Hevy Fest 2014 - Friday

Port Lympne, Kent, UK

After a trip around the animal park in the early morning to energise ourselves (and who doesn't want to see a gorilla going down a slide?!) we find ourselves in the middle of the, significantly smaller, arena at Hevy 2014. After a hiatus that saw the festival miss its planned weekend in 2013, we were more than glad to see it return this year. It is admittedly a shame that there were only two days of music this time around, and whilst it's not the strongest line-up the festival has ever hosted, there were some great names in there that we just had to catch.

First band of the weekend for Mute Print was, a little bit strangely, Oathbreaker. As it transpired, none of us had any clue their frontman was in fact a frontwoman. Looking fairly ethereal and simultaneously out of place in a floor length white gown, she hurls her hair around and screams in a quite frankly terrifying manner. It's all a little too out-there with not enough substance or in fact talent to back it up, so we disappear off for a quick tour of the arena whilst we wait for Heart In Hand to pop up there instead.

The size difference this year is quite striking, with only three or four food stands, just as many stalls/clothing brands and their now trademark spray paint artist, the festival still maintains its DIY ethic, but it's a shame to see that not as many companies have been given the opportunity to showcase their worths, and there's barely any variety in those that did. The festival state 1500 people came through the doors over the course of the weekend, yet at times the tents are much more packed out than even the main stage, and even for our demographic we find ourselves reviewing much more of the tent material than the main stage. In fact, in the reviews you're about to read, only three bands on the main stage will be critiqued. It's therefore up to the festival bookers themselves to decide whether that means they did an incredibly good job of booking the tents, or a very poor job of booking the main stage, leaving us with nothing better to do than amble around tents.

When Heart In Hand finally take to the stage, their relentless energy and chemistry as a band are infectious, and before long the majority of the now fairly packed tent are singing along, creating pits in the limited space they have, and pushing right up close to vocalist Charlie Holmes to scream his own lyrics back in his face. Compared to Oathbreaker earlier, Heart in Hand are simply gracious in their appearance, with a refined act that only an experienced touring band could achieve. The band have been known to state that they prefer European shows as opposed to those on their own turf, but we reckon they'd be pretty chuffed with the reception they received this afternoon.

TRC are just one of those bands that it's point blank impossible not to enjoy, especially live. The highlight of the set is easily crowd pleaser Define Cocky, which prompts the entire tent to sing along, and mass frenzy to erupt. The pride is etched all over the bands' faces, and it's a welcome return to the festival circuit for the Londoners.

Brutality Will Prevail begin their set a little shakily, mostly due to vocalist Louis, who just doesn't seem to get into the rhythm of things at all. The turning point in the set comes a little later than desired, when Scatter The Ashes is executed absolutely flawlessly and the audience gathered react in kind; dodging pits to maintain a good enough view to review was probably one of the harder things I've ever had to do.

A short walk over to the main stage for the first time this weekend and we see Kvelertak just taking to the stage.... and have to look twice. Yes, yes their vocalist IS wearing an actual dead owl on his head. We're not going delusional from lack of sunlight from being confined to a tent all day. Despite this odd moment, Kvelertak command their small crowd pleasingly, and it's a shame they weren't put on in a tent, for the full effect. 

Silverstein's set just reminds us of being fourteen again. Unfortunately, back in that time we thought they were the best thing since sliced bread, simply because they were pretty much the best on offer for the Myspace kings and queens of 2004. On a bill in 2014, though, they just seem outdated, and almost like they've been booked solely on nostalgia value. Shame, really, to taint those precious memories, but we couldn't exactly miss them either could we?

Deez Nuts on the other hand are the absolute prime cream of today's crop, and earn themselves the title of the best band of the weekend on this occasion. Although sticking to their tried and trusted set list, it went down a storm with everyone present, and JJ Peters, as always, completely commanded the stage and his audience. As the band close with Band of Brothers, it's plainly obvious that everyone present would rather they continued their set well into the night.

Sitting at the side of the main stage watching Finch was a moment this weekend that made a younger version of myself incredibly happy. As the band blast through hit after hit, such is their professionalism that they even continue through their guitarist quite literally falling off the stage. What better way to end the first day of Hevy than singing at the top of your lungs to What It Is To Burn? There is none.