words/photos by Josh Sisk
This weekend (Aug 18th, specifically), I decamped to scenic Richmond, VA to catch the 4th annual Gwar-B-Q at Hadad's Lake, featuring Gwar (of course), Pig Destroyer, Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity, Cannabis Corpse, and a host of other bands. Hadad's is a"water park" that could only exist in the most chill of Southern cities -- consisting of a murky natural pond with a ramp for bicyclists to do insane flips into, and a beach surrounding a man-made 'lake' full of fun (but dangerous-looking) swings, slides, and platforms to jump off of. Hadad's was, for many years, the site of the epic Best Friend's Day parties, which seem to be over, but Gwar-BQ fills the slot nicely -- offering the same fun activities along with a good lineup of acts on two stages and a slew of Gwar-themed products ranging from Gwar beer to Gwar BBQ sauce to even Gwar water.
Good line-up this year, with a slew of solid openers like Detroit's Wilson and the costumed Kung Fu Dykes starting the day off. X-Cops, a Gwar side project making their first appearance since 1996 (and not the Brooklyn indie band with a similar name), were the first band on the main stage that really caught my attention -- they were basically a lower production value Gwar, with various costumes and mini-skits. Cannabis Corpse and Warbeast both put in solid, crowd-pleasing performances on the main stage as well, but for me the day really got into high gear when CoC took the stage. I've caught them 3-4 times in the last couple of years but I never get tired of seeing them. Richmond's own Municipal Waste followed, and really ratcheted up the crowd excitement with party anthems, RVA anecdotes, a "wave of death" and general good cheer. Beach balls and inflatable sex dolls were flying into the photo pit during their set, along with endless crowd surfers..
Pig Destroyer/Gwar fans
The moment the Waste's set ended, Pig Destroyer began to play on the second stage, and the crowd went crazy, keeping the energy going. The second stage was set up in a sort of gazebo, with high rafters, and once the crowd spilled onto the stage, surrounding the band, they also climbed up into the ceiling, pounding on the rafters, making it rain a fine white silt on all of us. (Hopefully not asbestos.) The security came into the crowd, trying to get everyone to come down, with only partial success. All this chaos going on just seemed to encourage the band, though, and they turned in one of the best shows I've ever seen them play.
Gwar took the stage in daylight, a fact that surprised me, but shouldn't have since there weren't any lighting rigs present. At first it was odd seeing them play in broad daylight, but it didn't really detract from the copious blood-spraying, decapitations and anal spelunking being played out on stage, and it certainly didn't seem to slow the crowd down. I saw one kid be launched from the crowd, fly over the barricade, land on his head and shoulders unaided... only to bounce right back up and run back around to get back in the mix. Gwar fans are serious.
All in all, a very fun way to spend a late summer day in Richmond, though I wouldn't want to be the one to have to clean that pool afterwards...
More pics from Gwar-B-Q are below.
Kung Fu Dykes (more at Invisible Oranges)
X-Cops (more at Invisible Oranges)
Cannabis Corpse (more at Invisible Oranges)
Warbeast (more at Invisible Oranges)
Corrosion of Conformity (more at Invisible Oranges)
Municipal Waste (more at Invisible Oranges)
Pig Destroyer (more at Invisible Oranges)
Gwar (more at Invisible Oranges)