Photo Credit: Ben Bentley
With each May bank holiday, we are graced with another Slam Dunk hangover. Last weekend we headed over to the NEC to catch some of the biggest names in pop punk, ska and metal, and it’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed.
Opening the Monster stage was a pretty big task for Canadian pop punk outfit Like Pacific . However, they came with all guns blazing, interacting with the rowdy crowd whilst keeping their tight knit posture. Frontman Jordan Black kept his cool throughout, bouncing round the stage and pumping the crowd up for the upcoming acts. 2016’s release Distant Like You Asked received excessive praise from the crowd throughout the set, particularly opening hit ‘Richmond’. However, with a new album in the works, we are eager to hear the outcome. These guys are certainly ones to watch in the pop punk scene.
Maintaining the pop punk vibe, Aussie punks Trophy Eyes [7.5] kept spirits high, with a huge crowd turning out in support. Their extremely energetic set comprised of material from their recent release Chemical Miracle, with fan favourites such as ‘Counting Sheep’ and ‘Chlorine’ going down a treat. This band take classic punk riffs and perfectly pair them with a bouncy tempo, making this the perfect summertime set. However, frontman John Floreani’s vocals seemed a little rough, taking away from some of their biggest songs. Nonetheless, it was still an enjoyable performance for fans, as well as a warm welcome for the boys who are making their statement in the scene.
For the lads in Boston Manor , it was incredible to see such a huge crowd turn out for their set. Performing predominantly new material from recent release Be Nothing proved that these guys are serious contenders for the main stage in coming years. Frontman Henry Cox oozed energy and passion, thrashing round the stage and welcoming crowd surfers. Despite playing a much bigger stage than last year, their sound was as tight as ever, with Jordan Pugh’s drumming especially impressive. Set closer ‘Laika’ went down a storm, with masses of teenagers surfing over the barrier. A remarkable set from the Blackpool bunch set the bar high for the upcoming acts on the Key Club Stage.
Boston Manor - Slam Dunk Hatfield. Photo Credit: Ben Bentley
It’s no secret that Beartooth  were always going to smash it at Slam Dunk. Opening with ‘Aggressive’ signified a sing along from the off, whilst initiating the first pits of the set. This high sense energy was incredible to witness; fans of all ages moshing in unison. It’s easy to understand why this band receive such praise, with each component of their live performance working perfectly together. From frontman Caleb Shomo’s undeniable impressive stage presence, to the intrinsic beat of each instrument. When we thought this set couldn’t get any better, defiant hit ‘Body Bag’ is revved up with Crossfaith’s Ken Koie taking to the stage. Koie’s familiar roar pairs perfectly with Shomo’s vocals, making for an unforgettable few minutes. Definitely a stand out set of the day, which deserved to snap a higher slot on the Jägermeister main stage.
Gracing the Rock Sound stage were New York metalcore veterans Sylar . Despite playing one of the smaller stages of the day, you wouldn’t have guessed with the volume of fans who flocked to see the Queens outfit. With a huge backlog of material, the guys stormed the stage, cramming as much material in as possible to appease the extremely enthusiastic crowd. Frontman Jayden Panesso kept his cool throughout, leading fans into sing along on popular hit ‘Live/Breathe’, before initiating mosh. As one of the tightest sets of the day; the strong bassline commanded the set and created the vibe that all metal fans had been anticipating all day.
Hardcore punks The Bronx  took no time in introducing mayhem to their set on the Signature Brew stage, with frontman Matt Caughthran running into the crowd, as well as surfing punters at numerous points in the set. Their sound is undoubtedly strong from the off, with a huge crowd screaming lyrics back to Caughthran with each hit. If there’s one band that can bring the party, it’s certainly these guys. Their catchy choruses are perfectly paired with hardcore riffs, which makes this performance all the more bouncy. With the main highlight coming in the form of huge hit ‘Heart Attack American’, which was quite possibly one of the rowdiest moments of the day. This set really was two step galore, with both old and young getting involved from the off, whilst creating such a perfect vibe for the evening. An extremely energetic sure posed a threat on the headliners of this festival to deliver.
The Bronx - Slam Dunk Leeds. Photo Credit: Ben Bentley