Having overcome the mishaps of the past couple of years, Hevy Fest 2015 showed plenty of potential going in. With fan favourite albums being played in full alongside a range of up-and-coming bands, it all looked very promising.
Friday August 14th 2015
Wraiths kick off the 3rd stage with their take on down-tuned savage hardcore. Though they are relatively tight and play with a malice that is far too real for half 1 in the afternoon, their efforts do very little to awake a possibly hungover crowd from their boozy slumber. (3/5) (JR)
However, our time at at the second stages starts with a slight hitch as Liverpudlian pop punks WSTR start later than scheduled. Nevertheless, the quintet bring their “posi” pop-punk vibes with plenty of zest. Having formed less than a year ago, WSTR are still finding their feet and it shows. Whilst there is energy, their style borders on the generic pop-punk line, something which they’re happy to admit. Nevertheless, today’s appearance is still something to put on their growing list of achievements. (3/5) (SR)
Continents boot things off on the main stage and do so with vigor and reason. Their time spent away from the live circuit has seen them develop a real hunger for the music they make again and ‘Pegasus, Pegasus’ especially rings loud with reason and oomph. (3.5/5) (JR)
Chon follow and with their debut UK performance deliver an inch-perfect array of instrumental prog-influenced majesty. Regardless of the different flavor it gives off to the rest of the line up, the band stand proudly and more than likely earn themselves a new fan or 20 across the length of their set. (3.5/5) (JR)
With their combination off-kilter signatures and infectious melodies, Press To Meco show plenty of promise. Our brief showing highlights the trio’s knack for producing favourable duel harmonies with suitable hard riffs that are accessible. It seems their style was enough to attract plenty of casual festival-goers walking by. Let’s hope their debut album later this year backs up their potential. (3/5) (SR)
For Heck, it’s a case of different name, same glorious controlled chaos. As expected, the confines of the small third stage isn’t enough to keep hold of the Nottingham bands brand of destructive noise-core. With staggered riffs and frankly heavy as f*ck breakdowns, Heck step up to their reputation of being one of the most visceral and chaotic bands on the UK underground scene. As always, you have to search where the hell in the tent the members are. At one point they’re at the sound desk, the next climbing a ladder on stage for no reason. But who cares. Heck are messy but always entertaining. (3.5/5) (SR)
Back at the second stage, A Wilhelm Scream blast their way through an energetic set of pure punk bangers. If you want adrenaline-pumping punk rock with wall to wall hooks, then look no further as AWS deliver them in abundance. Highlights come in the form of ‘Me vs. Morrissey in the Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)’ and ‘Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks’. Throughout their 13 song set, AWS are tireless with all in attendance eating up their brand of party punk. (4/5) (SR)
Hacktivist continue to go from strength to ground-busting strength and have the crowd in the palm of their hand throughout their 30-minute slot. ‘Hacktivist’ and their cover of ‘Paris’ has the congregation before them pushing and shoving before a rapid ‘Elevate’ sees things out in soaring style. (4/5) (JR)
Next, Black Peaks are making their debut and although the intimacy of past showings is loss, their visceral hard rock sound is still as impressive. The combination of Will Gardner’s powerful vocals and Joe Gosney’s stringent performance on guitar proves to be impactful. Whilst a slight sense of unfamiliarity of certain tracks hinder the set, we still walk away with a sense of excitement of what Black Peaks have lined up in the coming months. (3.5/5) (SR)
Despite the odd technical hitch, Fightstar’s Hevy debut comes off as a success. With a set full of fan favourites, the quartet deliver a stellar sight that roars with confidence, so much so you wouldn’t think they’re just getting going again. And they truly are. Throughout their sound is dense, melodic and ferocious with subtle gravitas of a band who sound reinvigorated. We’ve got high hopes for their new album in October. (3.5/5) (SR)
