LIVE: HEVY Fest: Day 2- Port Lympne Animal Park, Kent 15/08/2015
After surviving the likes of Fightstar, Coheed & Cambria, The Dillinger Escape Plan amongst others. Greig returned for round 2 of HEVY Fest, in Kent.
Featuring: The Colour Line, Trash Boat, Ohhms, Milk Teeth, Fathoms, Fort Hope, Broken Teeth, As It Is, Crooks, Hang The Bastard, Arcane Roots, Black Tusk, Fall Of Troy, Monuments, Horse The Band, Get Up Kids, Judge, and Thrice.
Upon entering the arena area for the second full day of HEVY Fest, the scene was one of bodies lying around and people eating breakfast for lunch, a sign of how brilliant the first day proper was. Highlights from day one included great sets from Press To MECO, Black Peaks, Touche Amore, Hacktivist, Betraying The Martyrs, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fightstar and of course Coheed and Cambria (to name just a few), and expectations were very high for day two.
Starting the day off in the Stage 3 tent was the The Colour Line. Although everyone was laying around outside, inside was standing only and it didn’t take long for vocalist Sam Rudderforth to get in amongst the crowd which gave the rest of the band even more room of stage for throwing themselves and their guitars around. The crowd seemed for the most part new to the band’s music but they were an attentive lot clearly appreciating the chaos around them. When encouraged to join in with the “I’m burning for my sins” chant they didn’t shirk the call. Like Heck on this stage the day before, The Colour Line also seriously enhanced their growing reputation as a live band not to be missed.
Not put off by most of the crowd still horizontal in the arena area, Trash Boat took to the Main Stage with an upbeat set of catchy Pop Punk, served up with much jumping and energetic bouncing around the stage. By the end anyone not on their feet probably needed an ambulance.
Back at Stage 3 Ohhms were busy laying down huge slabs of slow progressive Doom with excellent bluesy guitar soloing and cool drum breaks accompanying soundscape sections of feedback and noise. The effect seemed to cause manic fits in singer Paul Waller, whenever he wasn’t hitting us with his powerful vocals, and for bassist Chainy to constantly go wild about the stage. Great.
Things took another interesting turn on Main Stage next when Milk Teeth brought their grungier brand of Punk to HEVY. The vocal duo of Josh Bannister and Becky Blomfield, and the band’s more alternative well crafted musical style, set them aside from much of the day’s line-up creating music that was powerful and refreshingly different.
Stage 3 once again proved tempting to see, with Fathoms taking their turn at smashing the stage. They sounded tight thanks to some seriously on point drumming which allowed the constant stream of power riffs to flow. Vocalist Max Campbell’s growl sounded in good harsh form too which made for another suitably impressive Fathoms show, something that is becoming a regular occurrence.
At the more commercial end of the Rock / Metal spectrum Fort Hope hit the Main Stage confidently showing why they are now a recently signed major label band. Frontman Jon Gaskin’s versatile vocals hit the higher notes with ease, songs such as “Tears” sounding particularly sweet. There’s plenty of potential hits in their armoury for sure.
The first visit of the day to Stage 2 was for Broken Teeth who were clearly enjoying themselves causing all sorts of mayhem to break out in front of the stage. Vocalist Dale Graham spent time orchestrating events from the barrier, the crowd keen to scream into the mic or dance hardcore style in the pit. Thankfully there were no idiots ruining the fun for the less active onlookers but even so, much of the audience chose to enjoy the show in the safer area outside the tent.
As It is were next up on Main Stage and they put on one of the most energetic performances of the weekend, keeping the jump-per-minute rate at a maximum. Their infectious blasts of Pop Punk were greeted with an enthusiastic response but still vocalist Patty Walters encouraged everyone to not be afraid to squeeze forward more… with a tongue in cheek poke at the band being “the most intimidating band on the day, if not the whole festival”. Good to see a band who don’t take themselves too seriously all the time.
With a delay over at Stage 3 there was a chance to quickly check out Crooks at Stage 2. They were busy laying in to the mess left behind by Broken Teeth earlier and the packed tent seemed to be having a great time of it. First impressions were of a band of class players (especially the drummer) writing well crafted songs with depth and plenty of subtleties backing up the more obvious hooks. Reminiscent at times of an early Mallory Knox they seem definitely worthy of another look sometime soon.
