GWAR, Sacred Reich and Toxic Holocaust live in Tampa, Florida 2019

When it comes to metal shows, you think of screaming guitars, driving rhythm sections, intense vocals and crowds going nuts. But add the almighty GWAR and you get a whole different level of performance. On this night fans crammed into the Ritz Ybor to catch GWAR’s Use Your Collusion Tour. Along side GWAR would be Sacred Reich and Toxic Holocaust.
GWAR North American Tour 2019 poster
From the moment that Toxic Holocaust took the stage, they grabbed the audience and refused to let go. This trio led by bassist Joel Grind certainly meant business tonight and were clearly on top of their game. Their blend of punk and thrash were the perfect musical recipe to get the crowd going. There was no easing into things tonight. They kicked things off with “Gravelord” and ripped into it like a buzz saw hitting warm butter; nothing was going to withstand their sonic assault tonight. Next up they played a vicious version of fan favorite “Acid Fuzz”. It’s just two songs into their set and everyone was fired up! Heads were banging and hair was flying.
 
If anyone was looking for a moment to catch their breath during their set, that moment wouldn’t come until the guys decided to put their instruments down. Of course, they played more of their best known songs like “Nuke the Cross” and “Bitch”. Fans also got to hear their latest single “Chemical Warlords”, which was bone-crushingly good. The final song of the night was “Lord of the Wasteland”. If the show was to end right at this moment, everyone would have been satisfied as Toxic Holocaust absolutely killed it.
 
Next up was metal legends Sacred Reich. Touring behind their first full length album in some twenty odd years, long time fans of these icons were excited to see them take the stage. For some bands with 30 plus year careers, time isn’t a friend. But that isn’t the case with the guys from Sacred Reich. The years have honed them into a fine tuned machine. With their first new album “Awakening” just being released, their setlist definitely reflected it with four of the ten songs coming from it including “Manifest Reality”, “Divide and Conquer”, “Salvation” and the title track “Awakening”. It wouldn’t be a Sacred Reich show without them playing “The American Way” and “Surf Nicaragua”.
 
After Sacred Reich left the stage, things started to change at the very front of the audience. Some people started to cover themselves up. Those wise fans knew what they were getting into as soon GWAR would be taking the stage. When it comes to a GWAR concert, its one part music, one part performance, and throw in some gratuitous blood sprayed into the audience and you get an event that no one ever forgets about. Wearing oversized costumes that have to be seen to be believed, along with various henchmen that come to the stage to add some tongue and check mayhem to the show, GWAR has earned their legendary status.
 
Tonight, would be no exception. With a mock trial playing out on monitors for the audience to see, a bailiff came out on stage followed by the band. Lead singer Blothar the Berserker used his sword to cut his head off, spraying blood out into the cheering audience. This would be the theme of the night, which everyone was thrilled to see, in between the guys rocking out and shredding away, characters would come out such as Kaitlyn Jenner to give birth on stage, and of course douse the audience in blood. All this campy fun thrilled everyone whether they were drenched or not.
 
All in all, it was a great night of music, theater, and fun. Toxic Holocaust and Sacred Reich played brilliantly. They both were clearly on top of their game and those two alone would have made a great concert. But adding the legendary GWAR to the mix made it an epic night!