Taking to the stage first was Midlands acoustic man Luke Rainsford who brought in a fair crowd considering he was first up and had come a long way. Opening with Home Safe, Luke played through material from both of his full length albums with aplomb as he always does, blowing away both fans and first timers alike with his honest lyrics and catchy hooks. Closing with his personal favourite track Frame, Luke looked as though he was going to cry as he screamed out “I know that I’ll never learn” to an already emotional crowd as the cathartic close to a set that always seems to short from his restrictions – just about the only criticism that can be made about his live shows. [9/10]
ICYMI took to the stage in the difficult situation of following Rainsford, but the energy and vocal ability of frontwoman Elin Allan stood them in good stead for the set to follow. Playing through their tracks proved to be fairly hit and miss up to their cover of NSYNC‘s Bye Bye Bye (yes, really) which turned the whole set around. The version featured heavy guitars and the attitude of Allan shining through to sweeten the crowd up before finishing with their single Get Out to finish off the set. The band have big things coming towards the end of this year, so keep an eye out – they’re one for the future. [7/10]
As the only local band of the night, pop punkers All These Years took to the stage. It appeared throughout that the band weren’t particularly well known among the onlookers but pretty quickly gained some fans with their more punk-influenced tracks as they hopped about the stage being generally offensive in the best possible way. Playing through the material from both EPs and latest single What Was Left Unsaid, All These Years put life into what was previously a fairly still crowd, perfectly filling their role as a support for the show. [8/10]
Coming off the back of their debut EP release a couple of weeks ago, touring newcomers Maypine were absolutely filled with confidence hitting the Camden attic’s stage. They played through the EP’s five tracks with a couple of additional originals, but the real gem in the set was their emo rendition of Fix You by Coldplay which they released back in July (if you’re curious, listen here). The set was filled with enthusiasm, talent and hope – qualities that can are lacking in a lot of new touring bands, which are virtually never captured in the same capacity as Maypine have them. [9/10]
Finishing up the night came Better Than Never who, surprisingly, drew less of a crowd than Maypine though the remaining audience were the rowdiest of the night by some margin. Blasting through both EPs, frontman James Harris bounced around with no visible intention of slowing down as he hyped up the crowd. Later, some growls mid-song produced a few looks of confusion from those not fully aware of Forty Eight from the band’s latest collection Head Under Water as they expected more pop punk tracks, but that didn’t subtract from any enjoyment on anyone’s faces. Towards the end of the set, Luke Rainsford was floating around the front of the crowd making gestures before he (somewhat unsurprisingly) made another appearance to duet Panama with Harris. A good performance to round off the night. [8/10]
With their latest album due out later this year, Canadian hardcore band Counterparts have released their latest single. It is titled No Servant of Mine and has a video out to accompany it, which you can watch below. The album itself is their third full-length which is due out on 22nd September, titled You’re Not You Anymore.
Vocalist Brendan Murphy said of the track: “No Servant is about relationships failing whether they be romantic, platonic or business oriented. One way or another, the connection between two or more people is gone and we have to carry on knowing that it may be for the better. The song is my way of saying ‘If you no longer care, then go. You don’t need to stay because you owe me nothing.'”
Watch the video of No Servant of Mine here:
Catch them playing these dates with Napoleon and Polar:
11th November Patterns, Brighton, UK
12th November Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK
13th November Vintage Bar, Doncaster, UK
14th November Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
15th November G2, Glasgow, UK
16th November Rebellion, Manchester, UK
17th November Think Tank, Newcastle, UK
18th November The Dome, London, UK
19th November Joiners, Southampton, UK
21st November Patronaat, Haarlem, Holland
22nd November Lux, Hanover, Germany
23rd November Poglos, Warsaw, Poland
24th November Firlej, Wroclaw, Poland
25th Durer Kert, Budapest, Hungary
Looking at the cover of Earl Grey‘s latest release, one might wonder if such a band name holds much meaning other than a penchant for hot beverages. All jokes aside, Monchengladbach, Germany’s very own Earl Grey are a band who have surely been treading the hard-worn path to success. Two EP’s down, the band followed these releases with 8000km’s worth of European touring and a slew of success on their home-turf’s DIY punk rock scene. With latest release The Times You Cross My Mind being mastered by Seb Barlow (Neck Deep, As It Is, WSTR), the band look to garner further acclaim within the wider musical community.
The EP opens with 1 minute 37 seconds of adulterated melodic hardcore joy. Nothing bursts out of the speakers, the track revolving around a series of muscular, soaring guitar parts which back vocalist Malte Unnasch’s Comeback Kid-like vocal approach. Never Sleep connects seamlessly with the opener with chugging fury and features gang vocals aplenty. The band don’t particularly take an original approach here, treading the same lines as band’s like The Story So Far, but it’s the sheer force of delivery both from Unnasch and the rest of the band that make them such an irresistible prospect.
The production locks everything in tightly with snappy drums underpinning both the rhythmic and melodic elements well. These elements shine bright on the faster tracks such as Hollow which begins with classic hardcore vehemence before shifting into half-time grooves with minimum effort. Even on the slower moments such as the stomping Snake Hips the band still don’t let up despite offering some beautiful guitar lines ala early Alexisonfire, giving the EP a little room to breathe before kicking into the next belter.
The third EP for the German crew is easily a defining moment in their short career. It pulses with vibrancy and despite this essentially being a modern hardcore record, the songs on offer are just so darn catchy that there is a good chance of seeing them supporting some of the scene leaders in the coming year. Although The Times You Cross My Mind will be many listeners first time hearing Earl Grey, the band are unquestionably worth every second of your time.
The Times You Cross My Mind is released on the 16th July.
Jack The Envious are a London quartet formed, interestingly enough, during core members Nir Perlman and Guy Avnon’s respective military service. After recruiting bassist Guy Checkarov, the band set out to combine their experiences in the forces and band life, distilling it down to produce debut EP Pull You Down. Since the EP’s release, it would seem the band have sought to push themselves, combining punk stylings and a post-hardcore rush for maximum impact. With a string of successful local shows, the band is all set to release their sophomore EP In Your Own Way.
Straight off the bat, the band embrace a dark atmosphere with pulsing synths and music box sounds ascending before they kick in with Shut It Off. It’s a fine start to the EP with a tectonic opening riff, coming across with the same snarling energy that My Chemical Romance embraced on their first couple of records. Single Begging For More starts with choppy acoustics before the songs signature riff makes way for a hooky chorus, vocalist Perlman sounding like a hybrid of The Used’s Bert McCracken and The Movielife’s Vinnie Caruana.
The mix on the EP is strong, the guitars sitting well and creating memorable, anthemic parts and also huge backdrops for Perlman’s snarling vocal jabs. This is demonstrated no better than on the thunderous Guilty which comes complete with a stomping breakdown section and Letlive-esque spoken word part which helps set the song apart from formulaic hardcore structure.
The album closes things off with Never Look Down which is possibly the strongest offering here. The track builds from its ethereal intro and goes onto incorporate the best parts of the record, including huge reverberant guitar lines, gutsy vocals and another huge chorus. As only the second offering from Jack The Envious, In Your Own Way makes it clear that the band are determined to prove themselves as unique commodity of the British music scene. They stand to make their mark with this dynamic and energetic EP.
With summer rolling around, plenty of winter tours are being announced in the UK and Europe. Just announced is EMP Persistance‘s 2018 tour which plays out between the 18th and 28th of January. The line-up this year consists of Hatebreed, Madball, Terror, Power Trip, Broken Teeth and Insanity Alert. Tickets go on-sale at 10am Monday BST and O2 pre-sale is 10am on Saturday. Tickets available here.
Madball kick off a UK tour this week beginning in London:
Melodic-hardcore band Counterparts have announced that their upcoming 3rd album titled You’re Not You Anymore will be released on 22nd September via Pure Noise Records. In anticipation of this the band have released a new single, check out Bouquet below:
“YNYA is the perfect blend of every record we’ve released prior. I feel like we did a great job at capturing the best parts of Counterparts. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are definitely the coolest songs we’ve ever written. I really do hope you enjoy it. If not, I’m sorry and I guess we’ll try harder next time.” – Brendan Murphy, vocals
You’re Not You Anymore Track List:
1. Walk Away Slowly
3.Arms Like Teeth
4. No Servant of Mine
5. Haunt Me
6. Swim Beneath My Skin
9. A Memory Misread
10. Fragile Limbs
11. You’re Not You Anymore
The band will return to the UK and Europe later this year with Napoleon and Polar in tow at the following dates:
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…
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.