The last day of Heavy Montreal was upon us on a blisteringly hot day. We scored with the weather, considering it was humid as fuck during Rockfest, and raining during Osheaga. We got sun, dry heat, and cool evenings the entire weekend.
I arrived during Quebec City’s Sandveiss‘ set – a band I’ve supported heavily since I discovered them at the M For Montreal fest last year. Signed to Sexy Sloth Records, they have made an incredible reputation for themselves playing huge festivals like Festival D’Ete next to bands like Megadeth, and being interviewed on radio stations across the province. Their performance at Heavy drew an enormous crowd, and people were just eating them up. They even got some cheers at the end with the crowd begging for more! I can’t get enough of Luc Bourgeois’ voice; he is definitely one of my top vocalists at the moment.
Next, I walked over to the L’Apocolypse Stage to catch a little bit of Jasta‘s set, a band I’ve never heard of before and later found out is Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta’s solo project. Damn! This band killed it. Super heavy punches, a great big, beautiful crowd, and of course Jasta gave us his usual unlimited energy on stage. He is always a pleasure to watch and one of my fave frontmen in the hardcore music scene. Glad I didn’t miss this one!
I then headed back over to one of the main stages to catch a bit of Dokken‘s set, and I realized there were a ton more people at the festival compared to the last few days- I was stuck in human traffic on the trails. I heard Warrant playing “Cherry Pie” as I walked near, giving myself shit for missing that performance. Warrant has a special place in my heart, and it would have been strange seeing them with a new lineup; but based on what I heard from the stage, it sounded badass. Lot’s of people seemed really excited to see Dokken, including me as I’ve never had the chance to catch the classic metal band from L.A. before. I checked out a couple of songs, but couldn’t stick around too long as I wanted to check out Dead Tired as well, who were on at the same time.
I’m not an Alexisonfire fan (I know I know…who isn’t right? I’ve been getting shit for this all weekend.) yet I strangely love Dead Tired. In comparison, they’re heavier and more raw than AOF which goes more toward my tastes. The reason I compare the two is because for those who do not know (which, I am sure, is no one) vocalist George Pettit sings for both AOF and Dead Tired. I like his voice, but his performance style tends to be a little cheesy in my books. Love the hairy chest though!
I tried to catch some of Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg featuring Andrew W.K.‘s set on the Scene Stage before I wandered in the woods to chat it up with Wilson. It was really fun and nostalgic watching Andrew sing for Marky Ramone’s band, and getting to hear all the great classic Ramones tracks with Andrew’s crazy twisted voice. They seemed to have played all the tracks back to back without much interaction with the audience, but it still worked. They played songs like “Rock n Roll High School” and of course “Blitzkrieg Bop”. So good! Whoever missed this one: shame on you!
Time was short, so I had to run back to the press tent at this point to try and catch Wilson, a band I’ve been following for the last few years, and who I’ve watched grow and grow. We’ve kept in touch, and we agreed to try and set up a time to hang out and chat for a bit. Guitarist, Kyle Landry met up with us, and we went over to the media tents to have a chat with the boys. Watch the interview here, hosted by Buckethead Jason Greenberg. While I anxiously waited for them to play, I grabbed an Asian poutine and pair of spring rolls( for 15$!), and chatted with a few more people. Finally, Wilson came on stage. They were loud, raunchy, energetic, punch-you-in-the-face raw, just as I had imagined. Sadly, the crowd was not as big as I had hoped it would be for them – but hey, I saw Kid Rock play in front of less than 100 people back in ’98, so I think they have hope to play an enormous crowd in the upcoming years. These guys are motivated, ambitious, and believe strongly in what they do. I mean, c’mon – a guitarist who body surfs into the crowd, then climbs a tree and plays guitar hanging upside down from the tree, followed by the singer who body surfs towards him and gives him a kiss on the forehead before gliding his way back into the crowd? If that’s not rock and roll, I don’t know what is. I even witnessed drummer Matt Puhy get a proposal. They played tracks mainly from their new record Right to Rise and a couple off their first album Full Blast Fuckery. Not much song time in a measly 30 minutes – I could have watched them go on for much longer. Come back to Montreal, Wilson!
Before my return to the main stages for Lamb of God and Slipknot, I wanted to give a quick glance at Nuclear Assault because fellow media friend Philippe Gauthier from Thorium suggested I check it out if I love thrash (and indeed I do). I caught a little of their set, and it definitely sounded killer, but I was unable to really feel focused since the areas were getting super full of people and I felt rushed to go back to the main stages to see Lamb of God. By this time, almost the entire park area was covered, which was more than I could say for the two other days. Anyhow, LOG were insane as usual; it was my third time seeing them, and they never disappoint. They just released their new record Sturm and Drang, which has been getting incredible reviews. Much more clean vocals, but still with a hard sound.
“Someone’s going to jail tonight!” shouted Corey Taylor, grinning at the crowd in his horrific mask. Slipknot were finally on, after everyone had patiently awaited this moment all day. Their setup was definitely a huge change compared to the time I saw them play the Spectrum in Montreal sixteen years ago! They’re rich, big, and famous now! Have these boys come a long way or what. Three drummers, two of which were on twirling, floating, rotating stands that flew up and down in the air; a huge, scary-horned demon face in the background, and every member of Slipknot doing their horrifying theatrical thing. Corey thanked the crowd numerous times for being there, and from what I heard based on media friends bumping into him that day, he is an all around stand-up guy (who happens to LOVE Star Wars). They played my personal fave “Wait and Bleed,” and in their encore played “Surfacing.” Corey Taylor’s voice is just as incredible live as it is on a produced recording.
My overall Heavy experience was as usual a blast; I met tons of incredible people, discovered some (not so) new bands, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. I just hope for next year we will go back to two days of metal bliss, and have a little more of an organized set layout (rather than changing the rules on us several times.) I am happy we managed to get the top two Metal singers of all time to sing for us ; Mike Patton and Corey Taylor. Orgasmic. OH and whoever was in the crowd for Faith No More and did not know the words to “Midlife Crisis“? SHAME. ON. YOU. Just wanted to point that out again.
Next year my own personal hopes for headliners would be Tool and Rage Against the Machine. A girl can dream. I’m out!
Written by Liz Imperiale
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson