It has now become an annual tradition that on the second May Day Bank Holiday that the UK’s answer to Warped Tour takes place at three different locations, in Leeds, Hatfield and Wolverhampton. With the festival celebrating its tenth anniversary, the organizers put together a lineup that brings back 3 former headliners to play, as well as some of the most exciting bands in rock and metal, this is not a festival you will want to miss this summer!
For some people, going to a festival is something they do to experience the atmosphere and get drunk with their mates then watch a handful of bands. At Slam Dunk that tactic is frowned upon (not the getting drunk part, their double pint glasses are a thing of beauty) as the lineup is so impressive so there is always someone worth watching. Opening the main stage is Set It Off, hot off releasing Duality and touring the US on the illustrious Glamour Kills Tour. Sounding like the lovechild of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out-era Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy, expect a fun, upbeat set from these Florida natives. Following them on the main stage is another young band with a bright future, PVRIS. With singles such as ‘St. Patrick’ and ‘Smoke’ the band has had success on Radio 1, plus with Lynn Gunn the band boasts a very charismatic front woman who fully deserves to be described as a rock star. Next up will be homegrown rockers We Are The Ocean who will be making their debut appearance on the Slam Dunk main stage. The band will be releasing their new album, Ark, shortly before the festival so this will be one of the first chances to hear those new songs live. Another band that will hopefully premiering new material at Slam Dunk is Neck Deep, a band who will are on the path to headlining this very festival in the next 5 years. The band’s set last year felt like something truly special and one of the leading lights of UK Pop Punk will be returning from recording their new album in America, this will be something all pop punk kids will be stoked on! One thing that has to be applauded about Slam Dunk is that their continuation of supporting British rock music, with yet another English band on the main stage, this time it’s the turn of Lower Than Atlantis. Fronted by Mike Duce, LTA boast one of the most talented songwriters the UK has produced in recent years. Tracks such as ‘Another Sad Song’ and ‘Emily’ were made to be played on big stages at festivals like these with everyone singing along and this set will be not one to miss. Like, Lower Than Atlantis, Don Broco also boast similar style rock anthems that are perfect for festival sing-alongs with your friends. Having taken the majority of 2014 to write and record their second album, if the singles ‘Money Power Fame’ and ‘Fire’ are any indication, they have written one of the best rock albums of the year. With Slam Dunk being one of the first opportunities to hear these tracks, plus maybe even premiering new songs, then they will be putting on one hell of a show. The subhead slot is one that has been filled by one of the best up-and-coming bands around however this year, Slam Dunk have booked a dose of nostalgia in the form of pop punk icons Taking Back Sunday. The band are winding down touring for 2013’s Happiness Is and with rumblings of a new record in the works, this might be the last time the band graces our shores for the near future. The band previously headlined the festival in 2012 and for the majority of crowd, tracks such as ‘Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)’ and ‘MakeDamnSure’ are bound to take them on a trip down memory lane. Headlining the main stage is one of the best rock bands to come out of the UK in the last decade, You Me At Six. Having first played Slam Dunk festival in 2007, as well as releasing their debut album, Take Off Your Colours, on Slam Dunk Records, there is a close relationship between the two. While rumours were going round previously that the band were going to play that album in full, which have been addressed as false, the boys from Surrey have promised the set will not want to be missed. With their current career path thus far, the band have been touted as future headliner of festivals such as Reading and Leeds, this is a prime opportunity for You Me At Six to prove those who doubt their credentials wrong.
