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Note: As only a few members of the site were able to review the festival weekend, we were sadly unable to cover every band performing throughout the day.
Extended to a full three-day weekend and being one of the only festivals to be hosted at a wild animal park, Hevy is most definitely a unique beast that’s growing from strength-to-strength year after year since its creation. With the final day now at hand and a main stage headline set from Four Year Strong to look forward to, it’s definitely a great way to end what’s undeniably a great weekend.
HILDAMAY – 6/10
Sunday gets off to a pleasant but uninspired start on the Jager Stage with Sidcup’s HildaMay. Their punk and roll is played well, and most of their songs are bordering on the catchy side, but up on the stage they look both bored and bewildered. The modest crowd claps politely between songs, despite the boring set.
MAN OVERBOARD – 5/10
As far as pop-punk goes it doesn’t come much cheesier than Man Overboard. With their ‘defend pop-punk’ ethic and borderline emo sound, the New Jersey outfit took to the stage. They’ve never been documented as the finest live band in the world, and probably never will be, but the songs they write more than compensates for this. Displaying one of the softer sets of the weekend, the band still manage to pull a huge crowd, and with a mid-set plea for anyone to score them some weed, they clearly aren’t taking anything too seriously. In terms of presence, they seem to just plough through their set with little enthusiasm or energy, almost as if they just wanted to get back home (or smoke weed in their van as they self proclaimed). Distinctly average.
POLAR BEAR CLUB – 7/10
Having never really listened to this band, either on record or in a live setting before, it seems a clear slate was the best remedy for all. Impressive, and certainly with more of a step up than tour mates Man Overboard, they please the crowd with songs from their entire back catalogue and a genuine desire to want to be here. Good job guys.
CAPDOWN – 7/10
Now here is a band you wouldn’t neccesarily expect to get a large crowd at this festival, but surprisingly, Capdown‘s brand of impossibly skank-able anthems goes down a storm this Sunday afternoon, attracting a mass of fans. After over two days of bludgeoning, raw music, the sound of Jakes Sims-Fielding‘s sax and the bands syncopated grooves feel all the more refreshing. There are no circle pits here, just people having a fucking great time to some classic punk tunes.
ZEBRAHEAD – 7/10
Zebrahead bring the party. They bring the sunny punk, the gutter humour, the massive singalongs, and obviously a masturbating tiger. It’s all a little low-brow, but it’s all so damn fun, and the band do a brilliant job of winning the crowd over and getting them involved in the music. Ali and Matty‘s banter is great and the band look comfortable on stage. Musically it’s all a bit one-note, but in this environment it’s the perfect antidote to a weekend of physical and aural bludgeoning.
WE ARE THE OCEAN – 6/10
For a band that have been receiving so much attention and hype over the last year, We Are The Ocean really fail to deliver in a live setting. Like a budget Alexisonfire, they play through their set on auto-pilot, one plodding post-hardcore track after another with little to distinguish them. ‘Confessions’ is the only stand-out moment, with a big singalong that stirs some emotion in the crowd, but for the most part it’s drab experience that is lacking in real heart.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND – 9/10
FFAF‘s set is an absolute masterclass in how to do live post-hardcore right. Considering this band have been a unit for approximately ten years, if not more, they could definitely be considered as headliner worthy material, however, we see them as sub material, and by gosh do they live up to every iota of excitement. With the charismatic and hilarious Matthew Davies at the helm, the band blast effortlessly through their back catalogue, banging out hits such as ‘Roses For The Dead’, ‘Juneau’ and ‘Spinning Over The Island’. The crowd relive their youth (and present) like it’s their last day on the earth, and nothing else can be said except that FFAF absolutely chuffing smash it. They are definitely back to their best, no-one can deny that.
FOUR YEAR STRONG – 8/10
Being one of the biggest names in pop-punk today, its no wonder the majority of Hevy Fest turned up to watch Four Year Strong close the festival. Clearly trying their hardest and definitely packing some great banter, I mean who doesn’t want to have crisps and bread off their rider thrown into the crowd? Keeping the party vibe up they played a new song, a teaser of what is to come from the album they announced they have just finished recording. Every song was as well received as the next as they played, ‘Bada Bing Wit A Pie’, ‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’, ‘On A Saturday’, ‘One Step At A Time’ to name but a few, before leaving the stage and coming on for an encore of ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’.
