Live Review: Slam Dunk Midlands 2018

Editor's Review


In its' 12th year, Slam Dunk continues to showcase the vast range of bands in pop-punk and alternative rock, old and new.

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The yearly bank holiday music festival across Leeds, Hatfield and Birmingham brought pop-punk fans out and into the glorious May sunshine for three days of moshing and crowd-surfing antics.

With an eclectic range of pop-punk, emo and alternative acts this year – the choice to visit which stage was a challenge in itself.

On the Monster stage, after 6 years of absence, The Audition returned to play a set with classics “Warm Me Up”, “My Temperature’s Rising” before ending with “Don’t Be So Hard”. The band shared a grateful speech on their return to music and encouraged the crowd that a return to the UK could be imminent.

Four Year Strong played at the Jägermeister main stage starting with “We All Float Down Here” as the energetic crowd got involved throughout from “Go Down In History” and leading to the loudest sing-a-long’s with final track “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)”. Their energy remained during their stripped-down set on the acoustic stage later on in the evening.

The Devil Wears Prada played the Impericon Stage and brought about heavy riffs and fast tempo drums leading the crowd into energised moshpits as Hranica’s stage presence projected to keep the crowd animated.

Birmingham based, Luke Rainsford, played for the first time at Slam Dunk on the Acoustic stage. The simplicity of an acoustic guitar and vocals of “Home Safe”, through to “Frame”, was a nice contrast of pop-punk music for the day.

Scottish rockers, Twin Atlantic, played on the Monster stage and unsurprisingly brought a large crowd with them. The stadium setting appeared fitting for their anthemic tracks “Hold On”, “Brothers & Sisters” and “Heart and Soul”, to which their accents inevitably still filtered through.

Pop-punk maestro’s State Champs brought a strong energy to the Jägermeister stage with plenty of mosh pits and crowd surfers. Clearly a favourite amongst artists at the festival filling a large capacity of the arena room and wild cheers through new track “Dead and Gone” from their upcoming album and fan favourite tracks, “All You Are Is History” and “Secrets” (below).

Sleeping With Sirens contested with the energy brought by the State Champs on the Jägermeister with powerful unique vocals from Quinn resonating through the arena mixing screams and smoother vocals as the crowd returned the ‘whoa’s’ in “Do It Now Remember It Later” and new song “Legends” off their latest record (below). A crescendo of eclectic guitar riffs and drums boosted the crowd in familiar tracks “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” and “If You Can’t Hang” before ending with “Kick Me”.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes led a deafening performance as expected with a strong and heavy rock performance. The bold frontman began orchestrating circle pits and building the crowd into frenzy with tracks “Devil Inside Me” and “I Hate You”.

PVRIS have come a long way since their first time at Slam Dunk in 2014 and are still one of few female-fronted bands. The backing tracks and lead singer Gunnulfsen, paved an ethereal atmosphere starting with “Heaven” before drummer Nace, led the band into a pumped performance, building into “St. Patrick”. Avid fans sang along to each track, whilst Gunnulfsen showcased her talent by playing piano, guitar and drums. Mosh pits formed for “No Mercy” and it was never short of crowd surfers throughout the set. Much to fans’ delight, they ended with the first track that catapulted them into the scene, “My House”.

Headline clashes were inevitable between alternative rockers, Jimmy Eat World and pop-punk veterans, Good Charlotte. Both stages took an equal split and Good Charlotte entered the stage with explosions of streamers into the crowd for “The Anthem”. The Madden brothers spoke to the crowd and expressed their gratitude in being able to play music and dedicated “Riot Girl” to all the strong and badass females in the crowd to a chorus of cheers. The band led the crowd down memory lane with “Girls & Boys” and “I Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” before ending with “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” (below).  Jimmy Eat World played a mixture of old and new before ending their set with “Sweetness” and “The Middle”. The fun, energetic, nostalgic trip was brilliant way to end a day of pop-punk and alternative music.

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