Day 2 of this year’s Heavy Montreal was hotter and sunnier and, for us, off to a slow, humid start. We arrived in time to catch Lita Ford rockin’ out. She looked to be having a good time and the crowd was too, singing along to classics like “Cherry Bomb” and “Kiss Me Deadly.”
Abbath (ex-Immortal, I) was up next, another main stage act, but his set was plagued with sound problems, especially at first. He didn’t seem as playful or talkative as when we saw him at Tuska less than two months ago. But he still pulled out some classic Abbath moves (like his iconic crab walk) and even threw in a few can-can leg kicks. By the time he broke into “Tyrants” the mix had settled into something reasonably recognizable, and things ended on a stronger note than how they began. A different flavour of fierceness followed as Gojira took over from Abbath. Their performance was as intensely effective as anyone could have hoped, a potent reminder of how heavy Heavy Montreal can be.
I took a break from the crowded flats in front of the main stages so I could check out Le Musée du Rock’n’Roll bus and finally pick up my copy of L’évolution du métal québécois, and then a falafel sandwich from La Panthère verte – The Green Panther before settling in for a typically solid set from Testament.
After Testament we caught most of the highly entertaining Billy Talent before relocating to the secondary stages. We arrived just in time for the appearance of the one and only Devin Townsend. Townsend was very much the amusing and self-deprecating frontman we’ve come to expect and the band’s performance was lively, passionate and utterly irresistible – even for someone who has seen it many many times before.
The Chill Zone beckoned after that, once we’d caught some of Battlecross‘s set. And then we were back up again for Dying Fetus. And then back over to the main stage area to check out an icon – Iggy Pop.
But for me, once Devin Townsend had finished, Saturday was all about Faith No More. I saw them perform live once many, many years ago. But thanks to circumstances beyond my control I walked into the stadium just as they were playing their final song, “Epic,” and I’ve been waiting ever since to make up for the disappointment. Aside from the white and floral aesthetic, the band’s performance at Heavy Montreal was everything I could have asked for. But especially awesome was the dramatic finale, “Just a Man,” the perfect end to a near-perfect performance.
Now on to Day 3…