Words & Photos by Amber James
The second day of Montebello Fest was a bit different for me compared to previous years as this was the first year that I actually had friends and tour mates from over the years playing on the second, and first full, day of the fest. As a result, it gave me a chance to create content I hadn’t gotten a chance to do in previous years of shooting.
Every Time I Die
If there ever was a band to kick off my day of shooting, it is Every Time I Die. If there was ever a band that defined chaos, it is Every Time I Die. A band that defines the words “party” and “mosh” and “five million jumps that make you think if they’re on invisible pogo sticks”. Their set started off with some of the most popular ETID party anthems like “Decayin With The Boys” and “We’rewolf”. The insanity of their crowd and their set stays true to the ETID mantra of “you don’t live until you’re ready to die.” These guys are the master of creating a truly exciting set to watch from beginning to end because you never truly know what exactly is going to happen. I mean, except for the very real possibility that Jordan Buckley will always either crush or drop kick at least one beer can into the crowd.
After ETID’s set, I got to be reunited with tour friends in Suicide Silence. (Well, I actually was reunited with them earlier in the day since they all yelled at me from their van to say hi but, semantics.) They managed to hook it up with all access so I could shoot their full set which, as always when shooting them, is a blast. Having been on their ten year tour for The Cleansing, I was interested to see what their typical set list would be like with their other albums included.
It started off with one of the fan favorites off their 2011 full length, The Black Crown, (and obviously Drake inspired) “You Only Live Once”. Their set list included songs from essentially their entire discography, which if you were there as a true Suicide Silence fan, you’d appreciate it. Throughout their set, guitarist Chris Garza was flinging his guitar around like a seasoned pro, because, well, at this point he is. Vocalist Eddie Hermida’s trademark vocals commanded the crowd with his signature shrieks and screams while drummer Alex Lopez provided the backbone to this entire set of insanity.
As the set came to an end, Garza stopped a step or two short of his normal guitar smashing and burning and chucking through cabs. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t dragging it across the stage and tossing it into the air like it was a baseball because then I’d have to question if Garza was feeling all right if he ended playing in a traditional manner. However, that doesn’t mean that Lopez was going to left out. As soon as the last beat hit his drum set, he shoved the entire thing over onto the stage. After all this, Garza topped the bedlam with tossing his guitar into the front of the crowd and walked off stage as fans fought to call dibs on it.
The Plot In You
It was back to back friend sets with The Plot in You being the next set I was shooting after finishing up with Suicide. It had been ages since I had been able to see them play and I’d yet to get to hear any of the new songs off their newest full length, Dispose, and I was excited because of how great the album was. Ethereal and atmospheric, they started their set off with “Rigged”, the lead track off of Dispose, and this track exhibits vocalist Landon Tewers’ true vocal prowess. It begins with the haunting type of vocals that is well known in his solo work and works its way into a sound similar to tracks from their previous release, Happiness in Self Destruction. Transitioning into the second track off the album as well as one of their singles, “Not Just Breathing”, the stage presence built up to what I was used to from a usual Plot show. However, the usual intensity from the anger that fans may have been used to from Tewers now has a broader span of emotions, akin to something that feels like emotional pain and sadness. Which, if you’ve listened to the tracks off of Dispose, those two emotions are very much prevalent in essentially every track. Meanwhile, it seems like nothing has changed with guitarist Josh Childers and bassist Ethan Yoder but, upon further inspection, there is almost a rock bravado in their stage presence. Having come up from the heavier music scene to now having more of an emotional, atmospheric rock feel, The Plot in You is in it for the long haul.
With the almighty Dimmu returning for their first Canadian show in eight years, this was a set not to be missed. With it having been nearly a decade since their black metal symphony of music had graced Quebec, everyone was waiting for this visual and audio show to take place. This was, by far, one of the most extravagant and exorbitant displays the whole weekend. From the outfits donned by all members to the scrims and banner complete with smoke swirling around the stage, it rolling out into the crowd.
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots was one of the bands I was most interested to see on the festival. Having found their new vocalist, Jeff Gutt, through an online audition process they had continued on after Chester Bennington had left the band to focus more on Linking Park. (And, unfortunately, pass away as well.) Gutt seemed to mesh well with the band despite only being a part of it for slightly more than six months.
Prophets of Rage