Brighton-based chaotic punk band Rain Men have released their new single Crows, taken from their upcoming debut album. The band consists of frontman Jed Downey (vocals, guitar), Dan Pearse (bass), Reuben Harman-Mitchell (guitar) and Alex Tana (drums). Primarily drawing influence from bands like Gallows, Mr Bungle, Don Caballero and Fugazi, RainMen like doing what they want and spreading their angry vibes through odd time signatures, aggressive bass and drums, rambling vocals and a lot of fuzz.
Crows is the first single released from their yet to be announced debut album coming out in October 2017. It was live recorded in one take during an hour session at Metway Studios, Brighton, back in late April and is currently being mixed and mastered by Andrew Cheeseman who joined the band briefly for supporting Murmur’s Single Launch show at Brighton Electric. Crows itself was written in January by RainMen alongside their last drummer Zak Page, inspired by the events of the US election.
Winnipeg punks Comeback Kid have announced details of their follow-up to 2014’s Die Knowing. The new album is set to be called Outsider, and will be released 7th September.
The album annoouncements were made alongside the release of the lead single titled Absolute, which guest features metal veteran Devin Townsend. Download that track here.
Listen to Absolute below:
See Comeback Kid‘s full list of European summer tour dates below:
16.06 (BE) Dessel, Festival Park Stenehei
17.06 (FR) Clisson, Hellfest
19.06 (DE) Trier, Ex-Haus
20.06 (DE) Stuttgart, Universum
21.06 (DE) Hannover, Chez Heinz
23.06 (NL) Ysselsteyn, Jera On Air
24.06 (DE) Gräfenheinichen, With Full Force
26.06 (SWE) Stockholm, Cyklopen
27.06 (NO) Oslo, Sub Scene
28.06 (SWE) Göteborg, Sticky Fingers
29.06 (DK) Aalborg, 1000Fryd
01.07 (DE) Munster, Vainstream Rockfest
02.07 (DE) Aschaffenburg, Hardcore Summer Fest
04.07 (CZ) Královec, Rock For People Festival
06.07 (ES) Viveiro, Resurrection Festival
08.07 (DE) Rauhenebrach, Krach am Bach
Rock veterans Fozzy are coming back to Europe in October this year with Hardcore Superstar on a co-headline run.
Fozzy are set to close the UK dates with their set, while Hardcore Superstar will finish off the European dates. Support comes in the shape of Madame Mayhem and The Last Band, but they’re not in a standard order either – The Last Band are going to open the UK run with Madame Mayhem following and vice versa for Europe.
See the full list below:
27.10.2017 (UK) Birmingham – O2 Academy 2
28.10.2017 (IRL) Dublin – Tivoli
29.10.2017 (UK) Belfast – Limelight 2
31.10.2017 (UK) Chester – Live Rooms
01.11.2017 (UK) Manchester – Waterfront
02.11.2017 (UK) London – Islington Academy
03.11.2017 (UK) Sheffield – Corporation
04.11.2017 (UK) Glasgow – The Garage
05.11.2017 (UK) Newcastle – Riverside
07.11.2017 (NL) Amsterdam – Q Factory
08.11.2017 (DE) Aschaffenburg – Colas Saal
09.11.2017 (CH) Pratteln – Z7
10.11.2017 (IT) Trezzo Sull’Adda – Live Club
11.11.2017 (IT) Roncade – New Age Club
12.11.2017 (IT) Rome – Kimera Rock
14.11.2017 (AT) Vienna – Flex
15.11.2017 (DE) Munich – Technikum
16.11.2017 (DE) Essen – Turock
17.11.2017 (DE) Hamburg – Gruenespan
18.11.2017 (BE) Genk – CPG
Fozzy also recently released a new song titled Judas, so watch that below too:
Following their hugely exciting Slam Dunk set (see the review here), we caught up with Tom Weaver, frontman of one of the most promising upcoming British bands out there right now – Casey.
How’s your weekend been so far? Tom: It’s been really good actually. I managed to catch a couple of bands today which was cool, I was doing merch all day yesterday and at Midlands.
Have you got any good stories from the weekend so far? Tom: Yesterday, I’d just finished watching The Bronx and I was walking down to Shikari and a guy grabbed me and told me “ska music is exclusively for paedophiles and magicians” and that was it. He just wandered off.
What would you put in a Casey cocktail? (It doesn’t have to be alcoholic) Tom: Yeah I’ll take you up on that. No alcohol and no caffeine so… I have to be honest, it would probably just be tropical Sunny D.