HANG THE BASTARD – 9/10
After having missed their slot on the main stage on Saturday due to traffic hindrance, Hang The Bastard hit the stage like men determined to destroy, and ripped through a set heavy on most recent album ‘Hellfire Reign’. Frontman Chris climbed into the crowd and was instantly swamped by fans. Onstage the band continued to pump out riff after riff with relative ease. They even dropped in an old song, “we’re not playing ‘Pillage Ye Village’ though, fuck that” added Chris before they launched into a triumphant ‘Oblivion’. Considering they should have been playing the day before and the set change wasn’t advertised there was still a size-able crowd, although not as big as you would have expected. With a packed out tent this set would have been pure carnage.
BASTIONS – 7/10
If there’s one thing Bastions vocalist Jamie Burne isn’t lacking, it’s intensity. Bounding across the stage, bashing the mic furiously into his forehead, at times he resembles a mad man. At other times, he is as dramatic and captivating as a classically-trained actor. And at the best of times he is a combination of both, an impassioned prophet, spitting his words in the faces of his fans, wild-eyed and red-faced. Bastions attract a big crowd, almost filling the tent, and get straight down to business. It is rough, harsh punk which is perfectly suited to the festival.
TOUCHÉ AMORÉ – 10/10
Incredible, just incredibly awe inspiring, they are pretty much the only words you can use for this band. Capturing everyone’s attention in the tent, the band rip into ‘Tilde’ after some technical difficulties beforehand, and nothing can stop the crowd bringing down the roof of the tent. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm is in fine form, screaming without the mic over the interlude of ‘Cadence’ but still sounding huge. He even drops a few lines from the Nine Inch Nails/Johnny Clash classic ‘Hurt’ during ‘Adieux’, sending chills up and down the spines of the entire crowd. There was a brilliant two song moment when Jordan from La Dispute joined the band onstage to perform both the songs off the 2010 split. ‘History Reshits Itself’ is dedicated to the importance of gay marriage, and the whole set feels as if it meant something to everyone there. One of the best bands of the weekend.
WHILE SHE SLEEPS – 8/10
While She Sleeps are a band who we seem to be hearing a lot of these days. Just over a year after the release of their debut mini-album, ‘The North Stands For Nothing’, the band take to the Rock Sound/Macbeth stage in front of a sea of adoring fans. Any band with as relentless a tour schedule as WSS do would be expected to show signs of tiredness, however, they never seem to. As energetic as ever, the rising UK metalers danced about the stage pouring every last drop of passion into what they do. Everyone in attendance seemed to know the songs as well as they do, which added to the electric atmosphere. With the finale of ‘Crows’ setting the tent off like a bomb, the lads from Sheffield leave the stage, drenched in sweat, but gleaming, because they love what they do.
DEFEATER – 8/10
Defeater are one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend. It seems as though everyone was trying to pack into the Rock Sound/Macbeth tent to catch a glimpse of Boston’s newest heros. Playing a varied set of more heavy tracks and some acoustic, the band made a huge impact on a crowd who were spitting every word of every song back at them.
CEREMONY – 8/10
With Ceremony playing a relatively small tent, it was always going to be intense, but no-one could have anticipated the carnage that followed. People were stage diving off the 8 foot wooden blocks, there was a vicious pit and there were crowd surfers in their dozens, all before the first song had ended. The unrelenting nature of the music created an almost violent and dangerous atmosphere, and it would have felt strange had it been any other way. Ross Farah was absolutely everywhere, climbing the lighting rig to the very top and giving everyone a worry that he would fall. The band continued to play hard whilst Farah terrorised everyone, pulling his shirt over his face to sing and using his voice more as a bark than a singing voice, the set was intense and volatile. But, unfortunately, like all things volatile, there was a crash. When security were seen supposedly manhandling a fan, Farah lashed out aiming punches towards the guard in question. In retaliation, security started aiming punches at the band and an ugly scene unfolded which only seemed to fuel the band more. Eventually, one of the guitarists threw his guitar into the crowd and walked off moments before the plug was pulled early. A fitting end for such a wonderfully violent set.
THE BRONX – 9/10
The tent is packed to the brim, the crowd spilling out and around the exits, trying to catch a glimpse of Matt Caughthran‘s wrecking crew. Inside is a giant mosh pit. Brave fans climb the tent supports and throw themselves off to the music. It’s a great spectacle, set to melodic but sleazy hardcore. Mariachi El Bronx may be absent at this show, but this only makes room for more great The Bronx tunes, all delivered with precision and aggression. Matt spends most of his time getting in the faces of the fans at the front barrier, before diving in to the centre, mic in hand, to share vocal duties with anyone willing to scream in his direction. As the set draws to a close with an incendiary ‘Heart Attack American’, the crowd goes feral and rushes the barrier. It’s an exhilarating performance that is without a single lull in intensity.
