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Bloody Good Show

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Philosopher and Zen expert Alan Watts once said western attire was mostly based on the idea of restriction -- tight pants, unwieldy shoes, and neckties, which Watts noted were similar to a noose. Saturday's GWAR show at Tremont Music Hall, though, shot holes in that theory. Oh, some in the crowd practiced restriction -- dog collars and such -- but most dressed for an uprising. After opening sets by Disarray and Soilent Green, GWAR took the stage with a few words from singer Oderus Urungus: "Violence has arrived." GWAR shows are more performance art pieces than concerts. The band cranks out relatively innocuous heavy metal, heavy on power chords, the better to play while wearing 20-pound costumes festooned with swords and wearing masks fashioned after bear traps. What's amazing is that they can play at all while wearing their garb, and still have time for a stylized stage show featuring all manner of decapitations and disembowelments. First, a hulking Mike Tyson figure fights two of GWAR's cronies while GWAR plays. After Tyson's apparent victory, his arms are chopped off, spraying "blood" some 20 feet into the audience. Later on, Osama bin Laden dances onstage. The crowd cheers for his death. Oderus tells him to go backstage and hang out with the sluts. George W. Bush comes out. His head is chopped off, and it, surprise, showers the audience in blood. Osama is brought back out, and the audience cheers as he's disemboweled by one of GWAR's cronies who looks like a cross between Emo Phillips and Crispin Glover. Oderus chews on some Osama chitlins, and spits the remainder into the waiting hands of the audience. Two girls behind me clink beer bottles -- "To Osama bin Laden!" Oderus manages to spout a little Shakespeare after the display: "Thus always to tyrants." In a display of incredible synchronicity (for all you banker types, it's similar to "synergy"), the Pope manages to wander onto the stage and gets the most boos of anyone, perhaps due to that pedophile thing. The Pope is then summarily butchered, the crowd gets covered in more red goo, and everybody's happy. Except that everyone isn't happy. Frankly, some look pissed off: some at the fact that it's over, and some that they can't go out and disembowel someone and get away with it like GWAR just did. Then again, maybe it's hard to look sensitive when your head is soaked in blood. -- Tim Davis

Marley's Ghost and Carlos: Famed guitarist Carlos Santana rolled into town Saturday for a show at the ill-fated Charlotte Coliseum. It was a rainy evening (note to new arena planners: splurge on a covered boardwalk if remote parking is an issue) and after a quick sprint to the building I hit the "Will Call" window for my tickets. I was the only person picking up tickets at the time, although the ticket office had about 10 or so folks seated behind the window (city paid employees, in case you didn't know). The upper level of the building had to be curtained off but the floor and main level filled up nicely as a lot of concertgoers must have been interested in checking out the opening set from The Wailers (known to most as Bob Marley's band). While I'm sure it wasn't anything like watching Marley and the original Wailers back in the day, for a Gen-Xer, it had to be the next closest thing. A smoking set of classic Marley tunes done as close to the original as you could imagine - and done in such a moving way that I didn't even question the legitimacy of the group (I think about two to three original members might still be on hand). Carlos even joined the band on guitar temporarily. For the comeback man himself (it's hard to call him a "kid" at this point), the crowd, which consisted mostly of the demographic that make up WRFX 99.7 listeners -- white males ages 25-35 -- were on their feet for most of the show, cheering and shaking their hips...and passing everything from peanuts to flasks to smokes and sneak-a-tokes. -- Lynn Farris

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