Hang The Bastard took to their stage a little later than expected but it all helped to build the feeling of expectancy in the tent. Silhouetted by blood red lights the band opened with a one-two of “Keeping Vigil” and “Morrs Tempest” from the “Sex In The Seventh Circle” album. The atmosphere was intense, the sound absolutely savage. It all provided the perfect backdrop for Tomas Hubbard’s filthy vocals. One of the standout sets of the weekend.
From some killer old school Metal on Stage 3 to the more progressive leanings of Arcane Roots next on Main Stage. The band have done some huge gigs over the last few months and they brought a suitably big show to Hevy stating their intent from the off with stunning versions of “Over & Over”, “Sacred Shapes”, and “Energy is Never Lost…”. The crowd helped out with chants during technical difficulties in “Million Dollar Question” but all was sorted for a fantastic “If Nothing Breaks…” to finish.
After that it felt time for something a little more musically direct. Black Tusk rattled the tent posts of Stage 3 with their high tempo dirty Stoner Punk noise. It was loud and brash and played without any unnecessary bravado and there were plenty here who appreciated the chance to just get on with banging their heads. No proper Metal festival is complete without at least one band like Black Tusk on the bill.
One of the most anticipated bands of the weekend now took to the Main Stage. Back from a hiatus, and playing their ten year old album “Doppelganger” in full, Fall Of Troy were given a big reception. Despite the age of the songs they still sounded fresh, helped by the band’s energetic performance. Hopefully, the appreciation they received will encourage the band to follow up with some new material.
The strength of this year’s line-up meant that there were one or two bands who seemed to be playing on smaller stages than might normally be expected. One such band was Monuments. Those that filled the tent got a real treat of a show seeing musicianship this good at such close quarters. With drummer Mike Malyan recently leaving the band a potential stumbling block has been brilliantly and quickly avoided with replacement Anup Sastry taking up the empty throne. As usual he was in stunning form, his soundcheck alone gaining gasps of admiration. The other relative newcomer, vocalist Chris Barretto, was as charismatic as ever. Crowd favourite “Degenerate” sounded awesome. Here’s hoping this lineup will remain stable now for the band to reach their full (massive) potential.
The most nutty performance of the weekend must surely go to Horse The Band who were as ridiculous as they were brilliant (very). More people need to see this band if only for the stage exploits of high jumping hard hitting guest triangle player Ed Edge who looked like an extra from Fame. In seriousness the band are excellent players. A band can’t pull off this level of craziness without being accomplished musicians. That includes playing the triangle.
Joining the bands playing seminal albums in full this weekend were The Get Up Kids with a play through of their “Something To Write Home About” album. Not unsurprisingly their performance was a more relaxed affair when compared to many of the festivals more exuberant bands, preferring to let the music make the impression rather than the show. With the excellent sound (and no doubt their improved musicianship nowadays) the set seemed better at times than the original record.
Headlining Stage 2 were straight edge Hardcore heavyweights Judge. Their set opened with “Fed Up” and included other notable tracks such as “New York Crew”, “Warriors”, “Bringin’ It Down” and “Take Me Away”. The show was one for the connoisseurs. The older members of the crowd, or those with more historic knowledge of the scene, certainly appreciated the chance to see one of Hardcore’s most outspoken bands.
Bringing the live music at the festival to a close on the Main Stage was Thrice, back after a three year break. There’s no doubt their reunion has been a big ticket draw with much of the crowd here hoping for something great, the band’s hiatus only serving to give them near legendary status among their fans. Opening song “Of Dust and Nations” was given and ecstatic response and “Firebreather” took the show to the next level. They played like they had never been away, fluent and confident and it was a fitting way to end the festival… with a new beginning.
Reflecting on the day it was not quite as strong overall as the previous day, which really was quite exceptional and will probably be remembered as one of the best HEVY Fest days in its history. However, it certainly was a close second and the weekend as a whole was one of the best of any Rock / Metal / Punk festival. The sound, lights and staging were excellent. The security team were not heavy handed and they allowed people to have fun without compromising safety. The whole organisation was efficient. Of course there’s always a gripe or two about food choices but prices seemed fair enough for the most part and the cost of beer was on a par with most city venues. Overall, it was a great festival experience that should be first on the list for festival goers next year. Tickets for 2016 are available now via the HEVY Fest website and there’s a monthly payment plan to spread the cost too.
© Greig Clifford. All images are subject to copyright laws. All rights reserved.