The list of bands that have come back after the loss of a lead singer is a short one. The singer is generally the most outspoken, and generally the hardest to replace, in a band. That would almost go double for a band like GWAR. Dave Brockie, likely as well known as his alter ego Oderus Urungus, was the dominant personality in a band full of personalities. His shocking overdose earlier this year not only rocked the music industry, but left the future of the Richmond band in question. Several months later, the band reconvened for a touching memorial for him that also served as the kickoff for the GWAR-B-Q. When the band took the stage the following afternoon, no one knew what to expect, probably not even GWAR themselves. In introducing a new character Blothar (original Beefcake the Mighty Michael Bishop), they were able to acknowledge Oderus wasn’t there any more, but still have a no-holds-barred stage show that featured plenty of blood. By the time they played their ballad “The Road Behind,” more than a few people were bawling their eyes out.
The subsequent addition of Vulvatron at the Riot Fests and subsequent (and ongoing) GWAR Eternal tour has proven that the band aren’t done yet, and can persevere on even without Brockie. His presence still looms large over the band, and while he’s truly irreplaceable, the band are still doing a great job of honoring his memory and carrying on their legacy. The performance of “West End Girls”/”People Who Died” shows the band turning in a bit more of a punk direction, but just the fact that they’re doing anything new is encouraging.