Festival Review + Photos: Heavy T.O. (Toronto, Ontario)

In Flames (Gothenburg, Sweden), Marilyn Manson (Los Angeles, CA), Slipknot (Des Moines, IA), Cannibal Corpse (Tampa, FL), Killswitch Engage (Boston, MA), Deftones (Sacramento, CA), Five Finger Death Punch (Las Vegas, NV), System of a Down (Los Angeles, CA)
August 11-12th, 2012
Heavy T.O. in Toronto, Ontario

Heavy T.O.!!  Toronto’s very own, once-a-year metal festival!  Two days of back to back bands playing music on two large stages side by side with all sorts of merch, food and beverage tents all located at Downsview Park in Toronto, Ontario.  Bands starting at around eleven in the morning, and going on until eleven at night.

DAY 1:  The headlining acts of the first day of heavy T.O were In Flames, Marilyn Manson, and Slipknot. I arrived on the scene as In Flames was coming on stage. It being my third time seeing them, I was very pumped. In Flames played mostly new songs, but played some of the more popular older hits as well.   A lot of fans were disappointed because originally Lamb Of God was scheduled to play, but because the lead singer was unavailable they had to drop out from the festival. In Flames were asked to fill in and accepted the offer.

In Flames

As I entered the field the first thing I noticed was the mud, it had been raining all day and had turned the ground into deep wet mud.  I also noticed that half the people there were covered in mud from moshing and falling on the ground.  It was a rather interesting sight.  Although I had previously seen In Flames, I was amazed to hear them play mostly newer songs and not the classics which I have grown to love.  They played for an hour and then it was time for Marilyn Manson.

I have grown up listening to Marilyn Manson and was very excited to finally see him live and see what he was like on stage.  His performance was very different from what I suspected. His performance was loud and energetic, as he played all his popular songs, and some of his new ones.  He would frequently change props on stage or use different devices like a controlled smoke gun, as well as a knife- microphone gadget as he performed on-stage actions with other band members.  His performance reminded me of when I once saw Alice Cooper.

On next was Slipknot, one of metals biggest names, and one of my all-time favorite bands since I was in grade 9.  The crowd was chanting “Slipknot” and I could see them preparing to begin through a space in the curtain.  They came on and the crowd went crazy,  as they played all of their hit songs.  Anyone who knows about live Slipknot shows, knows that they are insane, with members of the band jumping into the crowd, and the drum set being vertically lifted off the ground.  During one song, the lead singer  Corey Taylor got everyone in the audience to kneel down on the ground and  to jump up from the position. It was not hard to see that a lot of the people who were at Heavy T.O. had come for Slipknot, crowd suffers and people singing and screaming every word to the songs was an amazing sight to see as well as hear and I truly felt as though I was among friends who Corey Taylor, had announced to the crowd that we are all family.

Day 2:  Day two of Heavy T.O. was, thankfully, a lot dryer and sunnier than day one. With the sun in the sky and a warm breeze, I was ready for what was to come, headlining day two were Cannibal Corpse, Killswitch Engage, Deftones, Five Finger Death Punch, and System Of A Down.  I arrived on this sunny Sunday evening, catching the last few songs of Cannibal Corpse, and just as I expected, they were loud powerful and obvious cannibal fans were head banging furiously all over the place, these fans don’t need to be close to the stage to enjoy the band.  One fan stood alone just spinning his long curly hair around to the beat.

The next band to come on was Killswitch Engage which I have previously seen in London, England when they were with their previous singer Howard Jones.  It was interesting to see how they do with their new singer Jesse Leach.  Killswitch Engage played all of their popular songs, including some older ones that they made before Howard was the lead singer.  At first I did not think the new singer could pull off some of the vocal talents of Howard, but I was surprised when he was able to do it quite well.  Not the same sounding voice as Howard but still living up to the sound of Killswitch Engage.  They were very communicative with the audience and had a very lively and comedic stage attitude.

The next band to come on was Deftones.  Deftones is another of my all time favorites. The moments leading up to their performance were of high tension for a lot of people.  They came on, and instantly opened with songs that showed off the lead singer’s unique vocals.  Cycling through heavier songs to the slower more ballad feeling songs, Deftones played them all, only not hearing one song I hoping for. They truly gave a good performance, as well as displaying good stage energy.

The second last band of the evening to come on was Five Finger Death Punch, an American band from Los Angeles, California.  It was not hard to see that this band was here to have some fun.  With all sorts of stage lighting and video, the band played through their songs.  They spoke to the audience which created a relaxed but energetic vibe.  They played a range of slower songs and faster songs, and even an acoustic song.  The lead singer Ivan Moody spoke on stage about how different generations appreciate metal music, and got two children who were in the crowd to come up onto the stage and be with them for a song.

The time had come for the final band of Heavy T.O.  The chants could be heard anywhere within the park. “System! System! System!” was being chanted by what sounded like nearly everyone in the crowd.  They opened with the song “Prison” and pumped out about 5 songs before speaking a word to the audience.

At the beginning of the performance I was a good distance from the stage, but after a few songs the pushing of the crowd had allowed me to get a lot closer.  Fans were in an uproar, singing and screaming along with every word, a similar feeling of euphoria that was present during Slipknot could be found here. The band did not need to speak much to the crowd, according to the response from the fans, the band seems to be so well known and acclaimed the band need not say a whole lot.  It was also good to see that despite having not toured as much as they used to, the band has not lost their ability to play their songs beautifully.

System Of A Down played every single song I knew, and I am a pretty decent fan of the band, even though the performance ended a half hour earlier then scheduled it was still an amazing time, and I am looking forward to attending Heavy T.O. next summer.

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