This weekend Hevy Fest rolls into the very punk surroundings of a zoo. A bloody great big zoo! There’s hardcore, metal, punk, emo, post-hardcore and everything else in between – plus penguins! But who should you be watching from this smorgasbord of aggression and wildlife?
WHO: Coheed And Cambria WHY: They’re playing their sophomore record In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 in full. This is a rare opportunity to witness that collection of unearthly songs about intimacy and heartbreak set to a backdrop of expansive prog-rock symphonies in one mind-altering, life-affirming live presentation. And let’s face it, the only thing more enchanting that Claudio Sanchez’s distinctively supple vocals is his wildly untamed mane. That’s gotta be worth the ticket price alone. WATCH OUT FOR: Blood Red Summer
WHO: Thrice WHY: Their bold experimentation always marked them out from the rest of the post-hardcore pack and after a hiatus the Californian trailblazers are back, making their appearance at Hevy Fest 2015 their first UK show in three years. If The Illusion Of Safety and The Artist In The Ambulance formed the soundtrack to your wistful teenage years then you’ll undoubtedly already be down, but if you want to check out an emo band that certainly doesn’t suck then we recommend this Irvine quartet wholeheartedly. WATCH OUT FOR: The Artist In the Ambulance
WHO: The Dillinger Escape Plan WHY: Someone once described The Dillinger Escape Plan’s live show to us as being akin to setting off a bag of fireworks inside a submarine, and that analogy works for both indoor and outdoor venues. No stage is safe, and only the dead remain indifferent to the jazz and electro-infused bludgeoning hardcore assault of these New Jersey mathcore pioneers. Their Molotov cocktail of noise certainly isn’t for everyone, but those in the know simply know that The Dillinger Escape Plan never, ever disappoint. WATCH OUR FOR: Milk Lizard
WHO: The Get Up Kids WHY: They might not be kids anymore, but you’d be hard pressed to find a group of guys that pack as much raw power and emotional punch into their live show as these ‘second wave’ emo kings from Kansas City. Their second album Something To Write Home About was a quintessential release during that whole mid-90s movement, but they shunned the emo tag and aimed for a more confrontational and abrasive sound with their third record On A Wire, thus cementing their creativity, integrity, and longevity for years to come. After a few years off during the mid-00s they returned to doing what they do best in 2008, and they’ve been on top form ever since. We advise you go and savour a sing along with them at Hevy. WATCH OUT FOR: Action & Action
WHO: Judge WHY: They’ve been called “the most militant straight edge band imaginable”, and in frontman Mike Ferraro they have one of the most engaging and divisive singers in hardcore. His message is one of pure confrontation and provocation, and the band’s sound is equally brutal and unforgiving. You want to know where Hevy Fest gets its name? It’s from booking bands like this. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough! If you don’t think you are, it may interest you to know that their drummer Sammy Siegler played with Glassjaw and Rival Schools. So there’s always that… WATCH OUT FOR: New York Crew
WHO: Monuments WHY: Ever imagined what Meshuggah might sound like if they had Prince producing them? Well look no further boys and girls, because British progressive metallers Monuments have absolutely nailed that heavy but funky sound with their second album The Amanuensis. The debut record Gnosis may have failed to capture the musical and lyrical originality the band suggested they were capable of, but with new vocalist Chris Baretto now in the fold their technically proficient groove metal/prog-rock hybrid has been fully realised. Forget about the band you used to see supporting the likes of Periphery and TesseracT a few years back. This is Monuments Mk II, and they sound shit hot. WATCH OUT FOR: Atlas
WHO: Jamie Lenman WHY: The Thursday acoustic stage is besieged with talented British singer-songwriters in well-known UK bands – from Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) and Dave McPherson (InMe) to the hilarious Chas Palmer-Williams (Lightyear) – but the pick of the bunch is ex-Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman. If it’s idiosyncratic acoustic orchestrations of love and life that you’re after, nobody does it better than everyone’s favourite post-hardcore dapper dandy. He’ll be showcasing songs off the second disc of his double album Muscle Memory for the early birds, and unless you’ve come to Hevy to see penguins over live performers (it takes place in Port Lympne Wild Animal Park so you can see penguins if you want to) then watching Lenman is the only place to be on the festival’s opening night. WATCH OUT FOR: Pretty Please
WHO: God Damn WHY: Dave Grohl handpicked them to open up for the Foo Fighters at their recent stadium gig in Manchester. And if you all love Dave Grohl so much – and you can’t marry him because he’s already taken – then you’ll trust his taste in music enough to go on our recommendation and check out God Damn at Hevy Fest. The music world is flooded with two-piece rock acts at the moment (most notably Royal Blood and Slaves), but no acts bring the heavy metal thunder quite like this Wolverhampton pair of noise merchants, and the soundscapes they create live are devastatingly powerful. WATCH OUT FOR: Vultures
WHO: Creeper WHY: They’re one of the hottest new bands to emerge in 2015. Their self-titled, self-released debut EP only came out last December and it was enough to land the Southampton goth-punks a record deal with Roadrunner. The legendary label – home to everyone from Slipknot to Creeper’s heroes the Misfits over the years – have announced they’ll release a second EP by the band in September, so they’ll without a doubt be debuting some new material at Hevy. As well as watching your favourite bands of course, festivals are also about discovering new acts and if you aren’t already on the Creeper train then this weekend is your chance to jump on board. We promise, you’ll like it. WATCH OUT FOR: VCR
WHO: Milk Teeth WHY: At the risk of sounding redundant, the female of the species are somewhat underrepresented on the bill at this year’s Hevy Fest. Thankfully Milk Teeth are repping it for the sisters. But we haven’t included them on this list simply because they have a girl in the band – we’ve done so because their fuzzed out mix of ‘90s alt rock and ‘70s garage punk rules. And having seen them a few times we can categorically confirm that they fucking bring it live. There’s everything from the Pixies to The Stooges in the sound, and despite being barely out of college they play with the purpose and conviction of bands twice their age. The future of punk rock lies in the hands of bands like this, and if you’re yet to catch this young four-piece live, this weekend at Hevy is the time to right that wrong. WATCH OUT FOR: Vitamins
Hevy Fest takes place at Port Lympne Wildlife Park from 13-15th August.