Gig Review

Hevy Music Festival
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park Kent
5th - 8th August 2011

Hevy Festival has returned for its 3rd year and the 2nd year here at the amazing setting of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent. It’s no-where near as big as your Sonisphere or Download Festivals but it’s got a great line up and an ever improving festival experience which is a great draw for many people. This year they’re starting the bands on the Friday, albeit in a reduced form but it’s still a great extra for the relatively low ticket price of £89 which also allows you to go to the animal park and take a look at the wildlife!

Photo Of Straight Lines © Copyright James Daly
Arriving at the festival at around opening time (1pm) we have to queue for a good hour or so to get in (no-where near the amount of time the general public have to wait, with some people telling me they waited 4 hours to get in!) once in we set up camp and decided to go check out some bands, unfortunately by the time we were ready it was about 5 o clock and we had an interview so the first band we properly checked out was

Straight Lines (3/5) The Welsh rockers from Pontypridd take to the Macbeth Stage and start my weekend in style! Nice riffs, catchy tunes and thumping bass. They play a nice set with great songs such as Loose Change, Say it For Your Sake and the, oh so catchy All My Friends Have Joined the Army. This band know how to handle the crowd with the normal “you’re from Wales” shouts, Tom responds with “were sheep shaggers we are”. Overall a good set played to a moderate sized crowd who were all tapping there feet and bobbing there head.

Photo Of Flood Of Red © Copyright James Daly
Flood of Red (2.5/5) This group of Alt rockers from Glasgow play a decent set to a busy tent. It’s full of melodic, rocking beats with nice synth and added percussion. They entertain the crowd but unfortunately not me. Personally I think there rather bland, but I’m definitely in the minority as the crowd gathered here loves it.
Sonic Boom Six (3.5/5) The happy go lucky, punk/dub/ska outfit from sunny Manchester gets the crowd jumping with their unique brand and its fast pace. The tent is full to bursting, so it’s clear they’re popular or the Hevy Festival goers have finally gotten in and settled and want to pick up their mood. Straight into the second song in the set they hit technical difficulties with Barneys vocals failing, they stall with Layla telling a joke “Whats a sheep with no legs called?..... A Cloud” the tent erupts with Boos! “I’m not a comedian I’m just here to entertain you!” we are then informed that all this is going out Live on Radio Leicester! Eventually the sound problems are solved and they play a great set including songs such as The Kids Of The Multi Culture, Sunny Side Of The Street and New Style Rocka.

Photo Of Crowd © Copyright James Daly
Lower than Atlantis (4/5) I already knew Lower Than Atlantis were good but after interviewing the lovely chaps earlier in the day I knew I had to see them properly after last year at Hevy, missing the start of their set and not being able to get into the tent to watch the gig properly. But due to Sonic Boom Six over running I arrived at the tent too late and once again I could not get in, it was so packed the artist entrance was full, the normal entrance was at least 100 strong outside and inside it was a ball of steam! But from what I heard they played a great set including a nice Foo Fighters medley of The Pretender and Everlong. The bassist Dec Heart lived up to his word from my interview earlier and scaled the high speakers and played whilst security push people down like flies. The crowd loved it and I wish I was in there taking photos and rocking out! I did get told the next day that they had sound problems for 15 minutes or so which meant there sound engineer had to fight his way from the sound desk through the filled tent a few times just to sort things out!

Overall the first day was fun, a little crazy in parts but I did get to catch a few decent bands along with Daniel P Carters Dj set which was cut short, but was decent enough. After all the bands I went back to my tent to partake in some drinking which carried on into the early hours.

Photo Of Me Vs Hero © Copyright James Daly
Waking up around midday with a raging hangover I try and get myself together for I have interviews set up set up for the day and there are bands to go watch.

