This years Slam Dunk see’s hordes of new and returning acts, picking out the artists to watch is a task and obviously every band are ones to watch, however, there isn’t enough time in the day and as with all festivals, there are bound to be clashes so we’ve come up with some of our main ones we think you should go and see
Madina Lake’s reformation and first performances in the UK since the reformation, Enter Shikari’s headline set, the pop-punk kings of the old generation Bowling For Soup are definitely acts you should be going over to the stages to see.
WE ARE THE OCEAN
Sadly, this year’s Slam Dunk festival will see We Are The Ocean take to the main stage for their last ever performance before parting ways. Although the band have pulled out of the Hatfield date, those of you attending the North and The Midlands dates are in for a treat; as the band have said ‘this is one last chance to celebrate the past, the present and the future’. So, if you want to scream your lungs out to songs from Cutting Our Teeth, Go Now And Live, Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, Ark and the Self-Titled EP one last time and celebrate their farewell you know where you need to be.
This year’s line-up is full of pop-rock heavyweights and it’d be easy to forget about the exciting new acts gracing the smaller stages around the venue and one of those being Vukovi. Who have made themselves unavoidable after dropping their riotous debut album earlier this year!. The Glasgow bunch have been making quite a racket on and off the record. Armed with their heavy riffs, super-charged tempo and front woman Janine Shilstone’s sizzling vocals, the four-piece have been tearing up the UK’s live scene, setting a precedent for their first ever Slam Dunk set so make sure you’re there to witness it.
Deaf Havana have had it rough in the last few years. In the wake of their Old Souls record, the band were dropped from their record label, fell into debt, and even fell out of love with their craft.
Miraculously, the band have made their return with an momentous new album, All These Countless Nights, which was unveiled earlier this year. If their recent headline shows across the UK are anything to go by its proved the band have found a new lease of life both in their material, and in their live show.
Slam Dunk Festival announce thier headliner for 2017; Enter Shikari will be headliner at the festival with an exclusive celebration of 10 years since the release of their groundbreaking debut album "Take To The Skies".
On 29th May the Genting Arena in Birmingham opened up the doors for Slam Dunk Festival. Each year the SDF team promises to make the event bigger and better than before and with the Midlands venue being shifted from Wolverhampton Civic Halls following their refurbishment, to the far larger Genting Arena it’s set to be bigger and better for their 10th Anniversary.
Initially, when entering the main arena it is jam-packed full of fans, various traders, band merchandise stalls and eateries. Once you finally managed to gather your bearings, there’s lots of talent on offer across the eight stages.
Early starters Coldrain were set to take to the stage at 1:20pm but after waiting around it was announced that they wouldn’t be performing due to technical issues beyond their control so they had to cancel their performance and quite a crowd had gather to watch the band open up the Atlas stage.
Next up on the Atlas stage were the boys in The Word Alive
Set list: Dreamer Face To Face Made This Way Lighthouse Grunge Trapped Life Cycles
Then it was a mad dash over to the Main Stage for Young Guns lucky enough I made it with five minutes to spare before they took to the stage. They kicked things off with “ Daughter Of The Sea” followed by “Speaking In Tongues” which had the arena in one massive sing-a-long. Their set was full of high energy and you could see why they were part of the main stage bill.
Set list: Daughter Of The Sea Speaking In Tongues Bulletproof Rising Up Winter Kiss Brother In Arms Bones I Want Out
Next were indie rockers Mayday Parade, their set offered uplifting speeches and infectious energy contrasting with the songs we all had featured on our MySpace pages back in the day. The band set nostalgic memories across the room as the fans dance and sang along to every word.
One Of Them Will Destroy The Other Jamie All Over When You See My Friends Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology Three Cheers For Five Years Hallow Oh Well, Oh Well Black Cat Jersey
We Came As Romans came out strong on to the Atlas stage with heavy riffs and even seen Kyle Pavone get in with the crowd to mix things up abit. Once again another mad dash over to The Key Club Stage to see As It Is. I’ve seen this band previously and they never fail to put on a good performance with high energy and antics. The room was full and so was the photo pit, it was all very tight squeeze. From the word GO! The room was bouncing and people were crowd surfing their little pop-punk hearts out, we even got to see Alex Costello of Roam join the lads on stage for “Cheap Shots & Set Backs”.
