Live Review & Photos: Hevy Fest 2012 – Saturday – 4/8/2012

From time to time, you thank yourself for small blessings. After partying hard on Friday night, some of Team Already Heard were feeling, let’s say, a little worse for wear on Saturday morning.  

It’s a shame when a young band with the potential to cause a hurricane amongst the masses begins to dissipate; Crocus play their last ever set with as much passion and emotion that they can muster. The screamo quartet have an admirable energy that succeeds in driving a stake into the eye sockets of the partially large number who are present here this morning. Even though only a couple of die-hard fans budge at the sight of them, the best the band can achieve in this last performance is a reaction that is a respectful hybrid of curiosity. (AL)

Rising Lincoln hardcore quintet Martyr Defiled are the type of band Hevy Fest was made; fast, pummelling drums, screamo vocals, the occasional breakdown and shitloads of hardcore dancing. Admittedly they’re not for everyone’s taste but they certainly know how to make their mark. (SR)

Punching the wall between the stage and the audience, Feed the Rhino embrace their guests with absolute swagger and mayhem that a lot of bands can only dream of. Crunchy meaty riffs are served with a loud yell from frontman Lee Tobin who throughout the duration of their set commands the crowd to wake up and start moving. A wall of death and many bruises later, all those attending have been greedily satisfied with this lunchtime meal of rock ‘n roll hardcore noise. (AL)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Over on their first trip to the UK, Seahaven’s arrival to these shores has been a long time coming for some. With a short set that consisted of three songs each from their full-length (‘Winter Forever’) and their début release (‘Ghost’,) the Californian band at times come off as self-indulgent but with powerful songs like ‘Slow Down’ and ‘It’s Over,’ they’re able to draw you in and win you over. (SR)

Balance and Composure provide us with a way to see a band and nurse our hangovers as they combine sultry, breathy vocals with beautiful and intricate guitar melodies (with three guitarists on stage, this is no mean feat to pull off live!) Sat in a field listening to their mesmerising brand of pop-punk is the perfect warm up to day two of Hevy, so thank you Balance And Composure, for not hurting our heads too much and playing a great set in the process. (TW)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Devil Sold His Soul are next up and as feared, they are not going to treat our heads as kindly. They are met by a rapturous response by the crowd as they take the stage. Debuting some material from their new album, including lead single ‘A New Legacy,’ they whip the crowd up into an impressive frenzy with their metalcore sound. Whilst by no means the biggest, most hyped or most supported band here today, they put on a solid and entertaining set that pleases fans in the circle pits and newcomers on the peripheries.  (TW) 

Set Your Goals are next on the stage, a scene and festival favourite in many people’s eyes, but with some mixed reviews of their last release ‘Burning At Both Ends,’ they come here today with a point to prove. However, they end up not particularly proving that point. They play an enjoyable enough set, drawing heavily on material from their earlier albums, including ‘Summer Jam,’ ‘The Fallen’ and ‘Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)’ (dedicated to Dave House today) from breakthrough album ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us,’ but hardly utilising newer material. No matter how fun it is to still sing along to these songs, there is a worrying lack of progression from the band. They played an almost identical set the last two times they were in the UK. Closer ‘Mutiny!’ still picks up a great audience reaction and they are no doubt still a great live unit, but it was a little disappointing to see a set that felt at times like they were going through the motions. (TW)  

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

In contrast to Set Your Goals upbeat pop-punk sound, on next are esoteric Pianos Become The Teeth. With complex melodies, hardcore vocals and a stage presence that is nothing short of intimidating, they are the complete antipathy to Set Your Goals. This jarring juxtaposition is made even more shocking by the fact that they not only manage to blow them off the stage, but produce a set filled with more energy that is endlessly more fun. Pure power leaves many stood open-mouth, but leaving with a smile on their faces. (TW) 

Photos by J Leadbetter.

Sheffield mob Rolo Tomassi are seductively luring with ambient proggy intervals before unleashing sharp screams and heavy guitar work into the pit. Playing a mix of old and new material from their upcoming third full length, the band are at the top of their game. Based on this performance, they have proved themselves further to be one of the brightest sparks in British alternative music, a group who further demand your attention. (AL)

Photos by J Leadbetter/Sarah Louise Bennett.

After several attempts of encouragement and a few songs in, This Is Hell eventually inject a caffeine addict’s lust for circle pits into a static crowd which leads to a destructive thirst for their new found crossover thrash style. The events that follow include a circle pit around several individuals who are doing push ups during ‘Demons’, and a mass raid for the microphone during set closer and old classic ‘Permanence’. By the end, the Long Islanders have succeeded in not wasting a good set with mere silence and a standstill but instead an indefinite time bomb of fiery precipitation. (AL)

A Wilhelm Scream always pack a mighty punch live and so it is with high expectation that a mammoth crowd gathers at the main stages for their set this evening. From the start, they are not disappointed. Ripping through fan favourites like ‘I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz,’ ‘The Kids Can Eat A Bag Of Dicks’ and ‘Jaws 3, People 0’ (examples chosen purely to illustrate the incredible titling ability the band have) A Wilhelm Scream are on top form tonight, unstoppable in fact. Even the curveball of dropping in a new song from an as yet unreleased album does nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd. A strong contender for set of the weekend. (TW)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

