On Stage: Peaceful music, or anything but on Sunday

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Abbie Gardner

People view Sunday nights in different ways. Some like to relax and get ready for the upcoming work week while others like to do things to squeeze the most out of their weekends.

For those who like to maximize their weekends by enjoying live music, there are two choices this Sunday that are polar opposites – a quiet show by a solo acoustic artist or an intense show featuring acts known for visual and aural assaults.

The “quiet” show will take place at Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) and feature Abbie Gardner.

Abbie Gardner is no stranger to area music fans.

She has played locally numerous times — as one-third of Red Molly and, more recently, as part of a duo project with Jesse Terry. Now, Gardner is on the road as a solo act.

Gardner, a talented dobro player and multi-instrumentalist, has been touring with Americana act Red Molly for more than a decade. She also has three CDs on her own notable for award-winning songs.

“I’m doing stuff from my whole catalog,” said Gardner, during a phone interview last week from her home in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“I’ll be doing a lot of solo stuff.  It’s different now because my guitar player Jeff Ruggieri moved to Nashville. It used to be two of us but now I’m onstage by myself – just me and my dobro.

“This has given me the kick that I needed. I was a little nervous but that’s part of the excitement. You have to go outside your comfort zone if you want to grow.”

Gardner has encountered some challenges.

“The biggest challenge is rearranging songs so they sound full. The exciting part is that when I play this way, I find myself wandering from one song into another. There’s more room for improvisation.

“Instrumentally, I’ll be sticking mostly to dobro. I used to do guitar but dobro now is my main instrument. I love it. It frees me up for vocals and melodic lines.

“My main dobro was made by Paul Beard. I play a Hipshot dobro which is like two instruments in one. You can pull a lever and change the tuning. I put everything through a compressor microphone. It’s a throwback sound.”

Gardner’s songwriting has brought her much acclaim including 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for “The Mind of a Soldier” and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for “I’d Rather Be”. Her song “Honey on My Grave” was also published in Sing Out! Magazine in 2008.

“Lately, I’ve been writing starting with melody and getting the words later,” said Gardner. “I try to work on it until it’s so stuck n my head that it seems like it’s on ‘repeat.’ That’s the early stages.

“I don’t record a demo until I’m set on the melody. If a melody comes to me when I’m out – say in a park – I’ll put it on my cell phone. If it happens at home, I’ll use ProTools.”

There’s good news for fans who are awaiting a new Abbie Gardner solo album.

“The new album is recorded,” said Gardner. “I’m just waiting for the artwork. It should be coming out in January.”

Video link for Abbie Gardner – https://youtu.be/BpbLfxf5sKM.

The show at Kenneth Flash, which has Hurricane Hoss as the opener, will start at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $23.

On October 29, the music will be intense when GWAR and Doyle share a bill at the Trocadero (10th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215-922-6888, www.thetroc.com).


GWAR was in the area back in the summer when it was one of the headliners at the Vans Warped Tour. Now, the band is back with a new album.

The new album, “The Blood of Gods” is nothing less than a sacred text chronicling the rise of humanity against its makers, and the massive battle between GWAR and the forces of all that is uptight and wrong with the world.

Along the way, the band challenges the sins of their great mistake, from politics, pollution, and organized religion, to fast food, and factory farming. Humans are shown as what they are; a parasitical disease that must be eradicated before they suck the planet dry.

“The Blood of Gods” is the first GWAR album without the band’s fallen leader, Oderus Urungus. The title of the album refers to the loss of Oderus. and the struggles and triumphs that produced the new sound of the band.

GWAR — Beefcake the Mighty (bass), Pustulus Maximus (guitar), Balsac the Jaws of Death (guitar), Jizmak Da Gusha (drums), Bonesnapper, Sawborg Destructo and Don Drakulich (backing vocals) and Blothar (vocals, occasional bass guitar) — is a band known for its elaborate costumes and long, outrageously-themed concerts.

Obviously, GWAR and the Warped Tour is not a match made in heaven. But then, nothing about GWAR could be considered made in heaven.

“The Warped Tour was good,” said Blothar, during a recent phone interview. “There was a lot of sweating.

“But, we got to expose ourselves to children – getting a whole new generation lining up to have their hopes and dreams smashed.

“Hey, we might have been their parents’ favorite band. There were plenty of new children at the show – and some old faces. It was a lot to take in.”

This time, the focus will be on a new album.

