Hardcore and punk is the beating heart of Hevy Festival. So it seems fitting that genre-newbies Black Peaks should get the riffs rolling early on day one. “It’s time to wake up,” roars frontman Will Gardner, as the Brighton four-piece tease new material from the main stage. Across the site, Creeper are belting out new single ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ like it’s an old favourite. Even tracks like ‘VCR’ are delivered with a fresh sense of confidence which suggests these South Coast punks know they’re on the cusp of something special. “This festival is full of bands that are so good they make us not want to be in bands anymore,” proclaims Heck’s Matt Reynolds, as the Nottingham four-piece tear at the seams of the second tent. That said, an unreleased track suggests the former Baby Godzilla boys are carving out a new mathcore path for themselves.
Back on the main stage, Touché Amore feel a million miles from that hiatus, with a flawless festival set that flies by in a flash. The Dillinger Escape Plan follow suit, annotating their usual chaos with beaming lights and the kind of riff-to-gut ratio that almost makes fans forget about the unfamiliar barrier gap. But it’s headliners Coheed and Cambria who take ownership of the crowd. Without a peep from frontman Claudio Sanchez, they storm through ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’ in full and shred like they’re powering a time machine back to 2003.
Vales are a sight to behold on day two, with vocalist Chlo Edwards using her power and formidable presence to get the Cornish quartet noticed. Milk Teeth are busy battling technical issues on main stage. But as frontman Josh kicks at his mic stand in frustration (a maneuver that backfires as his leads fly loose), the sheer passion displayed by all four members has the crowd cheering them on. Arcane Roots also suffer a power outage during ‘Million Dollar Question’ before the brilliance of ‘If Nothing Breaks…’ ensures a triumphant finish.
The Get Up Kids playing 1999’s ‘Something To Write Home About’ should draw more punters than it does, but those that cram up front hang on Matt Pryor’s every word. The delicate notes of album closer, ‘I’ll Catch You’ provide Hevy’s biggest pinch-me moment. While headliners Thrice may’ve benefited from an album set of their own, instead leaving 2002’s ‘Deadbolt‘ and 2003’s ‘Artist In The Ambulance’ to play tug of war for most nostalgic post-hardcore track.
With a line-up loud enough to wake up sleeping lions then, Hevy Festival cements itself as a vital part of the UK’s hardcore and punk calendar once more. We didn’t even need to mention the fucking monkeys.
Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett / Upset