I went to Heavy Montreal, and here’s a highly subjective description of one of the tens of thousands of unique experiences:
I made a point of arriving at the beginning of the day in order to catch Monster Truck – but what didn’t make sense is that so many other people were there already. It was 12:15 and the island was crawling with people. The area near the metro and front gates was a zoo. Didn’t all these people realize that Metallica wasn’t going to be on for another 8 hours?
Monster Truck were a good way to start the day. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, they just keeping it rolling. I stole that line from Eagle Tears, the band that was coincidentally playing at the same time on another stage. It fits perfectly, though. For a band with only one album, Monster Truck’s set was pretty filled with good songs. If you like heavy riffs paired with inoffensive yarls, they’re the band for you.
Externally, I looked like this:
Internally, I was thinking this:
After the headliners, Babymetal was clearly the most hyped band of the day. The revelation for me was that the group is not made up solely of three J-pop singing teenage girls – there are also actually four adult men who play the instruments yet always seem to be left out of the discussion (and press photos).
The size of the crowd for Baby Metal was mind boggling. What’s wrong with you people?
Getting to see Mass Hysteria was a treat, they don’t come to town that often and aren’t a band I’d necessarily expect Heavy Montreal to book (a subtheme of this year’s lineup). I haven’t listened to any of their last four albums and had a fool’s hope that they’d just stick to songs from 1999’s classic Contraddiction. Obviously that wasn’t the case, but it is was fine – the newer songs were all good and they ended on the hits: “P4”, “Furia”, & “Contraddiction” (all from that album).
Here’s 3/5ths of the band eschewing use of the stage:
Also, shout out to Reindeer Guy – by far the most hardcore of every single person at the festival. You ever try wearing a full furry costume all day in 30 degree heat and getting in on the wall of death? Heatstroke’s got nothing on him.
Pennywise were playing at the same time as Municpal Waste, but it was a pretty easy decision to make. Except once the dude from MW said “Aren’t you glad you’re missing Bro Hymn for this?”, it clicked: “Ah shit! I’m missing Bro Hymn!”. Johnny = not glad. Regardless, it was still the most fun set of the weekend. Municipal Waste is always refreshing in that they are actually having fun, not just running through a setlist.
No one has uploading any good videos from their set yet (I’m looking for one that shows the two tree pits!), so in the meantime, here’s a gem from the last time they were in town:
And of course, “Bro Hymn”:
Unlocking The Truth
Curiously, the crowd for Unlocking The Truth was 1/100th what is was for Babymetal. At least these kids are actually playing instruments!
The last time Whitechapel were in town, I was pretty bored for the first 45 mins or of their set – the difference between their best songs and the rest is huge. At that last show (Club Soda, February 2013), they ended on their best four songs – no surprise there, that’s how it’s supposed to be done. So this time, I smartened up: “They’re on from 3:45-4:30, perfect, I’ll show up at 4:15 and nail it”. Did I nail it? Of course not: I missed “I, Dementia” and apparently they didn’t even play “The Darkest Day of Man” or “Section 8”. That was the day’s biggest disappointment. At least the guy in front of me had an awesome tattoo of a battlefield including some Nazgul and a dragon sieging a castle covering his entire back. It’s better than staring at the stage, right?
There were 24 bands playing on Saturday. 7 that I wanted to see, 6 that would be fine, 5 neutrals, 3 that I wanted to avoid, and 3 that I knew nothing about. Whores were one the three that I knew nothing about and so missed all but their last song and a half. Turns out it was the best song and a half of the day! Whoops!
When there are 23 other ‘heavy’ bands playing, it can be pretty tough to stand our as being heavy. But seriously, Whores were heavy. Really, really heavy, and tight, with amazing sound, and actual songs! If you don’t know them, check it:
Thanks to my mistake of missing Whores, I made sure to catch Nekrogoblikon, who I knew nothing about except that they have a goblin in the band. Turns out they fall into my most hated subgenre of music: kitchensink metal. There’s bands that do it worse than they do (see: Unexpect), but seriously, try making it through this:
But for some self-hating reason, I stayed through their entire set…
Like you, eleven year-old me had pretty bad taste in music. I’ll spare you the details, but there’s only one cassette that I still have from then that has survived being thrown out, lost, or taped over and still gets played now and then (it actually lives in my stereo for lack of competition): Smash. I don’t give a damn about The Offspring as a band, but I fucking love Smash. I put it on a few days before the festival and realized that I know almost all the words – probably the only album that I can say that for (hell, I have trouble with “Happy Birthday”). For this show (and tour), they played Smash in its entirety and it was glorious. And since I’ve only ever listened to it on a worn out cassette, it sounded great. Seeing so many other people jam to all the non-hits was super cool. But once “Self-Esteem” was done (they saved it for the end of the album), it was time to bee-line for the Metallica stage, no need to wait around for the encore and the later album singles.
The gimmick in Metallica’s set was that it was ‘by request’. In the weeks leading up to the festival, people could vote on which songs they wanted the band to perform, here are the results. Cool idea, but really, weren’t they going to play all those songs anyway? And wait a sec, I don’t see “Lords of Summer” on there – a new song they forced on the crowd even though no one requested it. You missed the point guys, the crowd only wanted songs that were 23 years or older. Besides that, it was a set without surprises: an insane amount of people, huge screens, tiny band (from my view), good sound (the whole day was nearly windless), awesome riffs, overly-long songs, sweet lights, and “Seek & Destroy” making the perfect soundtrack for a head-banging bike ride home over the bridge. Good times…
Come back soon to find out how Sunday went down…