What’s been your highlight of 2017 so far? Tom: There have been a few really. Impericon festival in Leipzig is at the top – that was the biggest show we’ve ever played by a considerable margin. That was our first experience of a real festival too, plus meeting the guys in Thy Art Is Murder was cool too. I’ve been a fan of them for a long time so meeting them finally was greit, and on top of that them being so incredibly humble and really nice people was a huge thing. Other than that I think getting feedback on the record has been good, hearing different people’s interpretations on it and everything.
Who would you like to support or support you in the near future? Tom: There are a load of bands we’ve said we’d love to play with like Lydia, Pianos Become The Teeth, Touche Amore… In terms of smaller bands to support us, we love Movements so if we could sort something with them that would be great. Our friends in Holding Absence obviously, we’ve been trying to sort something out with them for a while so hopefully that will come soon. This year has really opened us up to touring with bands outside our genre and style so that’s always an option again. We all caught Citizen this weekend and thought they’d be awesome to play with so…
How do you feel Casey has changed since we saw you at Butserfest last year? Tom: Nothing’s really changed, exactly. When we’re on the stage it’s very self-enclosed so the way we performed at Impericon for 8,000 people and the way we performed to a couple of hundred in the rain at Butserfest. Obviously we’ve seen an incremental increase in fan interaction since back then, and today was a perfect example of that. I think that was the first time I’ve ever been able to fully step away from the mic and hear the crowd back which was insane. Other than that, it’s just the gradual spread of fans week on week. We’ll have a look and see a few more in Australia and a few in America picking up on us so the organic increase of the fanbase is cool, but nothing has changed as a band exactly.
Which direction do you see your music going next? Tom: We’ve never sat down and had a conversation about how we want to sound. Everything we’ve written up to now has been a product of improvisation really so we’ll go to a practice room and see. Sometimes someone has come up with something and say “I wrote this at home, I think it sounds cool”, sometimes someone plays something and we’ll say “keep playing that, I’ll just try this” and it builds. Whether it becomes an interlude in the live set or if it becomes a complete song we don’t know until we’ve built it. We’ve never decided we want to be a post-hardcore band or a post-rock band or a we want to write eleven really atmospheric songs, we just write how we feel. We’ve been messing with some pieces that might become a record but in three or four months’ time we might decide we’re not really fans of that anymore and do something else. What we’ve been doing is more of the same in a way, but more mature. A lot more thought is going into the layering and how we can fill a room with it because of the different shows we’re starting to play now. There are points in big shows like Impericon where about a minute of the set was lost in translation because of the acoustics of the bigger rooms.
Thanks to Tom for chatting to us! Casey are a band increasing in size and following rapidly so get on with immersing yourself in their recordings and live shows now to follow their monumental rise that’s just around the corner…
Opening up the show for Set It Off came the only UK-native band in Homebound, who played to a filling room of around 30 people and ending on less than half full. Contrary to this, the five-piece produced a really energetic performance of songs old and new to a crowd who were keen to get warmed up. Unfortunately however, vocalist Charlie Boughton sounded like he was having a really hard time singing to the extent that he just couldn’t hit the notes of his own songs in tune which was pretty gutting considering the energy of the band and his clear ability on record. A very energetic set that just lacked that shine that so regularly makes this outfit stand out – not a criticism so much as a simple “unlucky, it wasn’t your day” because Homebound are definitely one to watch. [6/10] (For fans of any pop punk)
By far the heaviest band of the night came up second in the shape of Kentucky post-hardcore quintet Too Close To Touch. The band have been used to playing mixed bills before – just this year they toured with Creeper and Waterparks throughout the US – but nothing to the level of this show. The band gave it everything they had and nailed every single track with absolute precision, smashing through their career-spanning setlist with the utmost energy and passion. As was mildly unsurprising though considering the co-headliners, a large portion of the room weren’t interested in them musically with only a slight nod of the head and short applause following each track which was a huge shame for a band who showed even the more experienced groups on the list how intense a show can get, even as a support. Fantastic set from a brilliant band, do not sleep on this lot. [9/10] (For fans of Hands Like Houses)
