Day 2: Sunday July 24
Sunday was cooler than Saturday but the rains from the night before did not do much to reduce the humidity. Early in the day anti Billy Talent posters began appearing. A favorite was the “Top 10 Ways to Kill Billy Talent”. Day 2 of Heavy T.O. had a line-up of majority thrash metal bands and it seemed like there was a slightly larger crowd compared to Saturday.
Exodus was the first band of the day we caught. From their first song “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles”, a pit was going and vocalist Rob Dukes encouraged the crowd and heckled them when they weren’t thrashing enough. Guitarist Gary Holt was one his first shift of the day, expressively shredding through riffs and solos. Exodus ended their short set with “Strike of the Beast”.
Death Angel is just amazing to see live. They have so much energy and presence on stage. Frontman Mark Osegueda was all over the stage and guitarist Rob Cavestany shredded through deadly riffs flawlessly along with rhythm guitarist Ted Aguilar. Death Angel played new tunes such as “Claws In So Deep” and “I Chose The Sky” along with classics like “Mistress of Pain”, “Seemingly Endless Time” and “Thrown to the Wolves”.
Volbeat from Denmark played their set without rhythm guitarist Thomas Bredahl due to his criminal record keeping him from entering the country. Lead vocalist Michael Poulsen reassured the crowd that, “We don’t cancel, we play”. Their hard rock style was well met, and fans enjoyed their final tune, a cover of Dusty Springfields “I Only Want To Be With You”.
Melissa auf der Maur was thrilled to have been invited to play Heavy T.O. after playing Heavy MTL the year before. Melissa is also pregnant with a baby girl which she was very proud of. Her set included an awesome cover of Danzig’s “Devil’s Plaything”. She has an incredible voice.
Anvil frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow told the crowd he had “been waiting 30 years to play to a crowd this big”. The Canadian thrashers received great reactions to their animated and ripping performance. Anvil played the title track of their newest album Juggernaut of Justice [The Ends Records,2011] as well as some classics like “Metal on Metal”, “Mothra” and “666”.
Baptized in Blood
Baptized in Blood from London Ont., played a steller set. The crowd went especially crazy for “Up Shirts Down Skirts” and “Dirty’s back”.
Testament gave Heavy T.O. a heavy and crushing set. Vocalist Chuck Billy sounded amazing as always and was playing air guitar throughout the set to the killer dual axe work of guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson. Some notable tunes from Testament’s set were “Over the Wall”, “Into the Pit” and “D.N.R (Do Not Resuscitate)”.
Mastodon grooved through their style of progressive metal. Their set kicked off with “Iron Tusk”, ranged from “March of the Fire Ants” and “Crack The Skye”, then ended with “Blood and Thunder”. Mastodon also forgot what country they were in. An awkward but funny moment.
Slayer has an intense following of fans and people were randomly yelling “Slayer!” throughout the day while anxiously awaiting the legendary metallers to take the stage (luckily there were some other excellent thrash bands to entertain fans in the meantime). Slayer launched right into “World Painted Blood”, the title track off their newest album, when they hit the stage. There were only some quick thank yous to the crowd from frontman Tom Araya as Slayer ripped through a set loaded with favorites such as “War Ensemble”, “Dead Skin Mask”, “South of Heaven”, “Black Magic” and “Angel of Death”. Gary Holt from Exodus did an excellent job filling in for Jeff Hanneman, shredding alongside the fierce Kerry King while Dave Lombardo set an unforgiving pace at the drums. Slayer had the largest and most energetic crowd of the day.
Billy Talent played Heavy T.O. and actually got through their whole set. Although there was a small crowd of supporters, the majority of people weren’t happy about the Canadians being on the bill. For the most part people were taking a break after Slayer or getting their spots for Rob Zombie on the other stage, but some people were spending their time throwing bottles on stage and booing the band. I took a much needed dinner break during their set. One of the other photographers did get hit with some poutine so I was glad to have not been in the photo pit.
The final set of the evening was from headliners Rob Zombie. A giant metal robot stood on stage as Jonny Cash songs played leading up to Rob Zombies performance. To kick off their set the robot was lit on fire and guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish took the stage. Rob Zombie emerged from the robot and took his spot up at his Skeleton mic stand. The band started off with “Jesus Frankenstein”. As usual there was a video screen playing clips of various horror video clips. The set included songs like “Superbeast”, “More Human than Human” and “Thunderkiss ‘65”. It was a very entertaining show from Rob Zombie and they encored three times with “Dragula”, “Never Gonna Stop” and “Lords of Salem”.
Overall Heavy T.O. was a great festival and we hope to see it happening again next year. I’d like to thank Live Nation for putting on a very well organized event and taking care of us media people so well all weekend.