In between my early interviews I get to catch a few bands including Bastions and Gold Kids, who I didn’t see enough of the give a fair review but what I did see, Bastions where great and where playing in place of Hang The Bastard, they had fast gritty guitars with constant screaming vocals, very upbeat and definitely got people awake and ready for the long day ahead! Gold kids where loud and proud with dirty guitars and plodding bass along with great deep screaming which made them a band that I’d love to check out in future.

Spy Catcher(3/5) are a four piece rock band from Watford who are heavy, punk rock with great drum beats, screechy guitars who attracted a big crowd. They’re really raw sounding and this is great to hear in an age of over produced garbage. They play some great songs including the catchy Nobody’s Listening.

Photo Of Me Vs Hero © Copyright James Daly
Me Vs Hero (4/5) this great pop punk outfit from Blackpool are an instant hit, I’ve seen them a few times over the past year and they always impress, they get everyone jumping, crowd surfers ‘surfing’ and the tent is heaving! There sound is great, it’s crisp and clear and they have great screaming backing vocals. It’s happy and loud and everyone is involved. Singer Sam Thompson asks “How you doing Hevy?” to a great response. If you want some fun go check out Me Vs Hero and have a dance to songs such as “Can You Count Suckers”.

Photo Of Page44 © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
Feed The Rhino (4/5) this band is crazy. They tear up the stage with they’re hardcore rock. Band members jump into the crowd and continue with no problems, they’re here to do one thing and that’s to have fun! When I first heard Trash Talk had cancelled I was disappointed but Feed The Rhino more than made up for it. There sound is dark but turns into fast and fun, with great rocking riffs. They want the crowd to move and go for “the biggest fucking circle pit of the festival!” singer Lee says exactly what they’re all about “Its two songs in and I’m already fucked” that’s because they put allot of energy into everything they do, and it pays off!

TRC (3/5) which stands for “The Revolution Continues” carry on from where Feed The Rhino left of with their own brand of hardcore punk rock! The London 6 piece jump around the stage and then into the crowd with almost infinite energy. They’re heavy, hard and fast paced and keep the crowd entertained. Singer Chris Robinson seems to think Hevy is smaller this year but I have to disagree, it’s just as big and it’s even better. TRC play a good set but for some reason the crowd don’t take to it as much as Feed The Rhino, but that’s no bother as up next on the main stage are Ghost Of A Thousand.

Photo Of Page44 © Copyright James Daly
If you went to Hevy this year or even last year you’ll know they do a nice stage set up of having another smaller stage next to the main one, so when the main stage ends local bands (last year) or Red Bull Bands (this year) play and keep the crowd entertained and the festival ticking over until the next main stage band is ready. Unfortunately this year’s stage was positioned so it was harder to see from the main stage where people where waiting for the next bands so I felt it lost crowd interaction, but never the less having the Red Bull Stage next to the main stage is great as it gives the audience the chance to hear some great upcoming bands, and the first of these that I check out was…

Page 44 (3.5/5) This great power pop outfit from Birmingham are positioned rather oddly between some hardcore bands but in a way it’s a great break with fun poppy sounds and catchy harmonies, Page 44 go down well. Singer Adam Vygus says “Here’s some Disney songs to brighten your day” which is great because if you can have a laugh with hardcore crowds then you can handle anyone, well maybe not Metallica fans but then again not even Metallica can handle them. Overall fun catchy indie pop, which must have gone down well over the festival season, as they are in the final off the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition.

Photo Of Ghost Of A Thousand © Copyright James Daly
Ghost of A Thousand (4.5/5) there farewell festival show kicks off with a storm! The band slowly walks out to cheers to the soft track Small Mercies but then burst out into Left for Dead. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve seen, although when I spoke to them early in the day they were quite blasé about the final appearance as they had already played there final headline show, they still kept on top of things and made sure they went out with a bang! They played a great set of all there classic songs along with an astounding cover of AC/DC’s Back In Black! They rocked on stage, they rocked in the crowd and they had a great time doing it. It will be sad to see the Brighton punk rockers disband but at least they gave it all they had and didn’t fade into obscurity!

