A huge show filled with amazing punk and ska bands awaits the 02 Academy in Leeds on this cool October Sunday evening.
First up we have local competition winners Eat Defeat, although their set was quite early and not too long after doors the room was reasonably full with more people still coming in due to the extensive searches upon entry. Their unique blend of ska and pop punk sounds resonated with the audience quite well. Being a relatively small unknown band didn’t stop them from interacting with the crowd throughout their set. They even managed to get a singalong of their lyric “I think we’ll be ok” during their final song.
Following on from Eat Defeat we have Sheffield based band Sweet Little Machine whom were recently voted Fireballs Hottest band for 2017. Their 90s pop punkesque sound had a large portion of the crowd singing along and egged the crowd on to do a “Yorkshire” chant. The whole performance was very crowd orientated with frontman Alex discussing with the crowd how everyone hates someone and asked an audience member for the person they hate. Which turned out to be his ex-wife Melanie, this was then used as a lyric in the next song to the amusement of everyone in attendance. Ending their performance with Alex jumping off stage and running around the venue with his guitar getting everyone pumped was an amazing way to end an incredible performance.
Ska legends Mad Caddies were next up to take the stage. With very minimal effort these guys had the whole crowd in the palm of their hand. With sing-along’s all the way through the set from the new songs to tracks that were 20 years old such as Monkeys. The First pit of the night even broke out to Monkeys.
Next up we had punk legends Anti-Flag bringing their angry anti-establishment, anti-hatred sound to Leeds. Their huge energy performance filled with jumping guitarists and bassists got the crowd extremely pumped. The band even managing to get a circle pit opening up to almost the whole width of the room. To add to this outstanding performance they even brought out the brass section for Reel Big Fish for a quick guest spot during a song. Bassist Chris also decided to jump into the crowd for one song to the excitement of the devoted fans at the front row.
Now time for the headline act, Reel Big fish enter the stage to the roar of the eager fans of this almost sold out event. The crowd were clearly pumped (the free fireball whiskey shots may have helped) and the band matched them all the way through. The whole set was ridiculously fun for not only the band but for the audience too, with fireball beach balls flying around the venue throughout the whole set. On top of their outstanding back catalogue the band threw in a mash up of covers including Nirvana, Weetus and Journey among others. Their set ended on their infamous cover of Take On Me.
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.
The general public strolling down Arundel Gate this evening look on as a swarm of old and young alike queue to get into Sheffield’s 02 Academy. Its quite the turnout for the Ska-Punk legends, but at Ten English pounds for a line up as varied and brimming with dancability as this, you’d be a fool to be a rock fan in Sheffield tonight and not be in attendance.
Mariachi El Bronx, for those unaware, is the alter ego of LA punk n’ rollers The Bronx. An eight-piece Mariachi band, they are the most fun anyone could have at a rock show, without actually watching a rock band. Frontman Matt Caughthran embraces his role as band leader with a sly wink, encouraging the audience to dance along to would- be-classics Revolution Girls and 48 Roses with all the charm of a genuine Mexican troubadour.As odd as Mariachi El Bronx seem at first glance on any bill, they certainly capture the hearts of the crowd here, and with gloriously celebratory numbers like High Tide, it’s no surprise at all. [8/10]
Londoner’s The Skints are a fine choice for tonight’s show, balancing out the cultural tones on offer with their own brand of soulful reggae. Live, the band lock into a solid groove that the audience finds hard to resist. Heads nod and feet tap to the addictive hooks of Mindless, which showcase the vocal duo of drummer Jamie Kyriakides and multi instrumentalist Marcia Richards. Guitarist Joshua Rudge commands the stage with cocky energy, adding grime overtones to the funky likes of Rat-a-tat. With the Bob Marley vibes of Forest For The Trees being a mellow highlight, The Skints are a true UK treasure and continue to bring it live. [8/10]
Tonight’s main event, all the way from Gainesville, Florida are veteran Ska-Punkers Less Than Jake and judging by the sea of early 00’s band tees on display, they are the main attraction. They hit the stage and launch into a riotous Last One Out Of Liberty City. The crowd is already surging back and forth before the two-tone ska of Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts rockets past in less than two minutes. If you’ve ever attended a Less Than Jake show, you will of course be familiar with their particular brand of sophomoric humor, and tonight is no different, vocalists Chris DeMakes and Roger Lima hurling insults at each other much to the audiences delight. With an ever-growing back catalog to draw on, the band plow through oldies and newies alike, the brass section of Buddy Schaub and J.R showcasing their knack for massive hooks on the frantic Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin and newer number Good Enough.
Its hard deny the infectious atmosphere of a Less Than Jake show and the Steel City crowd are no exception. They embrace every ounce of the band’s goofball antics, from toilet-roll launching guns to inviting a topless, middle-aged gentleman named ‘John’ onstage for Anthem classic The Ghost Of Me & You. Not ones to disappoint their fans, the band finish up with a manic version of All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, which judging by the audience participation, will lead to some sore throats in the morning. It seems these days, many bands are cashing in revivals and one-off comebacks. Less Than Jake need not worry about such things however, as long as they keep putting on shows as entertaining as tonight’s. [9/10]
UK SKA-PUNKERS CONTINUE THEIR RISE WITH A NEW VIDEO SINGLE!
High Flying Scottish ska-punks The Hostiles surge forward with their new
video single Inconsiderate. Watch below.
The track is lifted from the band’s acclaimed new album Last Call, out now.
Described by Punktastic.com as “upbeat, effervescent, bouncy and danceable”,
skacore crew THE HOSTILES are noted for delivering highly energetic
sweat-drenched live performances, underpinned by a two-pronged brass
backbone of trombone. Formed in Ayr back in 2001, The Hostiles began with
brothers Josh (Guitar), and Chris (Bass), who grew up in the States before
moving to Scotland in their teens. Joined by local like-minded ska-lovers,
Callum Douglas (Drums), Steve Bruce (Trombone) and later Joe Stainke
(Trombone), their sound was firmly formed, echoing heavier skacore acts like Capdown, Lightyear and King Prawn. Since releasing their debut album in
2009, The Hostiles have captured cult followings through the UK, Europe and
beyond, playing hundreds of gigs sharing stages with Catch 22, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Zebrahead, The Mad Caddies and Strike Anywhere, and
have received numerous tracks throughout the world.
The Hostiles‘ new album Last Call has just been released, picking up
critical acclaim from national press and wide praise from many online
publications, with Powerplay Magazine stating that the band “have an
irrepressible energy that shines through their music, making them impossible
not to like”. With the release of their mightily infectious brand new video
single Inconsiderate, backed with even more shows and tour dates this
September, The Hostiles’ continued rise is undoubtable.