Four Year Strong – Port Lympne

By Tom Aylott


After being rescheduled from Saturday, the crowd for HANG THE BASTARD are in desperate need of riffage, (especially the guy with the beer can beard and bin bag cape) and when the band finally hit the stage they do not disappoint. The pit for these guys is HUGE with people throwing themselves off the barrier, pillars and their mates to the perfect soundtrack of brutal hardcore. It’s not often that you see a security guard smile, but HTB’s antics seem to please everyone. Tough isn’t even the word.

BASTIONS (left), having covered last minute on the main stage yesterday look more at home on the Rock Sound/Macbeth stage. The word cathartic seems apt when describing these guys, enigmatic frontman Jamie Burne’s vocals ring out over furious, tight musicianship. Bastions are an exciting band with songs that pull you in first time but are complex enough to keep you interested, and it seems from the crowd’s reaction their upcoming full length could see a spectacular rise for them.

On the main stage, MAN OVERBOARD start a double header of sing along positivity. Okay, they may not be the strongest live band, but with the first hints of sunshine poking through it’s hard not to fall for their laidback charm. The crowd can be heard nearly as loud as the band itself through a set it seems has been designed almost for that exact purpose. They may not be ground breaking, but they are exactly what the crowd are here for and seriously fun.

If there’s much doubt remaining of who the highlight of the weekend was, it’s answered in the Front/Etnies tent when MARMOZETS take to the stage. Desperately listenable despite the wall of dissonance, the band are staring right down the barrel of bigger things, and today marks their introduction to a much larger audience. The band’s day under the radar are surely numbered, and they stun more than a few passers by in the process.

POLAR BEAR CLUB pull in an ever growing crowd, Jimmy Stadt’s unmistakable voice drawing fans and new listeners alike. Showcasing new songs from the upcoming ClashBattleGuiltPride which perfectly mix with older tracks like ‘Living Saints’ they make it all look so easy, glossing over the main stage sound issues.

The crowd for TOUCHE AMORE (right) goes to show the popularity they have garnered since their debut in 2009. With a guest appearance from La Dispute’s Jordan to perform a track from their split, and a stand out performance of ‘Cadence’ they are one of those rare bands which lives up to, and exceeds the buzz surrounding them. A definite weekend highlight.

The still revived CAPDOWN (left) inject a bit of fun between the mosh, and there’s always room for a bit ska in any festival weekend. THough British Skacore is a bit of a novelty these days, and doesn’t carry anywhere the popularity it once did, Capdown have no problem carrying off the sort of performance that made them legendary in the first place.

Vancouver’s LIVING WITH LIONS are a band with a growing following, due in part to latest release Holy Shit. Their particular blend of pop-punk hardcore blends the two better than most, and a small but dedicated crowd show just how much they appreciate it. They look and sound like they’re having the best time together, and now the crowd are in on it too, with ‘Regret Song’ a sing-a-long triumph.

Who would’ve thought that of all the acts at Hevy this year that ZEBRAHEAD would be one of the best and most fun bands of the entire weekend? A small crowd couldn’t put a dampener on the atmosphere and Zebrahead themselves seemed to be having a lot of fun. Breaking out old hits such as ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Playmate of the Year’ wound the clock back to teenage years and made for a superb nostalgia set that showed Zebrahead can still rock the fuck out when needed. A big surprise and a big positive feeling for this band after a tremendous set.

DEFEATER make as bold a statement live as they do on record, opening with an acoustic track in a way only they could. Without doubt the energy in the tent is higher than it has been all weekend, and closing with ‘Red White and Blues’ the hands reaching for the mic show how intense the reaction to them is.

With all the hype for the headliners this evening, it’s easy to forget how huge a band FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND (right) are. Sound problems once again took away from much of the set, but a great atmosphere and a chance to sing a long to some classic songs from the, now extensive, back catalogue made for a good reminder of why Funeral for a Friend have such a huge fan base and how good of a live act they are. Humorous and passionate, Funeral for a Friend are still one of the best live acts going at this point in time and another big highlight for the Hevy weekend.

Finally, a tough choice leaves us splitting our time to round off the festival. First, FOUR YEAR STRONG deliver one of the weirdest sets that they’ll ever play, throwing rider items into the crowd, and never really delivering the sort of energy that has become expected from the band in recent years. As we could literally hear the other stages over the top of the main stage at points, we were soon drawn over to the Macbeth/Rock Sound tent to finish off the night, and it was a fine choice. THE BRONX were owning the tent and delivered a fantastic closer to the festival. It’s a shame that Four Year Strong had an off day, because many were there just to see them, but The Bronx made up for by being amazing.

Overall, by the time the rain started crashing down on Sunday, Hevy 2011 had seen some of the greatest bands in punk and hardcore together over a weekend devoid of indifference, and though the bill’s going to be hard to top next year, there’s no doubt that Hevy is a solid part of everyone’s calendar next year without questions asked.

Four Year Strong


For galleries and interviews from the weekend, head to our festivals section and feast your eyes.