Photo Of The OCean Between Us © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
The Ocean Between Us (3/5) The Leeds based Post-Hardcore rockers are playing the Red Bull Stage and have a tough job of bridging the gap between Ghost of A Thousand and The Architects but they do it and they do it well. They’re loud and in your face, with their grimy guitars and screeching vocals they rip it up and entertain. They have a great sound not too far away from Bring Me The Horizon and singer Judd Wrighton puts his all into the performance, getting down on his knees almost gasping for breath and then getting back up and jumping around.

The Architects (2.5/5) The Brighton based metalcore band start the set of great with burst of energy with singer Sam Carter spending allot of time in the crowd and with the rest of the band moving and jumping but after the first few songs everything seems to calm down and unfortunately I’m not a fan, it’s just too slow I came here to rock and now I’m getting tired and want to go back to my tent. I know that they’re had a bit of a change of direction with their latest album but you’re at a festival keep the pace up!

Photo Of Architects © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
Now because I can’t be in two places at once I decided I would go and take photos of Bouncing Souls and then come back and catch Dillinger Escape Plan whilst my partner stayed and took photos of them.

Bouncing Souls (4/5) the New Jersey based punk rockers have been going for almost 25 years which I’m sure is older than most of their audience here at Hevy but because of this they have everything down to a t. They sound amazing; with their fast catchy punk pop songs, singer Greg Attonito seems to be rather nonchalant about being here with his hoody still on over his shirt and tie, but half way through their second song Say Anything, he jumps into the crowd and gets excited only to get back on stage and carry on as before. This is a refreshing change to live music, and it seems that whilst the rest of the band is jumping and rocking around Greg is calm and is plotting his next movements. After a few songs I head over to Dillinger to check them out, but I’m rather disappointed and so head back over to see the end of Bouncing Souls set, I’m glad I did as I got to here Kate is Great and True Believers. A great band that deserve allot more recognition played here to a relatively big crowd but as predicted most people where watching Dillinger.

Photo Of Dillenger Escape Plan © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
Dillinger Escape Plan(2/5) I saw Dillinger back at Download a year ago so I wasn’t to fussed about seeing them here tonight when I had the chance to catch Bouncing Souls, but I decided to catch some of the set as I know allot of people will be disappointed if I didn’t review them. So I headed over after 3 or 4 songs only to find they hadn’t come on stage yet due to sound problems. When they finally did arrive on stage twenty minutes late the sound still sounded awful, it was distorted and you couldn’t truly hear Greg Puciato. They were full of energy, as per normal, but it seems lacking. Maybe it was the wait to come on stage or maybe they knew they sounded bad but it just wasn’t great. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind too much as they create massive circle pits and mosh like crazy! I didn’t stay for all there set but after catching the end of Bouncing Souls I went back and saw the rest of theirs where things had improved but not enough to make me forget the start of the set. Overall maybe on a different day this would have been amazing but tonight it was subpar.

Overall Saturday was a busy day, with many great bands. Ghost of a Thousand where definitely the stand out band with Bouncing Souls and Feed the Rhino coming a close second. So as the music drew to an end I went to have more drinks at the free bar put on for press, artists and guests. Hevy really know how to look after us J

Photo Of Headstart © Copyright James Daly
Well its really hit me in the past few years how I can’t hack festivals like I used to, I’m 27 and well I feel like an old man compared to the younger guys and girls about, who stay up all night drinking, get an hours sleep and are away. Whereas myself, it took till Saturday evening for my thirst for booze came back and then I was up till 4 drinking and chatting with some bands, I went to bed before them and yet woke up at 12 completely lagging, whilst they’d all been up for a few hours and where back on the beer. I still love festivals, but my body definitely doesn’t!