Concrete Cheap Shots & Set Backs (with Alex Costello of Roam) Can’t Save Myself Horoscopes Silence (Pretending’s So Comfortable) Winter’s Weather Speak Soft Sorry Dial Tones
Another nostalgic moment was up next on the Main Stage with Yellowcard playing their album Ocean Avenue in full but not with minor set backs with equipment not working, it seemed a few bands were having technical difficulties over the weekend but lucky enough stand in drummer Rib Chianelli from We Are The In Crowd managed to fix the issue and get the show on the road with the crowd erupting from start to finish while the band bounces from side to side like ping pong balls on stage.
The Amity Affliction
Set list: I Bring The Weather With Me (Live Debut) Open Letter Lost & Fading The Weigh Down Death’s Hand Pittsburgh Don’t Lean On Me
Mallory Knox never seen to disappoint their fans. The stage lighting was dark tonal shades of blue and green, highlighted with the well know MK logo creating atmospheric silhouettes.
Beggars Wolves Wake Up Hello 1949 Ghost In The Mirror Death Rattle Creeper / Oceans Lighthouse
New Found Glory were set to take to the main stage next and I’ve got to say no matter what venue they play they always get the crowd hyped up with there influential back catalogue showcasing that Pop-Punk is not dead.
Hit Or Miss Understatement Selfless All Downhill from here Truth Of My Youth Resurrection Listen To Your Friends Ready, Aim, Fire! Ready & Willing Kiss Me (cover) Situations Dressed To Kill Vicious Love The Promise – (requested by a fan) Forget My Name Head On Collision Sonny My Friend’s Over You
Finally the one of the main bands people were waiting to see where finally about to take to the stage. Panic! At The Disco for me stole the show, being easily the best of the night. You wouldn’t of thought that the band had already played a show earlier that day in Exeter with the amount of energy and showmanship on display even though Brendan announced to the room he was “totally fucked” before lying down on the floor. Urie is one of the world’s true showmen as he changes his attitude, persona throughout the set to fit the tracks he’s playing. He also showed off his vocal range and high-notes with a mind-blowing cover of Bohemian Rhapsody and fire erupts from cannons and a confetti explosion ends the event in style.
Saturday 23rd May seen the start of the bank holiday weekend, with a three day traveling circus thats known as Slam Dunk Festival bringing its fun and lively antics across Leeds, Hertfordshire and Wolverhampton. We went along to Wolverhampton to see what the Slam Dunk team had inshore for us this year. This year it housed seven stages, each of which held a collaboration of six to seven different bands of similar musical output. It was a surreal experience to walk no more than a few metres and be kicked in the face with a completely different genre of music and with Slam Dunk ever expanding this year provided us with a pick of 53 bands to see.
Trash Boat After winning the fresh blood competition against 9 other bands they opened up the Kerrang! Fresh Blood stage at the festival. The band were highly anticipated and had a pretty big turn-out especially for that time of day. They performed well and put the crowd in a fantastic mood for the rest of the day.
PVRIS had the room at full capacity nearly twenty minutes before their set, Lynn Gunn kick started the Civic Hall’s atmosphere by opening with the debut single St Patrik. The trio from Lowell, Massachusetts blew the roof off with a six song setlist, completing it with a rendition of ‘My House’ featuring You Me At Six front man Josh Franceschi. Lynn Gunn being the Iconic front woman that she is wooed the crowd and it was a huge turnout for the band which was well received by all. Seriously this band are taking over!.
Neck Deep The infamous Neck Deep have recently had a lot of hype after news broke out that their new studio album ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ to due to be released soon. So with that in mind we were excited to see what these boys from Wales would have to offer. After the lads had attended the Kerrang! signing tent they proceeded to play a 35 minute set at Slam Dunk’s main stage, featuring songs from their first EP Rain in July. They also played hits from their first studio album and more recently their brand new single ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’ which went down a treat. The pop-punk five piece didn’t stop there and busted out the classic ‘A Part Of Me ‘ which left most of us teary eyed.
Zebrahead Now surprisingly this band had the best sound of the day it was mostly clean and raw, which we would considered this band to be, it was such an unexpected highlight of our day. Stewards had to stop letting people in as the Desperados stage was at full capacity and it’s no wonder, they were so tight for such a large band. Amazing clean vocals, arguably the sharpest sound of the day.
