Nariece Sanderson | Contributing Writer
Featured Image – Bryony Wharfe/Shelby Loasby
It’s that time of year again folks. That time of year when tattoo-clad, snap-back wearing, hair dyed misfits descend upon the peaceful College Lane campus for a day of rock-fuelled havoc and fun. In it’s tenth year, the Slam Dunk festival organisers have shuffled the weekend around, luring the South date away from the cosy embrace of Sunday, to the cooler and windier clutches of Bank Holiday Monday. The Trident team were able to get a close up look at most of the bands at the festival, and we’ve given each of them a rating out of 5*s .
Getting into the festival early (a rarity for yours truly) the Trident team were able to find the perfect position to view the first band of the day. Post-hardcore crew Coldrain (⋆⋆⋆⋆) were the first band to grace the Atlas Stage, storming the stage with energy and the occasional guttural roar. The barren plaza was soon filled with bodies, admiring the Japanese band’s masterful performance of tracks such as ‘The Story’.
A short meander to the Main stage led us to Moose Blood (⋆⋆⋆) to witness an outpour of melancholia and tamed angst. Certainly attracting the masses and a horde of devoted fans, there was many a sing-along to be had.
Moose Blood – Kennerdeigh Scott
A quick dip into a punchy set by ROAM (⋆⋆⋆) in The Key Club Stage let us in for a pop-punk treat before we dashed back to the Hutton lawn for Young Guns (⋆⋆⋆) on the Main Stage. Having announced new material earlier this week and the departure of Ben (drums); the band seemed to have lost a certain drive on stage. The usual pummelling energy seemed to have been replaced with more relaxed feel. Anthemic hit ‘Bones’ rekindled a fire, yet during later times Gustav’s vocals sounded strained. Let’s hope they rested up before Camden Rocks last weekend, and adapt to the new momentum.
Roam – Bryony Wharfe
Back at the Impericon Stage we found French pop-punks Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (⋆⋆⋆⋆) packing out the venue. Bursts of energy and plenty of crowd-surfers, the punctuation loving lot delivered a quality show and oodles of enthusiasm. Following suit, Gnarwolves (⋆⋆⋆⋆) got the crowd on their side with chirpy crowd antics and melodic punk. Cheery vibes and straight-up tunes set the crowd into a frenzy, setting security a wonderful challenge after body after body floated across that metal barrier.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Bryony Wharfe
A slow venture to the top of The Forum led us to the Fresh Blood Stage, a venue designed to promote the promising new talent breaking into the industry. Southampton lads Dead! (⋆⋆⋆⋆) took us on an a mysterious and theatrical adventure. Imagine the cockney voice of Russell Brand interspersed by the attitude and vocals of Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), and you may be on the right path for envisaging a performance by Dead!. The indie punk twang of latest release ‘You’re So Cheap’ showed fans a more original direction of the band, as well as highlighting the marvellous potential of these young scamps.
A quick return to The Key Club Stage revealed a passionate set from Real Friends (⋆⋆⋆⋆), setting a unifying glow across the audience and inspiring many a heart-felt sing along. A strong mixture of pensive and glowering passion saw a powerful set from the American rockers.
Real Friends – Bryony Wharfe
After Beautiful Bodies pulled out of the festival, Hellions (⋆⋆⋆) stepped in to fill their set on the Fresh Blood stage. Rowdier sounds of scratchy vocals and guitar shredding filled the small venue, provoking a high intensity showcase of what Hellions do best.
Hellions – Bryony Wharfe
Outside on the Atlas Stage, The Amity Affliction (⋆⋆⋆⋆) mashed together clean and rough vocals to create a classic combination of sounds. With the occasional roar, drop and electric guitar solo, the set offered many opportunities for a passionate mosh and air grab. As the band members dashed around the stage, newest track ‘I Bring The Weather With Me’ was performed as white clouds overhead parted, letting the sun warm the audience. The magic of metalcore eh?
Kennerdeigh Scott – Amity Affliction
Again, an epic climb to the top of the Forum met Trident with a dilemma. Due to overcapacity, we were forced to wait at the stairs below the Fresh Blood stage until enough people left the room. Boston Manor had drawn in a huge crowd, with many viewing the performance from outside. Until the set ended, it was a no-go for us.
Luckily, some of the audience cleared out before the next band- Creeper (⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆). Once inside the dimly lit room, it was clear that this band perhaps had the most devoted following of the day. The audience clad in merchandise and excitedly chattering, the anticipation for these goth punks was mounting. This certainly paid off, as Will Gould gave a thrilling vocal performance alongside his skilled bandmates.The buzzing atmosphere had most of the audience rapidly moving, yet it was ‘Misery’ that received squeals of excitement even before the first notes were played. The sheer volume of the audience’s calming chorus was destined to be a jarring accomplishment for the band. Perhaps the only drawback of Creeper’s performance was that they were playing such a small venue, leaving a few hopeful attendees outside. One thing is clear: this band will be playing main stage a lot sooner than we think.
Creeper – Bryony Wharfe
Back in the great outdoors, Trident settled down for a delicious Burrito by the main stage. New Found Glory (⋆⋆⋆) excitedly celebrated a decade of Slam Dunk festival, armed with classics up to their ears. As we observed the audience, we noticed an onslaught of dance moves to the likes of ‘My Friends Over You’ and cover of ‘Kiss Me.’ These pop-punk behemoths threw the audience into a pit of nostalgia and fun, whilst settling perfectly into the mood of Slam Dunk Festival.
Once we had soaked up the quirky vibes of New Found Glory, we dashed to the Atlas stage for a performance by Issues (⋆⋆⋆⋆). Just in the nick of time for a funky rendition of ‘Mad At Myself’ some slap bass shook the air alongside the soulful derulo-esque vocals of Tyler Carter. This band clearly brings the sass and groove into metalcore, freshening things up with bags of adrenaline and might. Songs from their newest album ‘Headspace’ went down perfectly, numbers like ‘COMA’ inspiring some slick moves in the pit.
A short wait until the main event, and Panic! At The Disco (⋆⋆⋆⋆) had arrived on main stage, proving themselves as worthy headliners. Always a spectacle with the grace and glamour of an old Hollywood star, Brendon Urie sauntered the stage with his husky vocals. A mixture of tunes new and old, he performed with confidence and flair, allowing the masses to bask in excitement. However, it must be noted that Urie had performed three sets that weekend, which explains the new croakier tone. Regardless, he hit the high notes and gave a wild performance filled with backflips and a full-length rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. As expected, ‘Nine in The Afternoon’ and ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ had the audience belting out their lungs with Urie and company. The day ending on a high, it was safe to say that Panic! finished things in a victorious champagne soaked celebration.
Panic at the Disco! – Bryony Wharfe Well done all… another successful SLAM DUNK.