GWAR B-Q 2016
Lamb of God, GWAR, Against Me!, Dillinger Escape Plan, August Burns Red, Lagwagon, EyeHateGod, Murphy’s Law, Eat The Turnbuckle, The Death of Rock ‘n Roll, Occultist, Mobile Deathcamp, American Nightmare, Brain Tentacles, Sawyer Family, Ramming Speed.
Date: August 20, 2016
Venue: Hadad’s Lake, Richmond VA
Our score: 5 out of 5 stars
The 7th annual GWAR B-Q took place on August 20th and again proved why it is the summer’s premier destination place for Bohabs from all over the globe. The humble setting of Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, VA again played host to the event which featured a variety of events, vendors, food and of course plenty of music. Headlining this year’s event along with hosts GWAR included fellow Richmond natives Lamb of God, Dillinger Escape Plan and Against Me!
With temperatures creeping towards triple digits and with a thick layer of humidity permeating the festival grounds we weren’t quite sure how things were going to play out for the day’s festivities. Thankfully the intergalactic overlords of GWAR had everything in check to ensure all those in attendance didn’t have their day cut short due to the extreme heat. Throughout the medium sized 1950’s era water park were plenty of food and drink vendors eager to help keep you going throughout the day. Prices were very affordable which made it easy to part with your all mighty dollars in that bottled “Gwater” ranged from $1/$2 and beer (PBR talls and Oderus Ale) was $4/$6. The food also was in the single dollar ranges making this hand’s down the festival with the cheapest concessions.
The event featured 3 different stages which all varied in size and for the most part each had ample viewing room. The only one that I found to not have enough space at times was the “Slutman Pavilion”. The smallest of the three stages became quickly cramped for energetic sets by bands like Occultist and the aggressive in your face; wrestling meets metal antics of Eat The Turnbuckle. At times the crowd spilled out the sides into the festival walkways which did cause some holdups when transitioning between the two larger stages. Also littered about were a variety of merchandise tents include one from Gwar slaves Bob Gorman and Matt Maguire and another from GWAR’s very own manager the one and only Sleazy P. Martini. Other musical high points from the day included powerful sets from Louisiana’s EYEHATEGOD which featured guest vocalist Phillip H. Anselmo of Pantera/Down fame. The group laid down a solid set of sludgy, doom metal that had the crowd worked into an utter frenzy. Despite the absence of vocalist Greg Puciato(due to a flight cancelation), Ben Weinman and the rest of Dillinger Escape Plan blasted through a unique set of music which feature a guest saxophone player along with a member of the crowd who was brought up to fill in for the absent member. Against Me! could have possibly been considered the odd man out on this bill which featured mostly metal acts but surprisingly enough was a big hit with the fans and, easily one of my favorite performances of the day. The band sounded and looked great while their set featured both classic material and a handful of new tracks which will be on the group’s new album due out in September. Event hosts GWAR would commandeer the stage next and within seconds of being announced by manager Sleazy P. Martin the sweat and dirt covered crowd was painted blue and red by a host of sprays and splashes. There were no safe zones this day not even in the backstage area which made for a wet but fun time which no one but GWAR can provide. Closing out the festivities were none other than Lamb of God. From the time the band first took the stage till the last notes of their set rang out the crowd was a bevy of excitement and energy. Hovering over head was a massive dirt cloud created by the large crowd who varied in color (ranging from blue to red and all point in between), wetness and thanks to the available water park varying levels of clothing making for one of the most unique LOG crowds I have ever seen. Randy Blythe and company gave there all which the crowd certainly appreciated and in my opinion capped off a perfect day.
As more and more European type festivals start to pop up around the States it can be hard to figure out which ones are the real deal and which ones, well to put it bluntly just plain suck! I am here to tell you the GWAR B-Q is one hundred percent legit. From the cool location and amenities to the low priced concessions and impressive musical line-up it was damn near impossible not to have a good time. Yes this festival might cater to a certain genre or specifically “hardcore” GWAR fans however there is plenty of fun to be had even if you don’t fall in to one of those categories. No matter what you look like, where you come from or what you are into if you go to a GWAR B-Q your going to find tons of cool people, off the wall activities and great music which will create memories that last a life time.