Hevy Festival 2014 – Saturday Review

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After a busy first day (which you can read all about right here) and a trip to the zoo to nurse our hangovers, The Catharsis (8.5) kicked off the second day of Hevy Fest in brilliant fashion. Pulling in a respectable crowd despite their early set time, The Catharsis prove themselves to be one of the many great hardcore bands in the UK right now. The band fire out riff after riff and vocalist Morgan Tedd delivers an amazing performance whilst climbing on just about everything on stage. After just one band the bar for day 2 had already been set high.

The Catharsis performing at Hevy Festival 2014

Unfortunately over on the mainstage The Murderburgers (6) weren’t quite as impressive. Their lack of any real stage presence made it difficult to invest in their punk rock tunes. Perhaps they just felt a bit out of place playing on such a huge stage but it’s clear today just isn’t The Murderburgers day.

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One of the most unfortunate clashes of Hevy Festival 2014’s entire weekend was Dead Harts and Palm Reader, both bands are two of the best hardcore bands in the UK right now and both provide two of the most chaotic and exciting live shows so whichever you went to see you weren’t going to leave disappointed. Both bands even joked about this clash being a battle between the North and the South. Dead Harts (8.5) unsurprisingly chose to focus on their new album Cult For The Haggard Youth and got plenty of action going on in the pit especially during Pit Talk and Striptease, whilst the band matched this energy on stage stomping about and flinging their instruments around.  Palm Reader (8.5) chose to play some new songs from their upcoming album. The highlight of Palm Readers set came at the end during Smack Hound where various members of the band made their way into the crowd and bassist Josh Redrup made it his aim to knock someone out with his bass.

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With only a handful of people in the tent as Empress AD (7)  arrived on stage the atmosphere could only be described as awkward. However the band themselves did not seem phased by the turnout and kept those in attendance mesmerised with their progressive metal. Ollie Loring delivers an incredible vocal performance with crushing screams balanced out with delicate melodies and the rest of the band match this playing some of the best riffs of the whole weekend.

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Taking an entirely different approach to Empress AD, The Hell (9) were busy starting a riot on the third stage. Despite accusations of simply being a gimmick ban, The Hell clearly don’t care and just want to have fun, and in doing so everyone in the tent seems to be having the most fun they’ve had all weekend. The entire set is completely ridiculous with the band recreating The Lion King onstage and several grown men dancing around the mosh pit hitting each other with inflatable hammers but it’s nearly impossible to not at least crack a smile. Their music might be incredibly crude and a little bit silly but when vocalist EARLY MAN ends the set by climbing the supports in the middle of the tent it had to be said that The Hell know how to put on a great live show.

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Over on the main stage Me Vs Hero (7.5) were playing to one of the better mainstage crowds of the festival. The band have been away for a long time and it’s clear that the fans in attendance are excited to have them back. Choosing to mix some new songs in with older fan favourites was a good choice as it gave fans a taste of what’s to come without leaving them stood their awkwardly for the entire set. While a few sound problems slightly dampen the set at points songs like Days That Shape Our Lives and Can You Count Suckers still sound massive live making today a strong return for Me Vs Hero.

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From welcoming one band back to saying goodbye to another, it was time for Heights (9) to play their final UK festival show. Exploding onto the stage with Eleven Eyes there was no stopping Heights tonight. Monty performed like a man possessed, swing his mic stand around and climbing onto everything he could, even the security guards. There is a real intensity to Heights’ live show that very few bands can match and with this being one of the bands last UK shows it’s clear emotions are running high with every member. Dead Ends see’s fans clambering over each other to get the mic and the finale of Lost And Alone with Polar frontman Woody joining the band provides a fantastic end to one of the festivals best sets. When Heights finally split in October it will be a huge shame but for now they continue to put on one of the most exciting live show they can.

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Less than 30 minutes after Heights finished, guitarist Tom Green was playing his second set of the evening with Polar (9) who delivered another amazing performance. Over the last few years Polar have near enough perfected their live show and as a result are one of the most consistently brilliant live bands around. Woody is as passionate as ever screaming for more from the crowd at every possible moment. There is not a single weak moment in the bands half hour set as they fill it with amazing songs. Black Days is particularly impressive with Heart In Hand’s Charlie Holmes joining to provide some additional vocals. It’s once again surprising that Polar are not playing to bigger crowds when their live show is this good.

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Back on the main stage Anti-Flag (9.5) were the evenings party started in spectacular fashion. Firing out hit after hit they do not slow down for one second. After recent events Fuck Police Brutality seems more relevant than ever as every fan screams the chorus whilst Turncoat and One Trillion Dollars gets everyone dancing around and having a great time. Justin Sane and Chris No.2 do a great job controlling the crowd and have as much fun onstage as everyone else. It only gets better as the band move the drum kit into the crowd for Power To The Peaceful and Chris No.2 makes his way down to lead the crowd through one final sing-along to Drink Drank Punk.

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Following this was always going to be difficult but Reel Big Fish (9) easily manage. Arriving on stage to the Superman theme the band are greeted by the biggest mainstage crowd of the weekend and from the very first moment Reel Big Fish have everyone dancing and singing. The band stop occasionally to crack a few jokes but for the most part this is a greatest hits set that every fan wants to hear topped off with the closing combination of Sell Out and their cover of Take On Me.

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Despite it being late in the day, Structures (8.5) have no problems getting the crowd going. Front man Brendon Padjasek’s energy is infectious and the crowd refuse to let the mosh pit stop. The second stage sound system can just about cope with the bands technical metal meaning the songs don’t lose any impact. Unfortunately due to them starting late the band do have to cut things short but it’s an impressive display by the Canadians and hopefully they’ll be back to the UK soon. That just left The Vandals (6) to wrap up Hevy Festival this year. With a lot of people clearly choosing to head home early The Vandals play to a considerably smaller crowd than Reel Big Fish but no one seems to care. The band and fans seem to be having the time of their lives dancing about and generally acting like 14 year olds. It’s great fun to watch for the first 20 minutes but the set soon starts to drag on, it doesn’t help that the The Vandals seem to spend as much time talking as they do playing songs at points. My Girlfriends Dead and a cover of Don’t Stop Me Now pick things back up near the end but by then it already feels like the set has gone on for far too long.

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And with that, Hevy Festival 2014 was finished. Hopefully it’s return will not be short lived as everyone there had a great weekend. With a lot of the bands at Hevy not being booked for other major fesitvals it was a good chance for them to get out and play some larger shows over the summer with certain bands playing some of the festival sets of the summer. While attendance might not have been amazing this year, hopefully the organisers can build on what they managed this year and put on an even better festival in 2015.