You Me At Six will be headlining Slam Dunk’s Main Stage this year
The Monster Stage will continue its tradition of showcasing the more metal bands of the weekend encompassing all subgenres from metalcore to extreme metal. First up is Shvpes, formerly known as Cytota, who have gone through a lineup change so will be a more unknown entity at the festival. Following them will be The Color Morale, a band who have found a large amount of success in the states and will be out to show the British public why our American counterparts like them so much. After his success in Attack Attack! playing Slam Dunk will not be a new experience for Caleb Shomo but it will be the first time his new band, Beartooth, will perform here. Their debut album was one of the best metalcore releases of last year and after a string of UK tours with the likes of Don Broco and Of Mice & Men, they will feel right at home at this festival. Next up are Australian extreme metalers: Thy Art Is Murder who are fronted by one of the most charismatic guys in music currently, CJ McMahon. On stage, his 6-foot plus frame strikes an intimidating presence (songs entitled ‘Purest Strain Of Hate’ only helps reinforce this statement) but he is really one of the nicest blokes about. Playing in the latter parts of the afternoon, one of Japan’s finest exports Crossfaith will be hoping to get the party started. Their dance infused metal will cause some of the biggest mosh pits of the weekend and see many alcoholic beverages consumed during their set. Bringing the nostalgia on the Monster Stage will be Finch, the American post-hardcore band are close to releasing their fourth studio album, their first since reforming in 2012. While they will probably draw a slightly older crowd, they will be trying to transport everybody back to the simpler time of the mid-00s. Hot off a hell of a co-headline tour with Cancer Bats, While She Sleeps will be bringing all of the mosh to Slam Dunk. With their debut album, This Is The Six, showcasing themselves as one of the hottest British metal bands around, their follow up, Brainwashed, has reiterated this claim. Following them will be special guests Bury Tomorrow who will be returning for the third year in a row. A firm Slam Dunk favourite, the band are no strangers to the Monster Stage and will be brining their form of metalcore to the festival just as the sun will be setting. Headlining this stage, and completing a trinity of hottest British metal bands around, will be Architects. With a back catalogue that boasts some of the best albums that have come out of the UK in recent years, this is a well-earned spot for one of the hardest working bands in the music industry. It is safe to say anything can happen during this set, and with a fan base as passionate as theirs, expect 50 shades of cray.
Australian metal band, Thy Art Is Murder, will be performing at Slam Dunk 2015
Over the Desperados Stage, fans of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtracks will be frothing at the mouth. Headlined by ska-punk legends, and comedic geniuses, Reel Big Fish, you will see at least a few people putting down their air guitars in favour of bringing out the air trombone. After having to delay this set by a year, Goldfinger will be making their long awaited return to British soil. With a set that will feature classics such as ‘Spokesman’ and ‘Superman’, plus their awesome cover of ’99 Red Balloons’, expect the room to be packed for one of the most enjoyable performances at the festival. Swedish skate-punks Millencolin will also feature, with over 20 years and 8 studio albums, the band will be one of the more experienced performances from a festival that doesn’t forget about bands that have helped shape the musical landscape. One of the main draws for this stage will be the rare appearance of Mariachi El Bronx, the alter egos of hardcore pioneers who will be playing on the Impericon stage The Bronx.
Speaking of the Impericon stage, The Bronx will not be only be performing on this stage, the will be headlining it along with Gallows. Expect crowd surfers aplenty and mosh pits at this tiny stage, especially when New Yorks finest H2O hit the stage to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Deez Nuts and Being As An Ocean will also be demonstrating how broad the genre of hardcore is while bringing all of the mosh.
The Macbeth Stage has become the spiritual home of pop punk at Slam Dunk and this year is no different. Headlined by one of the best pop punk band around currently, The Wonder Years, some of the elder statesmen of the genre like Bayside and Cartel and featuring some of the hottest up and coming acts, in the shape of Roam, Knuckle Puck and As It Is. With the likes of Fireworks and Transit performing on this stage, it’s lineup a homerun for fans of pop punk.
Slam Dunk have a proud tradition of showcasing new bands, both homegrown and from abroad, and the Fresh Blood stage will be carrying on this tradition. This stage will be headlined by Moose Blood, a band that are on the verge of something very special, and Seaway, a band who are tons of fun live. This stage will also feature Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, the side project of Soupy from The Wonder Years, and the winners of the Kerrang Fresh Blood Project, and newly signed to Hopeless Records, Trash Boat.
Overall Slam Dunk is the English equivalent to Warped Tour, both in caliber of bands performing and how beloved it has become to fans of rock music. This year’s line up to commemorate the 10th anniversary is the best yet while being so broad to encompass all forms of rock music. On paper, it looks like Slam Dunk will be the best rock festival of the summer.
Slam Dunk will be taking place on 23th May in Leeds City Centre (Slam Dunk North), 24th May at Hertfordshire Hatfield Forum (Slam Dunk South) and 25th May in Wolverhampton City Centre (Slam Dunk Midlands).
Tickets are available from SlamDunkMusic.com
Check out our Slam Dunk playlist here: