By: Fridae Mattas
Toronto had it’s second ever Heavy T.O. festival August 11th and 12th at Downsview Park, there were other activities this year with Jagerworld and the new Heavyweight series along with the metal of course. Headlining this year was System Of a Down, Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch and Marilyn Manson, this year’s lineup was much more appropriate for the festival. Also on the bill were The Deftones who I thought were hitting the stage just before System Of a Down but Five Finger Death Punch were on the stage prior to S.O.A.D.
This two day heavy metal festival was dubbed ‘MudFest. T.O.‘ by the fans due to the heavy downpours and extremely muddy conditions. When I say mud, I mean lots of smelly mud! Worse than Edgefest 2008, at times it was flying mud thanks to crowd surfers and moshers. Never understood the fun in moshing, crowd surfing is fun that’s understandable but not body-checking yourself into other people! Then again, it is mostly guys who do the moshing in the mosh circles and bash into each other, explains it all.
I did not have my photographer with me and they did not give me a pit pass which kind of annoyed me, obtaining suitable coverage shots and clips was going to be an extreme challenge but I dealt with it. The attitude of the Live Nation girl in the tent I could have done without, I was being super nice just asked simply for her to repeat the media restrictions because I had just arrived when she finished telling the others.
So many bands I wanted to check out but I was very ill and not having a photographer with me cut the coverage in half. There were many moments of Day 1 I do not recall because I almost lost consciousness nearly being squished to death with my gear by the crowd during Slipknot’s set. I do remember how incredible Dillinger Escape Plan were to watch, I have to see them again for sure! In Flames made fun of Lamb of God’s ‘easy’ music which the crowd did not like by the eruption of “Boo’s” and “Ohh’s” which you can hear in the track “Trigger” I managed to film before a storm. Gojira and Trivium were fantastic, I have Trivium’s “In Waves” stuck in my head now blended with System’s “Needles”.
All I remember from Slipknot’s set was that they sounded great, the little roller coaster thingy and the pyro were cool. I could not focus on the show in front of my eyes because I was too busy trying to save my life. Slipknot’s footage was maybe forty-five seconds before I couldn’t move, I was trapped and the crowd of crazy moshers wouldn’t let me go. My camera was still recording as I started screaming and yelling for them to let me out. At this point I was struggling to stay conscious, holding my camera with one hand and pulling my 70 pound backpack with the other. When I was in that hazy state about to pass out flashbacks were coming to me from earlier in the day when a random Larry asked me who was going to protect me… I don’t know how I found the energy to survive that, I guess my will to live is pretty strong and I need to see Slipknot again. Marilyn Manson… I love a few of his older tunes but he can’t cut it live, vocals were atrocious but the band was amazing!
Day 2 had less rain thank the Lord but it was still hard to walk in the mud even in my sparkly boots which I wore because I almost lost one of my kicks in the mud the day before. I arrived later than expected, Killswitch Engage was on stage, so I left the media tent backstage and went to check them out. I was loving their energy, they sounded phenomenal it is a shame I didn’t get any feasible footage.
Deftones were hitting the stage next, they were on the East stage opposed to the West. Bands were having some technical issues with that stage earlier in the day so they switched it up. I have never seen The Deftones live before, they were fantastic! They played most of my favorite tracks like the newer Diamond Eyes and the older Change (In The House Of Flies). Moreno was throwing his mic around and wandered the stage but at times losing his breath and couldn’t finish the notes. The band was tight musically, however they could have been a little more lively, I need to see them again in the future.
Next band to keep the crazy metal fans hype was Five Finger Death Punch over at the west stage, vocals started off strong but like many heavier music singers he was flat during the ‘Ballads’ a lot. Singing softer music for many metal vocalists is very difficult but it is just as hard for contemporary vocalists to growl sing with precision and clarity. Five Finger Death Punch played for an hour or so, the crowd was getting antsy they wanted to see System of a Down.
I don’t know what I was thinking going into the mosh pit for System Of A Down, guess it was my faith in humanity which started to decline the minute the huge curtain fell. Stopped taking photos once my feet were off the ground and had to fight my way out again. Found a little area that looked safer or so I thought, wrong! Floating again, desperately trying to keep the camera steady and stubbornly determined to stick it out until the song was over.
After the three media tunes I was migrating back to the media tent when some dude grabbed me! Immediately I started swinging at him and tried to kick him and his friend with my muddy sparkle boots! He was yelling for me to stop (Haha mud on your face!), I stopped to see who it was and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw a familiar face, my ex boyfriend (Laughs). I did not apologize for the mud kicks or punching of the moobs (I always called his pecks moobies, even though they’re like rocks.) Hello! You do not grab any female in the dark! My guard and defenses were up the whole night, the reception at Downsview Park is horrible so my reflexes were on high creeper alert. After calming down and discussing the randomness of his presence, his BFF put my gear in his car. That made my night because now I could actually watch the show from the audience with people, instead of backstage alone.
Thoroughly enjoyed System of A Down’s set from the back of the venue, where it was mostly mosher free. Of course now I had the protection of my ex who is a firefighter super tall for a white guy (6’5) and his friend. Where was Larry the day before when I really needed him? I’ve never been to a concert with this ex, he always refused to come to work functions with me when we were together, this to me was very strange, didn’t even know he liked metal music.
S.O.A.D played about twenty or so tracks including Psycho, Chop Suey, Toxicity, Bounce and pretty much every song you can think of, ending the set with Sugar. As everyone migrated out of the venue not a single person was clean and many disappointed that it was over. You can find more photos here and videos here. Thank you to Andrea at Live Nation and all of you amazing people who helped a girl out! Heavy T.O. 2012 was an experience, next year I don’t know how they’re going to top the 2012 lineup, good luck!