While She Sleeps The Sheffield five piece smashed out a nine song setlist, which was well doctored if we might add for SlamDunk. Hardcore Sleeps fans were around, displaying flags of honour and affection which for a band that has had very few years, they have gained an army of loyal fans. After releasing their latest album Brainwashed, While She Sleeps have become an ever expanding name, not too big to emphasize their egos as they stuck around the festival to meet the fans.
Bury Tomorrow After seeing front man Dani and Davyd knocking around merch tables meeting the fans, then playing an extensive DJ set on Uprawr stage, we were ecstatic to see what the very special guests BURY TOMORROW had to throw at us at 5pm on the Monster Energy Stage. As soon as they erupted out on stage there were massive circle pits from the get go this being said the band never have and never will settle for anything less. Their set consisted of mostly new material,playing half of their new album ‘RUNES’ as well as classic tracks from previous albums.
Don Broco After witnessing the huge line for the meet and greet this was a highly anticipated band to see. After such a hype and with them being on the main stage Don Broco didn't live up to my expectation and were the most disappointing band of the day. Overly confident lead singer "Rob Damiani" kept the crowd waiting well into what would have been their 45 minute set. They attracted a boisterous crowd which proved to be to many members of the audience being problematic as it aggravated and distressed what should have been a fairly calm slot of the day. Overall a poor performance.
Mellincolin have just released their latest album "True Brew" which is there first bit of material in over seven years. The four piece from Örebro, Sweden played a set consisting of mainly new material but didn’t fail to deliver absolute classics from their earlier discography "Penguins and Polarbears" with them warming the crowd up to end with arguably the one song everyone came to see "NO CIGAR" a classic most people will remember from the days of playing old school Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Not only did they entertain with their music but their on stage humour kept the fans in a bright mood. 10/10 for performance.
Architects were without a doubt one of the most hyped up bands of the day to check out and it’s with no surprise with them Headlining the Monster Energy Stage. They played a set combined with old classics such as "Early Grave" and "Follow The Water" amongst a vast collection of their new material from their latest album "Lost Together Lost Forever". Vocalist Sam Carter was insanely grateful for the sheer amount of people that turned up to see their set as it was a slot clash with surrey boys You Me At Six. Always promoting a good message Architects stomped home probably the heaviest set of the day.
You Me At Six After their performance at Hatfield having to be delayed due to an injured fan, they ended Slam Dunk’s three day weekend with a bang. Stomping out old classics from their first studio album ‘Take Off Your Colours’. Surprisingly the material, which is nearly seven years old got an amazing welcome as they opened with "The Truth Is A Terrible Thing" immediately followed by "Save It For The Bedroom". Josh Franceschi’s five piece galore seemed to take the commitment of headlining the whole festival as something on the chin and boy did they deliver.
We caught up with a few fans who gave their appraisals in a few short words
“IT WAS RAD! Being As An Ocean were surprisingly my favourite pick of the litter. It was my first hard-core festival and it seems like I’ll be coming again next year. It was pretty cool to have loads of my favourite bands playing within a few metres of each other, my legs hurt now but it was so worth it!”
“Gloriously sunny drunk fun, big d and the kids table were f***ing fantastic and While She Sleeps smashed it as always, they never let you down just a lot of likeminded nice people all in one place, a proper friendly atmosphere.”
“Possibly the best line up I’ve ever seen at the festival. Was an absolutely sick day and I wasn’t disappointed with a single band I saw.”
Overall to sum up SLAMDUNK 2015, it was incredible and such a surreal experience. You could meet almost anyone you wanted throughout the day without having to queue for the meet and greets, it seemed the bands just like knocking around to meet fans and even catch other bands sets. The crowd to band relationships were intimate.
There was a huge variety of food and drink and very happy and helpful members of staff to serve it. There were plenty of offers from sponsors such as Desperados and Impericon giving away free goodies. The general atmosphere however was average. Maybe it’s due to the long weekend or the poor weather.
Due to the layout of the venue some of the stages would sound leak from one into the other, you'd be stood in the middle of the Monster Stage and still hear Impericon. The whole sound quality of the festival was below average, too much bass and echo for the size of the venues. It left little room for melodic instruments which had an adverse effect on everyone's performance. Despite this, the crowd seemed happy and the bands even happier.
Overall a good day and we highly recommend it, 2 thumbs up!