But anyway I’m up and I have an interview with While She Sleeps (which you can read on the site), I’m pretty hung-over and the world doesn’t look too pretty, but I head to the main arena to do an interview and start my day of rock! It took me till ten past 3 to check out some bands and the first band was;

Photo Of Capdown © Copyright James Daly
The Headstart (3/5) You may not have heard of The Headstart, but they are a great pop punk band, they recently toured the UK with Framing Hanley and My Passion and have a full headline tour booked for September. The Headstart are exactly what you would expect from a pop punk band; fun filled, cocky, upbeat, and from Wakefield.... well maybe the Wakefield part isn’t part of being a pop punk but it sure adds to their style. They play some really catchy songs and definitely wake me up and get me ready for ska punk legends

Capdown (4/5) now I had a choice here, go and watch the newly trending, post-hardcore band, Touché Amoré or go and watch Capdown for the 8th time. I chose Capdown, because after a weekend of checking new bands out I felt today was the day to stay safe and stick to what I know, mainly because; 1) It’d help my head get together if I heard songs I love and 2) I haven’t seen some of these bands in ages and I wanted to see if they still had it. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 13 years Capdown are a ska punk band from Milton Keynes who split up in 2007 and reformed last year for a one of gig, but enjoyed playing again that they decided to carry on! As they came onto the stay I was eager to see how’d they go down, and they went down brilliantly, they came out to Unite To Progress which gives singer Shaky Jake the freedom of the stage to move around and make their mark. They sound great and play a wicked set including the classic Cousin Cleotis and ending in the infamous Ska Wars! I was really impressed with just how good Capdown still are and how well they went down with this mid Sunday afternoon crowd. Just so you know, everyone who I spoke to said Touché Amoré where amazing!

Photo Of The Hype Theory © Copyright James Daly
Again I had a choice of who to see here, I could go and watch While She Sleeps, who were nice guys when I interviewed them and where definitely going to rip it up or I could see a band who were part of the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition, but who have already been signed up, have a great summer single playing on Kerrang and Scuzz and who are definitely going to be massive in the next year. So I decided to stick with my punk bands for the day and watch

The Hype Theory (4/5) are a female fronted pop punk band from Chelmsford who keep getting lazy comparisons to Paramore thrown at them but who in actual fact are something completely different. This band is a happy summer time band, one that makes you feel like dancing, one that there songs get stuck in your head! They play a nice set of upbeat poppy songs which are caked in sweet riffs and lovely vocals. They give everyone watching a smile on their face and when singer Katy Jackson whips out a megaphone for the start of their latest single Kid At Heart, I get chills down my spine as this song is brilliant, it should be an anthem, it should be a song that you put on when you’re feeling down and want to shake the blues and for me it is, I just hope that people out there go and check them out now before they get big, so in a few years they can say to people, quite smugly “I saw them in a small club before they got huge”.

Photo Of Zebrahead © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
Zebrahead (3.5/5) these California punksters have been about for 15 years or so now and have played around the world. They’re a party band with great punk songs, with simple slapstick lyrics and the odd bit of rapping thrown in for good measure. They came out and jumped write into Rescue Me and Three Wrongs Don’t Make A Right, But Three Rights Make A Left which go down great, with singer Ali Tabatabaee getting the crowd worked up with his great banter. Then before they play Jag Off we get to meet the masturbating tiger, who comes out to his own theme and well… masturbates (rubs his suit and not get his bits out) and then starts to squirt the crowd with a water gun! In the middle of the song they get the entire crowd to sit down so everyone can jump up! These things you don’t really see that often and definitely make it a memorable set. If that wasn’t enough this feel good set that puts a smile on everyone’s face gets better when the band plays new single Ricky Bobby along with classics, Hello Tomorrow, Playmate Of The Year and Anthem!

