Review By: Jordan Nathanson

HeartSupport Festival Day 2

Sunday morning started bright and early. Unlike the day before, the morning crowd was not as big and the merch line seem to be a quarter of the size it was the first day. Though the vibe seemed a bit calmer than the day before, Prison took center stage and opened the Hot Topic Foundation stage. What made this band unique is that it consisted of a vocalist, a drummer and two bass players. With just the heavy bass lines and drums, Prison was able to get the first mosh pit off the day opened. Even had a little kid moshing while all the adults protected him and moshed (gently) along side him. Opening the Betterhelp Stage was Silent Planet. Keeping with the heavy metal/metalcore rock vibe of the festival, Silent Planet had a La Dispute vibe with screams well balanced with vocals that sounded close to spoken word. The weirdest part was there was a separate mosh pit in the middle of a circle pit.

Harms Way continued the trend of having the pit opened before even playing. Every single song they played had wicked guitar solos, killer drums, and a baseline you could feel vibrate your chest. Also, every song was fast paced and never brought the mood or energy down. 68 took to the Betterhelp Stage wearing suits and ties as though they were the best men at someone’s wedding. This two-man band gave the festival a punk rock vibe with their guitar and drums. They also had great dance moves while they were up there.

Taking their spot on the Hot Topic Stage with they pop punk/heavy rock energy was Four Year Strong. Every time they stake the stage, they give the audience what they want: songs to mosh to while they scream the lyrics back to them. Their sound also kind of shifted the vibe from heavy metal to more the pop punk/alternative rock following them across the way, Hawthorne Heights played and they are known to be the elder emos of music. They still fit this festival very well even though they would be considered more “emo” than the others because they played with their hearts and souls the songs that we, the audience, sang to when we need to feel something and have something there for us. They also played a lot more of their older music which is heavier in sound than some of their new music.

Senses Fail followed their performance with, first the national anthem (alternative guitar solo style) and songs are got the entire crowd scream back to them. At this point in the day, the crowd has grown to the size it was the day before so hearing all those voices sing back the lyrics with out missing a beat was the most magical thing to have happened. You can tell that a lot of the crowd was there for the headliners as Canadian band, Silverstein, took the stage. They did mention that they were so excited to put out an album but how terrible it happened to be the year 2020 where the world was shut down. They were nervous that no one would know the album Bad Habits because of the shut down and yet, here they stand in front of thousands of people singing back the songs they thought no one would know.

Spirit Box closed out the Hot Topic Foundation stage with beautiful melodies that you would feel in your soul. Female vocalist Courtney LaPlante voice was just absolutely captivating and it was just want we needed for this festival: A female singer to show that heavy metal is for everyone and anyone can sing and scream in a heavy metal band. Bringing it back to the headliners on the Betterhelp stage was The Ghost Inside. While their sound was similar to A Day To Remember, this band had so much heart to give to the fans. Singer Jonathan Vigil mentioned that they band was in a serious car accident that kept them from doing what they love for a while. They channeled that pain, anger and hurt in to music that is now able to help others get through the hardest parts of their lives. He mentioned that before then, he had never known was depression can really do to someone. He also showed great love and appreciation to all the fans that have stuck with them, even during that time, and gave a performance to remember. In fact, drummer Andrew Tkaczyk was playing their songs with just one leg.

The sun has finally set on day two of Heart Support festival. The crowd has waited all day just to be here in this moment. They waited anxiously looking at their watches and phones and counting down the minutes until it was time.  It may have been a little late, but the wait for headliner Rise Against was well worth it. They came out and jumped right in to “Re-Education (Through Labor)” and from there, they had the crowd screaming, moshing and cheering for them the entire time.

All in all, I think the first year of Heart Support Festival was a success. The layout of the festival was easy. Going back and forth between stages did not feel as much as a hassle as it looked to be as there was plenty of time between one band in the next to find that “perfect” spot. The lineup was a good mixture of different genres and sub genres of all the same music. I left the festival smiling as I could feel my inner middle school self-scream with excitement that they were able to see some of their favorite bands all together in one day. I did also enjoy that both days had different lineups. That way, if you are trying to save money or can only make a day, you can pick the day that is worth it to you. Heart Support was created by Jake Luhrs to give everyone a safe space. Concerts, to me, is that safe space and to have bands go up there and talk about how they know what it like to feel alone and only have music to be there for you shows that music can save a life and create a safe space. This was a festival that gave those who are now in their 30s or even older, a chance to be themselves and have a chance to be young again with bands that gave them the reasons to move forward. I am so honored to have been able to have attended the first year of this festival and I hope that it is something that comes back every year.


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