“You’re going all the way to Virginia for a BBQ?” my friend’s would ask,
“No, I’m going for GWAR-B-Q!”
“It’s Gwar’s BBQ … GWAR-B-Q” Duh!!
After hours of traveling I arrive at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond VA for the fourth annual GWAR-B-Q! This year’s line up was just too good too sleep on, featuring some of metal’s heaviest hitters including Battlecross, Corrosion of Conformity, Municipal Waste, Pig Destroyer, and of course, the Master Scumdogs of the Universe, the almighty GWAR!
After waiting in the first line of the day at the gate, we get into the festival grounds around 11am. Wilson is opening up the day with “Fuckery,” as they call it, as patrons are trickling in. “Fuckery, to us, is anything in life that you feel electrifies you,” Wilson told me, “it’s trouble that you can’t wait to find yourself in.” My local associate and I make our inaugural decision to wait in line for beer tickets. Instead of making a cash exchange at the point of beer transactions, Gwar-B-Q has you buy beer tickets ahead of time. You can also pay an additional $6 for the official Gwar-B-Q cup ensuring you more beer when you get refills and has the set list printed on the cup,
thus ensuring customers that the set times are literally always on hand!
We take a stroll of the grounds, beers happily in hand. This usually family-friendly oasis has been taken over by the metal world for the day. There is a pool with rope swings, water slides, trampolines, and blobs capable of launching swimmers high in the air. ”Halfway through Gwar’s set I plan on doing a cannonball,” Municipal Waste front man Tony Foresta told me, ”I just have to make sure my hair looks good for our set.” There are food stands with Gwar-B-Q sauce sandwiches, coleslaw, beans, the works! There’s even a Gwar-B-Q tattoo parlor next to the pool house.
According to my drink cup schedule the X-Cops are about to play on the main stage. The X-Cops are a side project of Gwar that disbanded 17 years ago.
“People ask, after 17 years why get back together?”
Patrolman Cobb Knobbler, aka Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, said on stage,
The X-Cops create a similar humorously theatrical show to go along with the music. The band dresses like the police and bring out an inmate character that get brutally beaten onstage by band members.
Cannabis Corpse are up next on the main stage. Naturally, as the day goes on the pits become bigger and wider. I venture to the edge of the pit where dust is kicking up filling the air with dirt particles, which creates a barrier between my view and the stage. Seeing as Gwar is one of the most theatrical bands, fans follow suit and come prepared and costume clad. Cannabis Corpse bring someone out in the middle of their set dressed as a weed nugget, there is a chicken in the mosh pit, and later on I saw a pig go off the bike ramp set up next to the lake.
The waiting-in-line theme became a more consistent part of the day. By the time Corrosion of Conformity played, the wait for porta potties and beer was anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes. By my count there were only seven porta potties and one beer tent. I end up missing most of C.O.C.’s set and some of Municipal Waste’s too. Lines snaked through the crowd and even spiraled. There was one bathroom in the pool house, but of course it was out of order by this point in the day.
“We’re Municipal Waste from right down the street!”
Tony Foresta screamed at the beginning of the set, sending the crowd into a high-energy mosh frenzy. The dust cloud grew to epic proportions high up in the air, as moshers took left after left in the circle pit.
I was still in line for beer at the beginning of the Waste’s set and my associate and I decided it was time to cash in our remaining tickets so our waiting days were no more. When we got to the front of the line
we slammed our combined 6 tickets onto the table,
“2 per person.” We took it.
Pig Destroyer was the last band to play the main stage. This is probably the band that really persuaded my decision to come all this way. The pornographers of grind themselves, Pig Destroyer doesn’t play a lot of shows and it’s been eons since they’ve come to Massachusetts.
“We haven’t played Richmond in years,” Pig Destroyers’ Blake Harrison told me before the set. “We’d like to do it full time, but jobs, family, et cetera kind of prevents us from doing that.”
As they grinded away their set, the second stage floor crowd was going wild, literally swinging, hanging, and climbing through the ceiling rafters. Since it’s such a rare occasion to be a part of a Pig Destroyer show, every mosh counts. This might’ve been the sweatiest set of the day and before anyone knew it, they’d finished with their new single “The Diplomat.”
Finally the Master Scumdog lords of the universe GWAR were next to finish off the show. At this show Gwar not only brought fans on stage to be sent through a meat grinder, but they killed Jesus, a Priest, President Barack Obama, and Frankenstein Jesus with super-human strength.
I hid out in the photo pit thinking I’d be safe from getting hit with any of the fake blood, semen, and/or green gut juice they were spraying into the crowd.
I was wrong.
I made eye contact with one of their dick-nosed, ball-chinned slaves and he immediately shifted his blood gun directly at me. In an instant I matched the front row behind the barricade.