Photo Of Mill Valley High © Copyright James Daly
Hill Valley High (3/5) are a Red Bull Bedroom Jam band from Telford. They’re pop rock, and have been playing gigs for years, in fact they once did a ten date sold out tour in Brazil which most bands can only dream off! They’re catchy and fun, they bounce around the stage clearly enjoying what they’re doing. They sound sweet with nice background synth great drumming and awesome guitar hooks. They’re bouncing, poppy, fun and definitely worth checking out. After the festival they went through to the final 3 of the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition, so good luck to them!

We Are The Ocean are up next and due to it being a long day and not really knowing much by them I take this moment to go back to the tent and get some food. I do catch a few songs and they’re definitely a band I will check out in future, with their great harmonies and thumping melodies. I did catch there two singles, The Waiting Room and the hauntingly beautiful What It Feels like, which both sounded as good as they do recorded.

Photo Of Make This Relate © Copyright James Daly
MakeThisRelate (3/5) are an alternative rock band from Glasgow and are my final Red Bull Bedroom Jam band of the weekend. They’re position in a nice slot between We Are The Ocean and Funeral For A Friend and they fit in great. They’re definitely influenced by Biffy Clyro as there sound is dark and gritty with great popping bass and raw guitars all glued together with loud banging drums. Singer Kevin Walls has a great Scottish accent that comes into the vocals and makes the songs sound deeper, along with guitarist Aidan Scott’s backing vocals this band are dark and moody and are appealing. Kevin tells the crowd who are stood waiting for Funeral For A Friend “Come on over and have a closer look, come and enjoy yourself as when where done we’ll be joining you in watching Funeral!”. They play a great set with some catchy songs including new single Sugar Glass. If you like Biffy then go check these guys out as there doing a small tour write now!

Photo Of Make This Relate © Copyright James Daly
Funeral For A Friend (3/5) the Welsh emo group from Bridgend have been around for ten years now and I’ve been with them from the start, I used to listen to them all the time when I was 16 and that carried on until after Hours, but since then I kinda lost touch but whenever I hear them it takes me back, they’re unique tones make them instantly recognisable and seeing as I’ve seen them many times over the years and caught them last year at Sonisphere for Gareth’s farewell gig and they were amazing. Tonight they were good but something was lacking and I think this was down to Hevy’s PA system, for some reason when the bigger bands get on stage the sound system seems to cop out and unfortunately it did it here. You could tell they were playing great and that Matt Davies was singing perfectly but the system seems to get the levels messed up and kinda wisps in from soft to heavy. But despite the sound problems they were great, Matt did keep going on and he’s definitely gained confidence over the years as he used to just sing and not say a word in-between songs, but now he goes on big speeches. His longest was before Roses For The Dead, where he went into a drawn out bit about how much this song means to people, and all I wanted was for them to cut the chat and play more songs! I know this might have been to help the sound guys sort the sound but it was boring. They did however play a great set with songs both old and new, all tying up with Escape Artists Never Die.

Photo Of The Bronx © Copyright James Daly
Your Demise (4/5) this St Albans Hardcore band are crazy, they come out and want to mess things up. The singer Ed McRae is crazy and comes bursting onto the stage with a t-shirt tied round his head, he jumps into the crowd he goes off stage, he basically can’t stay still, but to be honest none of the band can! They’re moving all over the place slamming there guitars around, thrashing and jumping. Theres not allot I can say about them other than, GO SEE THEM LIVE! They will blow your mind, they keep your attention and even if you’re not into hardcore you will enjoy this! They play a decent set in which the crowd goes wild, trying to climb on stage and climb up the tent pegs and then diving off the 10 foot high platforms into the crowd. Your Demise closed the Front and Etnies Stage in style!

Finally it was time for the final bands of the weekend, and again I had a choice; Four Year Strong or The Bronx. Now for me this is a simple choice The Bronx! So I did the same as the night before and caught most of The Bronx in-between a bit of Four Year Strong.

