After a successful showing at last year’s debut Heavy Music Awards event, we were very excited to be a part of the festivities this time round. The second annual Heavy Music Awards was set to be an evening that showcased the greatest talents in this industry and boy, did it deliver. Now that the dust has settled, let Wavebyte remind you of the evening’s proceedings…
Coldbones had the unenviable task of opening the Heavy Music Awards 2018. Playing before most of the guests in the lower quarters had even arrived, Coldbones took to the stage to perform to a top-heavy KOKO. Delivering a performance of atmospheric soundscapes, the 4-piece from the South East coast created an optimistic energy with their set. Their sound filled the venue with impressive ease and grabbed the attention of the mingling portion of the venue.
The band were gracious after each song, clearly excited by the applauds they received and the opportunity to perform in front of some of the big names in the alternative scene. The fact that they were chosen to open these prestigious awards only highlights that there are only good things to come. The name Coldbones has stuck with me since and I am sure that it won’t be the last time I see the band perform.
As the band chosen to play directly before the first award was announced, I can’t help but feel that the organisers knew what they were doing when they booked Black Peaks to perform. The band have a humongous momentum behind them at the moment. Off the back of the release of new singles Can’t Sleep and Home, the band have given fans something to be excited for. The energy of this performance also alluded that Black Peaks shared this excitement.
Opening with the aforementioned Can’t Sleep, the set kicked off with a bang. As Will Gardner patrolled the stage, mic lead in hand, the band tried to work the audience into some kind of frenzy. To no fault of Peaks, the crowd didn’t seem to be as adhering to the stage show put on by the band. The following two tracks, Eternal Light and Electric Fires were also new offerings which were performed in as tight a manner as the opener. Having seen the band live a multitude of times, it was rewarding to see the boys relish in the opportunity of rattling through some new material. As the band continued the set with hits Set in Stone and Glass Built Castles the room began to pick up a little. However, the band’s delivery of these tunes was pinpoint and anything less than a bustling, detonating venue didn’t feel fitting for Black Peaks. Saviour drew the performance to a close and the outfit were professional as ever, especially considering they weren’t even nominated (perhaps controversially) for an award in this particular year.
There was an electricity in the air after the band had left the stage, especially among the who’s who that were frequenting the balcony. Everyone seemed to recognise that Black Peaks’ time is now, and after having a chat with the band’s agent, I don’t think the world is ready.
Once a combination of two killer live sets and outrageously over-priced beers had warmed the KOKO up, the scene for the awards ceremony had well and truly been set.
Presenting the award for “Best UK Breakthrough Band” was Jason Aalon Butler of the evening’s headliners, The Fever 333 and Chris Bye from Pirate Studios. After a considerably rough year, Milk Teeth emerged victorious with this gong to reward their efforts and persistence. This recognition propelled the quartet into a a quality live performance later in the evening.
Next up, Sonic Boom Six’s Laila K and Scuzz’s Ollie Route presented the award for “Best Festival” to Hellfest Open Air. This year saw the French festival triumph mammoths of the scene such as Avenged Sevenfold, Judas Priest and the mighty Iron Maiden to name a few. With a lineup this stacked, it should come as no massive surprise that Hellfest was the voters’ choice this year.
While She Sleeps took to the stage to present Knocked Loose with their award for “Best International Breakthrough Band”. Fuelled by visceral energy, their brand of hardcore music has shaken ears and lit up eyes since the release of their debut LP in 2016.
Sikth boasted the “Best Album Artwork” as presented by Awsten Knight of Waterparks and Kylie Olssen from The Pit. Meats Meier was the creative influencer behind the production of the artwork for The Future In Who’s Eyes? (pictured below).
Just before the next live music break, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation were awarded with “The H Award”. Tragically, Sophie Lancaster was murdered in 2009 as a result of blind prejudice towards the way that she looked. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation has been working since to afford Sophie with the legacy that she deserves by educating people of the downfalls of intolerance towards people of different cultures. Read more and support The Sophie Lancaster Foundation here: https://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/index.php
This year, as followers of the band and its members on Twitter have been informed, has been a tough one for Milk Teeth. Following the departure of guitarist Chris Webb, there has been a feeling of uncertainty surrounding the future of the band. However, this has paved the way for performances which feature Em Foster of Nervus on guitar. She has joined the band for the rest of the year as a, more than capable, fill in guitarist. This made for an interesting addition, and for me, the tightest performance I have seen from the band.
