Posted by: Necci – Aug 31, 2012
Ring Dog Rescue and The Slave Pit Present: GWAR-B-Q 2012
Saturday, August 18 at Hadad's Lake
Gwar-B-Q 2012--wow, where to start? The day began early, at 7:45 AM sharp, when Nathaniel from Occultist picked me up, along with the rest of the band. We had to load the van up and get to Hadads Lake by 10 AM for load in.
After getting everything set up and getting the band checked in, there was a little bit of relaxation, but not so much for myself. I checked out all the vendors, from the tasty Rooster Cart to the sweet tooth killer Cakes by Eve. There was a bit of everything for everyone’s eating habits from BBQ to Thai.
All the bands' merch tents lined the walkway right as you walked in, and there was even a booth for people to donate to the Free Randy Blythe fund. The lovely folks from 2BNB were providing transportation.
First up were the heavy thrashers in The Burial. With Jamison Land on guitar and lead vocals, there was definitely something magical happening. They are more radio friendly then Mr. Land's other band, where he is taken over by the mighty Beefcake. If you are interested, you can go check out their set from the show on youtube.
The second band to play was a little different than all the other bands as they were an electronic group called Mutwawa. They hail from right here in Richmond, and are comprised of Gary Stevens and the very talented Jason Hodges. Their set was kind of out there and I recommend seeing them in a venue like Strange Matter--it creates a little bit more of an atmosphere, and they have a little light show going on as well.
Antietam 1862 is a band I’m not too familiar with. Honestly, I wasn’t paying to much attention while I was taking photographs of them, but I wish I did. My mind must have been elsewhere--worrying about merch and other duties. But next time they perform around here, I will have to check them out, as they put on a pretty good show.
Newcomers--and I do mean newcomers; this was their 3rd show as a band and their second show with their new bass player--Highness consist of Brandon Evans (City Of Caterpillar), Eric Richter (Christie Front Drive), Brent Eyestone (Forensics), Ryan Parrish (Darkest Hour), and Graham Scala (Forensics). Not many people were there to watch them, it seemed, which is sad because they are all great musicians. They also put on one hell of a show, and were not afraid to flail around like it’s a hardcore show. There were a few times that I was almost clocked by guitar player Brent Eyestone. I guess I really do live up to the nickname "Watch Out For That."
I must say it’s nice having a relationship with some of the bands, as I was able to do behind the scenes photos of some of the dudes in Ghoul. I forgot to bring protection from getting Ghoul-afied and got a little bit of blood on me, but hey, even on tour, they somehow managed to nail me. I’m not sure if it was just the band or the fact that more people showed up as the day went on, but they were the first band to get a great crowd reaction, and even had a pit going.
Once the kill bot came out on stage I knew the crowd would really get into it as he battles the Kogar the Destructor, who resembles something out of Star Trek. Kogar usually has to keep the Kill Bot in line because he has something wrong with his wiring and keeps attacking his makers.
Next up, Occultist. This band definitely has something going for them. They are fronted by Kerry Zylstra, who has no problem jumping off the stage and screaming her heart out in the middle of a pit, while pushing people into it. It’s kind of hard to write something about this band and not have a little bias to it, as I tour/work with them. They are somewhat of a young band, having been around for about 4 years but have completed their 2nd GWAR-B-Q and also finsished a 2 ½ week tour with the lovely gentlemen in Ghoul. They also played this year's Skullfest in Pittsburgh, PA, the weekend after the GWAR-B-Q.
After Occultist, who also had the best crowd reaction for the second stage, came a longtime staple in the Richmond music scene called Strike Anywhere. It had been a good 8 years since I’d last seen them, and I can say they had just as much energy this time around as they did back then. This is a band that truly care about wrongdoings by governments; they were very vocal about the incarceration of Pussy Riot over in Russia, and even dedicated one of their songs to those ladies.
After Strike Anywhere's set I had to take some time off of snapping photos, and missed the next 3 bands due to having to tend to my other duty of sitting at a merch table. It’s boring as all gravy, but at the same time I really don’t mind as I get to meet all kinds of new people. I had several people from out of state say they were excited to see Occultist again after seeing them for the first time on tour with Ghoul, but of course, everyone there was to see our lords from Antarctica. Speaking of those lords, I’m surprised none of them melted in the blistering heat. They must be really used to living in an ice palace.
As I was walking to change and take a dip in the water, Derks yelled at me to come document the last event in the Spew-O-lympics. I missed the first two rounds and was deeply saddened, as I had an underwater camera and was planning on taking some fun action shots during the Rope Swing and Pillow Launch events. Next year, though--I will be there. Derks gave me his usual “I’ll kill you” look for not being able to do video, but when you’re a poor photographer in the music industry it's kind of hard to afford any new equipment, especially when you get covered in blood and vomit and whatever else GWAR decides to throw at you or spray your way.
The egg race and sperm & slide were two of the top highlights of my day. It’s been awhile since I captured so much fun actions going on. You can see just how much fun the contestants were having, but I think the ones having the most fun were the ones throwing the water balloons. Heck, I even got nailed on the legs, after which my legs looked like they'd had a really bad tie-dye job.
To round out the events, GWAR came out on stage. This show was probably the best photo shoot I have done with them. [Note to self: remember to protect the camera, and wear a poncho next time.] To introduce the band, their former manager made a very special appearance. His name is Sleazy P. Martini, and I think he forgot we aren’t in the 70’s anymore. He might want to go with something a little cooler next time. Bat wings can kill even a god.
GWAR did their usual Jagermonster-slaughtering as well as taking out a few other slaughter-fest creatures. The big one was that they killed a pregnant Snooki. This segment also saw the return from the pits of Paris of the Sexecutioner, who had a hand in disemboweling her.
All in all, this was a great day at Hadad's Lake for all involved. Oh and how could I forget: this was not just some random music fest--proceeds went to the good folks of Ring Dog Rescue. GWAR may not like our race, but they love their cuddly fury friends who need our help. Check out Ring Dog Rescue online here: ringdogrescue.org.
By Glenn Cocoa