Well, by the second day of Hevy Festival 2011, both Tomas Doyle (words) or Ben Gibson (photos) were still standing, despite pre-festival promises to mosh till they dropped and/or died. While Raz was off sobbing over the demise of The Ghost Of A Thousand, our other men in the field scoped out what else was going down on Saturday….
Six things we learnt on the Saturday of Hevy Festival 2011
1) Saturday kicks off in pretty brutal fashion, with Brotherhood Of The Lake bringing their relentless metal infused hardcore to the Etnies/FRONT stage and pummelling a frankly unsuspecting crowd into the turf with phenomenal ferocity. Meanwhile, over on the Jägermeister stage, Sardinian hardcore quartet Gold Kids were bashing through a set of straight up punk rock fury with some darker, more malevolent undertones thrown in to spice up proceedings. Their quickslowquick shtick is a well worn furrow but they well and truly push the dial to eleven in terms of passion and conviction of delivery.
2) Following them onto the main stage (albeit to a muted reception) are Canterbury hardcore kings, November Coming Fire. The lack of crowd for a band who have recently reformed and are somewhat local was puzzling but NCF repay those who had made the effort with a dazzling set of dark, claustrophobic metal reminiscent of Old Man Gloom or a slowed down Doomriders. ‘Argonaut’ and ‘Closure’ from the outstanding full-length Dungeness are particular highlights and the band cope well with having to play on a big stage, far from the assembled throng and in broad daylight – not exactly their natural habitat. The writhing crowd pile-on for closing track (and long time fan-favourite) ‘Transgression’ is demonstrative of NCF’s power to mobilize any audience on their day and it is a pleasure to have them back on the UK scene.
3) Spy Catcher are a name on the lips of many at the moment, a fact no doubt motivated in part by the presence of ex-members of Cry For Silence, a current member of Gallows (and occasionally even a former Sikth man) amongst their ranks. If you expect them to sound anything like any of those bands however then you are in for a sad shock because they play shamelessly poppy good time rock with hints of The Get Up Kids and Loved Ones. Today they bring the noise like the seasoned veterans that they are and there is a bit more crunch to them than is in evidence on their (admittedly limited) recorded output. Whether they will ever step out of the shadows of their former projects remains to be seen but if today is anything to go by they are slowly accruing a fanbase all of their own.
Saturday, 06 August @ Hevy Festival 2011 c/o Ben Gibson
4) As The Carrier ply their stompy old skool hardcore to a larger-than-expected crowd in the blazing afternoon heat our eyes shift to the Macbeth tent where fellow Bostonians, Make Do And Mend, are whipping up a storm. Recent album, End Measured Mile, is as beautifully crafted a punk rock record as you are likely to hear and tracks from it, in particular ‘Knowingly Strong’ and ‘Oak Square’ are replete with the sort of raw honesty and whisky soaked vocals which sees the crowd eating out of their hand from the word go. James Carroll’s gruff delivery will naturally bring to mind scene stalwarts Hot Water Music but there is much more to offer here than pure aping – and with a live show this good they look set to go far.
5) The upside of Trash Talk being last minute drop-outs is that we are treated to two fast and furious sets from up and coming ear shredders Feed The Rhino and TRC as replacements. With Feed The Rhino frankly crushing everything in their path, TRC took the stage ready to rub salt into the gaping wounds left by their mates (who had presumably gone off to see if they could locate any Rhinos to feed at the animal park). Whatever you might say about TRC’s slightly dim-witted recorded output they are without any shadow of a doubt a band that fire it up live in a way which very few others in the UK can right now. In Chris Robson they have a frontman with so much swagger, knowing bravado and unquestionable X-Factor that they are almost impossible to not enjoy. By the time ‘Cocky’s Back’ and ‘London’s Greatest Love Story’ roll around, the sextet’s brand of MC-driven hardcore not only seems more palatable than it might at first glance but sees TRC emerge as one of the most entertaining sets of the weekend. Well played, lads.
6) Prize for shrewdest booking of the festival goes to Title Fight who reveal that they have been flown over specifically for Hevy Fest to showcase tracks from their outstanding new record Shed much to the delight of a packed out and energetic tent. That said, they explode out the traps with a stirring rendition of an older song, namely ‘Symmetry’ – all fist pumping choruses and sweet guitar melodies and never look back. ‘27’ sees one of Saturday’s biggest crowd sing-along’s and the band admirably showcase the slower, almost Weezer-ish side of their back catalogue alongside the pop-punk meets hardcore sound that they are most noted for. Finishing with the eponymous track from their new album, they goad the crowd into a stage invasion the likes of which won’t be matched all weekend and leave everyone desperate for more.