Heavy Montreal took place a few days ago on August 6 & 7, 2016 at Parc Jean Drapeau in the awesome city of Montreal. The Rev was there armed with media credentials and his Metal Nation Radio tees with cutoff sleeves. Check out his festival diary below…
The big stress at the beginning of the day was finding my way to the media tent, (I am directionally challenged), to check in and be prepared to interview a well-known band at 1 pm. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, that didn’t happen so by 1:30 I was stoked to catch Pop Evil, a band with whom I had an interview later in the afternoon. I was also lucky to meet up with Metal Nation Radio’s Teemu Lavikka in the media area. Teemu had come in all the way from Finland and the luck came into play when he said that he would indeed be available to photograph my interviews. I had gone prepared with a small tripod and remote control for my camera but had no idea if that would work very well. Teemu graciously saved me the trouble of figuring that one out.
Pop Evil was the second band up for the day and only had 30 minutes to present their awesome brand of grooving hard rock. They certainly made the most of the opportunity with a very energetic and entertaining set that had the impressively large early turnout fully engaged. Later on in the afternoon I had a great chat with drummer Hayley Cramer and bassist Matt DiRito that you’ll hear on an upcoming edition of Too Metal For Church.
Returning to the media tent I was promptly informed that I had an interview with Carcass which was awesome news except that our communication channels had broken down somehow and I wasn’t aware of the fact until that very moment. We none-the-the-less had a cool conversation with drummer Daniel Wilding and guitarist Ben Ash that you’ll also hear on an upcoming edition of the show.
With our interview put to bed I headed up to the VIP Industry area to catch Fear Factory’s show from a more comfortable perch and a bathroom with no lineup. Fear Factory’s utterly ferocious set gave way to Kataklysm, one of the shows that I’d been eagerly anticipating having seen them a recent 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Towards the end of their excellent set I grabbed Teemu and headed towards the area of the circle pit as I’d gotten this crazy idea in my head that instead of Body Count’s song/lyric, “There’s a Bitch in the Pit” we could have “There’s a Rev in the Pit” with Teemu snapping a pic for a humorous Facebook post on the show page. All was going well until a little guy behind me got clobbered by some behemoth while I was slamming shoulders with a large intoxicated gentleman – I next found my ass being picked up off the floor much to Teemu’s amusement. The results were hilarious but the picture of that, sadly, was deleted. I wonder how that happened?
Once dusted off it was time to catch Carcass‘ absolutely ripping set against the backdrop of the artwork for the Surgical Steel album. Up next was Sebastian Bach, vocalist for Skid Row when that band was tearing it up in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I recall seeing Skid Row on a bill during that time period and was impressed with Bach’s ability to sing the songs the way the were recorded. Age, however, does not necessarily help the singing voice so I must admit to being surprised that he can still reach all the high notes when presenting classics like “Sweet Little Sister”, “Slave to the Grind” and, of course, “18 and Life”. Say what you might about whether or not the man is difficult to work with, on this day he kicked the audience’s ass in a way that was memorable.
As afternoon made its way to evening it was time to fuel up on double-bacon cheeseburgers that were actually excellent and prepare to try to get reasonably close to the stage for the legendary Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. Zakk absolutely killed it, played the tracks you might have expected to hear and shredded like a man possessed.
One of the overarching factors of large festivals with high-caliber lineups is this: how exactly does one survive show after show after show with the energy to appreciate all of them equally? Water, plenty of water, especially when the sun is out and the temps are approaching 40c. Relief can often come in the form of the beginning of sunset which occurred about the same time that Mastodon took the stage. This was another show that I had a great deal of anticipation for as I’d never seen the band live. Fortunately I met a couple of young guys near the media tent who I saw later in the Mastodon crowd. As the show approached they bulldozed their way to the front giving me a clear opportunity to follow in their wake. At one point a guy tapped my shoulder and pointed up when I looked around. He had to be 250 pounds plus and well over 6 feet tall. It took four of us to get him surfing and the security guy who caught him over the rail just about landed on his ass making for a little amusement during the band’s fantastic set of heavy, proggy stoner set.
The evening wrapped up with an amazing set by Nightwish and a crushing finale in Five Finger Death Punch who I’d seen on the smaller third stage back at the 2010 edition of the festival. I will admit to this: I did bail before the end of 5FDP’s set to avoid the rush for the subway.
After an easy ride back to my stop I stood at the bottom of Parc Street, feet throbbing, body pit-bruised and sun-baked staring up a one kilometer long hill up to the hotel (with 40 pounds strapped to my back no less). “I have to make it…”, I thought. “I get to do this all over again tomorrow!”
Stay tuned for Heavy Montreal Day 2!
All show photos provided by and used with permission of Evenko
All other photos: Teemu Lavikka
Reverend Rock is host of Too Metal For Church , Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST and Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST