As I’m sure many of you may know I turned 23 this week, and to continue the theme of the past 3 years I spent my celebrations at Slam Dunk Festival (south). Whatever the line-up is aside, Slam Dunk has always been such great value for money and overall a good day out. At less than £40 for a ticket, you really can’t go wrong, and if you’re lucky the sun might even come out to make all them pints of cider seem a little more acceptable!
Across 7 stages, some of the biggest bands from across the globe to play this ever growing festival that takes place in the North (Leeds), South (Hatfield) and the Midlands (Wolverhampton).This year’s line up wasn’t the strongest for me out of the 3 years I’ve been, but there were definitely bands I liked as well as artists I was interested in checking out for the first time.
THE SUMMER SET
The first band of the day I saw, and to me they were one of them ‘Who are they? Oh, they sing this song!’ and were quite enjoyable to watch! Probably the only band from the festival who weren’t on my iPod beforehand but are now.
Yashin were the main band I was keen on seeing all day. Being 2 years since I’d last seen the Scottish and American band, I was super excited to see them again. Lead singer Harry Radford took the time to explain they’d been touring and working on a new album in the time they’d been away, which is scheduled for release early 2014. I was disappointed they were on one of the smallest stages after seeing them play a bigger outside tent 2 years previous, but it made the experience a lot more lively and ‘compact’, shall we say! The security had to control a ‘one in one out’ system during their set as the venue went over capacity, so I’m glad I got in when I did! As always, the atmosphere was incredible and they always put on a good show, performing songs from both their albums. (Check out a short clip from my Keek here).
KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES
Of course all the bands I wanted to see clashed with each other, meaning I had to do half and half for Yashin and Kids In Glass Houses. As I unwillingly left Yashin’s set half way through, I was soon glad I did when reaching main stage to see the Welsh guys putting on an amazing show as per usual. I’m no stranger to a Kids In Glass Houses gig, and they certainly never disappoint. Treating the crowd to their brand new single, Drive, as well as all the old favourites including Give Me What I Want, Saturday, and Easy Tiger, KIGH got the stage ready for the two headlining main stage bands.
SLEEPING WITH SIRENS
I’ve heard of Sleeping With Sirens in the past but never really paid much attention to them, so when a few of my friends were adamant on seeing them I wasn’t overly fussed. However, they were certainly a good choice for the festival as they pulled in a big crowd. Personally I’m still a bit undecided, as front man Kellin Quinn’s vocals were so feminine I had to keep double checking the stage to see if he was actually singing… However, I’ve since then discovered the bands cover of Goo Goo Doll’s single Iris, and it’s pretty nice so I’ll give ‘em that!
Former King Blues front man took to the stage solo this time and despite only catching a couple of songs from his set, I thoroughly enjoyed what Itch, real name Jonny Fox, had to offer. Just 2 songs in he was already in the crowd and was continuously thankful for people coming to check him out despite the loss of his band that the festival had seen in previous years.
Coming from a support headline on the smaller tent stage 2 years ago, to support headliner on main stage this year, Deaf Havana are slowing but surely working their way up the rock ladder. With an opening of Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain you, the now 6 piece then went into brand new single Boston Square which has been so well received. Unfortunately singer James seemed to have lost his voice, so the inbetween song interaction wasn’t as on point as usual, but he managed to just about string his vocals together throughout songs whilst they belted out hits like The Past Six Years, Leeches and I’m A Bore, Mostly. The band were also joined by a female gospel singer which I thought was a great touch.
Yet another clash made me slip away from Deaf Havana towards the end of their set, and over to the Keep A Breast tent which was holding some great acoustic sets throughout the day. Jonny Craig has been one of my favourite artists for a good few years now, and despite being lucky enough to see Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance, I’ve never had the opportunity to see Jonny do his solo stuff and I’m so, so glad I did. Definitely my stand out of the whole festival. Singing a bunch of new songs as well as old favourites like I Still Feel Her, the Canadian singers vocals were even better than I could’ve imagined live. (Check out a short clip from my Keek here).
ALL TIME LOW
American Pop-Punk band All Time Low were main stage headliners this year, a first for them in the UK, and as always they knew exactly what they were doing. I’ve seen All Time Low twice before now and every time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they perform live and manage to turn the crowd into a party. Opening with Lost In Stereo and continuing with their usual inappropriate banter about penis’ and anything to make the audience giggle, Alex, Jack, Rian and Zack made a great end to a great day.
Who else was at Slam Dunk this year? What and who were your highlights of the day?
Follow me on Vine for loads of short video clips from Slam Dunk – Jayde Maria