|Cryptopsy at Heavy MTL|
As Adrien Begrand noted last year (though not in this review, it seems), the Heavy MTL organizers know how to look after media folks. And inevitably that coloured my appreciation of the whole fest experience. But even the regular paying crowd had access to some pretty sweet perks - shade, places to sit, an outdoor "echill" area with free wifi (imagine sitting under the trees or by a pond, with patio lighting strung through the branches and the tree trunks bathed in a red glow), and even vegan poutine.
The range of bands was diverse enough that there was always someone I wanted to check out but not too many moments where I had to sacrifice one choice for another. The short trek to the third stage made quick transitions a bit tricky, but it also made for a great surrounding environment (more trees!) and no getting buried in the main stage noise.
Two minor complaints from an otherwise awesome experience: I really missed the fresh fruit vendor they had three years ago, and I still think it would be cool to have some kind of little "metal market" area to get vendors in selling merch and stuff beyond the official fest and band stuff.
I didn't end of having the time or the inclination to check out any of the extra attractions. If anyone did - what did you think? See any good wrestling?
I reviewed as many of the performances for Exclaim as I could manage. Check 'em out here if you so desire:
Black Label Society
At the Gates
Danzig with Doyle
*Concert rating disclaimer: I don't think Exclaim's concert review rating system has been posted online, but try to translate the album ranking system to a live setting and you'll understand that anything above a 7 is basically phenomenal and a 6 is still pretty good. I was also trying to consider the bands' performances against other sets I had seen from them to get a sense of whether they were pulling out anything extra for the Heavy MTL crowds, etc. My personal favourite set of the weekend was Pallbearer, but as 'live performers' I think they're still on their way up and haven't reached phenomenal quite yet.