. Monday’s performance by multiple accounts started off tame -- in the photo pit I only got sprayed by fake blood one time, what a disappointment! But the character decapitations, battles, and blue semen did eventually make their appearance and it was shock rock the rest of the night! Also I’m not 100% sure but a Joe Biden character might have come out at one point to vaccinate the crowd, only to get decapitated by the Taliban? Did that really happen?
  5. GWAR performed almost all of their “Scumdogs of the Universe” album in San Francisco with the exception of “Slaughterama”. Fans also got to hear a few tracks off other albums including “The Private Pain of Techno Destructo” from 1997’s Carnival of Chaos album and “Eat Steel” & “Fight” off 1994’s This Toilet Earth. “Fight” was performed for the first time on this tour. The encore featured two tracks off their 2017 release The Blood of Gods -- “I'll Be Your Monster” & “Fuck This Place”.
  6. None of the original members are in the band anymore! After the death of frontman and lead singer Dave Brockie in March 2014 from a heroin overdose (who guessed it?), the group continued without any of its founding members. And turnover was high -- GWAR has 5 current and 20 former band members!
  7. Certified rock star Dave Grohl almost joined GWAR as a teenager. Ultimately he decided against it, saying “The more I thought about it, am I really gonna invite my uncle to see me play when there's like fake blood and cum shooting all over the place?” We think he made a good decision.
    The crowd @ GWAR in San Francisco (Photo: Akshay Sawhney)
    The crowd @ GWAR in San Francisco (Photo: Akshay Sawhney)
  8. Although GWAR hit their prime in the 90s (somehow earning GRAMMY nominations in 1992 & 1995!) they maintain a dedicated cult following among fans today. For the curious, check out their recently released and well-reviewed documentary “This is GWAR”. And then find a friend that loves to mosh or crowd surf and go see them! But really you have time because some incarnation of the band will probably still be visiting Earth 50 years from now!
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow us across social! You can find the full setlist below!
GWAR Setlist The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, USA 2021, Scumdogs 30th Anniversary

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