• Naomi Sanders

Heavy Music Awards at House of Vans 2017

It’s tricky to know what to expect from the very first time something happens; nothing to change, nothing to compare to - something completely new. So to be at the very first Heavy Music Awards was truly astounding. But does it live up to the hype created around this event? Yes, yes, a lot of yes.

First thing to mention, House of Vans is not a traditional venue to use for an awards ceremony - there’s hardly anything ceremonial about it! But that then makes it perfect for those in attendance as it creates a relaxed feeling across everyone there, whether industry professional, journalist, musician, or member of the general public. You could chat to people that you admire, and nothing would feel awkward or forced. Through all the different rooms; merch, stage, bar, and gallery, you could go past people, and suddenly strike up a conversation without feeling timid. Alex Baker and Sophie K, both Kerrang! Radio DJs, acted as presenters, and whilst you can tell that they were nervous to begin with, they both eased into their presenting roles, and even created some witty banter during the award ceremony (list of winners down below). Some notable moments included the touching moment when awarding The H award to the late great photographer, Ashley Maile, hilarious moments including winner of Best Photographer, Ben Gibson, running all the way from the bar to the stage to accept his award, The Amity Affliction acting like they won Best International Band, and a moment which could make the audience easily cry when Architects dedicated their Best Album win to their late band member, Tom Searle.

In terms of performances, Dead!, Southampton punk group and one of the nominees for Best Breakthrough Band, opened the whole show with an energetic start, however they unfortunately suffered from the “Curse of the Opening Band” as technical difficulties plagued their set. Original songs, like “You’re So Cheap” are still enjoyable, and whilst their cover of “My Generation” is still enjoyable, still sounds too similar to the original. But a great job well done to them for opening the show. After them, Scottish pop/rock band, VUKOVI, entered and made the show their own. Vocalist Janine showed her fantastic stage presence that illustrated why she was one of the best frontwomen in modern rock and metal - someone’s comment that she was the “punk Lady Gaga” perfectly suited her. The whole set itself was fantastic to listen to, including songs like “La Di Da”, and “Animal”, exciting the crowd even more. Venom Prison, another nominee for Best Breakthrough Band, surprised many there as well, giving a well deserved break in between the awards. Probably the heaviest out of the bands performing, they were an interesting, and welcomed change of pace for the night. Finally, the final performers after all the awards were given out, Best UK Band nominees, Creeper, took to the stage in a very different, but well put together set, including “Astral Projection”, a song that had not been performed in a while by the band, and “Darling”, a song that has never been played before on British soil. Everyone had gathered to the stage for them, and it’s hard not to see why, even if they too had technical difficulties involving their guitars. After Creeper, an after party, hosted by UPRAWR, was a great way to close the night; featuring classic alternative tunes, then surprising song choices like “All Star” and Darude’s “Sandstorm”, solidified this night as one not to be easily forgotten.

Overall, a lot was expected from this first round of the Heavy Music Awards, and it definitely delivered, and then some! Congratulations to all the winners of the night, and a massive well done to the performers, presenters, organisers, staff members, security, and organisers for a fantastic event. We look forward to Heavy Music Awards 2018.

Heavy Music Awards 2017 – The Winners

BEST ALBUM presented by EMP Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph / Producers: Fredrik Nordström + Henrik Udd)

THE H Ashley Maile

BEST UK BAND presented by UPRAWR Black Sabbath


BEST LIVE BAND presented by Eagle Rock Entertainment Enter Shikari

BEST BREAKTHROUGH BAND presented by House of Vans London I Prevail

BEST ALBUM ARTWORK presented by The Pit Ghost – Popestar (Zbigniew M Bielak)

BEST PRODUCER presented by Believe Fredrik Nordström & Henrik Udd

BEST PHOTOGRAPHER presented by Olympus Ben Gibson

BEST FESTIVAL presented by Jackson Guitars Download Festival

BEST VENUE presented by Scuzz O2 Academy, Brixton