Once again, Montréal brought in thousands upon thousands of the world’s biggest heavy metal fans last weekend. The event known now as Heavy Montréal, was held on August 6 and 7 at the Plaine des Jeux at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The weekend was host to more than 37 bands that played across 3 different stages. Out of the 30,000+ fans that attended, approximately 23 countries were represented. Those countries include fans from, the United States, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Great Britain and more.
For those who attended the festival last year, there were two main differences. Those differences were the festival was dropped down to only Saturday and Sunday instead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The other difference being in the actual festival grounds. This year, the festival moved to the smaller side of the island known as the Plaine des Jeux. Over the same weekend, metal fans may have run across many hipsters wearing their colorful tank tops and board shorts while taking the metro to Heavy Montréal. The reason for the mix of music scenes was because right next door at the old Heavy Montréal festival grounds was the ÎLESONIQ festival which was headlined by artists such as Zedd and Skrillex.
Anyways, back to the metal. Saturday was a busy day for everyone it seemed. Only the most loyal fans to the headlining bands camped along the rail all day to catch that one band they came for. Pop Evil was one of the bands who started off the weekend and they seemed to love Montréal and the crowd loved them. The band opened up with the crunching riff of “Deal With The Devil”. Festival sets are never long, so everyone has to bring their ‘A’ game. The crowd support and reaction at just 1:30 in the afternoon was incredible.
In the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, it seemed to go back and forth from one great artist to the next. Bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Skeletonwitch, Fear Factory and Kataklysm were only some of the options early in the day. Each of those bands all seemed to draw respective crowds which was surprising when some of the sets overlapped. Somehow it seemed like no matter who was playing next, each stage was packed.
Saturdays biggest surprise was Escape The Fate. Playing on the Blabbermouth.net stage, these guys absolutely stole the show. Skeptical on how the crowd would react at a festival dominated by “heavier” bands, Escape The Fate provided that breath of fresh air in the afternoon. The band’s setlist consisted of mainly songs off of their last 2 studio albums, which were both solid from start to finish.
Other bands that played Saturday that put on unforgettable performances were Sabaton, Sebastian Bach and Black Label Society. Sabaton had the best stage set of the entire weekend hands down. The Swedish power metal guys in Sabaton brought both pyro to their stage set and a tank. Yes, you read that correctly, a tank. To go along with the awesome stage show, Sabaton ripped through a 10 song set list that consisted of songs like “Ghost Division,” “To Hell and Back” and “Night Witches.”
Sebastian Bach, who everyone knows as the voice of Skid Row, seemed to surprise the audience with a high energy impressive set. Sebastian came on stage to “Slave to the Grind” and was headbanging while swinging his microphone around him. Sebastian connected with the Montréal crowd by speaking lots of French to them, which brought roars from the packed audience. Fans of the TV show “Trailer Park Boys” were present in the crowd, which is a show Sebastian is commonly featured on. Fans brought in a sign for Sebastian, which he took, not to rip up and throw away like Axl Rose would have done, but instead Sebastian held it up high with laughs and propped it up on stage. It could easily be seen that Sebastian was in high spirits and truly loved performing at Heavy Montréal.