IN PHOTOS – Heavy Montreal – Day 1

A crowd of people dressed in black heading towards Montreal’s Parc Jean Drapeau during a heatwave could only mean one thing: Heavy Montreal is here!

We started our day with the galaxy’s greatest metal band, Star Wars cover band Galactic Empire. Dressed as stormtroopers and Darth Vader, the group covered the film’s iconic soundtrack with a metal twist, to the pleasure of all Star Wars fans in the audience.

Then, over at the main stage, we caught the electric set of California rap-rock band Fever 333. Frontman (and former singer of Letlive) Jason Aaron Butler gave an over-the-top performance overflowing with energy, in front of an ecstatic audience.
A little detour by the smaller stages had us witnessing two very contrasted performances: Lorna Shore‘s deathcore set led by the magnetic CJ McCreery, followed by an interesting set by heavy metal musician Devin Townsend, who mixed great acoustic guitar riffs with a lot of funny jokes (highlight: “This one is a banger, get ready!” he said, then played “Baby Shark”).
Next up, we went back to the Scène de L’Apocalypse for legendary heavy metal group Quiet Riot and their current singer, former American Idol star James Durbin. Back at the Scène de La Forêt, Massachusetts metal core band All That Remains set a packed crowd on fire, while American punk heroes Beartooth had the main stage jumping and mashing. All That Remains was shortly followed by the rebellious Canadian punk hardcore band Cancer Bats.
Just like every other festival, as the afternoon went by, we got to see bigger and bigger acts. American band Killswitch Engage was the first one on that list, with an astonishing performance led by singer Jesse Leach. We then got the chance to see 4 very different, but legendary acts back to back, starting with “glam metal” veterans Steel Panther, in a set of crowd-pleaser songs, punctuated by overly stereotypical jokes about the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle.
Alt-metal band Godsmack then took the main stage, with an impressive spinning drum set, which led to a fantastic drum duo between frontman Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin. Godsmack was followed by 2000’s rock sensation Evanescence, led by the charismatic Amy Lee, who charmed the crowd with her incredible vocals.
Finally, the audience was packed at the main stage as we waited for the headliner of the night, Swedish rock band Ghost. Led by the enigmatic Tobias Forge, the band’s set felt like a religious experience (with a backdrop of church windows on stage), and set the island of Parc Jean Drapeau on fire!
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