Owning Your Okayness was the highlight of their performance and really showcased the vocals of Becky Blomfield. Similarly, to Black Peaks, the band seem unphased by the relatively muted crowd. Swear Jar and Brickwork are staples of the Milk Teeth setlist and were performed tightly. The melodies of both these tracks are infectious and encompass the band. Unfortunately, Fight Skirt fell flat with Billy Hutton’s efforts to recreate the powerful, desperate vocals heard on the recorded version of the song were lacklustre. As one of Milk Teeth’s most exciting songs, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
Milk Teeth, despite having been honing their craft for nearly 5 years by this point, picked up an award for ‘Best British Breakthrough Band’ which, after this performance, felt somewhat satisfying.
Getting us back underway was the award for “Best Producer” which was gracefully accepted by Will Putney who had previously offered his creative expertise on works with Counterparts, Every Time I Die and previous award winners Knocked Loose to name just a handful.
The award for “Best Live Band” is always a coveted title and this year it was Gojira who had the pleasure of accepting the award as presented by Helen Varley of Jackson Guitars and V-Man of Slipknot. The French heavy metal veterans have spent years honing the craft of playing their tunes live and always deliver with tremendous aplomb.
It should come as no surprise that Metallica emerged as victors of “Best International Band”. After all these years they (deservedly) remain cemented in the hearts of music lovers all across the globe.
Justine Jones of Employed to Serve and Jamie Lenman were tasked with presenting the award for “Best Photographer”. It was Ed Mason who was awarded this gong after working tirelessly to produce awesome shots like this one of Turnstile:
On paper, “Best UK Band” is quite possibly the most enticing award on offer here and after having to overcome the tragic loss of Tom Searle to cancer in 2016, it was Architects who picked up this award. Not ones to fold in the face of adversity, this band have persisted in their craft and continue to be rightfully recognised as one of the greatest bands to ever emerge from this scene in the UK.
The final award of the evening was presented BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter and Spotify’s Global Head of Rock, Allison Hagendorf. After spending so much time, effort and energy on creating an album, the award for “Best Album” must surely be one of the most gratifying accolades that an artist could receive. This honour was awarded to While She Sleeps for their album You Are We. Bearers of widespread critical acclaim, if you run in these circles you will be very familiar with this band and their works – if you haven’t heard this album yet – make sure you change that.
Thats it for the awards, time to cap off the evening with the final live act…
The Fever 333
No matter how entertaining the evening’s proceedings could have been, The Fever 333 still would have upstaged it. Jason Aalon Butler, formerly of letlive., has a notorious reputation. His stage antics are legendary and the news that he had begun fronting a politically charged, hip-hop punk band was exciting. However, nothing I had envisioned (even though I knew very little about them before the evening’s proceedings) would have lived up to this performance.
The three-piece took to the stage after the announcement of the final award of the evening. With only a guitar and a drum kit, the band who aid their sound with electronic elements erupted the venue. I have never witnessed a live performance with as much energy as this. From dragging himself across the floor like a serpent to orchestrating some drumming on the balcony of the venue, Butler was nothing short of mental. With their tunes holding important political messages, it felt like everyone in the room was able to connect with them. Made in America and Hunting Season were delivered with an incredible vigour and let people know that this band is far from being a side project. The Fever 333 showed everyone in the room – fans, managers, musicians, journalists – how to put on a show. Lost for words, I made a promise to myself that this will not be the last time I see this band.
I urge everyone to stop what they are doing right now and listen to The Fever 333. They are important.
That’s a wrap, we would like to extend our congratulations to all of the winners and nominees of the Heavy Music Awards and also a huge thank you to the event’s organisers for allowing us to get involved. Here’s to next year!