So here we are finally; the heaviest weekend Montreal has to offer has officially begun. Thousands of metalheads, ready to see and listen to their favorite bands, are taking over Parc Jean Drapeau for the next 72 hours.
As I only moved to Montreal last September it’s my first Heavy MTL and from what I’ve heard regarding the previous editions, I’m really excited to be part of it this year.
When I arrive to the site, on this cloudy Friday afternoon, few bands have already played but hopefully my partner in crime Kieron managed to take pictures so you won’t miss a bit.
You could also have had the opportunity of seeing bands such as Venom, Revocation, Strung Out, Extreme or Arch Enemy and their emblematic frontwoman.
So after my last busy day at work for the week, I’m in a huge need of music and fresh air.
Wristband “OK”, security checks “OK”, 5:30pm and I’m on my way to stage “De La Forêt” (or stage 4), to see American band Nothing More.
Only a few people showed up and what a shame because the band sounds amazing. They are full of energy and the singer offers a perfect mix between clean vocals and screams. This is definitely a band to check out.
I then made my way to the “Apocalypse” stage (or stage 3), which is only a few meters away. Veil Of Maya is now playing; if you are into deathcore music you probably already know them and if you don’t…what are you waiting for ?!
Sometimes when you see bassists playing on 6 strings you don’t understand because they don’t use half of it, but that time I have to admit bassist Dan Hauser blew me away… To be completely honest all the musicians are all really good.
As I haven’t seen the rest of the site yet I decided to go for a walk and check what Heavy Montreal has to offer other than music. It didn’t take too long to notice the huge amount of beer stands, food stands and food trucks. For sure I won’t have to starve.
I have to admit prices were a bit high, but for the first time Evenko allowed the audience to bring their own food and drinks on the site so that was definitely a good thing.
Maybe you also noticed this guy with long hair drawing in front of stage ? If you did, it was Norwegian artist Kim Holm doing what it does best.
Now it’s time to check Californian punk rockers Lagwagon on main stage number 2. I was really surprised the crowd wasn’t bigger compare to the notoriety of the band and the size of the stage they were playing on.
Anyways, the band played their catchy songs with passion and delivered a really nice set.
No need to go too far: Main stage number 1 is right next door and Swedish act Meshuggah is ready to spread its progressive metal to a more packed audience.
Formed back in 1987, the band has nothing to prove. They have influenced the metal scene a lot and the headbangs, horns up and good reaction of the crowd is here to prove it.
Quick stop by the “Apocalypse” scene again to go support the only french band that plays on Friday. Started in Paris in 1989, Lofofora is a pioneer of the “rock fusion metal” genre in France. I never had the chance to see them when I was still living in France and I’m glad they have the opportunity to play and show that the french scene is not dead.
Most of the audience seems to be francophone, but I can understand because the band only sings in french. The sound is really heavy, groovy, and singer Reuno knows how to entertain the crowd with classics like “Envie de tuer”, and it’s not an easy task when Meshuggah is playing at the same time.
It is now almost 8pm, and there is only 2 bands left on this first day of the festival. It has been really good so far, people seem to be having a lot of fun. I even saw a lot of kids out there… guess the metal is safe with this next generation (but please remember to put earplugs on your kids if you don’t want them to be deaf before they even go to school).
Here I am, in the front rows of Main stage 2, waiting for THE band I am the most excited to see on this year’s line up and I am not the only one.
Of course I’m talking about Canadians Alexisonfire who are reuniting after a 3 years hiatus. The crowd is massive, a lot of fans are here wearing their AOF shirts and, as soon as the band enters the stage under screams from the audience, I knew this show would be special.
The band hits hard directly with songs “Accidents” followed by “Boiled Frogs”. George Pettit’s energy and powerful screaming nicely fit with amazing clear voice of Dallas Green (also known as “City and Colour”) whose choruses are sung by the whole crowd.
The last show the band played together was back in 2012 but tonight it feels like nothing has changed. As soon as first notes of “This Could Be Anywhere In The World” are played the audience just got crazier and it did not stopped with “Young Cardinals”.
After almost 75 minutes, Alexisonfire closes their set with the song “Happiness By The Kilowatt” leaving the fans thrilled by one the best performance I’ve seen in a long time.
Last but not least, it’s now time for headliners Nu Metal band KORN to show us what they got.
Thousands of people are packed in front of the Molson Canada Main stage and from all the Korn t-shirt I saw during the day, I know a lot of die hard fan are here tonight.
Moreover this show is a bit special as it’s KORN’s 20th anniversary and, to celebrate, the band decided to play their first and self-titled album that came out in 1994. As soon as the show started I felt like I was back in the 90’s!
Not only because of the music that made me think of my teenage years, but also because singer Jonathan Davis was wearing his famous Adidas sweatpants; and even if I’ve never been a huge fan, that’s how I remember them when I first discovered the band. Only the little drone floating in the air near the stage made me realize I wasn’t in 1994.
It only took a few seconds for the crowd the get wild when the band first started with song “Blind”, and here I am lost in a human tide with a lot of crowd surfing and sing alongs. We had the pleasure of hearing songs like “Divine”, “Predictable” or “Daddy” with an outstanding sound quality for an outside show.
After a short break, Korn came back on stage, this time with Jonathan Davis’ legendary custom-made silver mic stand, to perform the last 3 songs for the night : “Falling Away From me”, “Here To Stay” and “Freak On A Leash”.
We truly couldn’t expected a better way to end this first day of festivities.
Review – Ingrid Pllrn
Photos – Kieron Yates