The first co-headliner to play was With Confidence, who have had a monumental rise through the last year. This is their second UK headline run (if you can call it that playing before Set It Off) since the start of February when they hit our shores with Broadside, Safe To Say and Milestones, yet in that short period their fanbase has gotten even stronger. Playing through tracks from their debut album Better Weather mixed in with a few of EP songs (namely I Will Never Wait and fan-favourite Godzilla) has worked a treat in recent shows and this was no different. The set was played out with a rather large rubber penis taped to guitarist Luke’s microphone stand much to the amusement of the largely-teenage crowd, yet this charisma combined with the tight musical performance provides a charming show. Set highlights came threefold: a performance of London Lights in its hometown proved massively energetic; Keys fronted by guitarist Inigo Del Carmen in the usual emotional state of the song (he wrote it about his close friend who took her own life, hence the huge emotive connection) and the set closer Keeper which is always filled with pure energy from band and audience alike to see out the show. Another great set from a band shooting for the stars. [9/10]
A good five years ago is when Set It Off started to deviate from their pop punk roots to being a straight-up pop band and the main body of their set only went to prove this. With the collection being taken largely from 2016 effort Upside Down came the lack of substance musically and emotionally with huge portions of the track relying on backing tracks for basslines, backing vocals and even the horn section which sounded especially corny live (made mildly better when guitarist Dan Clermont pulled out his trumpet for a live rendition). The crowd were screaming and going absolutely mad for the band lacking substance the most of any of the bands on the lineup with their setlist, though that being said the encore changed everything. Delving back through the catalogue to Cinematics for a guitar/vocal rendition of Swan Song proved even to the critics in the room that the band do have a certain level of integrity however the set may have seemed, and finishing with Hypnotized carried on the freshness of the encore to the end. Overall, a set saved by both the stage presence and outstanding vocal performances of frontman Cody Carson. and the encore song choices. Set It Off are popular yet seem to have lost themselves in a commercial abyss – hopefully soon they’ll show off their musical ability once more rather than leaving it hidden under backing tracks. [6/10]
During our time at Slam Dunk South, With Confidence guitarist Inigo Del Carmen took some time out to chat to give us an update on everything going on with them.
Could you give us a rundown of the past couple of months on tour?
February was just awesome, it totally blew our expectations out of the water. Headlining Europe, especially selling out a couple of shows was insane. We had the best lineup too – Broadside, Safe To Say and Milestones. All really lovely dudes. Safe To Say are like my favourite band, really really good. That whole tour was just amazing, and then we topped it off with the State Champs tour which was great. It was so sick to properly tour the US, not like on Warped but a proper tour. The parking lot feel of Warped is great and being busy all day every day is cool, but this tour was so chilled out with free time in the city and everything. We went to NASA on an off day, we went to Universal Studios for the first time. A lot of tourist stuff which was really good. The crowds were amazing and thanks to State Champs for taking us out on that as well. We met the Don Broco dudes too and they’re awesome [he says, as Rob and Tom walk past]. It’s so crazy to see them playing for crowds over here, it’s just a completely different show. Even though they were opening, it was obvious they were still a massive band. Made us really nervous playing after them too… Great sound, really energetic. A lot to live up to. I remember going outside one morning and Simon was out there doing pushups… They’re super fit as well as cool, not fair.
Have you got any good stories from this weekend?
Well every night we’ve been told it’s the party night so Luke let loose the first night… He just fell asleep in the green room because he was so drunk which was probably the funniest thing that’s happened so far. Actually no, he poured a beer on himself then skulled another one. He was beyond wasted, then last night Josh fell asleep in a bathtub which was a bit mad.
How did the Set It Off/With Confidence co-headliner come about?
We just said to each other “we’re both over here on the same dates, let’s just do it”. Such good dudes too, and super tight live. Homebound are really cool too and Too Close To Touch are sick. It’s been good.
Who would you like to bring to the UK next time?
There are a whole bunch of bands I love that don’t really suit our soud that I would love to take out anyway. I really love this band from Australia called Introvert, who are pretty unique. If I had to say what they’re like, I’d say they’re kinda Citizen/Basement/Brand New vibes, but they have their own thing going on and it’s sick. I’d love to have that February tour back with Broadside, Safe To Say and Milestones [laughs]. We’re doing an Australian tour with Seaway and Wstr which should be cool too.
Where do you see your new material going musically?
We’re aiming really high with this next one, for sure. I feel like the album was really well-received so we’ve got to top it, 100%. We’re feeling the pressure so we’re writing songs we never thought we’d write. Something unique, something different, something new. We’ll see about guests – I really want to! It would be sick to have some co-writes like what Trash Boat did with Soupy [of The Wonder Years]. We’ve made a lot of friends on past tours we’ve done so yeah, we’ll see.
Which release do you like playing from live most?