Stick To Your Guns have drawn the short straw playing against a rapturous Dillinger Escape Plan but put their all in and come out stronger than ever. Their passionate and rousing hardcore message rings true to all that stand before them and every blood, sweat and tear-soaked word is pelted back at them with reason. With a vicious ‘What Choice Did You Give Us?’ and battering ‘Empty Heads’ this is a significant victory in the ever consistent and honestly vital life of Stick To Your Guns. (4.5/5) (JR)
The Dillinger Escape Plan are made for festivals. Big crowds, open spaces and plenty of stuff to climb on. From the opening spasms of ‘Prancer’ all the way through to a devastating 1-2 of ‘Farewell Mona Lisa’ and ‘When I Lost My Bet’ this is a masterclass in how to absolutely dominate and ruin a field of people in just under an hour. (4.5/5) (JR)
For casual fans, a band headlining a festival playing one their most beloved records could be a tricky task to admire. Yet over the course of 80 minutes, Coheed and Cambria entice both casual and die-hard fans with an exceptional lesson in modern prog rock. Frontman Claudio Sanchez subtly demands attention with his unique voice and his trademark afro, whilst his band mates compliment him throughout with a tight-knit set. Admittedly there is a sense of restlessness during ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3’’s more lengthy offerings such as ‘The Light & The Glass’ yet you have to admire their ambition. Following an overwhelming appreciation of ‘In Keeping Secrets…’, an encore consisting of infectious new single ‘You Got Spirit, Kid’, spiky fan favourite ‘Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)’ and the inevitable ‘Welcome Home’ sends everyone back to their tents happy. The latter is especially stunning with Sanchez’s mesmerising guitar solo rounding day one on a high. (4/5) (SR)
Saturday August 15th 2015
Day two of Hevy sees us once again meet promising UK pop-punk upstarts Trash Boat. Having produced mixed showings in the past, today’s main stage opening slot has similar mixed results. The energy and hooks are there but Tobi Duncan’s vocals are imperfect. Add to that a lacklustre atmosphere, you get the feeling that Hevy isn’t the most ideal of festivals for an all out pop punk band. (2.5/5) (SR)
Vales are playing a very rare live show and noticeably making the most of it. Spiralling across the stage in deranged jolts vocalist Chlo Edwards is a beast to be tangled with as her vicious growl coats itself around the band’s torn apart anthems. Screaming her way into the crowd as closer ‘Caves (Anxiety)’ pierces the ears, this is a performance that will stick in her and the crowd’s memory for a long time. (4.5/5) (JR)
Back at the main stage emerging indie grunge four-piece Milk Teeth showcase their scratchy, raw style. Their sound is ideally scrappy and ebbs and flows between screeching bursts and the odd soothing moment which is partially hindered by bassist Becky Blomfield’s mic. However, there is a strong sense of inconsistency from the quartet. At times you want to give them a chance, but for the most part you’re left in a lull. The matter isn’t helped by vocalist Josh Bannister stating his displeasure at the end of their set. (2.5/5)
Fathoms are tearing at the walls of the 3rd stage but unfortunately are not at the top of their game. Behind the in-sync foot stomps and two steppers using the floor as their playground, the band is a few steps off the pace and at times blur into a wall of discomforting noise and not the good kind. Does it work in a sweaty club in Swindon? Definitely. However in a field in Kent? Not as much. (2.5/5) (JR)
Last time we saw Crooks was when they produced a lacklustre set on the spring UK tour with Such Gold and Transit. This time round, they show more promise with driving guitars and improved vocals from Josh Rogers. Their knack of melodic hardcore has hints of potential yet for those casually passing by, Crooks lack a lasting hook that makes them stand out. Just like on our previous showing, we’re left wondering what Crooks are meant to be. Are they melodic hardcore band? Are they alt rock? Do genre labels matter? Well no, but Crooks still leave us confused. (2.5/5) (SR)
Broken Teeth are the most typically hardcore band on the line up this year and the diverse dance moves taking place during their set are a testament to that. Regardless of their ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ tendencies they impress with a half hour of animalistic hardcore that has as much blood in its mouth as pride in its heart. (3.5/5) (JR)
As It Is are faced with a small, if a little disinterested crowd, but that doesn’t stop them from leaping into their bubblegum-speckled pop punk jams with vigour and positivity. Patty Walters remains infectiously stoked throughout and with tunes as breezy and fun as ‘Concrete’ and closer ‘Dialtones’ it’s hard not to feel the warmth as well. (3/5) (JR)