PAIGE – 7/10
Paige may look and sound out of place at this year’s Hevy Festival, and to tell you the truth, they are out of place. However, this said, it doesn’t stop them launching full on into storming sing alongs such as ‘Young Summer’. Their honest, charming demeanour goes down better than expected, however, they don’t quite get the crowd reaction that they desire. Despite the odds being against them, they put in a workman-like performance, and come out as some of the unlikely heroes of the weekend.
LIVING WITH LIONS – 7/10
Making their first trip across the Atlantic, Living With Lions throw down a huge set of infectious pop-punk. Similar to the day’s main stage headliners (Four Year Strong), the Canadians take advantage of a reasonably healthy crowd, playing songs off new record ‘Holy Shit’, without forgetting about some old ones of course. However, it was the new songs which seemed to create the better crowd reactions, as they played ‘Honestly Honestly’ and ‘Regret Song’, both which sounded huge with their anthemic sing alongs. Possibly the rising stars in pop-punk? In a scene as crowded as that, they better hope for some luck, because they definitely have the songs to support such a claim.
LA DISPUTE – 9/10
Again, technical difficulties plague and cut the set short but La Dispute, and Jordan Dreyer‘s ever so funny dance moves entertain and move the crowd in a way only possible through the power of aural intercourse. ‘Said The King To The River’ and ‘New Storms For Older Lovers’ cause sheer mayhem and definitely makes the security upfront do the job they were paid for, it would seem that every person possible was watching this band, and who can blame them? As part of the ‘wave’ with fellow festival players Touché Amoré, Defeater and Make Do And Mend, they bring the passion, the scream and the noisy chaos, and fuck do they create some lovely musical kisses in the form of everything they do, ever.
MORE THAN LIFE – 10/10
You couldn’t escape the campsite without seeing a More Than Life shirt, and it’s no wonder they’re now eBay gold when you see the reaction they get and the ferocity with which the crowd shouts back every word at frontman James Matthews. The ever popular ‘Daisy Hill’ prompts an emotional sequel of events including stage dives, crowd surfers and people jumping from the metal poles holding the tent itself up, bringing itself to a conclusion of steam extruding from the floor and stage, with even the security sweating it out. Drafting in guest vocalist Andrew Fisher to complete ‘Love Let Me Go’, there’s not a moment clear where the crowd are not appreciating every second of what will now be a rare occurrence of seeing their favourite band on tour. Flawless.
STICK TO YOUR GUNS – 8/10
After dissing a fair share of their fan base in a “you’re not cool” jibe, they leave on-goers in neck braces (quite literally, if you were stood outside and looking at the guy who couldn’t move on the ground – hope he’s okay). Bouncing and bopping and crushing to ‘This Is More’ was glorious for every STYG fan from both the skinny scene kid to fat cr00sh, hate mosh guy as “MOVE” rung out across the arena field.
YOUR DEMISE – 10/10
If you want chaos and carnage to be brought to any stage at any time, then Your Demise are the band for the job. You only need to have seen them once to know what they are capable of doing. This show is no exception, as they wreak havoc within the small confines of the tent. Their set is fast and chaotic, with not so much as a chance to catch your breath. The way they power through songs like ‘Shine On’ and ‘Nothing Left But Regret’ is truly breathtaking, with frontman Ed Macrae‘s vocals and stage presence being something to behold as he fires up the crowd, ordering them to “bring down the fucking tent” on more than one occasion. ‘Life Of Luxury’ and ‘The Kids We Used To Be…’ incite huge sing a longs, and the crushing climax of ‘Burnt Tongues’ is truly vicious. The perfect way to close the weekend in this tent, and once gain proof that Your Demise are one of the best live bands going.
AUTUMN IN DISGUISE – 9/10
Given the task of closing this year’s Red Bull stage were the festival’s furthest travelers in Britain, Aberdeen’s Autumn In Disguise. Although they couldn’t have been further from home, they made their mark on the stage and everyone who was watching. Having ditched the dual vocal arrangement earlier in the year, the quintet powered through a very strong set. Opening up with ‘See Me In Terror (S.M.I.T.)’, they warmed the crowd up for Four Year Strong, inducing them with hook after hook. Throwing in a few new songs and closing with new single ‘Let’s Call This A Home Run’ they closed this year’s Bedroom Jam with a bang, proving it was once again, dripping with talent.
Written by Dom Wyatt, Grant Bailey, Oliver Thompson, Josh Peett and Chris Loomes
Photos taken by Harriet Denton