After a full day of some of the heaviest music imaginable and a good night’s drinking, Trashboat‘s keep it simple style of pop punk on the mainstage ends up being a fine way to kick off Saturdays festivities, even if most of us are still nursing the remnants of a festival hangover. Vocalist Toby Duncan is almost apologetic, reminding the crowd on more than one occasion that his band aren’t used to playing on a stage this large but there’s no need as the band seem to adapt very quickly, no doubt gaining a few new fans for their sterling efforts.
The audio gremlins that plagued the mainstage yesterday seem to have found their way back into the mix by the time Milk Teeth take over from Trashboat which is unfortunate. After only a couple of songs it’s clear that they’re finding it hard up there and that the sound issues are the root of it. Rather than play on for their fans however, the band’s lead singer decides to have a tantrum about the situation, chastising the festival’s organiser before hurling his guitar and microphone across the stage, cutting their set short. His frustration is understandable but there’s no doubt his attitude also leaves a lot to be desired.
Thankfully the next act Fort Hope approach the situation with a little more professionalism. Although early songs in the set such as Sick are robbed of some of their usual quality you can still see why they’re generating as much press as they are right now. Before long the band are operating at full speed, with their overall enthusiasm and the affable charisma and infectious hooks provided by vocalist Jon Gaskin more than making up for a slightly shaky start. They even treat the crowd to an as yet unreleased track called Say No before finally bringing things to a close with Control.
Still jet lagged from their lengthy stint on the Vans Warped Tour by their own admission, As It Is still seem to be firing on all cylinders as they kick off their set. The rhythm section connection between Alistair Testo and Patrick Foley on the bass and drums in particular seems to be almost telepathic during Cheap Shots and Setbacks showing that their time on the road hasn’t been without its benefits. They aren’t above digging into their back catalogue either, with Concrete finally succeeding where so many more well known songs have failed today in getting the crowd jumping for the sky.
Arcane Roots have got to be one of the biggest sounding three piece bands this side of Biffy Clyro and they’re certainly no less fun to watch. The one-two blow of Over and Over which they masterfully jam their way out of and then into Sacred Shapes without pause has the audience in the palm of their hands right from the start. Guitarist and singer Andrew Groves seems to be having the time of his life too, jumping away from the mic and onto the monitors every chance he gets. The only hiccup is when the P.A drops out during Million Dollar Que$tion leading to a few minutes of amusing improv and chanting from the crowd to “turn it off and on again” before they finish off an impressive outing by stomping their way through If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves.
Not to be outdone by last night’s headliners, Fall Of Troy have taken it upon themselves to play their seminal album Doppelganger in full this weekend. It’s hard to believe that their second album is now a full ten years old as songs like Laces Out, Dan! and Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man’s Bones sound every bit as fresh today as they ever have. Despite a few jokes between Thomas Erak and Tim Ward about not being able to remember their own songs, the level of musicianship, particularly on Erak’s part as he uses one hand to tap out his incredibly technical guitar parts during a storming performance of F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X., is nothing short of amazing as well.
All weekend I’ve been hearing about Horse The Band, from the lead singers fearsome moustache game to the completely off the wall nature of their live shows, they’ve generated an awful lot of buzz in a very short space of time. It turns out to be very well deserved too because as the marching band drums, metalcore guitar and 8 bit synths of Heroes Die fade away and the vicious blast beat of Birdo kicks in the crowds reaction absolutely tears the roof off the second stage. From there on in things only get more and more hectic as the band ups the tempo once more with A Million Exploding Suns and special mention has to be made of triangle player Ed Edge, whose insanely hilarious stage presence cannot be denied even if his overall contributions to the mix may not be all the audible. They might seem like a novelty act at a glance, but having experienced Horse The Band live I can safely say they are anything but.
After the assault on the senses that was Horse The Band, the Get Up Kids seem almost pedestrian by comparison. It’s not that the band play poorly or that their decision to play Something To Write Home About in full as part of their twentieth anniversary tour is a particularly bad one. It’s a great album and guitarists Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic seem to be on notably good form, trading off their duties on the six strings and microphone with practiced ease. However, for whatever reason their set seems to be lacking something special and even though they take a break from Something To Write Home About by playing Shorty and Woodson it robs the mainstage of the momentum built up by the likes of Arcane Roots and Fall Of Troy and ends up being a little disappointing.
To say that Thrice’s headline set is a hotly anticipated one would be something of an understatement. After a three year hiatus and a myriad of rumours surrounding the bands future, simply to see their name on the bill this weekend was something of a victory for people like myself and the atmosphere in front of the mainstage is positively electric. So much so that the chants of “Thank You Thrice” from the front row make it impossible to hear the beautiful arpeggio that precedes Of Dust and Nations and its only when Teppei Teranishi’s htis a stompbox and his guitar finally cuts through above it all that everyone realises Thrice are in fact really here.
What follows is a masterclass in setlist construction as the band deftly pull hit after hit from all eight of their studio albums, juxtaposing melody and aggression and changing up the pace constantly, much to the audience’s delight. Their execution is flawless too, from Dustins pristine vocals during Artist In The Ambulance to the high octane guitar fuelled classic Deadbolt. All good things must come to an end though and after nearly ninety minutes it’s a brilliant encore in the form of Anthology that signals not only the end of Thrice’s triumphant return but the end of yet another brilliant weekend of music at Hevy. Though it may be bittersweet, it is moments like these that make festivals what they are and I’m sure Port Lympne will have even more of them to offer when Hevy Fest returns in 2016!