Hard Rock Café on the Strip, April 9

A Gwar show is a rite of passage for any metal fan. For me, it came 20-some-odd years into my fandom, but you know what they say: Better late to the headless-body-squirting-blood-from-its-neck-stump-during-the-first-song party than never to the headless-body-squirting-blood-from-its-neck-stump-during-the-first-song party.

With all the joie de vivre of a Troma film making sweaty love to an Anthrax album, Gwar delivered a taut set of surprisingly competent speed/thrash metal for 60 short minutes.

No one goes to a Gwar show just for the music. Yet to go solely for the spectacle would be a mistake. A show like this requires an aficionado’s love—you just don’t understand true scope and breadth of art until you see what appears to be Satan’s dust bunny sword-fighting with a beefy, mutant tortoise while wielding a magic feather duster.

Crowd faves such as “Bring Back the Bomb” and “Metal Metal Land” gave way to a surprising power-ballad finish with “The Road Behind,” dedicated to recently deceased guitarist Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot). An odd end to a show that left the concept of subtlety in tatters halfway through, when the band didn’t bother anymore with stage executions and went right to a giant blood cannon to hose down the faithful. ★★★☆☆

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THE NEXT MISTER VEGAS: I like Mötley Crüe, love Elton John and I know Rod Stewart. That said, I’ve long wondered why Vegas has never offered residencies to those performers who can’t resist touring here. Where’s Social Distortion’s residency? Brian Setzer’s residency? And when is someone going to get Chris Isaak to stay here longer than one night, as he will when he plays Green Valley Ranch on April 7 ($38-$81)? Isaak is a natural for the Vegas stage.