I’ll have to say Better Weather because it has a lot of songs I love playing like Dinner Bell, Gravity and Keys which are great. It’s good to play that album live too because I feel like we haven’t played them it all that much yet. We had to hold off the whole of Warped last year, which meant we only played about three songs off the album which was cool but hard too. It’s nice to play pretty much the whole album most nights now.
What would go into a With Confidence cocktail?
Well I mean, I’m pretty sure Luke drank beer, prosecco and orange juice last night… That was after he poured a beer on himself too. I’m guessing all the cheapest stuff you could think of put into a cup. Cheap wine, cheap beer and cheap vodka.
What can we expect to see from With Confidence next?
Well I’d love to be back here before the end of the year! [Announced since is that they’re supporting Mayday Parade later in the year through UK and Europe.] Basically touring, writing and that’s it.
Before their set at Hatfield we caught up with Boston Manor frontman Henry Cox to talk about what’s going on in their camp in the middle of their monumental rise.
So how’s the weekend been so far? Henry: Some of the best shows we’ve ever played. The crowd reaction has been unbelievable, very memorable.
Any stories you can tell us from Slam Dunk? Henry: None I can tell [laughs]. Just a lot of friends drinking too much booze and having too much fun.
What’s been your highlight of 2017 so far? Henry: This has been one of them for sure, but it’s been a pretty whirlwind year. The US tour we just did with Trophy Eyes and Moose Blood was pretty unbelievable, a real experience. We did some little warm-up shows for this which pretty much all sold out which was cool for places we may not usually go to. We didn’t know what to expect but they were amazing. It’s been non-stop but pretty amazing.
Who would you like to support you in the near future? Henry: We’d love to do another tour with Crooks (check them out here) because that one got cancelled, and a friend of mine is in a band called Death Blooms (check them out here) who are a bit like Every Time I Die so I’d love to hook that up at some point. If anyone has any suggestions then get in touch.
What direction do you see your music going in next? Henry: The stuff we’re writing at the moment is a lot more “tried and tested”, people say. A bit more eclectic though; we’ve been listening to a lot more different music since we wrote Be Nothingaround a year and a half ago, so it does sound different. Heavy bits are heavier, soft bits are softer like everybody says. Just a more seasoned vibe is what we’re going for now.
What would you put in a Boston Manor cocktail? Henry: Loads of tabasco… Make it really spicy and horrible. Tomato juice and vodka, but mainly spicy and horrible. Maybe some soil too.
Do you think you’ll ever play any of the Here/Now material live again? Henry: [Laughs] maybe. I don’t really want to at all but maybe one day. We always get asked to play Tiger’s Jaw and stuff but yeah, possibly.
The festival brought some of the biggest and best names in the alternative music world to Birmingham, Leeds and Hatfield as always this year, but the festival also named a lot of smaller bands across the lineup. Bands including Puppy, Too Close To Touch, Casey, Decade, Like Pacific and The Gospel Youth all featured across the weekend of day festivals, not to mention bringing out the big guns with Enter Shikari‘s 10 year anniversary celebration of their debut album, Neck Deep, Tonight Alive and the return of Bowling For Soup. Read on for Musicology’s picks of the weekend’s action!
Opening up the Signature Brew stage were Puppy, a band who are no strangers to fairly hefty crowds by now. The ever-growing Creeper had them out on the road through the UK and Europe this March which gained them a significant increase in fanbase size, which clearly showed in the performance this weekend. A half-hour set featuring fan favourites The Great Beyond and Arabella proved to be the winning formula as the crowd expanded hugely throughout to become arguably the biggest crowd of the stage openers. Closing the set with Entombed showed those at Slam Dunk not aware what Puppy are all about how they do things: grunge/metal hybrid tunes that pack a serious punch. [8/10]
Sorority Noise (Midlands)
After the release of their newest album, You’re Not As _____ As You Think, Sorority Noise returned to the UK to bring their brutally honest and heartfelt songs to the Signature Brew stage. Opening with No Halo and Nolsey, the Connecticut four piece wasted no time in making their presence felt with Boucher’s guitar strap breaking mid song, as he threw himself across the stage. Dirty Ickes and Art School Wannabe get the whole crowd bobbing with the occasional finger point. Slowing it down with Car, the crowd get to catch a breather before Your Soft Blood sees the band bring their set to a dramatic end. [9/10]
Milk Teeth (South)
Female-fronted grunge outfit Milk Teeth hit Slam Dunk pretty hard. Equipped with brand new song Owning Your Okayness, this was one of the last opportunities for the group to expand their fanbase before their new EP Be Nice is released in July and they didn’t disappoint. Playing through a set comprised mainly of 2016 debut album Vile Child proved popular with onlookers at the Signature Brew stage and left a resounding intensity of atmosphere when they left the stage. Very promising for a band looking like they’ll shoot for the stars very soon indeed. [8/10]
Boston Manor (Midlands)
Boston Manor have been at the forefront of UK pop punk for the past year now. A set dominant with songs from their debut LP Be Nothing proved the upgrade in stages from the Fresh Blood to the Key Club Stage this year was justifiable. The whole room filled with both old and new fans eager to witness their progression. Single Lead Feet welcomes a constant stream of crowd surfers which didn’t seem to stop throughout their set. Vocalist Henry found himself amongst the crowd along the barrier welcoming the energy. Stop Trying, Be Nothing erupts into a circle pit, stretching the whole area of the room. A set with a continuous amount of crowd energy is brought to a close with crowd favourite Laika. A packed out room and an energy pumped crowd proved that Boston Manor are changing the face of pop punk, they are definitely one to watch. [9/10]
The ringing of ambient guitars welcomed Virginia dream pop outfit Turnover to the Signature Brew stage; a more conserved band with slightly less energy than other bands on the line up can often mean less crowd interaction. Opening with Cutting My Fingers Off however saw quite the opposite with vocalist Austin being drowned out by the crowd singing back. Crowd pleasers New Scream and Dizzy on the Comedown was welcomed by this continuation of crowd participation and a steady amount of movement. Closing on Take My Head saw an end to a calm yet well performed set by the dreamy four piece. [8/10]
With Confidence (South)
Aussie pop punkers With Confidence have only been over to the UK to perform a handful of times, but this occasion marked their upgrade from 2016’s Fresh Blood stage to the Key Club stage – a huge size increase. Along with this bigger show came more songs from their 2016 debut album Better Weather which only hit shelves in June 2016 since they last played the festival. Throughout the set, guitarist Luke Rockets made reference to a member of security who was dancing and singing along throughout which sums the set up fantastically: a talented young band with fantastically catchy songs having a lot of fun halfway round the world from home. [8/10]
Battling against Turnover, With Confidence and Beartooth is not an easy thing to do for any band, espacially one that only released their debut album in mid-March and to be fair the crowd they pulled was by no means small. Not put off by the half-full Impericon stage, the band went absolutely all-out for the crowd who seemed up for anything. The pure showman ability of frontman Jamie Campbell Bower was evident throughout, but was put out on display for all to see when he made his first journey out into the crowd where he stood with his guitar and mic stand in the circle pit, with his brother on his shoulders, also playing. Fantastic confidence on display, this band are sure to go a long way. [10/10]
Beartooth had some big boots to fill after both Crossfaith and Bury Tomorrow played the Jagermeister stage earlier on in the day, but they did not disappoint. Opening with the title track off their latest album Aggressive, the four piece from Ohio ensured that their set was going to be 40 minutes of carnage, and that it was. The Lines saw the entirety of the main stage crowd taking to one knee then erupting as the intro kicks in. The frenzy continued as Always Dead found the entire front of the arena turned into a massive circle pit. Hated drew their short yet energetic set to a close. [8/10]
I Prevail (South)
On their first trip across the Atlantic, I Prevail stopped off at Slam Dunk to crush the Impericon stage with their heavy (yet somewhat generic) metalcore anthems which filled each of the three dates’ venues to capacity with people turned away at the door. The first and final UK play of their version of Blank Space proves predictably popular, yet the highlight of their set without a doubt was the closing track Scars which is the first single from second album Lifelines. Suitably heavy yet melodic, the tracks played caused mayhem to a level beyond anything else during the day. [10/10]
Deaf Havana (North)
The boys in Deaf Havana hit the Jagermeister stage in unglamorous fashion, adorned with Hawaiian shirts. They kicked things off with recent album opener Ashes, Ashes which went down well enough but something seems a little off. Lead singer/guitarist James Veck-Gilodi (complete with darkened sunglasses) admitted to being tired and slightly hungover but this never stopped him from belting out tracks Youth In Retrospect and Speeding Cars with maximum gusto. Fans looking for older tracks didn’t find it here, with the majority of the set consisting of newer material and although the sound on the outdoor stage failed to capture depth of the band’s sound, tracks like Speeding Cars sounded right at home in front of the capacity crowd. Bookending the set with recent album closer Pensacola, 2013, Deaf Havana proved that they can still go even when they don’t really feel like it. [7/10]
Frank Iero and the Patience (South)
Ex-My Chemical Romance man Frank Iero is back in the UK with the latest incarnation of his band after the name change last year. Unsurprisingly energetic upon taking to the stage, the band ripped through their catalogue of alternative-punk anthems to a capitaved audience, taken largely from their second album Parachutes. The highlight of the set was .weighted. played with maximum gusto, with crowds surging at every opportunity. [7/10]
Making a return after playing the Fresh Blood stage back in 2015, Ontario feel good pop punk five-piece Seaway were welcomed to a packed-out crowd at the Key Club stage. Best Mistake and Shy Guys warmed up the crowd to a flurry of crowdsurfers as vocalist Ryan took to the barrier to hand the mic to them. Old school fan favourite Sabrina the Teenage Bitch saw the crowd erupt in ecstasy, as it seemed every person wanted to get to the front. Slam allowed the crowd to gather their energy back as Everything Is Cool Man is screamed back at them. With mention of their third album being released at the end of this year, Seaway are proving that feel-good 2000’s pop punk is still alive as ever. [8/10]
