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Presidential Death Match: GWAR Rain Blood at The Gathering of the Juggalos

They decapitated a giant robotic Barack Obama, made Hillary and The Donald fight to the death, and covered the crowd in pink fluids. Just another live set from the Virginian metal band.


All photos by Nate "Igor" Smith

If you're going to see Gwar, I can think of no better place to do it than the Gathering of the Juggalos. The combination of blood-spurting, heavy metal costume-wearing performance art and a ravenous crowd of Faygo-soaked, bottle-throwing, clown make up-wearing madmen is a match made in whatever passes for heaven here.

Gwar are back on the road after the tragic passing of front man Oderus Urungus in 2014 and, after a short-lived line up featuring frontwoman Vulvatron, the band is now fronted by longtime member Michael Bishop (Now Blothar, formerly Beefcake The Mighty). Whatever the changes, they haven't missed a beat since I last saw them a decade ago.

Their music is, of course, secondary to their insane stage show. On this tour, Gwar is using politics as its backdrop, which possibly doesn’t explain the violent, Earth-hating aliens in their set, but does explain opening their set by quickly decapitating a giant, robotic Barack Obama. That gives way to an Ultimate Death Match to decide who will soon rule these United States of America. The first match involved some sort of terrifying space horse that did not fair well against Blothar, but it was all building to the moment when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the center of the stage. I turned around to haggle with an unreasonably high juggalo about the price of nitrous and when I looked back to the stage The Donald had been cut in half and Hillary seemed like she was in a bit of trouble as well. The sight of Hillary Rodham Clinton spraying blood out of her nipples will haunt me for as long as I live.

By the end of the set hundreds of juggalos were stained pink from Gwar blood, marking them out. For the rest of the weekend it was pretty clear who had been up front for one of the wildest moments of the weirdest music festival on the planet.

Nate "Igor" Smith is driven by boredom. Follow him on Twitter.