This year’s SlamDunk was definitely going to be unforgettable, marking the 10th anniversary of the festival, SlamDunk was determined to make this the biggest and best festival yet. I headed over to Leeds to get involved.
Last year SlamDunk North was held in Leeds University, this year it upgraded to being spread out across the centre of Leeds, main stage was located in Millennium Square with a capacity of 8000 whilst other stages were found in the O2, Leeds Beckett University, carparks and backrooms of bars.
The first thing I headed to was the Neck Deep signing at the Kerrang! tent, I was the first in the queue but I was just the start of a line of hundreds of people. It was the only signing I was able to attend as all the other clashed with different sets I wanted to go to..
The first band on the main stage was Set It Off and they certainly weren’t short of energy. After recently kicking Austin (Bassist) out of the band I felt like SIO were really trying to prove their success to the crowd, although the crowd was small and quiet it didn’t stop Cody (vocals) from getting them moving. They did an unusual cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’ and their single Why Worry seemed to be the most well-known song within the crowd.
Cody jumped off the stage a couple of times to come right up to the barrier, he even managed to walk on top of the crowd for a while (until he fell). Overall it was a nice start to the day and showed how much potential the rest of the day could have.
After SIO, I made my way to the MacBeth stage where Knuckle Puck were playing, a considerable smaller stage but there was definitely a lot more fans crammed into a small carpark. A lot more people singing back to Knuckle Puck and it felt like SlamDunk was actually kicking off now. Personally No Good made the entire set for me, the way the crowd reacted to this song was different to all the rest and it really got me excited for the rest of the day. Even people at the back started moshing around to it. Neck Deep are close friends of Knuckle Puck and Ben Barlow did guest vocals on Your Back Porch.
Beartooth started not long after Knuckle Puck ended so I headed over to the o2 Academy, but with a fairly long queue to get in I didn’t think I’d be able to see all their set. Luckily I got in just as they started, after I saw Beartooth on Thursday night in Carlisle (Check out my review of it here) they were definitely one of the bands I most looking forward to seeing- and they didn’t disappoint. With the biggest crowd I’d seen so far and mosh pits starting all over the room they were certainly entertaining the crowd.
Neck Deep were next on the main stage and I first saw them live at SlamDunk 2014 so I knew I had to see them play the main stage this year. Following the release of their newest single ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’ it seemed that many people were hoping to see this live. Neck Deep had the biggest crowd by far and people were singing back louder than ever. When they began playing A Part Of Me the atmosphere changed from being one of the most brutal crowds I’ve experienced to the most relaxed (and even emotional) crowd, people were singing back louder than ever and it was a song that everyone just experiences and appreciates for its simplicity. Laura Whiteside even made an appearance. They never fail to impress a crowd.
I hung around at the main stage for Lower Than Atlantis. They undoubtedly had a huge following there for them and their set was exciting and really enjoyable to watch. Mike (vocals) took the time out to say that the band really appreciated the amount of support they received after they released their self-titled album as it was a make-or-break point for the future of LTA. The most moving part of the set was when the band left Mike to do Another Sad Song, this was a highlight for me as it is a personal favourite of theirs.
Moose Blood was held at the smallest stage but it was completely packed out, and totally worth standing around in a room that felt about 100 degrees (not even exaggerating). Moose Blood was guaranteed to be one of the roughest, craziest shows of the day. The set felt more intimate than the others from the day and was definitely one of the most enjoyable. There was no barrier at the stage and it added to the intimacy and Eddy (vocals) even sustained a nose injury after a fan crowdsurfed straight into the mic. Overall Moose Blood are a must-see band and I’m glad I got to see them at SD.
The last set I went to was The Wonder Years who headlined the MacBeth stage, and it was the best end to one of the best days. The most ‘tame’ crowd by far but by far the best band I saw. Soupy (vocals) was inspiring the crowd throughout the set and they played 15 songs from various albums. They ended the set by announcing they were working on new material and they’d be back soon, I’ll definitely try and head to the next show they do in the UK.
SlamDunk festival is one of the best day-festivals in the UK, the lineup never disappoints and bands from all over the world are attracted. Many of the acts are even friends from touring or writing together so it feels really- connected. I’m already excited for SDF16!