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Viva La Bands: GWAR, CKY, Vains of Jenna, Cradle of Filth @ The Warfield, 10/13/07

October 14, 2007

Bam Margera of Jackass fame pulled together a fantastic showcase of bands for the tour Viva La Bands:

First of all, I have never seen a line like this to get into The Warfield. Perhaps I am always really fashionably late, but this thing wrapped around the block, almost making a complete circle. A line full of Hot Topic metal heads, brushing up against the Tenderloin’s finest. Seriously, toothless homeless guys were walking down the line with baggies of drugs trying to make a sale.

We took refuge in a nearby bar until the line had disappeared, but were still able to catch almost the entire set of Vains of Jenna. These Swedish boys have a well adapted ’80’s hair metal look. Their sound is a more in the thrash metal bucket along with the rest of the bands on the bill. I thought they were really fun, though the vast majority of the crowd didn’t get it. Lead singer Lizzy must have an incredible headache after the set as he hits his head with the mic with quite a bit of force repeatedly.

CKY came out next, to a canned track of people chanting their name, to which the crowd happily mimicked. The foursome looks like they might be playing in a battle of the bands- very unassuming. There’s a John Deere cap and a cowboy hat. The drummer is Bam’s brother. Well, it turns out that this band has some rabid, dangerous fans. I hadn’t seen a mosh pit like this in years, and crowd surfing that could easily have put people in concussions. People were surfing over the barrier, many being repeat offenders that, to my surprise, the security guards didn’t kick out. The music didn’t seem particularly hard in comparison to much of the other stuff I listen to…so I don’t know what I was missing. The guitarist is absolutely hilarious to watch. He makes funny faces flirting with the girls in the front row. In between songs, if the crowd gets too quiet, they flip on some ‘I Will Always Love You’ or ‘Do You Believe in Life After Love”. Interesting performance.

Alright, on to who I was here for…GWAR. I was prepped with my blank canvas that was my white tank top. The stage was set, complete with laminated set lists, and the security and camera crew had donned their ponchos. The smoke machines were turned up, the lights dimmed, and then they emerged from the fog. Though this was my second time to see them, it didn’t make it any less exciting. GWAR is where my love for horror films and metal collide. GWAR is also one of those few bands that you can go to see with high expectations, and they will be completely exceeded. GWAR fills some primordial need that was once filled by going to see the gladiators. Public figures get decapitated and eviscerated as their fluids get sprayed all over the crowd. And they love every minute of it. When you see GWAR, you realize that behind those extravagant costumes is quite a bit of nekkidness. These guys have to play speed metal in constricting, probably hot costumes, while wearing thongs.

It was great fun, though not a long enough set. They played Saddam-a-Go-Go and Tormentor back to back, which are my two favorite songs. We were greeted by Oderus as “San Francisco! The creators of AIDS!” Good stuff.

Not from this show, but you get the idea:

The clean up from the GWAR aftermath didn’t end up being as terrible as I had expected. Cradle of Filth came on about 45 minutes after them, and we lasted about 2 songs. They are just not my thing. I appreciate the aesthetic, but the music is horrible. The lead singer really does sound like a screaming baby, hence the name.

***If anyone was lucky enough to get a GWAR pick, I’ll trade you for my CKY one. Pretty please.


  1. I’m good friends with Todd Evans (Beefcake the Mighty) next time I talk to him I’ll hook him up with yer site and I’m sure he’ll have no problem helpin ya out

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