Festival season is on the horizon and getting ready to kick start it all is SlamDunk Festival taking place May's Bank Holiday weekend. The ever expanding festival is now set to take place over three central, easy to reach locations across the UK in Leeds, Wolverhampton, Hatfield.
With previous years showing the likes of All Time Low and The All American Rejects its no wonder why this one day wonder is not to be missed.
Just announcing their final editions to this year’s festival, joining the line-up are;
Architects, Finch, We Are The Ocean, Set It Off, Cartel, As It Is, ROAM, Moose Blood, Stick To Your Guns, Deez Nuts, Dead Harts, Being As An Ocean, Baby Godzilla, SHVPES, Rob Lynch, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, This Wild Life, Fort Hope, Only Rivals, Wind In Sails, Survay Says! and Seaway.
And not only that, you can Catch Dani & Davyd from Bury Tomorrow (DJ set), Tek-One, The Algorithm, Teru from Crossfaith (DJ set), Mellisa Clarke and Total Uprawr resident DJ's at this year's Uprawr DJ Stage"
With an incredibly diverse line up this year, tickets are going fast with the southern location almost sold out. It's a bargain, and if you've not got the money for a big festival then this is by far the next best thing!
Check out our top ten list of who to see at Slam Dunk Festival 2015!
1) Neck Deep
Pop punk's finest new addition, this band from Wrexham, Wales formed in 2012 are taking the UK by storm. After the release of their debut album 'Wishful Thinking' the band soared to success, winning Kerrang's 'Best British Newcomer' in 2014. Having just finished touring the UK with the likes of All Time Low, taking on huge arenas, Neck Deep will be sure to have the confidence to smash SlamDunk's more intimate stages. Neck Deep's sing along anthems, and heartfelt acoustic set list guarantee one of the best crowd interactions of the whole festival. With a new album already recorded and produced by A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon and Reading and Leeds main stage on the horizon these boys have earned their way to our Top Ten band to see at SlamDunk 2015.
With little need for introduction Lynn Gunn's hugely hyped pop rock band PVRIS are ready to take the UK as their own. With VANS Warped Tour just around the corner amongst non stop tour dates it's no wonder that this hardworking three piece have earned our top two.
After nearly a year after signing with Rise/Velocity Records, and the release of their debut album White Noise last November, this monochrome trio from Lowell, Massachusetts have already created a strong fan-base in England. Lynn Gunn's iconic female presence has taken our second place after the nomination for three of the upcoming Alternative Press awards, set for July. Why not come along and see what all the fuss is about, if it takes your fancy then be sure to cast your votes on Alternative Press's website.
With the single Black Blood and the album Daybreaker , it was clear this band has a message they wanted to express to the world. They have proven to do things their own way and recorded their latest album within the comfort of their own home. The sixth album titled 'Lost Together Lost Forever' was released last March and these boys are still touring strong with that material.
Not only have they got an extravagant back catalogue filled with extremely diverse tracks, the band have good morals, all of the members are vegan, and are completely against animal cruelty. Not only can this be heard through Sam Carter's bark, the frontman lives up to his bite and is currently the Sea Shepherd UK ambassador. This organisation helps prevent whaling and is something the band is extremely passionate about. If you're interested in being part of this cause then be sure to head over to their merch table as some of the proceeds are forwarded to these charities. Not only known to be an amazing studio band it's guaranteed you're going to get the same performance and passion in their set. It's precisely this reason why this band deserves to be so high up on our top ten bands to see at SlamDunk 2015.
4) While She Sleeps
After relentless touring, the band announced a set of cancelled shows, with frontman Lawrence announcing he had to undergo throat surgery due to excessive strain from his passionate and heavy vocals. With concern and controversy over whether or not the band would even return after his operation they came back as promised, dedicated and only with a more aggressive extravagant Sleeps' sound we all know and love, they have truly never sounded better. After just releasing their latest album 'Brainwashed' this March it's very clear this band have a strong message that's not to be missed.
With comments still being shared of the five piece's performance on Download's main stage last summer being the highlight of the bands career this has catapulted the metal-core band known as 'Sleeps' onto our top ten.
