HEVY FESTIVAL 2012
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent
3rd – 6th August 2012
Words and Photos: Charlie Wallis
DAY 1 (03/08/12)
Everything is in full swing by the time Noise Addiction gets to Hevy Fest, the annual heavy music festival held in Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Ashford Kent. This could have something to do with the bloody Olympics which made me briefly consider getting my tent out early and sleeping on the M25. Still upon arrival we dived straight into it so here’s what Noise Addiction managed to catch on the Friday of Hevy Fest. First up we have the unusually named The James Cleaver Quintet which conjures images of violins and sherry. However this could not be further from the truth as they put on an impressive (what is for us) first performance culminating spectacularly in bassist Jimmy Diego, known for his outrageous live antics, climbing the staging to finish their final song sat atop the Hevy banners (3.5/5). From indie punk to hardcore punk as Philadelphia natives Reign Supreme take to the Punktastic Stage. Despite being on relatively early the bands hardcore, straight edge tinted sound goes over with the crowd, many of whom have flocked to see this band in action and they put on a show that doesn’t disappoint (3.5/5). Leamington Spa locals Sharks are arguably one of the most exciting up and coming bands in the UK rock scene and when they walk on stage they received a warm welcome. As far as much of the rest of the bill goes Sharks perhaps stick out a little but the crowd are all over their blend of punk infused rock with lead singer James Mattock oozing charisma and putting in a stellar performance (4/5).
As darkness falls over the festival site the excitement really starts to grow for this evening’s big hitters. First up are be-muscled hardcore juggernaughts Trapped Under Ice who, whilst clearly loving themselves to within an inch of their life, put in a performance that kicks the evening into the highest of gears. Lead singer Justice Tripp, the bastard love child of Fred Durst and Vanilla Ice, is straight to the barricade getting the audience involved and the whole experience really ups the fun levels of the whole evening (4.5/5). Before Lower Than Atlantis take to the stage there’s a feeling that it could all kick off at any minute, and kick off it does as within the first few notes, bodies begin streaming over the barrier. Mike Deuce and co are greeted as heroes with the entire crowd knowing every word of classics like “Deadliest Catch” and “If the World Was to End”, the performance is next to flawless and the crowd react as such (5/5).
Deez Nuts are the first of tonight’s headliners, topping the Punktastic Stage and what’s instantly apparent is that even after all these years this is still a band who love every minute of being on stage. The whole set is a blur of chest pumping, foot stomping, high jumping punk. The band drips attitude and the response from the audience echoes the fact that Deez Nuts are one of the best hardcore punk bands in the world right now (5/5). It’s a pity that when Deaf Havana take to the stage the reaction is somewhat muted. Given the fact that band is fast becoming one of the UK alternative scene’s hottest exports the response to their place as headliners of the Rock Sound stage is mixed. It’s hard not to think that this has an effect on the performance in at least the initial stages with a slight sense of going through the motions. Something happens however at around the point where tracks like “Little White Lies” and “Friends like These” start coming and people remember exactly why it is that Deaf Havana are currently on a roller coaster ride of success right now. The biggest moment was arguably “Hunstanton Pier” which reverberated through the stage marquee and had to hairs of many standing on end, a fitting way to end a cracking first day (4/5).
DAY 2 (04/08/12)
So as the first night hangovers slowly fade, the sun comes up over Hevy Festival and Noise Addiction once again is at the forefront and this is what we saw on day 2 of Hevy Fest in Kent. The first band we take is UK newcomers The Safety Fire who take to the stage and proudly ask “Who’s ready to get finger banged by five guys in Hawaiian shirts”, and ready we are. The guys put in a thoroughly explosive performance with their emotional tech metal acting as a welcoming way to get the day started (5/5). For the next band we head across to the Red Bull Stage to catch Essex lads I Divide and their scene friendly metal sound. These guys really know how to put on a show and are really starting to make a name for themselves coming straight off a nationwide tour with Fei Comodo (RIP). The crowd are not sizeable at the start, but grows and grows throughout the set, clearly drawn to the hooky sound of an exciting young band. Guitarist Henery Selley is particularly impressive leaping about and singer Tom Kavanagh is formidle presence as frontman (4.5/5).
Back to the Punktastic stage and the mighty Feed The Rhino storm into an absolutely blistering performance aimed at decimating the ear drums of the sizeable crowd that’s gathered to witness the occasion. The sheer visceral nature of Feed The Rhino is mind blowing, justifying the enthusiasm of their audience. Based on performances like these it’s hard not to wonder why these guys didn’t warrant a higher place on the bill as they could quite comfortably share the stage with much larger bands (5/5). Next up are Balance and Composure who’s moody sound, on paper doesn’t quite fit this event as much as other bands, however they deliver a solid performance with an abundance of passion (3.5/5). The vaguely prog metal sounds of Devil Sold His Soul sadly fall slightly flat. This is arguably not the bands fault who put on an impressively energetic show but perhaps 7 minute songs ask a little too much of the attention span on the audience at this stage of the day (3.5/5). Conversely US oddball punks Set Your Goals aim to fill the fun factor a little more. Unfortunately the performance is a tad disjointed and it doesn’t help that most of the crowd are just waiting for the one song “Mutiny” (3/5). If Set Your Goals has good music but a questionable performance, Rolo Tommasi have precisely the opposite problem. The performance is strong but the screaming sound live is truly dreadful. It may be some people’s cup of tea, but I’d rather drink something that doesn’t sound like a horse vomiting (2/5).
