My first experience watching Havok was at Heavy Mtl in August, 2013. It was one of my favorite performances of the entire festival.
They were highly entertaining to watch. It was obvious that they were all exactly where they wanted to be, doing exactly what they wanted to do. I marvelled at how animated and communicative they could be with the crowd and each other while playing so fast. I mean, usually when a guitar player launches into a solo, he assumes a wide stance, looks down at his fret board and wails away – often hidden by a veil of hair – until the solo has been completed and he can reconnect with the audience to collect his praise.
Havok’s stringed talents churned out speedy chains of finger-knotting riffs one after the other, seemingly effortlessly while moving around the stage, interacting with the audience & each other, smiling, grimacing, and throwing out “the claw”. These talented musicians were having a blast on stage and sharing that enthusiasm with the eager crowd.
The show was over far too fast! I vowed, as the last note droned through the sound system, that I would go see them in a club the next time they were in town….and that is precisely what I did.
Opening for Soulfly, Havok rolled back into Montreal last week.
Walking through the crowd at the Corona Theatre, I saw a mix of Soulfly AND Havok shirts. I stopped to talk to as many Havok fans as I could. Some were old fans, but most were new fans who had been as blown away as I was after seeing Havok at Heavy Mtl.
The club show was every bit as energetic, precise, fast & dynamic as the outdoor show.
Pete Webber pounded the skins at a blistering pace laying down the skeleton of the songs. Bassist Michael Leon overlaid some melodic, driving lines– making the bottom end roll like a high speed freight-train. Reece Scruggs’ on his beloved Charvel, wove some brilliantly precise leads through the rhythm guitar chugging out of David Sanchez’s rig. Sanchez stopped singing long enough to talk to the audience about waking up the social consciousness, as well as reminding people that nobody appreciates Karate in the mosh pit!
Havok raged through 9 songs during their set including: Covering Fire, Point of No Return, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, I Am the State, Worse Than War, DOA, Afterburner, Unnatural Selection and Time Is Up.
I find it incredible that these 4 guys can put out such a tight, entertaining, solid show AND reveal some of WHO they are personally while they’re on stage. They are smart, dedicated, driven, talented, hard-working, funny, fun-loving guys who seem to have the right balance of working really hard, and enjoying some play while they’re working.
They are REAL.
Instead of striving to build “personas” on stage – they are bringing themselves to the stage – and with that honesty – they are offering a show that is authentic in every possible aspect. The vibe at a Havok show is unique. The energy is intense. The product spilling off the stage is of purest quality –there is nothing synthetic about a Havok show….except maybe the G-strings selling at the merch booth…but now that’s an entirely different story.
Speaking of stories, Reece and David had a few to share when we caught up with them before their Oct 11 show at Montreal’s Corona Theatre. They were gracious enough to offer us quick tours of their guitar rigs, as well as hang with us to talk about recording, touring and being HAVOK.
I expect big things for this Denver-based band, and will watch from the sidelines smiling as they continue to tour gaining fans, and great stories along the way. Can’t wait to catch up with them again soon!
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Photo credit : P.Ashton, Montreal
To read more about Ashton click HERE