Show Review: GWAR, DevilDriver, Cancer Bats, and Legacy of Disorder at The Sound Academy in Toronto, November 24, 2012
During football season, I’m always ridiculously busy watching every single game from the comfort of my own home. It’s pretty rare that I have a weekend off where I can just relax and watch a GWAR show undisturbed. Not that I would ever miss a GWAR show anyway — but with a lineup like the one they brought to Toronto this time around, I knew I was in for one hell of a game.
The first quarter featured the band Legacy of Disorder. As is the case with many opening acts at metal shows, I’m pretty sure I could reproduce every song they played using only the discographies of Slayer and Hatebreed. The band had more than enough energy, though, and my first half buzz was starting to kick in, so I didn’t mind.
Next up were the hometown boys, Cancer Bats. I’ve seen the band way too many times for how little attention I’ve given to their studio albums, but every set I’ve caught from them has been stellar. It definitely helps that frontman Liam Cormier is one of the most commanding in the genre. Seriously, the dude is entertaining enough to be worth watching even if his band sucked (they don’t). His performance almost made me want to check out his side project with Bullet For My Valetine’s Matt Tuck when they stop by Toronto later in the week. Almost.
The highlight of Cancer Bats’ set (and possibly the entire night) occurred when they told us that they were bringing out a little known artist from Ottawa to help them with a cover. Then Oderus stepped out on stage in full costume to run through the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” (video below), which inevitably excited a previously low-energy crowd. Needless to say, I have since picked up a couple of their albums, and have not been disappointed.
In the second half, the game went from thoroughly entertaining to edge-of-your-seat exhilarating. Like the Cancer Bats, Devildriver is a band I’ve seen a bunch of times, and they always deliver. Unlike Cancer Bats, though, I know all of Devildriver’s material inside and out, which can easily mean the difference between chilling near the sound booth and dropping your beer to make a fourth down desperation run into the pit. I was somehow able to resist this urge during crowd pleasers like “Hold Back the Day” and “Horn of Betrayal,” but knowing I was staring down “I Could Care Less” followed by “Clouds Over California” to end the set, I endured the last stretch in the brutal scrum just outside of the red zone.
Now, GWAR isn’t the type of band that’s okay settling for a game-tying field goal. Everyone in the room knew that, and I thought I was prepared. Honestly, most of the band’s set is a total blur to me; I took a couple really solid hits to the jaw that left my head spinning. There was no way I was going to bail in the dying seconds of the final quarter, though, no matter how bloody it got. As usual, I left the show very sore and completely drenched in the internal fluids of many respectable people (along with some of Mitt Romney’s, if I recall correctly). Tracks like “Metal Metal Land” and “Bring Back the Bomb” really hit the spot, but the band’s cover of “Carry On My Wayward Son” was the Hail Mary pass that capped a truly triumphant night. (I’ll leave it up to you guys to figure out why we needed a Hail Mary when we were almost in the red zone a few seconds ago.)
I can only hope that my beloved Saints take a note from GWAR’s playbook and start performing like champions, too.