Heavy Music Awards 2017 – House of Vans, London (24th August 2017)

Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief Iain was on the judging panel for the first ever Heavy Music Awards but was unfortunately not able to make the trip down from Scotland for the event, so Katie graciously went along on behalf of The Moshville Times.

House of Vans is located in network of tunnels below Waterloo station and includes skateboarding facilities, exhibition space, a movie theatre and an 850-capacity music venue. I arrived shortly after 6pm and made my way into the network of tunnels. The first thing I came across was a complimentary cup of Cloven Hoof rum which I graciously accepted and sipped as I made my way into the next tunnel. Here I found a series of stalls including merchandise for the bands that were performing at the awards, some rock/metal tshirts at the stall of the event’s headline sponsor EMP, and the lovely ladies of Safe Gigs for Women – an initiative established by regular gig-goers with the aim of creating a safer environment for women at concerts.

There was a small movie theatre showing clips from Black Sabbath’s End of The End and Slipknot’s Day Of The Gusano – both of which have never been seen before in public. Slipknot’s clips are part of a new 90-minute documentary about the band which is to be premiered in more than a thousand screens worldwide on September 6th. Black Sabbath’s End Of The End brings fans up close and personal with the story of the final, emotionally-charged concert and is to be shown for one night only in cinemas worldwide on September 28th.

Next I ventured into the 850-capacity music venue tunnel, where I caught London boys DEAD! play the first live set of the evening. The band played a lively set including new single “Up For Ran$om” plus a cover of “My Generation” by The Who. After their set I headed to another tunnel where there was a small exhibition of prints by Australian photographer Nic Bezzina taken from his book Release The Crowd examining the intriguing make-up of music festival crowds. There were also copies of the book available to flick through, which I particularly enjoyed as a fellow music photographer.

I then headed back to the stage area to watch Scottish band Vukovi who certainly bought a splash of colour to proceedings; adorned in brightly-coloured shell-suit type attire. Lead singer Janine bounced around the stage in a pink leotard and shiny blue harem pants and her powerful voice filled the tunnel.

Then it was time for the main event – the presentation of the awards by Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker and Sophie K. Brighton five-piece Architects scooped Best Album for All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, which frontman Sam Carter dedicated to their much-missed guitarist Tom Searle. Photographer Ashley Maile was posthumously presented The H – a special recognition award for outstanding positive contribution to the heavy music scene. Ashley sadly passed away in 2013 following a battle with cancer, but was highly respected for his fantastic shots of major rock stars including Slash, Ozzy Osbourne and James Hetfield. Brixton Academy took home the award for Best Venue, and Black Sabbath were awarded Best UK Band. The full list of award winner can be found in our earlier post.

In-between the presentation of the awards there were live performances from Welsh five-piece death metal band Venom Prison fresh from their Bloodstock outing and Southampton horror-punk band Creeper, who were both fantastic.

All in all it was a fantastic evening – big thanks to Heavy Music Awards, the sponsors and everyone else who was involved in the event.