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Hevy Fest: Day Two

Live Review

Venue: Hevy Fest, Port Lympne, Kent

All the action from the second day of Hevy

Day two of Hevy and, if you are looking for the more gnarly side of things, the pickings are slightly more slim than they were on day one.

On the main stage, the bewilderingly popular Anglo-American pop-punkers As It Is are sugar coating spoonfuls of their warm diarrhoea and force feeding it to everyone in attendance, so thank god for Hang The Bastard [8] who are their total antithesis. Vile, heavy, angry and without a second's thought given to any potential crossover appeal. They come, they bang their heads, they dish out some of the ugliest stoner punk riffs heard this side of Iron Monkey and they leave without saying please or thank you. A breath of foul air.

Black Tusk [8] continue that momentum. The US three-piece have less of an audience than HTB, but do possess more in the way of songs. Their Motörhead meets DC punk rock and rumble is similarly without frills, but the groove, pace and total commitment to the cause make them instantly likeable. Plus, with the exception of The Dillinger Escape Plan, you’ll not see another band attack their instruments with such levels of ferocity all weekend.

It’s exactly ten years to the day since Fall Of Troy [7] released their Doppelganger album, so they honour the anniversary by performing it in full on the main stage. And while those in the know absolutely lose their shit to the dizzying post-hardcore of You Got A Death Wish, Johnny Truant there are others that look on in utter bemusement and quickly lose interest. Unfortunately for music this dense and complex to really work the environment has to be just right, and a windy field in Kent seems to dull some of their impact. Which is a shame as, musically speaking, they’re one of the most talented bands here.

Back on the third stage, tech-metal masters Monuments [8] have the bit between their teeth. Vocalist Chris Baretto has been having some throat problems and isn’t allowed to speak before shows, but certainly makes up for it when he's let loose onstage, screaming, singing, whipping up the crowd and downing a whole bottle of beer while his band dish out the funked-up, polyrhythmic grooves of Atlas in classy style.

If you can imagine Mr. Bungle playing a set of Killers covers then… well they still wouldn’t be as weird as HORSE The Band [7]. This is definitely erring on the wackier side of the post-hardcore world with a Sammy Davis Jnr lookalike triangle player in old school '70s gym gear marauding around the stage alongside a Napoleon Dynamite on keyboards and Keith Lemon on vocals. It’s quite a sight, and their manic, synth heavy thrashings only add to the spectacle. “We’ve not got any t-shirts to sell you, we’re not a business any more we’re musicians,” says vocalist Nathan Winneke at one point. It’s a great sentiment and proves that there is substance to what could be looked at as a gimmick on the surface.

Those with love and fondness in their hearts are heading over to the mains tage to watch emo legends The Get Up Kids seduce them with their classic Something To Write Home About album. As perfect a piece of melodic loveliness you could ever wish to hear… fuck that though, we’re off to break our fucking necks off to Carnifex [8]. Sonically they are the most brutal band here by some distance, and the tiny third stage is packed full of people hungry to whip their heads and roar themselves hoarse to the white hot noise of Lie To My Face. Scott Lewis is an intimidating presence as a frontman, and, when he’s not concocting all manners of screams and belches from his gut, he demands his crowd put their own bodies on the line for the cause. Nice as The Get Up Kids are we’d rather be getting bludgeoned senseless thanks.

And so Hevy Fest 2015 comes to a close with the recently back from hiatus Thrice [8]. Who, it could be argued, pull the largest crowd of the weekend, as well as receiving the biggest roar, as the lights go down and the band take their place onstage. And it’s obvious why people hold them in such high esteem; this is intelligent, thoughtful and beautifully crafted shimmering punk rock. Whether dipping their toes into latter period prog-tinged material like In Exile or the more straightforward, driving emotional rock of The Artist In The Ambulance it’s a pleasure to see people in these numbers clearly in love with a band that have taken such effort to craft their music. If there was to be a complaint it would be that, like many of their peers, Thrice don’t really do much by way of a stage show. Which could be a problem for some when you are watching a headlining festival set, but the music does the talking here. It’s a pleasure to have them back, and, by extension, a pleasure to have Hevy Fest back too. Roll on next year.

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