In honor of GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot, who passed away yesterday as the band was preparing to enter Canada, we offer this typically deranged Frank Lemke review of this fall’s annual GWAR-B-Q in Richmond, originally trimmed for space from the magazine.
Saturday, September 17
The National, Richmond, VA
The GWAR-B-Q was booked outdoors, at Hadad’s Water Park, primed to be a celebration of meat and murder. But it got moved to the National at the last possible second, a venue like any other, thereby eliminating all barbeque aspects of the event.
The weekend camping for the event, however, remained intact. The campsite was a gravel parking lot where some dude named Ronnie parked a bus. There was no sign, no check-in, and it was on the train tracks. The only commodity was a plastic rake. There was one other group of people to party with. Fifty dollars. And you know Decibel doesn’t cover that shit.
At the event, the Dave Brockie Experience went on early. DBX are incredibly fucking underrated, considering it’s same sort of genius as Zappa. They blasted out classics like “Damn That Money,” “40,000 Times” and “Too Much Stuff.” It was a short set, but what can you do?
Blah, then a barrage of shitty Richmond bands. Druglord was a third-rate Cathedral, but they were charming. Luckily, Decibel discovered a cache of beer in the green room, and two of the National’s staff helped us stash them in hidden coolers. Someone asked, “Aren’t the bands going to want those?” Bitch, we’re the staph.
Next, on stage, the goober from That Metal Show did comedy, but he couldn’t get a word in over the crowd. Followed by “The American A-hole Contest,” in which Sleazy P. Martini brought five high school kids on stage. He had them perform karaoke to songs like “I’m Too Sexy” and “Raining Men,” while he heckled them for being fat and gay.
At this point, we ingested magical mushrooms to ensure that our GWAR experience would be as intense as possible. Kepone went on, and they absolutely destroyed. Heavy rock music, no frills. Then, randomly, Darkest Hour played, but some slag was sucking on my face backstage. I did force her hand down my pants.
Finally, GWAR took the stage. By this point everything was in full swing, and Decibel was located in the press pit with a disposable camera in a plastic bag. We were soon ushered out of the press pit, into the mosh pit, where we got ejected twice for crowd-surfing. But there was no one at the door to prevent reentry! As an encore, Mike Bishop joined GWAR as the original Beefcake, and they played Scumdogs-era material, closing with “Cool Place to Park.” The sheer might of having two Beefcakes on stage was felt by all.
Blacked out at the camp, our fellow camper, “Uncle Dusty,” discovered a freezer full of marinating ribs. They belonged to Ronnie. Our fires burned through the night, and the festival of meat we had envisioned came to be! And you know what? GWAR forgot to play “Meat Sandwich.”