(CONTENT WARNING: Explicit language in a few spots)
As a neophyte both to the festival and most of the artists involved, I got lost in the music, which is high praise.
Each day is listed in the order that the bands performed.
Day 2: July 28, 2019
Beast in Black
(Power metal, Finland)
If the excesses of the 1980s were parodied in Steel Panther, they got refined into modern day sensibilities with Beast in Black. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and the intensity they brought to the stage. If anyone needs to storm Pohjola, Tuonela, Valhalla, or somewhere similar, this would be excellent pump-up music for that.
(Viking folk metal, Iceland)
This was clearly the Viking-est metal from the source itself. If Beast in Black was the prelude to storming somewhere, this band is the music to storm to.
I easily headbanged the most at this set.
(Comedy metal, USA)
“The World’s First and Only Heavy Metal Mariachi Band” made Holy Diver into a cumbia song. People were smiling and even dancing. I was impressed from what I’d heard online in advance, but in-person this band brings the fun into funky, with violin virtuosity replacing guitar shredding.
In This Moment
(Alternative metal, USA)
As someone nearby put it, this band is “theatrical as fuck”. From an aggressively dark cover of the Steve Miller classic “Fly Like an Eagle” to the closer of their hit “Whore”, this band pulls out all the stops with costumes, stage backdrops, and a pair of backup performers silently flanking the vocalist. The music is solid on its own (though I also get how the vocalist’s roughness doesn’t gel with everyone), but the added series of tableaux onstage are quite compelling.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
(Hard rock, USA)
Slash was the focal point in promotion, and as someone who never quite got into Guns N’ Roses, I now have a renewed respect for the very solid guitar chops. I’ve enjoyed the songs I’ve heard with this backing band. The songs have a familiarity to them in the solid rock sound, which I consider a high compliment. The music fits like a well-worn denim jacket bought secondhand: It’s still new to me, but it also feels like it’s been there for a very long time.
(Thrash metal, USA)
I didn’t quite get to follow along as much as I would have liked to. I nearly got crushed in the pit and temporarily lost my bag after being pulled out to safety. (THIS is why I don’t mosh.) What I did experience in the show was technical mastery on its final blaze of glory. And with the pyrotechnics and the trapped body heat, it was, in fact, blazing. If the entire province of Quebec wanted to send off Slayer’s final show there with a thrashing to remember, the audience was as intense as the music was.
The conclusion of this night had some of the most hellmouth-opening roaring in the metro, including my own shrugged apologizing to some very confused and terrified passersby: “Metal show.”
I came. I saw. I survived.
I would gladly go back and do this again, with plans to get more sets in and get more notation done. Also learned not to rush for the rails for the more incredibly aggressive acts.
For an introduction to the metal festival circuit, it was a memorable affair.