Tonight’s gig was either sold out or close to it, and it’s hardly surprising with a band like Hellyeah playing. Of course you wouldnt have known it was a sell out if you’d turned up to watch the opening band, Gravil.
Gravil have been on the whole tour with Hellyeah and Protafield, and they certainly seem like a good fit to Hellyeah. A nice heavy twin-guitar sound and screaming/growling style vocals combine to give some damn good heavy metal. Sadly though only around 20 or 30 people bothered to come and watch them, with the bar and outside smoking area being busier than the venue itself. Still it’s the punters loss as they missed a good opening band.
Next up were Protafield who got a much bigger crowd, although the venue was still nowhere near busy – however that might have had more to do with the sound of the band. Protafield were definitely an unusual choice to support Hellyeah as there’s a really strong electronic element to the music – they mix dance beats with electric guitar and metal style vocals. To me they seemed like a poor choice for the tour and really didn’t impress me at all, and after a while I had to retreat to the bar where most people seemed to be.
Finally it was time for Hellyeah. By this time the venue was packed and the temperature had skyrocketed. Big cheers greeted the band, especially former Pantera drummer, Vinnie Paul. The band didn’t waste any time getting things going and kicked off with “Matter of time” before moving into “Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)” – the first of six songs from the new album. Singer Chad Gray spends most of the gig at the barrier rather than on the stage, and at times stands up on it with some support from the crew. His screaming vocals are the perfect match to the seriously heavy sounds coming from the band behind him and it’s no surprise that there are mosh pits going for most of the gig. Chad Gray knows how to get the crowd going totally crazy and keeps the energy level ridiculously high. The gig is sadly rather short – Hellyeah playing for little morer than an hour, but what an hour that was. Ending with Hellyeah, the gig ends and the fans stagger out in search of cool air and cold drinks.
Hellyeah were very loud at Download and again tonight and on both nights they put in a superb performance. If you’ve never seen Hellyeah before then go and see them next time they tour – you won’t regret it.
Matter of Time
Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
Demons in the Dirt
War in Me
Drink Drank Drunk
Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
You Wouldn’t Know