Gwar – November 16th – Summit Music Hall

Photos By Johne Edge

The Scene: Summit Music Hall is Westword’s winner of Denver’s Best New Venue – 2011.  The 12,500-square-foot venue has allowed the folks at Soda Jerk Presents to book larger-drawing acts whose shows were previously held at various bigger venues around town.  When I arrived on Wednesday night, the line for the show went out the door, around the corner, and down the block.  Hosting a group of all powerful, interplanetary warriors like Gwar must be the exact reason that Mike Barsch and company took over the former Bash nightclub space.

Gwar: Upon taking the stage, Oderus Urungus share the news of the untimely death of guitarist Cory Smoot with all of us by saying, “Flattus Maximus has decided to return to his beloved Planet Home, and will never return to this mudball planet again.” As a teenager Cory had stood at the foot of the stage at his first Gwar show and stared up at his future.  That evening’s latex clad musical onslaught must have served as an awakening for the young man.  Baptized in torrents of spurting blood, Cory was reborn and would eventually become arguably the greatest guitar slinging Flattus ever.  Since 1987, the bands Flattus Maximus character has visited this earthen plane in six separate incarnations, but with the passing of Cory Smoot on November 3, 2011 Gwar has announced that the role will be officially and permanently retired.

While the tour’s quintet had become a foursome, the primal need to sexually enslave and or kill the entire human race strangely seemed to lessen the evenings sadness.  Gwar took to Summit’s stage and sonically assaulted the audience with “Zombies, March,” “Gathering of Ghouls,” and  “Storm is Coming,” three songs off their newest album Bloody Pit of Horror. Hardcore fans wore white shirts to the show in hopes of getting sprayed with blood to create their own customized Gwar shirts and the band and its minions did their best to oblige these desires.  Between the fan favorite “Jagermonsta” and the encores “Maggots” and “Sick of You,” Jersey Shore’s Snooki, a Nazi necromancer,  and the Jager Monster were eviscerated, brutally beaten, and sodomized covering the crowd with blood and bodily fluids. 

As the evening came to an end a costumeless Mike Derks (Balsac the Jaws of Death) held Cory Smoot’s guitar high in the air as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played over the PA.  As he passed it over fans heads, the audience looked up in reverence and some reached up to touch the guitar.  Finally, a homemade banner with the visage of Flattus Maximus, and signed by many of Gwar’s Denver fans, was held up on stage and fans saluted one last time with horns in the air.

Energy: A
Sound: A
Musicianship: A
Stage Presence: A+
Set / Light show: A-

Overall :  A


Who Is Johne Edge

Wherever the music is, you'll find me with my camera, shooting on street corners, from barstools at clubs, from the side of the stage at theaters, and from photo pits in places like Red Rocks. Clicking away, trying to capture the emotive essence of music, and all those moments that we forget because of one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons.