Slam Dunk Midlands and Leeds: In Review (Pt.2)

Photo credit: Ben Bentley

This year Noizze were lucky enough to delve into one of the biggest UK day festivals, Slam Dunk. Attending both Leeds and Midlands sites, we had a blast! The atmosphere and line-up did not disappoint!

Starting off the day right, was Indiana pop punk rockers, The Ataris[8]. From the get go it was evident there were quite a few technical difficulties delaying their set for a short while. After a couple of minutes of various sound checks they came out full swing with a setlist jam packed with 2003 emo glory. Nearly all of the setlist contained songs from their major label debut album So Long, Astoria. ‘In This Diary’ and ‘Unopened Letters to the World’ set the tone for their short set and provided just the right amount of nostalgic angst to get everyone moving. Slowing down and changing the dynamic of the set, they dove into ‘The Hero Dies In This One’ but not before a few words dedicating the song to Kris Roe’s late father. With time running out they change it up with a fast paced punk rock anthem ‘Boxcar’ by Jawbreaker. Finally finishing up the set with their beloved cover of ‘The Boys of Summer’ this got even the most stubborn feet moving.

This set was one of the biggest throwbacks of the day, and although the crowd turnout was a little on the sparse side, Cute Is What We Aim For [7] trooped on throughout their set which consisted of their debut album, The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch. Playing the album almost in its entirety, the nostalgic vibes oozed as they kicked their set off with ‘Newport Living’, slowly trawling through the track listing. With Shaant Hacikyan, taking an emotional time-out to address the fans for sticking with the band, the biggest highlight came when ‘Curse of Curves’ was played and it definitely felt like it was 2006 again.

Photo credit: Ben Bentley

Zebrahead [9] took to the stage with their late afternoon slot coming face to face with a rather large crowd who were ready to party. ‘America, Fuck Yeah’ rang out throughout the hall sending the whole place into a frenzy as they anticipated one of the most party fuelled set of the day. Despite the technical difficulties encountered throughout the set they blazed through the short setlist with ease, churning out the perfect party playlist. Throwing out the classics, such as ‘Hell Yeah!’ ‘Hello Tomorrow’ and ‘Anthem’ these songs were complete with Palmer throwing out the riffs and Ali spitting the verses. If you want the definition of a fun time, this was it... with Zebrahead taking a break mid set to bring out their German friends - clad in stag-do worthy costumes, of massive beer bottles, they even took the time out to sing Happy Birthday to one of their workers. No Zebrahead set is complete without their annual drinking song, and it’s safe to say that as their sixth consecutive year of Slam Dunk it truly went down as smoothly as a cold one with the lads.

Reel Big Fish [8] made their return to Slam Dunk this year after their headliner slot back in 2015. Making their way onto the stage with ‘The Final Countdown’ blaring behind them, whilst donning their usual obnoxious attire of hawaiian shirts, the set was one of the highlights of the day. From the get go, good vibes were flowing and there was not a still body in the crowd. They tore through the set playing their upbeat brassy hits such as ‘Beer’ and ‘Sellout’ along with the brass section creating a small circle pit out of themselves on stage to “Thank-You For Not Moshing’. Along with their sing along hits they churned out their stellar covers such as Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, Toots & The Maytals ‘Monkey Man’, Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ (which they claimed to be written by Pearl Jam as a joke but probably offended a few) and the most widely recepted, A-Ha’s ‘Take on Me’ (and yes people did give it a go at hitting the high notes…).

Photo credit: Ben Bentley

Headlining a stage at a day festival is always a fantastic feat, but it comes along with the fear of not knowing how many are going to turn up. Especially with the likes of Neck Deep, Against Me! and Enter Shikari were tearing up stages across the site at the same time. Nonetheless, this did not seem to be a worry for 90’s pop punk veterans Bowling For Soup[10]. They were met with a almost full capacity crowd as they entered the stage with ‘Here Comes Bowling For Soup!’. Busting straight into the fan favourites ‘The Bitch Song’, ‘Almost’ and ‘High School Never Ends’. Taking time out to make their trademark childish jokes, interact with the crowd and sing Happy Birthday to various people, they took a minute or two out to say some words and share their love and pay respects for last Monday’s Manchester attack. Lightening the mood once again they dived straight back in with their double paced set list, according to Jared ‘to fit more songs in’. With their hit theme from Phineus and Ferb, they got children and adults alike moving and chanting along. Unfortunately good things always must come to an end, and Bowling For Soup have realised they can go out with a bang turning their set into a massive early 00’s party. As Bowling For Soup claim people think they wrote it anyway, they blasted out a glorious cover of ‘Stacy’s Mom’ by Fountains of Wayne, which left everyone in high spirits. Ending with the fantastically fitting ‘Punk Rock 101’ along with the dearest hit '1985', this was a great way to wrap up the days festivities.


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