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Amnesia Rockfest Day 1 Montreal Live Review

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Amnesia Rockfest Day 1 Montreal Live Review

Linkin Park - Amensia Rockfest - Day 1 - Photo by Andrej Ivanov

Linkin Park – Amensia Rockfest – Day 1 – Photo by Andrej Ivanov

Rockfest Day 1

The first day at Montebello’s Rockfest ended with a disappointing headliner performance by Linkin Park, a band that we reviewed very positively last year, but a few very pleasant surprises from other bands. The crowd started dispersing midway through the set, after the band played “In the End”. Many media and fans said that they were disappointed by the set, having expected more of the band’s older hits. The band chose to make a mellower set list using their more recent hits, rather than the crowd-pleasing classics.  That isn’t to say that the set was bad, by any means. Frontmen Chester Bennington & Mike Shinoda are both still incredibly energetic. Bennington did not stop moving from one end to another of the stage the entire set. The band retains its energy and its charisma, whatever tracks they play, but it seems that this time, opting for their more modern take had an adverse effect, clearing the house rather than re-energizing it for one last go.

Linkin Park was not the only band that disappointed on the first day. Earlier that day, alt-metal legends Deftones left the crowd mildly disappointed by their set. It all felt like it was sluggishly dragging along. It was all further detracted by the stage set up, involving relatively high riser. This was only worsened by vocalist Chino Moreno moving further back into the stage, making him hard to see. Overall, for a set that had high expectations, it ended up disappointing due to logistical issues. The music felt rather sluggish and Moreno’s interesting dance routine left us more puzzled than entertained.

Finally, two other bands left us rather disappointed and those were Sublime With Rome and Bad Religion. The former was simply unenergetic and did not really bring anything to the table. Although, the fans did seem to enjoy it, the set was overall nothing outstanding. On the other hand, Bad Religion has brought disappointment for the second time since Heavy Montreal 2014. For a band with such highly energetic music (albeit monotonous), the stage presence is lackluster and vocalist Greg Gaffin seems like he would be more suited to be teaching a university lecture rather than performing on-stage. The sound wasn’t bad, but the energy was simply not there.

On a far more positive note, the first day yielded some very pleasant surprises. The first of those surprises came from a band relatively close to home. Granby’s own Metalcore band, Blind Witness, played an electrifying set early in the day. The band played many songs from their new album I Am Hell, their first album since their reunion in 2014. The crowd ate up the set, moshing, thrashing, and crowd surfing the entire way through. The band did not stop for a second, always moving, thrashing, jumping and delivering every song like a sledgehammer.

In the same umbrella of Metalcore, Australia delivered us their very own kick in the teeth. Parkway Drive came onstage with the chants of Wild Eyes welcoming them. Despite being an older band, these guys play every show that we’ve seen as if it is their first tour ever: with a sheer joy, passion and pleasure of playing in front of their fans. Lead vocalist Winston McCall was grinning from ear to ear every second that he was not belting into the microphone, even admitting that the band are still jetlagged. Despite their jetlag, every single note was delivered with surgical precision. We also noted that it is not just the band that was in sync. The entire crowd that came to see the set was jumping, bumping their fists, and singing along in perfect unison. This band shows what it is like to have a cult following and how much their fans adore them. And they adore their fans in return, very obviously shown by McCall’s constant grin and energy.

The other surprise came from another Canadian band, in this case an Industrial band stemming from Vancouver, BC. Skinny Puppy graced one of the main stages on the first day of Rockfest, bringing an incredible stage show melded into their heavy industrial riffs. To talk about Skinny Puppy, the first thing that needs to be said is that this band delivers an incredible theatrical performance at every show, always delivering a different act. At this particular show, lead vocalist Nevik Ogre came out dressed in a businessman outfit, decked out with multiple syringes and tubes. Through the tubes, he would then inject fake blood through the tubes into his body. He also wore a faceless mask and came out carrying a suitcase that he proceeded to stab, releasing more blood. cEvin Key, guitarist, also came out in an intricate costume with rings drawn around his arms. Both of the founding members have a very solid stage performance and both have a unique charisma that can pique the interest of even the most disinterested. This is a band that, like Rammstein, needs to be seen at least once live, if only for the theatrics.

The final band that shouldn’t be omitted was From Autumn to Ashes, which played their first reunion show at Rockfest. The nostalgia factor made seeing the band worth it. They played many of their most popular songs, bringing the crowd in with them. Lead vocalist Francis Mark would jump on and off stage to join their fans and hand them the microphone as well as hug them. Our one critique is that Mark was very obviously drunk onstage and that it showed quite predominantly. It has even detracted slightly from the show for some. That being said, the band has retained its energy after all these years of hiatus and that is a very strong point in their favor.

Overall, the first day was significantly less crowded than the second day and fell a little bit flat in terms of acts. Finally, we would like to extend a very warm congratulation to Bookakee’s lead vocalist, Phil Langelier who proposed to his fiancé on-stage during the band’s set.

Photos & Words by Andrej Ivanov

“Overall, the first day was significantly less crowded than the second day and fell a little bit flat in terms of acts.”…

Posted by Andrej Ivanov Photography on Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Andrej Ivanov