The crowd was much smaller today, and I was a little disappointed because this was the day I looked forward to most featuring headliner Faith No More, a band I have waited 24 years to see.
When I was twelve years old, I remember being jealous that my older sister was heading to the Olympic Stadium to catch FNM along with Metallica and Guns n’ Roses, and my parents did not let me go. I never thought I’d get to see them. But finally, they were here at Heavy! The day went a little slow for me due to the excitement, however it was a day filled with many old-school bands I love, as well as tons of newcomers like pop punk band Masked Intruder (who apparently had someone dressed as a cop dancing around in the crowd!), and Montrealers Dig it Up – both bands I unfortunately missed (performance scheduling conflicts could not have been worse for me on this day).
Let me talk a little about the festival experience itself so far. I could not find the water fountains at all yesterday, and asked about four security guards, and none of them knew. Finally today, after sitting down with a couple of metal heads from New Brunswick at a picnic table eating our $12 burgers, they kindly told me exactly where it was. Yay water! Finally! Set up was generally the same this year minus a few small changes, one of them being that we had our very own pit for easy photo access. At least that is what we thought…we had it all day yesterday, but today during Testament‘s set, suddenly it was blocked off to anyone with a camera. But when Iggy Pop came on, photographers were allowed back in. The constant change of rules and plans were kind of frustrating.
Enough of my bitching. On to the music. Queen of Metal, Lita Ford was the first act I caught for the day. Man, this chick is still hot as ever, and I totally dug her red leather jumpsuit. She performed classics, like her and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Close my Eyes Forever,” and the crowd went wild. Pure metal. She drew a large crowd of pure metal listeners, and everyone waved their hands and got drawn in.
I ran over to the L’Apocolypse stage to try and catch the rest of Glassjaw‘s set. These guys have been around since the Deftones began, and you can tell. I basically felt like I was at a Deftones show. They brought insanely musical technicality and lots of energy to the stage, but the vocals irritated me after a while. I can definitely respect the love for these guys, but just not my thing.
I ran over back to the Scene Stage to catch Gojira, a band I have seen three times now including this one. Holy fucking shit! Best set ever!! This was the word from the crowd as well, most mentioning Gojira as their highlight of the day. Their kicks were so deep, I was taken in completely. It was the heaviest I’ve seen so far that day – and it was still early, mind you. But these dudes from France really know how to make things metal, and lucky for us Montrealers, they come here quite often. Do not miss a Gojira show! They played tracks like “Ocean Planet” and “Backbone” (my personal fave). I did find myself headbanging; with those kicks it’s hard not to!
By the time Bucketlist photographer Isa and I walked over to try and catch some of Dig It Up‘s set, we heard them say “Thank you Montreal!” and it was over. I was pretty bummed for missing out, but they play often, so I will catch them next time.
The Agonist was another band I caught for the second time on the De La Foret Stage. I am totally in love with Vicky Psarakis’ voice, and am so glad this band found her. However the sound did not do this band justice. This stage by far had the worst sound of all four stages (L’Apocolypse being the best) and I felt really bad for the musicians. Of course, they brought their usual kick-ass energy, on-stage chemistry, and crowd interaction to their performance, but the sound hurt my ears. There was too much distortion, and I could hardly hear the drums. Sadly I did not catch many bands on this stage, but I hope it wasn’t as bad for the others.
“Are you ready for the nerdiest part of the festival?!” The Devin Townsend Project, who was the third highlight of the overall festival for me (next to Neurosis and Korn). This man is a MACHINE. He can go from ‘happy-man-face’ to ‘angry-metal-machine-face’ in two seconds. His sense of humor makes the entire show a super fun experience. The sound was absolutely perfect during this set, and Townsend’s voice was mesmerizing. He easily could go from a high octave to a screaming metal growl. It was my first time seeing his project perform, and I will definitely catch him again and again. Not only do you get the nerdiest metal show around, with its cheesy synths, amazing singalong lyrics like “Never fear love” coming from the song “Grace,” you get a comedic act, a great, talented band, and awesome light shows!
Up next for me was the God of classic punk, Iggy Pop. This man can dance, sing, and still takes his shirt off and doesn’t give a shit at the age of 68. I fucking loved his performance. He brought tons of energy, and sounded the same as he did 20 years ago. He played some of my faves like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “I’m Bored.” So many boobs appeared in the crowd! Boobs everywhere! It was indeed a classic punk rock show.
Finally, my dream came true. I watched the stage crew set up the stage for Faith No More and my heart beat really fast. They had an all white set surrounded by flowers. It was indeed my Heaven. I was a little sad as a friend shared their setlist with me and it killed the surprise, but they ended up playing a completely different set. They opened with “Motherfucker” their first new single off the new record Sol Invictus, and then took it into “From out of Nowhere.” Mike Patton sounded exactly like he does on the records, which was a dream come true to get to hear The Real Thing live. “How many of you like Poutine?” Patton asked. Everyone raised their hands; he replied, “No wonder they call it Heavy Montreal.” Gotta love Patton’s blunt sense of humor. What was shocking was when they played “Midlife Crisis,” the crowd couldn’t even sing along to the words. They then did a small interlude and sang Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love” while Patton ‘jerked off’ to the crowd. Good for him – what a disappointment!!! Another highlight was when Patton took over a crew member’s camera and filmed himself screaming into it. “Cone of Shame,” “Easy,” and “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” was also Epic to see live.
Overall, the highlights of Heavy Montreal for me, include Neurosis, Korn, Devin Townsend Project, and Faith No More. Bands I would have LIKED to see and missed are Augury, Abbath (caught them a little on the screen at the end of their set..looked fucking wild), Masked Intruder, and Dig it Up. I’ll catch these guys soon I hope! Day 3 coming up!
Written by Liz Imperiale
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson