Gwar-B-Q 2016 had about everything you could ask for at a summer festival — professional security, hot hook-ups, and liquor flowing like Atlantis. Well, actually, the guard at the gate laughed when he saw my ensemble and said “well I guess you can’t be hiding anything in that,” I had to breakout in a full-on run to escape the unrelenting advances of some Fat Mike-looking dude that wanted to eat my hair and sniff my toe nails, and in order to get a hard lemonade I had to get a premium ticket, get a smoothie at one booth, take it to another booth, dump some of it out to make room for the vodka, have some nice lady dump a shot in there, and give it a good shake. BUT, other than that, Gwar-B-Q and its home at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond was pretty fucking magical. Serving as a nice bookend opposite of Deathfest, Gwar-B-Q was a nice final hurrah before it’s time to break out the burgundy lipstick, October Rust, and $150 worth of Halloween decor that you totally needed.
First things first — in case you’re one of many who were hit with a Corey Taylor post on a bad day and hit the unfollow button on Metal Injection, you may not be aware that no other than Phillip H. Anselmo stepped in to fill Mike IX’s Chucks for Eyehategod’s set as Ol Miguel gets in some much needed rest. And honestly? It was a pretty damn seamless stand-in. For the most part, it sounded just like the same EHG I know and love, and when I stopped to think about it, I couldn’t help but be surprised by my being surprised. Most of these dudes straight outta Nola have been playing in bands with variations on similar lineups for decades now anyway. I mean fuck, watching Phil jam next to Jimmy Bower isn’t exactly a foreign sight. Although I heard through the grapevine that you probably won’t be catching Father Phil fronting EHG again anytime soon, props for him for keeping Eyehategod on the Gwar-B-Q bill. In the meantime, all of us here on the Graveyard wish Mike a speedy recovery.
Y’all know that I think Eyehategod is the only band that matters. Well, Eyehategod and G.O.A.T. & your M.O.M. But I’ll report on some of the other bands anyway because I’m a people pleaser. After passing out on a hill to the judgmental stares of some salty ass bitches, I managed to sober up enough to go catch the band of the hour; GWAR! Just kidding, Lamb of God was actually headlining, but we’ll get to that. I was pretty intimidated to finally have my Gwar cherry popped, particularly from the proximity of the photo pit. Unlike the majority of the crowd, I had actually never seen one of their live shows before because in case you forgot, I’m literally 12. I was low key expecting some GG Allin get dragged on staged and fucked kind of deal, but Gwar, despite their reputation, has a certain line of professionalism (if you can call it that) that keeps their antics very much in the realm of fantasy, which, I guess is why a family water park still agrees to host this shit after eight years. In a special tribute to the 2016 Presidential election and Olympic games, the gang beheaded Obama and led an intergalactic insect boxing match…or at least I think that’s what was happening. It was all a bit of a rainbow fluid-covered clusterfuck, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less.
For me, Lamb of God resides in the same mental schema as Sun O))) and Dying fetus, i.e. the school of big bands to which I have never gotten my pussy to drip despite the overwhelming adoration they’ve received from the rest of the free world. Needless to say, naive little me was surprised to hear LOG was going to be the final the nut instead of, yano, the fucking host band. But, after catching some of their performance, I think I finally kind of got it. After blood, sweat, and angst, sometimes it’s nice to tie things up with a tidy, straightforward metal bow. Randy is also a super dynamic performer for sure, pulling out and the jumps and shit and making them look cool and not just like the straight edge kid whose daddy didn’t pay him enough mind. He is also very attractive up close. Those are my journalistic insights. Take them or leave them.
Overall, the show went on for The Dillinger Escape Plan despite vocalist Greg Puciato being stuck in a fucking airport and August Burns Red delivered for the scene and the scene at heart, but the set of the day award has to go out to Against Me! I was pleasantly surprised to see them on the lineup, not only because they were the only alternative band my ex would subject me to in the car that I could tolerate, but because it showed the promoters kept diversity in mind so that everyone can leave feeling fulfilled. And fulfilled were Against Me!’s front-row fans, indeed. It was nothing but big grins, positivity, and good vibes all around, which, most importantly, captures the anti-elitism of the whole event. Gwar-B-Q wasn’t just some fat load of battle jacket squads lowering themselves to attend out of a sense of obligation (stayed tuned for Julie’s review of Migration Fest in Olympia, WA), but rather a genuinely killer time that made navigating the vodka matrix and Usain Bolting from men with massacred blue jay hair just a meager price of admission.
LAMB OF GOD:
Editor’s note: Am I the only one who clocked Spock -rock’s Neubaten tattoo being in the exact same place as Henry Rollins?
EYEHATEGOD: (fronted by Phil Anselmo)
YOU HAD TO BE THERE: