GWAR + Voivod + Childrain @ O2 Academy Islington, London

4th December 2019
Review and Photos By: Rebecca Bush

Tonight sees the return of the mighty GWAR to our fair shores! It seems very much to be a theme recently for bands who have been away for a decade to make the leap across the ocean and once again serenade their British and European fans and I am here for it figuratively and, tonight, literally!

It’s a slow build tonight as the crowds are filtering in slowly but surely, and the band tasked with the challenge of getting things started are Childrain.

Five young guys from Spain, two of whom are brothers, and right from the offset you can see that bond and how it gives them a real charged energy.

They rip into their opening track with real power and really give it their all. Despite the fact that the crowd have yet to really fill the place out there is a good energy building and they interact and connect well.

Not only do they have the enthusiasm but they have the talent to back it up. Guitarist Iker Bengoa plays some extremely impressive and complex guitar licks and drummer Mikel Gómez takes it all to another level with his energetic and enthusiastic rhythms that really make for a full, heavy sound.

There is definite movement in the room as they hammer through their set, rich with melodies that intertwine with the metalcore heart of it using a variety of clean and more gritty vocals to show the diversity of their talents.

I think that it is safe to say they have definitely kicked the night off well and there are definitely some new fans in the room!!

The room fills a little more and the next band to take the stage are legends in their own right: the mighty Voivod!

Tonight is a great showcase of bands who have real longevity in the genre and in many ways trailblazers when they started out in the mid-eighties, and these guys are a prime example.

To be able to preserve a thriving fan base for all this time is no mean feat, but as they begin to play their eclectic and heavy sound, it’s obvious what the appeal is. This band really keep you on your toes!

Clearly having the best time, vocalist Denis Belanger, or ‘Snake’, kept the energy flowing throughout, his band members behind him pulling all the shapes and throwing out some immense riffage and beats.

The band have embraced many different styles of music across their career and seem now to have concocted what presents itself as a culmination of all of these styles. There’s definite punk attitude in there and it’s got so many elements that your head will spin. but ultimately this works for them and they absolutely smash it!

With a whopping 14 albums under their belt they are definitely not short of brilliant material to present tonight and, impressively, they all hold their own. To be able to write music as late as last year that compliments and fits in with music from earlier in their career, especially given their shift across the styles, is a real testament to their talents.

It’s great to see a band so seasoned and so comfortable in their surroundings that they can just fully enjoy rocking out and bantering with their audience. The now full room is well and truly in metal mode!!

Heading towards the pit for tonight’s main event and everyone is wearing full waterproof gear head to toe – I start to worry I will become a prime target for all the ‘goo’ we have been forewarned about on all the posters plastered around the place, in fact the only thing not wrapped in plastic is me!

The amps are fully wrapped and the barrier is draped, our bags stored safely down the side of the stage – having never experienced this band before, my excitement was building – not a stranger to being doused in fake blood myself (I used to perform on stage my own act called the Bride of Bloodshed), I was more than happy to witness the gorefest – but less certain I wanted to be in direct firing range! Thankfully security came to my rescue with a white disposable poncho – very fetching but also, it transpires, very necessary!!!

Then the moment is upon us and the gargantuan creatures that are Balsac , Beefcake the Mighty, Jizmak Da Gusha and Blothar the Beserker take to the stage, and what a sight they are! Completely dominating the space they now occupy and commanding full attention, these huge monsters take off with opening number The Salaminizer, taking no prisoners as they power away!

Now they have us all in the palm of their clawed hands, the carnage begins – first to fall victim is a grotesque looking police officer who attempts to shut down the show – not a hope! He is sliced open and jets of blood pummel the front row who are all wearing white t-shirts – creating a human blank canvas for Gwar to go to town on – and that town is hell!!!

Trying to avoid it as I do, I still manage to take a direct jet of blood to the face before, as final humiliation, what’s left of the policeman is impaled on a large pole and carried off by bloodied minions!! Whew! If that’s just the opener, what is to come?!

I’ll tell you: the band, newly invigorated by a successful slaughter, roar their way through an impressive set, another example of a band with a meaty back catalogue (no, that’s not a euphemism) to pick from.

What follows is a dark and twisted romp through a greatest hits fest(er), punctuated with elaborate theatrics and the bloodiest, goriest spectacle I have ever witnessed. This included a dog puking blood, a pregnant Caitlin Jenner having a c-section resulting in her and her newborn infant drowning the all-too-enthusiastic and willing crowd with yet more gore and Donald trump performing oral sex on GWAR’s leader before also suffering a gruesome death!!

The dark and twisted is dialled up to 11 and is fuelled by a killer – pun intended – soundtrack of immense proportions!!

As the crowd disperse, far from looking shocked and horrified there are blood spattered smiles all around – an absolute triumph of a show and one I’ll not soon forget!!