Don Broco (South)
Returning to the UK straight from a tour with State Champs, Against The Current and With Confidence in the US to play the three remaining shows before finishing their third album this summer, Don Broco arrived ready to play. They crashed through tracks from both of their albums after the crowd got properly involved with single Everybody, causing dancing and singing along with the mass of Rob masks throughout. Finishing up on brand new track Pretty and bringing in With Confidence‘s Josh Brosezzi, frontman Rob Damiani and drummer Matt Donnelly surfed across the crowd to go mad in the pit while the song punched away to the end. Very exciting band at the moment, the third album and November Alexandra Palace headline show look very exciting! [9/10]
Less Than Jake (North)
Inside the First Direct Arena punters willingly give up their place in the beer queue and dash to the arena floor as they hear opening strains of All My Best Friend Are Metalheads. It’s a guaranteed crowd-puller and sees the audience skanking along to their beer-fuelled ska-punk in no time. Less Than Jake roar through stone cold classics Automatic, Last One Out Of Liberty City and Sugar In Your Gas Tank before proclaiming “Any band who tells you their new stuff is better than your old stuff is lying!”. They go ahead and prove their own point as newer tracks PS, Shock The World and the stellar Bomb Drop receive limited response from the nostalgia happy crowd. Closing things up with a double header of Gainesville Rock City and The Ghost Of Me & You however ends the set in riotous fashion, setting the audience up for more old-school pop punk to follow. [8/10]
Enter Shikari (South)
Enter Shikari are no strangers to the Hertfordshire music scene, and celebrating the final show of their 10 year Anniversary of Take To The Skies was incredibly fitting. The crowd chanting welcomed their stage entrance of Enter Shikari with the lyrics “and still we will be here, standing like statues” and the explosive set began. The atmosphere of the crowd felt like a cross between a political protest and a rave with insane circle pits, moshing and chants below the electric green light show that defines Shikari. The pure energy of the band throughout the set was remarkable as they revisited the album with nostalgia, frontman Rou made particular reference to lyrics in the song Juggernauts “the idea of community, will be something displayed in a museum” before launching into an empowering speech about the importance of voting. One thing that’s for certain, the passion of the band and the audience has in no way diminished and will surely grow on the horizon of a new album and UK tour. [8/10] (Words by Brittany Rutt)
Tonight Alive (Midlands)
Tonight Alive entered the Key Club stage opening with Lonely Girl to a good crowd, despite competing with big stage headliners including Enter Shikari and Neck Deep. The band interacted with crowd who sang along as they played iconic songs like Listening. Vocalist Jenna McDougall made a statement speech about what Tonight Alive stands for and the message she encourages at their shows. It was the message of not being bound by societies expectations which was received well by the crowd who cheered and applauded the vocalist. This led nicely into the song Wasting Away which is one of the band’s first songs produced. Before finishing with their latest single World Away, the band announced that after Slam Dunk they would be going back to the studio to start on a new album. Overall, a Tonight Alive show is an experience you definitely come away feeling a little more empowered. [9/10] (Words by Ellie Slym)
Neck Deep (South)
Kicking off with a new single Happy Judgement Day, Neck Deep set about on their self-depricating pop punk conquest to rule Slam Dunk 2017, despite them admitting there were better bands the onlookers should be watching during that headliner slot. Contrary to their words, the band pulled out of the bag one of the stronger sets of the day as they played through favourites old and new in the way of What Did You Expect?, Tables Turned and new single Where Do We Go When We Go? to the ever-maddening crowd. Finishing up with Can’t Kick Up The Roots brought another successful set to a close, with promises that performances on their huge October headline tour would be bigger and better. [8/10]
Bowling For Soup (North)
Bowling For Soup walked out to the excited screams of a packed out Fireball stage. The hardcore fans were wearing all different variations of Bowling For Soup merch from every tour over the past 10 years. After a brief intro, they kicked the set off with The Bitch Song, with the crowd singing along to every word you knew this was going to be a Slam Dunk set to remember. Their 14-song set packed full of the band’s classics and more well-known songs as well as their lead single Hey Diane taken from their latest album Drunk Dynasty. The band filled their slot with not only their amazing tracks but filled with crowd interaction, jokes and of course BEER! A handful of the crowd seemed disappointed by the amount of joking around between the band and the crowd and voiced their opinions throughout the set. This however didn’t dampen the mood at the Fireball stage, with the band giving it their all and the crowd losing their minds at every song. [8/10]
A lot of people are spoilt for choice or just don’t have a clue to watch for some of this year’s Slam Dunk Festival, so hopefully our picks here will give you a little food for thought.
