Saturday, August 6th, saw the start of Heavy Montreal, the premiere metal festival in the area, on Île Sainte-Hélène.
Although the venue has shrunk, due in part to the sharing of the festival grounds with the much-less cool Ilesoniq festival, the care that was taken to make the grounds comfortable and appealing is top-notch. Cedar chips laid out on the grounds for a comfortable walking surface and dust reduction is definitely a welcome alternative to mud and/or foot-crushing stones.
There’s also a welcomed wifi chill area, which Heavy has had in years past, and there are some cool druids watching over the fans as they take in the shows. Monster Energy Drink is also present with a booth (when aren’t they?), but this year they’re offering barber and tattoo services!
For us, the day began with Pop Evil, which just seems weird to have them playing so early in the day (1:30). Nonetheless, they killed it and won over the crowd with their infectious party vibe.
After Pop Evil, the afternoon took a darker and heavier turn with the abstract styling of The Dillinger Escape plan, Kataklysm, and Carcass. It just has to be said that Kataklysm is awesome and Carcass are masters of their craft, but if you’re a metal fan, then you know this already. Jeff Walker’s vocals were spot-on, intense, and commanding, while Bill Steer and Ben Ash traded licks like nobody’s business.
The afternoon was rounded out by a set from the legendary Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row). If you are an old-school metal fan, this was the show to see as he played all the hits from his former band and just one from his new stuff. All in all, it was excellent.
Black Label Society was next for us, and while Zakk Wylde is legend and BLS fan favorites, the set was essentially really boring. There was just not enough diversity in what they presented. I’m really hoping to see more from Zakk Wylde today as he hits the stage solo today.
Mastodon, while not necessarily my thing, were a nice act to watch, however, it really seemed like the guitarist and vocalist were higher than the international space station.
Nightwish ushered in the evening and they had the best stage show of the day with their pyro and display. Since they’re on tour still promoting Endless Forms Most Beautiful, that’s what the majority of their set consisted of.
Skipping over headliner 5 Finger Death Punch, our last show of the day was the amazing and atmospheric Cult of Luna. It was a great set and very art -like, but still very enjoyable. If I smoked pot, I think I would have liked to have been high for this one.
As great as Day 1 was, let’s hope Day 2 is even better.
Rock Hard \m/