Photo Of Four Year Strong © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
The Bronx (5/5) I’m stood in the dark anxiously waiting for the Bronx to burst onto the stage. The crowd are keeping themselves entertained by throwing an inflatable shark around and climbing up the tent poles and jumping off. The band appears on stage and burst into a high energy set containing classics such as Knifeman, White Tar and False alarm. Singer Matt Coughthran is on top form and jumps into the crowd screaming at the top of his lungs. The volume is the loudest I’ve heard all weekend and its flowing through me, the band and the entire crowd. Its dark it’s raw and it’s brilliant! Every time I see this band they overwhelm me with their sheer presence, and tonight is no different. They have such a strange stage presence, the rest of the band tend to stay still whilst Matt goes crazy! I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t want to leave and see

Four Year Strong (2.5/5) and when I did I wish I hadn’t! The Massachusetts pop punk band where good, but they weren’t great, to be honest I don’t know why they headlined, they would have been a great band earlier on but seeing as they were the final band of the weekend they didn’t pull it out the bag. But speaking of bags they did through lots of food into the crowd, they were talking for like ten minutes about all this food they had been given and how they wanted to give it out, so they did, there was cheese, crisps and other snack foods that were thrown into the crowd. The sound again was poor but again I feel like this was not the bands fault but the PA. They played a good set including It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now and Wasting Time along with a handful of new songs, which I always feel shouldn’t be done at festivals as people are there for the hits but ah well. Overall a decent enough showing but definitely not a festival closer.

Photo Of Four Year Strong © Copyright Elizabeth Aston
So, a great day with quite a few nostalgic bands with allot more punk bands than the day before. Unfortunately it did seem quieter that the day before for some reason but it was still great. My highlights where The Bronx, Capdown and The Hype Theory. So as the weekend comes to a close we had back to the car for a nice 200 mile journey to Birmingham, on the way back we catch up on the news and events we’ve missed and find out that unknown to myself and most of the people at the festival riots were kicking off in London, which goes to show that once you’re at a festival your happy with the music, the beer and the people and outside news doesn’t matter because a Festival is great and even the small ones like Hevy, have plenty to see and do, so here’s hoping to an even better Hevy 2012!

Review By James Daly
Photos By James Daly And Elizabeth Aston

 Hevy Festival

Hevy Music Festival
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park Kent
5th - 8th August 2011

 Friday - Macbeth Stage

Sonic Boom Six
Flood Of Red
Straight Lines
Steel Rules Die
The First
The Bottlenex

 Friday - Etnies Stage

Lower Than Atlantis
Carcer City
Max Raptor

 Friday - Red Bull Stage

Daniel P Carter
Don Broco
The Lost Boys
You And What Army
Never Means Maybe

 Saturday - Main Stage

The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Ghost Of A Thousand
Trash Talk
The Carrier
November Coming Fire
Gold Kids
Hang the Bastard

 Saturday - Macbeth Stage

Bouncing Souls
Title Fight
The Xcerts
Make Do And Mend
Me Vs Hero
Spy Catcher
Arcane Roots

 Saturday - Etnies Stage

Rise To Remain
Awaken Demons
Brutality Will Prevail
All Teeth
Heart In Hand
Heart Of A Coward
Former Thieves
Brotherhood of the Lake

 Saturday - Red Bull Stage

The Ocean Between Us
Page 44
If Heroes Should Fail
Collapse The Control
Our People Verses Yours

 Sunday - Main Stage

Four Year Strong
Funeral For A Friend
We Are The Ocean
Polar Bear Club
Man Overboard

 Sunday - Macbeth Stage

The Bronx
While She Sleeps
Touche Amore

 Sunday - Etnies Stage

Your Demise
Stick To Your Guns
More Than Life
La Dispute
Living With Lions
The Marmozets
The Loose Cannons

 Sunday - Red Bull Stage

Autumn In Disguise
Hill Valley High
The Hype Theory
The Headstart
The Debut
Show It Off
The Afterparty

 Event Related Links
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?