Lots has happened in the Sleeping With Sirens camp in the last few months. Just before announcing their place on the Slam Dunk 2018 line-up on Wednesday (15th November), out came a three-track Live and Acoustic from NYC EP at the end of October, which compliments September’s fifth studio full-length album release Gossip.
Is the EP any good? Sure, for the neutral listener it’s clear weather and for those more familiar with their style, it’s got many staples of what we’ve long come to expect from the Florida act’s acoustic side: fluid vocals propped up with solid guitar in great dovetail action, held together by unimposing percussive touches in the background. In fact, it gives some tracks from Gossip a second chance to shine having not received the reception that Sirens probably wanted from it’s fan base.
Live and Acoustic from NYC, consisting of stripped down versions of Legends, Gossip and One Man Army, certainly gives the band’s most recognisable asset – Kellin Quinn’s twisting vocals – licence to fly and therefore it does feel more authentic than their full band versions – but it does all just seem to be lacking the vigour that characterised Sirens at their inception and launched them into stardom.
Middle-track Gossip translates over the best, a bit more friction in the guitar work and just a bit more give on those vocals. Bookends Legends and One Man Army seem to blur together a little, both originally quite generic tracks in the first place and the acoustic renditions don’t do enough to shift that impression – but removing all the electronic debris from these tracks does make them more accessible. I’d have probably preferred an acoustic cameo of The Chase to feature from the 2017 record to inject a bit of life into this release though.
In it’s own right, it’s a decent listen but not one that lives long in the memory. When you compare it against the past acoustic releases – most notably 2012’s towering (mostly) acoustic EP If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack – it pales in comparison. Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison, it’s still not the standard that older fans are used to: [5/10].
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…
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.
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.
If you wanted some stage times for next months Slam Dunk Festival, then you will be in luck as Rocksound have released all the stage times for everyone to enjoy! Check out all the times below!
ENTER SHIKARI 9:25 – 10:45
DON BROCO 8:00 – 8:55
DEAF HAVANA 6:45 – 7:35
BEARTOOTH 5:40 – 6:20
BURY TOMORROW 4:35 – 5:15
WE ARE THE OCEAN 3:30 – 4:10
CROSSFAITH 2:30 – 3:05
ANDREW MCMAHON IN THE WILDERNESS 1:30 – 2:05
BOWLING FOR SOUP 9:45 – 10:55
LESS THAN JAKE 8:20 – 9:20
REEL BIG FISH 6:55 – 7:55
GOLDFINGER 5:45 – 6:30
MAD CADDIES 4:35 – 5:20
ZEBRAHEAD 3:30 – 4:10
THE ATARIS 2:25 – 3:05
FENIX TX 1:25 – 2:00
NECK DEEP 9:40 – 10:50
THE MOVIELIFE 8:20 – 9:10
WE THE KINGS 7:05 – 7:55
THE MAINE 5:50 – 6:40
CUTE IS WHAT WE AIM FOR 4:35 – 5:25
WSTR 3:35 – 4:10
TROPHY EYES 2:35 – 3:10
LIKE PACIFIC 1:35 – 2:10
THE KEY CLUB STAGE
TONIGHT ALIVE 9:30 – 10:30
SET IT OFF 8:20 – 9:00
SEAWAY 7:20 – 7:55
WATERPARKS 6:20 – 6:55
WITH CONFIDENCE 5:20 – 5:55
BOSTON MANOR 4:20 – 4:55
BLACK FOXXES 3:25 – 3:55
DECADE 2:30 – 3:00
FORT HOPE 1:35 – 2:05
SIGNATURE BREW STAGE
AGAINST ME! 9:45 – 10:45
THE BRONX 8:25 – 9:20
FRANK IERO & THE PATIENCE 7:15 – 8:00
CITIZEN 6:10 – 6:50
TURNOVER 5:05 – 5:45
CRIME IN STEREO 4:05 – 4:40
MILK TEETH 3:10 – 3:40
SORORITY NOISE 2:15 – 2:45
PUPPY 1:20 – 1:50
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE 9:50 – 10:50
MADINA LAKE 8:40 – 9:25
STRAY FROM THE PATH 7:35 – 8:15
I PREVAIL 6:30 – 7:10
COUNTERFEIT 5:30 – 6:05
ICE NINE KILLS 4:30 – 5:05
OCEANS ATE ALASKA 3:35 – 4:05
SHVPES 2:40 – 3:10
TOO CLOSE TO TOUCH 1:45 – 2:15
UPRAWR DJS 5:00 – 11:00
I AM THE AVALANCHE 4:20 – 4:50
NIGHTMARE OF YOU 3:45 – 4:15
GRUMBLE BEE 3:10 – 3:40
LOUISE DISTRAS 2:40 – 3:05
THE LION & THE WOLF 2:10 – 2:35
LIZZY FARRALL 1:40 – 2:05
Australia’s With Confidence have announced more dates for their return to the UK in May. Since finshing their February/March European tour on Saturday, the band have announced that they will be playing dates around the UK when they return in May for Slam Dunk Festival.
Joining them will be US band Set It Off, who have also been confirmed for the Bank Holiday trio of day festivals.
See the dates below:
With Confidence UK Tour dates:
23-May-17 Bristol Marble Factory (w/ Set It Off) – TICKETS
24-May-17 Manchester Sound Control (w/ Set IT Off) – TICKETS
25-May-17 Glasgow G2 (w/ Set It Off) – TICKETS
27-May-17 Slam Dunk Midlands – TICKETS
28-May-17 Slam Dunk North – TICKETS
29-May-17 Slam Dunk South – SOLD OUT
31-May-17 London O2 Academy Islington (w/ Set It Off) – TICKETS