At this point the day needs something of a save, and that comes in the form of the frankly awesome This is Hell who’s fierce brand of hardcore goes over like a storm and really sets the stage for the first of the bigger names on the bill (4.5/5). Continuing the upward momentum A Wilhelm Scream take to the stage and ask “96 bucks for this?” before launching into a set that combines the crucial aspects of killer songs, tight as you like delivery and barrels of fun. The first really big pits of the day start opening for songs like “I Wipe My Ass with Showbiz” and the frankly incredible “The King is Dead” (5/5). Most of Municipal Waste‘s set is something of a blur as even after eleven years of doing this, singer Tony Foresta flings himself all over the place, clearly loving every second (4/5).
So the first of tonight’s headliners of the Rock Sound Stage is laden with anticipation. Glassjaw and the UK have a troubled past with countless cancelled dates and tours due to Daryl Paulumbo’s health problems. Tonight however they’re here and from the first note of “Tip Your Bartender” it’s instantly obvious when people are so crushed when they miss out on seeing Glassjaw. First and foremost it’s nice to see Daryl looking healthy and his performance matches this with classics like “Mu Empire” and “Siberian Kiss” reminding the crowd of the awesome power of Glassjaw’s music and why it’s consequently endured despite past setbacks (5/5).
Now whether they’ll admit it or not, EVERYONE is looking forward to the headliner of the Punktastic Stage. As the lights go, a voice comes over the speaker system, encouraging the crowd to chant “we want to party” over and over again, and as it reaches it’s pinnacle only one man can appear, the hero of the hour, Andrew WK. Now let’s get something straightened out first of all, Andrew WK’s music is abysmal, no one’s saying it isn’t, but my god is he fun. Even past the questionably placed “Party Hard” as the second song on the bill, the audience stays due to the jovial atmosphere and sheer stage presence of this great survivor of the nu metal era, this man who’s built a career out of shouting the words “party” and “fun” over and over again. It’s the biggest shame of the evening when his set gets cut short due to curfew restrictions but all in all an immense performance and a winning end to the day (5/5).
DAY 3 (05/08/12)
Well, everyone is supremely knackered now. The beach balls are slowly deflating and tents are more or less destroyed after two nights of carnage and as people slowly start to regain consciousness and struggle to remember who and where they are, Noise Addiction brings you the bands we caught on the final day of Hevy Fest.
The first band we catch are Mallory Knox, who are charged with the unenviable task of opening the Rock Sound Stage on a morning where most of the audience are struggling to see clearly. Lead singer Mikey Chapman approaches this issue in the best possible way “you’re all hungover, we’re hungover, I’m not expecting a circle pit, but if you like what you hear just bob your head”. Hungover or not these lads show why they’re one of the most promising young bands in the world right now as they completely smash it. From the big singalong moments of new single “Death Rattle” to the anthemic “Oceans” they kick off the remnants of the previous night excess and kick the day off with one hell of a bang (5/5). Attack! Vipers!’s intriguing mix of punk and post rock vibes go over well, demonstrating a good degree of stage presence whilst not perhaps delivering the same level of spectacle as some of the other bands on the bill (3.5/5).
Next up we have Night Verses who’s huge emotional sound resonates throughout the slowly filling main tent with tunes such as “I’ve Lost My Way Back Down” sounding absolutely massive. Dynamically these are one of the most interesting bands from quiet clean guitar sounds in the verses of “From The Shadows Where I’m Low” to enormous soaring choruses. These are sure to be firm festival favourites and a welcome break to the relentlessness inherent with many of the bands on the bill (4.5/5).
For the next chunk of bands we head over to the Red Bull tent where preparations are being made for punk up and comers &U&I who take the prize for oddest name on the bill. The performance is as explosive as you can expect from a band who’s songs are basically a load, if opposing, song structures mashed together into something genius. A spot on performance (4/5). Heading back to the Punktastic Stage, the heavier sounding The Rise and Fall fail to capture the imagination of the festival to quite the extent they’d maybe hoped for. There’s nothing strictly wrong with their performance, however it fails to inspire much in the way of interest (3/5). Northerners Hawk Eyes have been hailed as the UK’s answer to Mastadon in the past and even in the tiny surroundings of the Red Bull stage they demonstrate why. If tents had doors they’d be firmly blown off, maybe the zips were blown off? Either way, they were ace (5/5).
Punk rock veterans H2O are clearly firm favourites here at Hevy, and despite their years show they can still keep up with the fresher faces on the bill. Their set is fast paced and energetic and is just what the doctor ordered to get the crowd ready for the closing performances of the day (4/5). One of the more surreal experiences comes from US poet punks Listener who put on a shows that’s a bizarre as it is brilliant, if you like furious punk, moustaches and trumpets Listener are surely a band for you (4.5/5).
The final band we caught (due to an irritating puncture and a 50mph journey back along the M25) were who many of the audience were desperate to catch, the mighty Hundred Reasons. Much of the excitement comes from the fact that this is one of the very few dates Hundred Reasons will play before goodness knows how long, if at all. The classics from firm favourite “Ideas Above Our Station” ring out and even though the band are clearly getting on a bit, the same old attitude and the same old energy which made them such heroes of the UK live music scene still reverberates from the stage. The audience practically out sing them for tracks like “I’ll Find You” and “Silver” and it’s a moment the band are sure the cherish as even after all these years, they can still capture a crowd’s imagination like this (5/5). All in all a triumph of a weekend that will have left a few headaches and reaffirmed Hevy Fest as one of the most exciting events on the UK festival circuit.