The Long Haul are one of my favourite current Southampton bands. Southampton seems to be a lively hub for new and exciting bands. Then again it has always had the most wonderful musical background, especially within the DIY community. The Long Haul break into their performance with the power of honest hardcore that most bands can never quite achieve. Sharing the passion with Tangled Talk Records, you know that this band have something special to offer, as most of the bands on this label do. Breaking through their record ‘Debtors,’ the crowd seems to be very interested in what is happening. Not getting the same level of followers (yet) as other label mates, I imagine the crowd here today were checking out a new band, and a lot of them would’ve been left undoubtedly impressed. I’ve seen the Long Haul play before, and I still think this performance topped that, even in the festival environment. (RK)

A shout of alcohol drenched profanity is all that’s needed to signal the arrival of thrash kings Municipal Waste to the stage. Song after song sees a phenomenal pattern of circle pits that can send you dizzy whether you’re in them or not. Although this pattern gets repetitive, the band manages to keep a good consistency of balanced fun that dissuades boredom from creeping into the atmosphere and instead results in broken satisfied smiles. (AL)

Having seen Vales play before, I knew what I was about to witness. As the tent began to fill, and people were left watching in from outside, I felt a small burst of proudness. I wouldn’t say me and the guys are incredibly close friends, but seeing a band you really like with people you really respect getting the response they deserve is beyond heartwarming.

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

As soon as they began, it was very clear that the crowd wanted to be as much a part of the performance as them. Speeding their way through their debut release ‘Clarity’ the passion and intensity of Vales is one that seeps through the whole crowd. You feel like you’re watching something special and you feel like you’re a part of something. Not only can the band play their songs inexplicably well, they perform their music with their actions. From Nath’s constant movement, to Chlo’s passionate throws, the music quite obviously seers through them creating an almost magical presence. Vales are almost receiving all the praise they deserve, but I’m expecting a lot more from them in the future. If there was one band who i’d say in the UK to currently watch out for, it’d be Vales. (RK)

Meanwhile on the Red Bull Stage there is a much cleaner positive heavy affair from Luxembourg/UK straight edge hardcore lot Eisberg. Although their attendance is small, they still succeed in working with what they have and put on a solid set. Anger expressed positivity results in a stream of side to side moshing and microphone grabs. (AL)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

All hell breaks loose when Norma Jean enter the arena back on the Rock Sound stage. Under the command of frontman Cory Brandan, the whole festival floor begins to quake as the band unleashes a good mix of old and more recent material. They produce nothing short of a rock n roll atom bomb which leads to absolute aftermath of blistered throats and a ravaged field. The apocalypse has come and destroyed. (AL)

Glassjaw are one of those exceptional bands where every performance is made into a stylistic occasion. Not only are they a live musical act, they are all artists in their own sense. Creating mystery with music and having such avid followers of this, makes this band one of a kind.

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Opening this evening with ‘Tip Your Bartender,’ the band explode into their performance. Daryl howls and wails, and marches around the stage with a presence like no other. Mixing up their set with plenty from ‘Worship & Tribute,’ a couple from ‘EYEWTKAS,’ and a couple of new songs, adds to the varied levels Glassjaw have. Playing the “hit”, ‘Ape Dos Mill,’ gets the biggest crowd reaction, but the new song ‘You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)’ sound harder, and actually hit at how powerful this band can be. Having created two incredible full length albums, it seems there’s no limit to the talent this band can create. I wouldn’t say this was the best time I have seen them perform. Daryl misses a fair amount of vocal parts, and the rest of the band seem very limited in their interest in the performance, but either way, if you’d never seen them before I would think you’d be very happy with what you witnesssed tonight. (RK)

Photos by J Leadbetter/Sarah Louise Bennett.

There is a sense of scepticism in the air before the headline set of Andrew W.K. For an artist that is so much regarded as a novelty, it is a strange move to see him headline a festival such as Hevy. Coming out to a backing track commanding the audience to get ready to party hardly did much to dispel such thoughts. But then, second song into the set, things click into place as the electronic backing declares: WHEN IT’S TIME TO PARTY WE WILL PARTY HARD. It may not be rocket science, it is not the nuanced grace of co-headliners Glassjaw, but one thing it is, is fun. In the space of that one song, Andrew W.K has the entire festival eating out of the palm of his hands. Bodies fly, sweet jumps are jumped and there is not one person without a smile on their face. So what if the rest of his set is comprised of songs which sound very similar to his most famous track, or that a good proportion of the crowd leave after the aforementioned song. It was fun, and that is what festivals are supposed to be. (TW)

View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Hevy Festival 2012 here.

Words by Sean Reid (SR), Aaron Lohan (AL), Tom White (TW) and Rosie Kerr (RK).

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