You Know The Drill (Midlands only)
You Know The Drill may only be on the bill due to being competition winners but it was something that was thoroughly deserved. A band that’s worked hard over the last couple of years put blood, tears and sweat into their lives shows and leave the audience in awe at their musical ability. Catch them at 13.30 on Rock Sound Breakout Stage.
Sorority Noise hail from Connecticut and are comprised of members from Prawn and Old Gray. Together they are housing this indie rock/emo style which has taken the band on tour with Modern Baseball and others. This year the band released their latest full length record You’re Not As _____ As You Think, a record which showcased not only their musical prowess but also the beautiful lyricism of vocalist Cam Boucher. Alongside this release the band last year released a beautiful yet harrowing EP titled It Kindly Stopped For Me which was well received by fans and critics alike. If you are free during their set they aren’t a band to miss. Catch them at 14.15 on Signature Brew Stage.
After the release of their masterpiece album, “Love Is Not Enough”, Casey have grown from strength to strength, making their presence felt in the UK scene. Appearing on Rocksound’s Breakout Stage, this melodic emo 5 piece is not a band you want to be sleeping on. Catch them at 14.25 on Rock Sound Breakout Stage.
Trophy Eyes are one of the best bands to come out of Australia in a long long time. With a mix of pop punk, punk and hardcore they bring something for everyone. Their latest album Chemical Miracle saw the band tone down their heaviness in some parts, but none the less was an amazing record. Expect chaos in a live set, the energy that band bring is second to none. Catch them at 14.35 on Monster Energy Stage.
Having had an extensive European run with Creeper finishing just weeks ago, Milk Teeth are back out on the road for more. They debuted new track Owning Your Okayness from upcoming third EP Be Nice a couple of weeks back on the Radio 1 Rock Show and have guaranteed they will be playing the tune at all three days of the festival which is sure to please fans. The female-fronted four-piece stand as the upcoming emo/grunge band at the moment and have toured with names including Tonight Alive who are headlining Key Club stage at the festival. Catch them at 15.10 on Signature Brew Stage.
Having toured the US and EU extensively, Boston Manor are back on home soil stronger than ever. Their bold yet effective twist of pop punk and alternative proved dominant in their latest release “Be Nothing.” and their live performances emphasis this. Upgrading from the Fresh Blood stage last year, they’ll be hitting up the Key Club Stage this time around and they’re definitely not one to be missed. Catch them at 16.20 on Key Club Stage.
Hardcore Punk quintet Beartooth will be returning to Slam Dunk this year after a year out, bringing their high energy performance along with them. With 2 albums and an EP to their name, these guys have the songs to back up their incredible stage presence. Their latest album Aggressive – which topped at #25 in the US album charts – has proven these guys can do it all, from heavy riffs in Rock Is Dead to a softer acoustic track in King Of Anything. Catch them at 17.40 on Jagermeister (Main) Stage.
Probably one of the most prolific emo bands of recent memeory, Citizen have been a favourite of many since the release of Youth in 2013. As a band Citizen are matching powerful guitars and well constructed vocal melodies together to bring along tracks which are both harrowing but also gorgeous. In 2015 the band released their latest record Everybody Is Going To Heaven. If you haven’t yet check them out and be sure to catch them at Slam Dunk. Catch them at 18.10 on Signature Brew Stage.
