Hevy Fest has had a well-known rough few years, but the lineup announcements this year seemed to show a new energy in the festival. Taking place at Port Lympne in Kent, the festival showcases some of the biggest bands in the heavier genres.
Kicking things off for us on Friday afternoon was CHON who brought their brand of progressive instrumental rock to the UK for the first time, and managing to impress a fair few people who gathered at the main stage to see them.
Over on the second stage, housed in a relatively small tent, was Creeper who have had a successful few months after signing to Roadrunner Records. They played a fun, energetic set, which their group of fans sang every word to.
Straight after Creeper was pop-punk legends, Teenage Bottlerocket, who despite suffering some sound issues – the vocals were way too low – managed to bring more fun to the festival, managing to get everyone singing and clapping along.
Over on the main stage, Touché Amoré kicked off swiftly with the raging “Amends” before blasting through song after song. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm got lost in the crowd during “Honest Sleep” which garnered a huge singalong. They ended on “~” which again got a massive reception from the crowd who seemed to know every word to every song.
A Wilhelm Scream graced the second stage with their brand of melodichardcore, immediately causing a pit to open as the people down the crowd sang along to every word. The technical guitar solos were spot on, as vocalist Nuno Pereira bounded across the stage. They’re an incredible live band who manage to give it their all at every single show. Read our interview with A Wilhelm Scream here.
Ingite followed on the second stage, immediately suffering sound issues. Vocalist Zoli didn’t seem to stop apologising throughout the set; first of all for the sound issues and later for his ill health. Sadly, those issues mounted way against them as their set was highly, possibly understandably, lacklustre.
Over on the main stage The Dillinger Escape Plan showcased their brand of chaotic mathcore. Known, universally, as one of the best and most exciting live band around, the set was a bit lacking as there was less crowd participation than usual (vocalist Greg Puciato only ended up in the crowd once?!) Musically, though, they can’t be faulted. It must be hard to live up to such high expectations.
Closing out the second stage was Charlie Simpson’s band, Fightstar. A bit of a random choice, but, there was enough nostalgia to make them worth a watch. The sound issues seemed to culminate in them running behind. Their set was decent, they drew a huge crowd and put on a good show.
Saturday was perhaps less “Seeing Your Scene” than the Friday, nevertheless we still managed to check out some great sets!
The first exciting set of the day came from London’s Arcane Roots who have come a long way in the past few years, now managing to gather a large crowd on the main stage and being technically perfect. The sound cut out during their set, which they handled like professionals, as the crowd chanted for a drum solo. When it kicked back in, they carried on as if nothing happened.
The Fall of Troy were the second of three bands to play one of their albums the whole way through, bringing the classic Doppelgänger to the main stage ten years to the day of release. From the second they stepped on stage they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. From the incredible guitar work to the energetic stage presence, as somebody not well-versed in the album, I was blown away.
Straight after was one of the most exciting sets of the weekend, and the last full album set; The Get Up Kids playing “Something to Write Home About” in full. Nothing needs to be said about how amazing that album is, but seeing it live, with perfect sound and everybody singing every word, was a very, very special moment. The band looked as though they were having a great time and they played classics like “Ten Minutes”, “Close to Home” and the rousing “I’ll Catch You”; even managing to squeeze in an extra three songs after the full album.
Thrice are one of our favourite bands of all time. They have an incredible discography, and their farewell London show back in 2012 was one of the best sets ever. Ever. At their reunion show on the main stage at Hevy, it was like they’d never been gone. Or they’d been gone and gotten better. Every song sounded perfect, from the opening riff of “Of Dust and Nations” to the closing refrain of “Anthology”. Peppering hits from all of their albums, songs from The Artist in the Ambulance seemed to get the biggest reactions… Until they played “Deadbolt”. Thrice are an incredibly varied band, and it was great to see the crowd responding well to every single song. The set felt short at 17 songs, yet perfect at the same time. Hopefully they’ll be back soon.
Hevy has cemented itself as a great British festival with this year’s iteration. Nowhere else could a band like The Fall of Troy play one of their albums the whole way through on the main stage, right before The Get Up Kids do the same.