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Preview: Heavy MTL 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Lightning Slim

And so the pilgrimage is set to begin again. Heavy MTL 2013 will (hopefully) be a good time that will rinse out the bad taste of encroaching cheapness that has overtaken the show of late. Main sponsor has switched from Budweiser to Molson Canadian, which is a bit like telling a captive that flogging has been discontinued in favour of foot-sole beatings.

Also, remember these?

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The beautiful holographic VIP passes and lanyards that have been a cool feature of the MTL experience are now gone. Paper tickets only. Wonder how MUNG those are going to get when we have to show them to security every time we want to get into the seating area? Also likely gone is any sort of physical schedule, which was slowly eroded from a full magazine/brochure until last year it was a single flyer, inaccurate and delivered late in the day.

For the first time, MTL has offered its own dedicated accommodation package; a set of rooms at the New Residence of McGill University (the building itself is a former 4-star hotel). This could either be the best decision we’ve ever made or the worst, as it is inexpensive and convenient, and populated entirely with heavy metal maniacs. You see the double edge of the sword here, no?

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Now, for the schedule. Here’s Saturday:

Sat Schedule

 

Although I’m a little sad that A7X takes pride of place over Megadeth, I totally get it. Dudes are old and tired. Not as successful as Metallica or grass-roots respected as Testament. Plus, Dave Mustaine is like three seconds away from pulling his pants up to his armpits and turning into cranky old Republican Clint Eastwood. Thing is, Eastwood has always been a “good guy with a gun”, and never wrote “Hook In Mouth” or covered “Anarchy in the UK”.  My crew will be hanging with Wintersun anyways.

Why are we forced to decide between GWAR and Blackguard while Halestorm is in the free and clear? Grr. Ah well, I can’t resist seeing what the inconsistent Antarcticans* can come up with in a festival setting.

Similarly, it hurts me that I have to run from interesting proggers Baroness to see a few minutes of jaunty, parodic Steel Panther.

Sorry, Newsted. A reformed At The Gates takes it. And a possible train wreck reunion of Danzig and Doyle is way more fun than All Shall Perish.

How about Sunday?

Schedule Sun

No interruptions to the silly fun of Huntress! Or Finntroll! Or the-real-reason-everyone-is-here Amon Amarth! Me likey.

Then there’s some time for a Dagwood sandwich, some people watching and a bit of a nap before Machine Head.

Thrash newcomers Havok would be in trouble if both Mastodon and Children of Bodom hadn’t played Canada 150 times in the past decade. I swear I’ve seen Mastodon more than the Dayglo Abortions, and it’s well-known the Dayglos will play your living room for $200 and a pizza if you can track them down. Looking forward to it, Havok!

While I actually enjoyed the mellow vibe Godsmack brought to their last appearance at MTL, I don’t need it again. Certainly not at the expense of missing Cryptopsy.

Zombie is never bad live – let’s hope he keeps his record strong.

 

Will report back afterwards, of course! Check my Twitter feed for on-the-day shenanigans!

 

* I love GWAR, but they can’t self-edit. Every record (excepting the first two) has at least one excruciatingly bad track on it. I made a “worst of” playlist and discovered they could play an hour long full set of filler.

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Weekend Wrap-Up: Heavy MTL 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2010 by Lightning Slim

I’ve had a week to decompress and collect my thoughts about the second edition of Heavy MTL. I think it was a tremendous success by anyone’s standards, featuring some great performances by a truckload of bands and the legendary hospitality of Canada’s hippest city. I initially tried to put everything into a coherent, travelogue-style narrative, but then I decided that would bore the pants off y’all. Here’s the meat of things: 

It's the one that you wanted.

Big Hit: Rob Zombie wiped the floor with the place. In these sorts of festivals, bands usually have enough time and presence of mind to  wander out, play a few songs and disappear again. Not so Mr. Zombie, who brought all the robots, pyro, costumes and video that make him the proper heir apparent to Alice Cooper (Cooper himself didn’t fare so well, conjuring up images of an elderly, croaking transvestite). All this stage mummery didn’t diminish the playing chops of Zombie’s band, who didn’t hide behind their makeup and treated us to a huge committed rock show filled with that thing metal sometimes forgets about: fun. It was interesting to juxtapose the maniacal stage personae with the perfect gentlemen signing autographs earlier in the day. 

Big Miss: Fear Factory, after delivering what might be the record of the year, fumbled their soundcheck badly and then went through the motions in a badly truncated set.  I went in looking for the icing on the tasty cake of FF’s return, only to find it was straight out of the tin. 

Skeletonwitch's Chance Garnette spends some time with Slim's crew

Great as Expected: Skeletonwitch, Testament, Halford, 3 Inches of Blood, Lamb of God and Slayer made the most of their stage time. All these bands have reputations for delivering consistent live performances, and they kept the faith in MTL. 

Pleasant Surprises: Airbourne, as the sole whiskey-rock band between two armies of Metal and Emocore, did much to lighten the mood and gave people their second wind for fun on Day 2. Hail the Villain conquered the crowd with self-deprecating humour and heavier versions of their radio sound, and In This Moment grabbed no small number of new fans with an arresting performance on the third stage. Speaking of third stages — 

Organization Bad: Three stages in competition. I’m old-fashioned, I guess, but I think that every fan should have the chance to see every band. Chimaira in one ear and 3 Inches of Blood in the other isn’t enjoyable for even the most indiscriminate fan. 

"Patches" was sad that he had to pick and choose 😦

Organization Good: Almost everything else! Polite security staff, almost-reasonable  concession prices, on-time performances, great selection of bands. Some might quibble that Day 2 was Emo Day, but I say if you’re gonna have this thing and you want it to thrive you should cram in as many bands as possible. I know that may contradict my thoughts on multiple stages, but it brings me to my next point: 

The Vibe: More important than any one performance or memory, Heavy MTL represents a gathering of the metal community. It puts like-minded folks together to bang their heads, have a beer and talk about the music they love in a safe, positive and party-like atmosphere. Canadians love (and play) metal as well as anyone else, and we need this festival to continue. It’s like our Wacken or Milwaukee, done in our smaller, more polite way. 

Indeed.

So when Heavy MTL 2011 comes around, I won’t be going for any particular band, although I have a ton of suggestions if anyone’s listening. I’ll be going for the good times, good company and that rare chance to be amongst one’s own. 

That’s all for now – I was always taught not to over-analyse anything good. \m/ \m/! 

Don't recall it being "metal -on- your ass", but a'ight.

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