We begin our day-by-day report from Hellfest. After Day 0, when we had the opportunity to walk through Hellcity Square, it was time for us to get down to the photo pit and mosh pit and take in a few concerts. All the more so as Thursday was really just a half-day festival. It was an opportunity to get off to a gentle start, but the heat was already on, as were the high-profile concerts.
As far as photography during the festival is concerned, the rules and timings are quite specific. Some concerts were by list only, while for others we arrived too late to take any. That’s why you won’t find photo shoots for all the concerts.
We got off to a gentle start at Hellfest 2023 with a concert by Blackbraid. It was an opportunity to warm up a bit, and to discover the Americans with their black metal, committed to the issue of recognition of Native American communities in their country. It was nervous, visually stunning, with an electrifying presence from the various band members, dressed as if going to war.
A great first concert, and a great warm-up for the Hellfest.
While waiting for Generation Sex, we had the opportunity to see the end of Code Orange’s set, and for the record, they know how to do it with their highly effective, violent modern metal, and we hope they’ll really grow with each album, as they have the potential to become a potential headliner! Eric, Reba and Jami’s vocals, meanwhile, offer appreciable versatility.
The first nostalgic moment of the festival. Generation Sex is a mix of Generation X and the Sex Pistols, both in the band members and in the music. And so Billy Idol, accompanied by his bandmates, played a succession of tracks from both bands. Naturally, it’s quite a treat to hear Pretty Vacant live in concert. It was towards the end of the set, with the impression of having had a rather unique time, that we headed back to the Temple to attend the next concert.
Harakiri From the Sky
After the highly committed black metal of Blackbraid and the old-school punk of Generation Sex, it was time to step back down. Harakiri From the Sky arrived just in time to offer their airy post-black, carried by an ultra-charismatic singer. A true joy from start to finish, we urge you to go and see them live. Once again, a band that should establish itself as one of the genre’s benchmarks in the future.
Initially scheduled to open the festival, the French band find themselves at a time more consistent with their staging. Celeste’s post-black metal is influenced by many other genres, and they’re there to launch a wall of sound right from the start. Another great success for the band. We can’t wait to tell you more about them on our next visit to the capital.
The band’s special visual feature: the use of red headlamps. While this works 100% in the concert hall and makes a lasting impression, it’s not until almost the end of the concert, as night falls, that the whole thing takes shape and achieves the desired effect.
With Kiss arriving in just over an hour’s time as the festival’s first headline act, another band was attracting a lot of attention. Architects is the metalcore band that’s been driving everyone crazy for a few years now. And let’s face it, we’ve never been big fans of the genre. But objectively speaking, Architects were a highlight of the festival with a 5-star performance. A potential future headliner who’s here to roll over everyone. We do hope, though, that their pop bent and use of electronic sounds won’t take too much precedence over the rest of their music.
If you’d like to make up your own mind, headbang in your room, the concert was filmed by Arte Concert, and you’ll see, it’s a real blast.
First headliner of the festival, the legendary band Kiss took to the Hellfest mainstage for what should be their last tour. Having never seen the band before, it was a thrill to hear their greatest hits. In terms of staging, it was, as usual, a very big show. Whether it’s the arrival from the top of the stage via a platform, the scenography or the use of numerous explosions, flames and fireworks.
A big American-style show, as almost only Kiss knows how to do. As for the performance itself, we got the impression that the band was in great shape, and happy to be at Hellfest. While it obviously feels like the end of the American quartet, they did what they had to do to give the fans their money’s worth. Of course, for our part, we remembered tracks such as Detroit Rock City, Calling Dr. Love and Beth, still ultra-effective on stage. Of course, since we’d been hearing about it for several months, we won’t know whether Paul Stanley was playing back or not, but we can say it: we saw Kiss.
Missed them at Hellfest : Poésie Zero
If there’s one band we really wanted to see, but couldn’t fit into our schedule, it was Poésie Zero. It was in the warzone that the punk band blew up everything in their path, and turned the Hellfest audience upside down. A committed concert, which didn’t hesitate to say the words that make you angry, while insulting its audience by donating money to the festival. Want to see the concert? It’s also available on Arte Concert!
And that’s all for our report on the first day of Hellfest 2023. Obviously, there were a lot of concerts we didn’t get to see, but don’t worry, we made up for it with the other days, which were much denser!