And here we go for the second day of Hellfest. We’d like to warn you from the outset that Friday was the weakest day in our opinion, both in terms of the headliners and the bands we saw in general. Apart from a few exceptions, but especially in comparison with Saturday and Sunday, which delivered some very, very great moments.
Nevertheless, as you’ll see, we found the right shoes for the job, and some great moments of bravery.
We start the morning a little late with the Helms Alee trio. We headed for the valley for a short but very interesting set. Of course, we’re leaning towards sludge-influenced stoner, with a strong vocal presence from both the singer and the drummer.
The whole is very well punctuated by the various fuzzy riffs, as well as the more ethereal parts. An excellent appetizer for what was sure to be a busy day.
THE slap of the day, and one of the slaps of the festival. Akiavel is the French representative of Death, and they’re blowing everything in their path. If you want to sum up the style in a few words: imagine Arch Enemy without the melodic edge.
And so, throughout their set, the band was animated by a rage and snarls that characterized them to perfection. Mixing riffs between traditional, modern and groovy death. A great variety, and a 5-star performance in the Temple tent, which was quite full given the day’s rather young schedule.
As we waited for Alter Bridge, we found ourselves in front of the end of Silmarils’ set. And it’s fair to say that the band, even if their musical genre isn’t where we’re headed, performed brilliantly on Hellfest’s Mainstage 2. The audience seemed happy to be there, and so were the band.
If there was one established band we’ve been waiting for, it’s Alter Bridge. Although Myles Kennedy’s quartet has won over people as much as it has been feared for its mainstream dimension, the band has always released good albums, including the excellent Fortress.
Last year, the band returned with Pawns & Kings. One of the band’s very best albums, with excellent riffs and a dense, almost 9-minute track called Fable of the Silent Son (listen to this album). So we were curious to discover the band live on tour around this album.
And with only 50 minutes to play, it was time to make some choices in the setlist, and the band decided to go for a best-of set. And the set went by with lightning speed and efficiency. A real moment of happiness. For the record, the band’s photo shoot took place during the song Addicted to Pain. And it’s probably just a detail, but it never feels the same to photograph a band during a song you love.
So, Motley Crue. Initially, we were going to go to the Warzone to see Rancid. But the vagaries of being at a festival, fatigue and other joys meant that we preferred to set down further away from the crowd, but in a suitable spot to be able to attend the concert all the same. And despite our strong appreciation of the Shout at the Devil album and the band’s greatest hits, we have to hand it to them for being the most complicated concert of the festival.
Complicated to appreciate for several reasons. First of all, Vince Neil’s voice simply can’t keep up with most of the songs. To make up for this, he’s helped by two female backing singers/dancers who, while they put on a good show, make it hard for us to overlook the huge age difference between them and the band on stage. The highlight is when inflatable balloons in the shape of topless women arrive on stage, while the girls are asked to show their breasts… Some would say that this is the charm of Glam Metal, but for us, today, it’s impossible to defend this kind of thing, especially when it’s done in the first degree.
But to conclude the Friday of this Hellfest 2023, one of the giants of pup-punk, Sum 41, played one of their last dates, following the announcement of their planned split after the release of their final album and, inevitably, the tour that would follow. And if we feared that the mood on the band’s side would be gloomy precisely because of this forthcoming separation, it was nothing of the sort.
With a resolutely metal stage set, complete with fake amp cabinets covered in blood, the band launched into the festivities from the very first second, and set off a veritable nostalgic, ultra-efficient steamroller of hits from the 90s and 2000s. In the middle of their set, they pay tribute to one of their biggest influences: Rage Against the Machine. All in all, we were won over by the band’s set, and we’ll certainly be back in autumn 2024 to see them one last time.
On les a loupés au Hellfest : Flogging Molly et Rancid
As on the previous day, the Warzone was really our dark spot of the festival. Fatigue, sore feet and our concert schedule meant that we had to give up on what was one of our really tempting line-ups. Friday should have been punctuated by Flogging Molly and Rancid, but unfortunately it turned out otherwise.
And that’s all for our report on the second 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!