Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you part two of my Heavy Montreal experience. I will stick with the same words I used yesterday: hot, intimate, and loud, only with a ton more people. Do that many people really like Disturbed? Really?
As soon as I walked into the festival with lovely Bucketlist photographer, Stacy Basque, I had Mantar on my mind. I was happy they played so early. Mantar are an interesting duo; a couple of dudes from Germany who decided to mix elements of thrash, black metal, sludge, and hardcore. I discovered this band through my director over at the CJLO 1690 AM station. If you do not know who this band is yet, please go listen to them. They ripped as hard as I expected they would. Recently signed to Nuclear Blast, I think these guys have a solid future ahead. Vocalist Hanno expressed serious gratitude for the crowd watching them – with a surprised reaction.
Unfortunately, due to some hard rain I caught only some of Animals As Leaders set right after which was, as usual, of a high technicality that made all the guitar nerds wet their pants. Over the years Tosin Abasi was listed as one of the best guitarists of our time. If you’d like to read his top ten influences, metalsucks.net have listed them here. I can only fully enjoy this band when I can get a close-up of their guitar techniques and really be able to watch them, otherwise it just becomes background music – for which I’d rather be at home listening to them while I work or unwind.
Saint Asonia, however were another story. I was never a big fan of this band, nor the bands that these guys come from. But wow, can they ever put on a show! I didn’t really notice anyone around me. My eyes were locked on the stage. They ended up playing some of their classics from past band projects including from Adam Grontier’s old band Three Days Grace, the song “I Hate Everything About You” which made the crowd go wild, with lots of singing along to every track. Clearly this band still has the magic to deliver to their fans. During the set Adam said, “We are here to stay whether you like it or not,” after announcing a second album in the works. I think I am officially a fan. We later had the pleasure of having a quick chat with Adam and Mike Mushok (guitarist). You can find their shoutout here on our Instagram.
Hatebreed never, ever disappoint. I’ve seen them a bajillion times and it’s always a fun party. They opened with “Destroy Everything” which of course really got the crowd hyped up. Vocalist Jamey Jasta is fucking adorable on stage. He is full of smiles, speeches, bounces, and fist pumps. The entire crowd was jumping and fist pumping, and I think the pit finally got fairly big compared to the day before. I have to say Jasta is probably one of my favourite frontmen to watch. We interviewed Hatebreed when they were here last, check it out here.
On the Scene Stage, bands like Beartooth, Memphis May Fire and Suffocation were ripping faces off while I was running around trying to catch as much as possible. By this point in the day, during Blind Guardian’s set, I was asked to help host on the live broadcast CJLO was throwing. ‘Twas a ton of fun. I was joined by director Andrew Weiler, my partner in crime Jason Greenberg, and Yell Magazine’s founder Shawn Loeffler. We hung around that for a while, until Mantar joined us for a little interview.
Killswitch Engage was next on my list. It was my second time catching these guys and of course it was phenomenal. All bias aside (I am a big fan), they always put on a great show. Even if you don’t like em’, Jesse Leach’s voice is pretty addictive. He has a beautiful singing voice, but also a fantastic screaming voice. I also missed Adam Dutkiewicz’ obsession with boobs. Every single show, he asks women to take their tops off. Because you know, “If you’re gonna sit on someone’s shoulders and block the person behind you, you may as well take your top off” – the quote of the day by Dutkiewicz. Love. It. That aside, it was a killer set as usual. They played a few of my personal favourites including “My Curse” and “The End of Heartache”.
And now for the worst performance of the festival: Breaking Benjamin. Man, I was so excited to catch these guys. I really was. But I decided I really like listening to them at home, because I don’t have to witness Benjamin Burnley’s douchebaggery on stage. I say kick this dude out of his own band, and let the other members take over. I was more interested in watching guitarist-vocalist Keith Wallen perform over him. What a lovely voice that man has. Benjamin was quoted to have a “honey hay” kinda voice (by some New Brunswick attendees who witnessed this performance) which I thought was the perfect description. Pretty sure you get the idea. Also..Ben…a word of advice. Shut up! Too many corny, lame speeches, man. Please. Just play your music and get off the stage. I tried checking the other band members on their Facebook page, but he only lists himself. Go figure. Also Tool and Nirvana are listed as influences. They played “Smells like Teen Spirit,” the worst Nirvana song on the planet, as a cover, which was terrible. I’m sorry to BB fans. I AM a fan…of listening to them in the comfort of my own home. Disappointing.
Last but not least, the headliner of the festival Disturbed was on. The entire grounds of the park were filled for this. Really? I just don’t get it. But I will say this: they put on a fucking stellar set. Even though I laughed at David Draiman’s outfit that he has been wearing for the last 30 years, and cracked up during “Stupify,” I still could definitely appreciate them. Draiman has an incredibly unique voice and can definitely hold a note. I loved their cover of one of my favourite songs of all time – Genesis’ “Land of Confusion.” So perfect. They ruined my attention with their cover of Simon and Garfunkels’ “Sound of Silence.” The crowd seemed to dig it though! I will leave you with this video.
So there you have it. Heavy Montreal 2016 is over. Overall, I had a good time. The bands generally all rocked, everything was very on time, no delays, sound was stellar for the most part, and I had the chance of seeing friends in the media world I don’t get to see often. We all worked our asses off and I just want to give a shoutout to them, the Evenko staff, and everyone who tried their best to make this happen. Sure, it was smaller. Sure, it wasn’t what we were used to. Not everyone got the rewards they deserved for their hard work. But all we can do is just remember the good times, and keep supporting great music and each other. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Until next year Heavy Metalheads! \m/
Written by Liz Imperiale
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Kate Erickson