A band still under much controversy after the departure of Frank Carter, Alexisonfire's Wade Mcneal is still persisting with an onslaught of new music. The band are currently touring Europe with material from Desolation Sounds as well as original tracks from the days of Frank. The stress and pressure the Punk band from Watford have endured hasn't made them buckle it's made them thrive and very angry, be sure to check this hardcore band if you want to see some passion.
6) Being As An Ocean
A highly religious melodic hardcore band from California releasing their debut album 'Dear G-d' with Invogue Records in 2012. The divergent frontman Joel Quartuccio accompanies his vicious screams with his bands melodic choruses and thrashing breakdowns. With sing-alongs and amazing crowd intimacy, this band will have you hooked from the first verse in their set.
7) Deez Nuts
Known as complete party animals Deez Nuts are a low tuned bass heavy four piece post hardcore band formed in Australia. After front man JJ Peters parted with his old band ' I Killed The Prom Queen' he left us questioning what he would do next. Deez Nuts rolled onto the stages with an aggressive thrashy sound accompanied by rapped lyrics. This band stay true to themselves and are in the business for all the right reasons, fun, fans and nothing more. It's certain this band don't mess around and will demand stage dives and high fives.
Orange country California seems to just spit out amazing bands. This late 90's act are proving that pop punk's still not dead, with their ever expanding fan base these five punk rock guys are still bashing out albums. This band are renowned for their rap metal style, a modern twist of punk rock with a hint of Rage Against The Machine, it's a fact their shows are supposed to tear the roof off. They were nominated for a Grammy for their cover of Metallicas ' Enter Sandman', who knows you may even be lucky enough to hear it at SlamDunk.
Swedish skate-rock sensation have been signed with Epitaph Records since 1996 and have just released their first album in over seven years, titled 'True Brew'. If you don't know what they sound like then maybe this will jog your memory, if you were a skater kid you'll definitely know their track 'NO CIGAR' which featured on 'Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2', yeah that's right that was them! Now you know go check them out, they're definitely experienced enough to rock SlamDunk's intimate stages.
10) Don Broco
Formed in England in 2008, this band are fairly new onto the scene, however their non stop touring attitude has earned them a fairly stable fan-base. Don Broco can be summed up as punchy intro's followed by aggressive power chords with awesome clean vocals and a disco drum beat overlaid. This combination creates an amazing kick which a crowd can really sink their teeth into. These boys are planning to release a new album in Autumn this year, you'll most likely hear new tracks live.
If you're standing around with no one on your must see list then why not check out some of the bands listed above
Although only having a fraction of the Slam Dunk South line up, Slam Dunk Scotland was a huge success. I don't think I've been that excited (or sweaty) at a gig in a long time. Not one band disappointed, every member of every band had explosive energy, jumping around the stage which only had a rub off effect on the audience who were simply brutal. I lost count of how many people were dragged over the barriers by security, even once over the barriers security were struggling to control them, resulting in a few of the security landing flat out on the ground (much to my amusement).
The stand out bands for me were definitely Woe Is Me, Memphis May Fire, Pierce The Veil and Four Year Strong. Having not listened to Woe Is Me or Pierce The Veil their live performances definitely converted me in to a fan. If you get a chance you should definitely YouTube Woe Is Me, my words will do nothing for their music. Their songs contain everything you could possibly ever want, from gorgeous clean vocals from Hance Alligood to some heavy bass from Brain Medley.
As for Pierce The Veil, if their stage set up wasn't impressive enough (have a look through the Slam Dunk Scotland photos) their interaction with the crowd was something that needs to be seen, they have such a strong fan base over here in Scotland which you could hear when they played "Hell Above", the crowd was singing along so loudly that you heard them far better than you could hear the band.
Finally, Four Year Strong – with beards almost as impressive as their music – completely blew away all expectations I had for them as a live act. With raging energy, the guys got the crowd so excited that I was told by security I had to stop taking photographs and move out of the photo pit because so many people were crowd surfing and having to be pulled over the barriers.
This having been my first Slam Dunk experience, I can without a doubt in my mind, say that I will definitely be attending next year. If you haven't got a ticket for any up and coming Slam Dunk dates, then I suggest you do. You can find what venue is closest to you here http://www.slamdunkmusic.com/slam-dunk-festival . Even if it sounds a bit too rough for you, I suggest you buy a ticket (ranging from £15 – £38, depending on the venue) and stand peacefully at the bar, watching the madness from a safe distance because Slam Dunk won't be like any other festival you're attending this year.