HomeMusicFeatures & ListsThe Most Outrageous Live Show Traditions

The Most Outrageous Live Show Traditions

Sometimes concerts need more than just a band, a stage, and music, apparently. And time after time, that’s led bands to some of the weirdest, most perverse corners of the shock minded human brain. We all know the scatological misdeeds of G.G. Allin, so we’ll spare you those perpetrations here, but the stuff we dug up – well, brace yourself. This one is not entirely safe for work. Here are five of the most outrageous live concert routines in recent rock history.


Inspired by the Viennese Actionism movement in Austria and GG Allin, Atlanta’s Black Lips are frequently cited by the media for provocative stage shows that have included onstage urination, vomiting, nudity, R.C. car races, fireworks, a flaming guitar, and a chicken. These days, the band insists most of that happened in their earlier years, but as this (obviously NSFW) video of a performance atop a Red Bull sponsored bus at Primavera Sound shows, the antics were alive and well at least as late as 2012.



Weirdo rock outfit Butthole Surfers have tamed the tripped out Dionysian chaos of their live show to a more scripted presentation of gimmicks (the flaming cymbals remain intact), but at the peak of their acid gobbling, Butthole Surfers concerts were the unpredictable stuff of X-rated legends that featured graphic video projections of sex change operations, naked dancers, unstimulated onstage sex, shotguns (firing blanks, mercifully) and, for whatever reason, plastic baseball bats filled with urine.



In their time as a band, Norwegian hardcore act the Flying Crap only released one album to the public in 1995, but they made a name for themselves by frequenting a live routine that had them discharging live ammunition out of a sawed-off shotgun at concerts, ultimately earning them a strict ban from Norwegian television and Kristiansand’s once annual Quart Festival.



GWAR The interplanetary warriors touring around Earth in Gwar have built a career on over the top live shows that place the grotesquely costumed invaders on stages that become quickly soiled with fake blood, urine, and semen, often including the ritualistic “
sacrificing” of audience members, celebrities, and world leaders to their giant World Maggot puppet.



Beginning their career as a recording-only project, when Austin noise rock legends the Jesus Lizard started playing live gigs, they ushered in a new era of confrontation and spectacle. At concerts, the band’s rabid “vocal stylist” David Yow was frequently naked, known to lick audience members and start conversations mid set. Cross dressing wasn’t usually part of that formula, but in this slightly less explicit footage of a gig the Jesus Lizard played at the Effenaar in Eindhoven, Holland in 1991, Yow is seen wearing Boss Hog singer Cristina Martinez’s black dress, her fishnets, and her panties, and then just the fishnets and the panties. The story goes that Yow saw Martinez open the gig in the outfit and originally planned to follow her act by playing his set in his long johns, but then Martinez offered her sweat soaked outfit, so he put it on instead.


Most Popular