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After working on diary and other stuff I headed for the show at about 4.30 popping into Starbucks with Bruce and Nicko to grab a coffee for on the way. This weekend is HEAVY MTL, Montreal's first major Metal Festival. Appearing with us today was a good bill - Unexpect, Lauren, Overkill, Three Inches of Blood, Symphony X, Hatebreed, Hammerfall, Mastodon, Type O Negative and Dethlok with Maiden closing at 9.
I wasn't in time for the first few bands and was sorry to miss 3 Inches as they played with us last year in LA and did really well. Although I had some things to take care of and some people to see I caught some of Hatebreed who I have also seen before and enjoy. A good band. Sadly I missed Hammerfall and Symphony X but of course managed to see some of the set of my old mates Mastodon who were powerful as ever. Great guys too though this time I didn't get chance to spend any time with them. They have done a lot of shows with us in the past and always good to see them. That's one of the good things about Festivals, you meet up with people and bands you may not have seen for a while. I missed Typo but got to see some of Dethlok from the side of the stage. I don't know much about them but apparently they are becoming popular with a sort of cartoon based show. Worth checking out. Also I would like to thank them for something...
The festival was running the bands back to back all day with two adjacent stages, one large, one smaller but more than adequate.. Except between Hammerfall and Type O, where there was a half hour gap between as our gear had come in from Boston and couldn't make it in time to set up before the fest started so we needed a couple of hours on the main stage to set up before we went on. We put our lights in too. So it was almost one band after the other literally all day. I found that a bit relentless and all becomes a blur after a while. I think you do need some breaks even if only 15 min, but perhaps that's just me getting older. The kids there were having a good time but I don't think this does the bands a lot of justice. It starts to seem like watching TV without even any ads!! Dethlok were scheduled to stop at 9 and then us to start at 9. A strange arrangement with no gap whatsoever before a headliner, not even allowing time for a line check for us!! Not too smart really. So we had to ask Dethlok finished by 8.45 which they were able to do and we very much appreciate their willing cooperation -- thanks guys. Maybe the promoters will consider this timing issue for next year.
The second day Sunday has Motley Crue, Disturbed, Anthrax, Nicko's mates Shadows Fall and a load of other good bands. Would have liked to have seen Disturbed in particular as I have never seen them - as well as saying hello to many of the others. But home and family beckon before we start off in Europe. Really missing Kathy and the kids after another 5 weeks away though I do call most days.
It was a beautiful day and the setting for the fest was wonderful. Parc Jean-Drapeau is on a large island in the St Lawrence (that magnificent seaway running from the North Atlantic to Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes) connected to the mainland by a number of bridges. Our dressing room area was a collection of camper vans, but very luxurious ones, in some secluded trees behind the stage with a rickety bridge to go over to get onstage. Very pleasant. The promoters even set up a goal with a net for us in the area. Nice thought and Steve and H took full advantage. The staging was all good and in front of stage there is a huge grass area with a slope upwards some 70 yards or so from the stage, making for an almost natural amphitheatre. This has been used before for concerts but never a metal festival and Montreal and Quebec being real Metal towns they fully deserve to have their own so hopefully this will be the first of many in this truly spectacular setting.
So we went on at 9 and everything went great though I couldn't get to the mixing desk too easily due to the throng around it so watched mainly standing in the audience for a change. Even on the fringe there was a terrific atmosphere with everyone singing along and going nuts. Beer vendors circulated too which was most helpful. As usual in France or French Canada Bruce mostly spoke in French which is always appreciated by the fans
About halfway through the set fireworks started appearing on the horizon -- some sort of firework contest on another part of the island. Looked pretty good too though not many eyes seemed to get distracted from the stage.
There were apparently around 20,000 fans there on the Saturday . This is the first year for this festival and it often takes time to establish a new event. It was also a national holiday weekend with an awful lot going on so l guess this was a pretty decent start for the festival though personally I was hoping for more. I do think though that $75 for a day ticket was most reasonable for a line-up like this so let's hope it becomes an annual event and we have given it at least a reasonable start. The promoters GEG are very keen and, although I would have done some things a bit differently, did a pretty good job on a first event and got plenty of media coverage. While typing this I am still keeping and eye on the Musiqueplus coverage which is all day and the comments in interviews with the bands are interesting and they all seem to be having a good time. I did an interview with them yesterday and they knew what they were talking about on Metal and Maiden.
So, Heavy MTL, good luck for the future and to all you fans who were there - thanks.
Watch out for lurking documentary men...
Due to the firework display all the bridges but one back to the mainland were closed til about 1am so we did our usual runner off stage into cars with a police escort to enable us to get away and over this one bridge. All the band but H and Jan were flying out that night. The rest of spent some time in the hotel bar which managed to stay open this time with a bit of persuasion from yours truly. Good job they did as they got quite busy with a wedding party there too. And then the crew arrived!! Chaos. Ian just called me to say they had a party in the rooms after and we have to wind Jan up. Ian could hear his voice clearly and told him that guests had complained and asked to move out so the hotel are charging us $3000 in compensation for all the disruption. So looking forward to seeing Jan soon when we leave for the airport to wind him up some more. Ian has told him I will be livid so will of course act as such. But in reality, whenever would I be livid at a noisy over the top end of tour party!!
Dos Amigos in the bar afterwards
And so Leg 2 of this very enjoyable tour comes to an end -- now for the big bit. We go from an average of 12,000 or so people a night to the great stadiums in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, England, Holland, Eastern Europe and the big festivals elsewhere and a couple of nights back in Bercy in Paris. We start this coming Friday at Gods of Metal in Bologna Italy with our wonderfully manic Italian fans. I can't wait so more of this then. Til then take care y'all.
<- From hotel window - really nice city.
Gonzo holds the bridge!!
Here comes trouble - doc crew on the move!
Leaving the USA