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Post-Script to a Heavy Metal Hangover: Heavy MTL Day 2

Posted by Stefan / June 23, 2008

Day Two of Heavy MTL saw the crowd somewhat depleted, less committed, more diverse, and for some bizarre reason, closer to gender parity. Judging by the day’s downgraded line-up, organizers were not banking on their patrons surviving the festival’s first full day. For every anemic Dungeons and Dragons type who took the day off, there seemed to be a muscle-bound bruiser ready to take his place. Case in point: when Disturbed played that song that goes “ohhh wah ah ah ahh”, I felt as though every Camaro owner on the South Shore sprouted out from the ground around me, pumping their fists in a vaguely hateful gesture of aggression, catharsis, and hokey-pokey-esque synchronization.

I learned this weekend that heavy metal exists on a wide spectrum which somehow reconciles Medieval imagery with long hair and crushed beer cans. How they co-exist so well remains a mystery to me, as while at no point in history could you fast-track the social cursus honorum by belting out Maiden penned lyrics about fighter-planes and wizards, a well-timed Mötley Crüe invocation (perhaps, “I’m the one they call Dr. Feelgood!”) in 1989 might have earned you a fist pump/high-five combo from your pal Todd.
Metal Heads.jpg "Today we mosh, tomorrow we sack Rome!"

Curiously, Iron Maiden’s over the top theatricality is somehow more believable than Mötley Crüe’s stripped down grunginess. Maiden’s vintage is partially obscured by how removed their sound and image is from any particular context. While every time I hear Mötley Crüe’s “Girls,Girls,Girls” I’m reminded of how far we’ve come as a society since a “motorcycle and my switchblade knife” earned one a fair chance at “long legs and burgundy lips”, Maiden is harder to place and less likely to be appropriated by your local high school’s football quarterback.Glam Metal Couple (top half giving devil horns).jpg

Some unsolicited advice for Mötley Crüe: the trouble with blurring the line between your life and your craft is that when the former becomes more interesting than the latter, it’s hard to get people to care about your music. Tommy Lee and co. seemed to grasp at a notorious past they’ve likely long since abandoned. The palpable indifference conjured by Vince Neil’s apprehensive utterance of “we’re gonna play a song, it’s brand new” summed up what little of Mötley Crüe’s set I could manage to withstand. On the other hand, most of the crowd seemed happy to Shout at the Devil, and it’s really not my place to tell them they shouldn’t have been.
Devil Horns for Motley Crue.jpg Lights, Camera, Tight Pants!

Last summer I had the peculiar experience of working the overnight shift in a very low-budget Montreal hotel-ish thing. Wide-eyed tourists would show up, ask about restaurants, museums, and where they could buy a baguette. My favorite question was always: “Where can I go dancing?” No one who looked like they could dance ever asked me that question. In all my time there, I was asked about metal exactly never. Yet I’m pretty sure that if the Gillete Entertainment Group held a “Dance Sexy While Eating Croissant” festival, it would flop. My point (and there’s always a point!) is that while Montreal may not promote itself as the city that gave the world Anthrax and Voivod, not everyone in the 514 wants to spend their afternoon biking along Rachel or shopping at Jean Talon. Despite my personal incompatibility with most things metal (I find that there’s something tragically ironic and wholly disingenuous about the mass marketing of anger and loneliness), Heavy MTL was largely a success. A dark, glam/goth/thrash/fantasy version of success, anyway.
Lay down, sleep my little Metal-Heads.jpgEven metal heads like to sit by the water.

Photos by Chase Moser.



O / June 24, 2008 at 01:51 am
Were there any of the medieval sword-fighters who show up at Tam Tams? I've always wondered what group those guys and gals hang with.

By the way, speaking of music and Dungeons & Dragons, I think this clip is the best intermingling I've ever seen of the two:
S / June 25, 2008 at 03:38 pm
thankfully, i didn't really get it but i still thought it was funny...quite the emotional arch...
O / June 26, 2008 at 04:25 pm
Just for the record, although I've played Axis & Allies, Settlers of Cataan, Puerto Rico and various other board games, I've never actually played D&D. And I still got the jokes. So why are you being so defensive Stefan? Suspicious...
S / June 27, 2008 at 01:23 pm
ok ok, i played D and D once for a spell. i was a terrible, short-lived wizard. but i was also a terrible snowboarder, so i think it cancels out.

there's no shame in playing catan.
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