A smoky third stage tent plays host to Hang The Bastard. With guttural screams and dense riffs, HTB provide those in attendance to head bang like there’s no tomorrow. It’s raucous and at times scrappy, but for some, it’s a much needed late afternoon wake up call. There isn’t much else you can say. Hevy by name, heavy by nature. (3/5) (SR)
Arcane Roots have always been on the brink of breaking that glass ceiling to being an acclaimed alt rock outfit that is loved by fans and critics. And today’s main stage set shows just why. They’re energetic with plenty of urgency and although a brief power cut halts their momentum, they soon pick it up with a range of thriving riffs. With a new EP set to be released in October, the imminent return of Arcane Roots is much welcomed. (4/5) (SR)
Today is a special day for The Fall Of Troy as it marks 10 years since they released their magnum opus of tech ‘Doppelganger’. To celebrate, they are playing it in full this afternoon. The intricacy of some of the passages the album possesses could come off sloppy and tedious in the live environment, but the band pretty much nail every note and keep the attention of an audience that could easily have walked off after a impassioned ‘F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.’ It’s good to have them back. (4/5) (JR)
Horse The Band are one of the more bizarre bands in the metal genre, let alone the festival. Their Nintendo bleep-filled set of pulsing noise has as many heads bobbing as it does faces screwing up. At the end of the day, if your triangle player is so stoked on his own band that he jumps so high his knee cuts open his eyebrow, you must be doing something right. (3.5/5) (JR)
You’d think one of the most influential emo bands performing one of the genres most beloved albums would be a bigger draw on the main stage, however The Get Up Kids don’t draw the biggest crowd of the weekend. Nevertheless they attract a devoted load of fans who sing back every word from ‘Something To Write Home About’ from start to finish. Many in attendance, including us, become wrapped in nostalgic sentiment and as the final note of ‘I’ll Catch You’ rings out, we’re left with a warm sense of pride. However, the Kansas City group treated us to three old tracks rounding off with ’Shorty’ to much joy. (4.5/5) (SR)
Monuments are playing out of their skin over on the 3rd stage and are receiving a heroic reaction. Their mosh-pointed prog makes for some serious sing-alongs and has crowd surfers piling over like it’s already out of fashion. A pleasant surprise from an underrated source. (3.5/5) (JR)
Carnifex are closing the 3rd stage in typical Carnifex fashion. Uncompromising, vicious and brimming bile and malice the band tear the roof off with a dark look and a blood-curdling scream. ‘Dark Days’ runs by with evil force, while the closing chants on ‘Hell Chose Me’ remind you why this band are still the clear frontrunners in the deathcore game. (3.5/5) (JR)
Returning to the UK for the first time since ending their hiatus, Thrice certainly made up for lost time. With a stellar set that picked out highlights from their lengthy discography. Opening up with the fiery ‘Of Dust and Nations’ before giving way to a stiff one-two post-hardcore punch of ’Silhouette’ and ’Firebreather’. As the quartet progress throughout their set, memorable moments come in the form of ‘Artist In The Ambulance’, the plucky ‘The Weight’, ‘In Exile’, ‘Stare At The Sun’ and ’Deadbolt’. Along with other numbers, Thrice execute them with complete accuracy as if they haven’t been away for three years.
Tonight is a celebration and reminder of how good Thrice were and still are. They’re able to demonstrate their progression with a range of songs that stir emotion and simultaneously develop their style whilst keeping it relevant. If this return is brief, then Hevy has captured Thrice at their best. (4.5/5) (SR)
If you could sum up Hevy Fest 2015 in one word. It would be stability. It’s something the festival required and just about managed this year. Whilst some emerging acts didn’t quite live up to the hype, others did and verified their status as “ones to watch”. As for the headliners, Hevy Fest pulled a coup by delivering a range of acclaimed bands that produced sets that went beyond their requirements. The future is bright for Hevy Fest.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Hevy Fest 2015 here.
Photos by Sam Haines.