A massive experimental effort will be devoted in the coming years to the physics of QCD at high energy density and/or high baryon density. Understanding this physics may require understanding out-of-equilibrium gauge theory dynamics in the presence of a phase transition. I will discuss how holography can help us address this challenge. Topics covered will include the real-time evolution of phase separation and the far-from-equilibrium dynamics near a critical point. No prior knowledge of string theory required.