They’ve done it. They’ve survived. Tomas Doyle and Ben Gibson have made it through to the other side of Hevy Festival 2011. Let’s see what they got up to on the third and final day of the festival….
1) A bleary eyed Sunday morning is kicked off (musically at least) by new Wold At Your Door Records signings, Hildamay. In truth, no one element of their set-up is really strong enough to grab the attention, and although musically competent there seems to be a lack of direction and focus which is exemplified by vocalist Tim Lawrence’s stuttering between song chit chat and rambling requests to check out their music online. Considerably slicker and frighteningly younger are Bingley math-pop upstarts Marmozets. Drummer Josh MacIntyre is only seventeen years-old, and he and his four mates rip through a set of Paramore-meets-Rolo-Tomassi insanity with what can only be described as childlike fearlessness. Becca MacIntyre’s vocals are truly standout and with some fine tuning and a couple of years to really hone their craft and channel their relentless energy they will be something quite exceptional – ones to watch.
2) Back over on the main stage, Man Overboard are kicking off with their dual vocal melodic pop-punk which is big on harmonies but perhaps a bit thin on unique selling points. For those here who are pre-existing fans (and there are plenty) this is exactly what you would want to see, playful fist in the air singalongs – the sceptics will likely remain unconverted by the two rather bored looking guitarists who flank the main men and a pervasive sense of “haven’t I seen this sort of thing done better elsewhere?” It is their touring partners Polar Bear Club who follow them onto the stage and who are met with an impressive reception. Playing a set mostly comprising tracks from their 2009 album Chasing Hamburg with a smattering from forthcoming full length ClashBattleGuiltPride, they struggle to convert their punchy punk amid sound woes but with ‘Living Saints’ and ‘Boxes’ they have songs that are sure fire winners and in Jimmy Stadt a frontman with an effortless charm and wonderfully emotive voice.
Sunday, 07 August @ Hevy Festival 2011 c/o Ben Gibson
3) For a certain section of the crowd at Hevy (namely those in their mid- to late-twenties) Capdown are an incredibly important band. Ubiquitous around the turn of the millennia and famously one of the hardest working live bands ever to have pounded the UK’s motorways, their fusion of punk rock, hardcore, ska and dub made them one of the most inventive and fun bands going – a reputation which they cemented today. Having only recently reformed they stroll on stage an immediately make light of how they don’t really fit in with the majority of acts on the line-up. “I feel distinctly under-tattooed” announces Jake Sim-Fielding before launching into a note-perfect punk onslaught that would many bands on the bill to shame. When the appearance of his saxophone is met with a huge cheer Sim-Fielding encourages the crowd to embrace the ‘deeply unfashionable’ ska punk and they do not disappoint him, skanking away in the afternoon sun without a care in the world. ‘Cousin Cleotis’, ‘Bitches and Nike Shoes’, ‘Pound for the Sound’ and of course ‘Ska Wars’ are all given an airing proving that sometimes the oldies are the best.
4) Few bands have enjoyed such an upward trajectory in 2011 as Sheffield mob While She Sleeps and as soon as they walk onto the Macbeth stage today you get the sense that they are bang up for it. The band, and the crowd in turn, go absolutely batshit mental for the duration of the set. Guitarist Mat Welsh, and in particular Vocalist Lawrence Taylor, incite the crowd into more and more outrageous acts of sheer lunacy with kids climbing the tent poles , stage diving and creating a sea of crowd surfers which sees security looking genuinely panicked. Musically, despite being well structured and cleverly conceived some of the songs feel a little samey, with punishing breakdown after punishing breakdown somewhat blurring into one. However, even in this department there is noticeable improvement, ‘be(lie)ve’ is by far and away their best song and as the chorus is yelled back by a tent full of hoarse throats you are left with the overwhelming feeling that While She Sleeps will only continue to grow in stature.
Watch Bastions tear it up live @ Hevy Festival 2011 (via Toby Thomas):
5) Good luck getting into the tent for La Dispute. The Wave bands have been popular all weekend and with an impassioned opener of ‘New Storms For Old Lovers’. La Dispute set the bar high and never look like dropping beneath it. Such is the quality of the Hevy line-up that less than a hundred yards away from one of the hottest new bands of the weekend one of the most legendary bands in hardcore history are strutting their stuff. Along with Snapcase and Earth Crisis, Strife formed the “Big Three” of the then-fledgling Victory Records and today they are a refreshing reminder of where a scene that has developed into three day outdoor festivals really began – stomping, fucking lairy and snap ya neck loud, just as it ought to be. As the afternoon wears on More Than Life bring us bang up to date with their super passionate straight up hardcore. Walking onstage to ‘Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together’, the Smiths song from which they take their name, MTL launch into a no-frills set which is pleasingly ramshackle, rough round the edges and completely exhilarating.
6) Defeater are a hot ticket this weekend and it isn’t hard to see why, playing the sort of hardcore that engages both your head and heart they open with acoustic track ‘I Don’t Mind’ backed by a choir of dudes who moments later will be scrambling for the mic and stage-diving as if their lives depended on it. With the inevitable climax of ‘Red White and Blues’ ringing in the ears you get the sense that Defeater are a very special band indeed, capable of fiercely intelligent songwriting and holding a crowd in the palm of their hand with their mesmeric, exorcistic performances. At the sharp end of the Hevy line-up both Ceremony and The Bronx, two of the finest punk bands in recent memory are shoved out of contention for our eyes and ears by other headliners but St Albans quintet Your Demise pique our attention, not least because if you use the tried and tested ‘who has the most t-shirts in the crowd’ barometer of popularity, YD are one of the most anticipated acts of the whole weekend. This suspicion is confirmed as they launch into material from recent album The Kids We Used To Be, the sheer number of fists in the air for the “FUCK THE WORLD” pre-chorus of ‘Miles Away’ beggars belief and ‘Life of Luxury’ is the catalyst for wall to wall pandemonium. What is really remarkable about Your Demise is that they seem to have gained popularity across a wide fan base, much of it quite young, without really compromising their sound in any way. They are heavy as fuck and goddamned proud – it’s not re-inventing the wheel but then again in this environment it doesn’t need to. Awesome stuff.