The Fearless Records four-piece broke through into the big league with their cover of Taylor Swift‘s Blank Space back in 2015 after releasing their Heart Vs Mind EP in 2014 and succeeding it with 2016’s debut album Lifelines. I Prevail never fail in blending pop vocals with bonecrushing metalcore verses and breakdowns, and they’re here on their first trip to the UK to prove that in front of a brand new audience alongside labelmates Ice Nine Kills and Oceans Ate Alaska as part of their Fearless Invasion tour. Catch them at 18.30 on Impericon Stage.
Getting ready to give the UK their first ever presence, Metalcore powerhouse Sylar have many different ways to get you fixated on what they’re able to bring to the table. Their latest album ‘Help’ is a showcase of their arsenal of low end riffs and a powerful bounce that emanates through the recording and will no doubt power through their live set with tracks such as ‘Assume’ as well as their older tracks from their debut record ‘To Who It May Concern’ which can produce a lot more of their heavier side. A band who will be looking to make a deep mark on the mainland this coming weekend. Catch them at 19.00 on Rock Sound Breakout Stage.
Ocean Grove There’s no denying that the band made quite a stirring with their latest album offering ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ which helped give off a newer and fresher side of the group. Now they are another group looking to make a lasting first impression on UK soil. It will be an exciting element to see how their tracks flow from one another with a mixed bad set of tracks such as ‘These Boys Light Fires’ as well as ‘Intimate Alien’ with their flavourful instrumentation and the fact that a lot of people enjoy all the bands from Australia due to what they’ve been able to provide musically should put these guys at the top of your list as the underdogs of the festival. Catch them at 20.50 on Rock Sound Breakout Stage.
After a few relatively quiet years, Enter Shikari are back to headline Slamdunk this year for a ten year anniversary celebration of their debut album Take To The Skies. Few are unaware of the group, thanks to the fateful ‘clap clap’ song (Sorry You’re Not A Winner). Due to their unique electronic rock sound, Enter Shikari appeal to the alternative/rock crowd, the heavier metal crowd, and the dance/electronic crowd. They are a sound choice for headlining a festival that appeals to as many people as Slam Dunk does, and their live performance is always a spectacle to behold. Catch them at 21.25 on Jagermeister (Main) Stage.
Bowling For Soup
Pop punk legends Bowling For Soup will be gracing the Slam Dunk stage this year. With fan favourites such as 1985, Girl All the Bad Guys Want and their rendition of Stacy’s Mom this is sure to be a set not to miss. Lead singer Jared is heading out on his solo acoustic tour later this year, so you don’t want to miss the chance of seeing the whole band bringing their incredibly fun live show to the UK. Catch them at 21.45 on Fireball Stage.
Memphis May Fire
Memphis May Fire is one of those underrated groups that have been around for ages and never really broken hugely into the UK music scene. Metalcore is a very under appreciated genre in the UK, but it seems to be the overarching theme this year for Slam Dunk. Coming off the success of their latest album The Light I Hold, Slam Dunk will be one of the last shows of the UK leg of the tour, with a quick stop in Spain before returning to the US.
Opening up Reckless Intentions‘ Lights is Ghost Town which explodes with pop punk energy. Octave chords and a strong bassline make this track what it is, but the vocal style would have benefitted from taking a leaf from The Story So Far or Boston Manor and adding a load more grit into the vocals which would have fronted the energy of the band much better from the very start of the release. The more emo feel to the vocals leaves the punchy and fairly aggressive instrumentation to fall a bit flat, especially in the most whiny parts. Following this comes single Stitches which feels a lot more like an alt-rock song than the previous attempt on the release. The whiny lack of power in the forced-accent vocals actually works well here, and added harmonies through certain lines adds some depth that remains promising.
L I G H T S is the third track which is an instrumental. It is the best of the first half from its inherent control over the instrumentation which is honestly very good. This is let down a bit again in fourth track Outcast where the forced accent on the vocals is just not working out well, and the tuning has some issues too. Contrasting this fully is the final track Home which is an all-round brilliant song. Instrumentation and vocals gel incredibly well, and the opening demonstrates the true ability of frontman Matty Halliwell’s voice.
The overarching feeling across the tracks is a lack of inspiration really. The obvious exception is Home, where Reckless Intentions come into their own and this is the main area that has legs to go forward into the next release. Not a bad release, but 4 of 5 tracks are fairly generic and could do with something to set them apart whereas Home has a newfound power and emotion that is lacking elsewhere in the EP.