Gwar

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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Plenty of tribute bands have dates in Las Vegas every year, and most of them can be found playing either the Fremont Street Experience or locals casino showrooms. So it might seem odd that a cast of six unknown musicians performing decades-old progressive rock songs with themes such as disillusionment and alienation landed a marquee gig at the city’s shiny, new performing arts center. But the Pink Floyd Experience is no second-rate knockoff; it is a genuine re-creation of one of rock’s most innovative and influential bands.

DTLV

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