“We cut the album over the later spring – April and May,” said Blothar. “It was great. We did a lot of recording the old-fashioned way with the band playing together in the same room. We were happy with it – as happy as we can be for as unhappy as we always are.”

In November 2011, Oderus was found dead by his fellow band members in the band’s tour bus. The cause of death was “a coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease.”

“We took some much-needed time off after losing Oderus,” said Maximus. “It’s a difficult process for any band to lose a member after losing another member.

This was the first time we were able to sit down and make a record as a group. Before, it was always under distress – like members needing money. This time, we pulled out all our best songs.”

Based on the true definition of the word “unique,” there are really very few things that can claim to be unique — especially in the world of popular music where copycat acts and songs are more the rule than the norm.

But, unique is the perfect word to describe GWAR. There is, never was and never will be a band like GWAR. The Virginia-based costume-wearing thrash metal band exists in a universe all its own.

When GWAR first arrived on the scene back in the 1980s, no-one would have — or could have — ever imagined that the group would still be playing to packed houses more than 30 years later.

GWAR was a metal band with music performed by outrageous characters that looked and acted as if they had stepped out of a horror film done science fiction style.

With musicians wearing elaborately grotesque foam latex costumes, the band’s live shows were best described as raunchy, graphic, obscene and over-the-top.

According to the band’s mythology, GWAR is a group of alien monsters who were banished to Earth millions of years ago as punishment for their cosmic crimes.

GWAR was frozen in the wasteland of Antarctica, to wait for the cosmic summons that would herald their return to the stars. But fate intervened, and GWAR was de-thawed by global warming.

Led by pig-nosed lead singer Oderus Urungus, they began wandering the world, where they were quickly discovered by music mogul and mob boss Sleazy P. Martini.

Transformed into the ultimate heavy metal band, they set about the business of destroying the human race with this savage sound, throwing great “concerts” where thousands of humans would be lured to their deaths.

According to GWAR, “People come to watch the destruction onstage every night. And, not many people survive. Humans are ground into cat food.

“We kill all enemies of GWAR who attack us. I hope the POTUS isn’t listening to this. Whether or not he is, he still meets his fate at the hands of GWAR.”

A number of people are “beheaded” in every show — including personalities from the news. Victims have included O. J. Simpson, John Kerry, Mike Tyson, Jerry Springer, Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adolf Hitler, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, and every American President since Ronald Reagan.

According to Blothar, “There is a lot of (fake) blood in our shows — 100 gallons of blood every night and we shoot it all at the audience. There aren’t too many safe distances. Just ask our soundman. We empty the tanks at the end of the show and turn the hoses on the humans.”

Video link for GWAR — https://youtu.be/GDcWhhC7Jawc.

Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein

Misfits Legendary guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein has just released his second solo album “As We Die” on EMP Label Group/Monsterman Records.

Both Doyle’s solo albums – “As We Die” and “Abominator” — are sonically-thick and lyrically-evil slabs of horror-punk metal that finds him expanding in a logical progression upon the genre of music he helped create.

Doyle’s first band, the infamous Glenn Danzig-fronted Misfits, helped create the genre of speed/thrash metal with their last album, 1983’s “Earth AD/Wolf’s Blood.”

“We cut the new album at House of Von Frankenstein,” said Doyle, during a recent phone interview from his home in Montreal.

“We recorded all the guitars and bass for both albums in 2012. The only thing we did in a studio later was recording the drums because we got a new drummer. And, I did some vocals over when we remixed it in 2016.”

Recording both guitar and bass tracks for the albums, the unmistakable sound of Doyle’s signature Annihilator guitar cuts through on every tune.

While the horror punk vibe of The Misfits does permeate the album, the guitar work on “Abominator” and “As We Die” is more technical than your average punk rock record.

“To me, both albums were made at the same time so they’re the same album,” said Doyle. “In my live show, I’m doing stuff from both albums because they are the same.

“I’ve been working on new songs. I have about a dozen things – some new ideas for the next album. But, I’m not in any rush.”

According to Doyle, “ Fans at his show should expect to get pummeled and then go home and ask themselves ‘What the f*** just happened to me?!?”

“Doing this is a job,” said Doyle. “It’s a hard job. We work really long, hard hours. I just keep writing and writing every time I pick up my guitar.

“I want to do 150 shows a year and do a new album. I want to take this thing as far as I can.”

Video link for Doyle – https://youtu.be/S5-j82QECj4.

The show at the Troc, which also features Ghoul and U.S. Bastards, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

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