Festival season is well underway so we packed our backpacks and headed down to Temple Newsam where alternative festival Slam Dunk had moved into its new home bringing with it a line-up that featured the cream of the alt-rock crop. Here’s six awesome things we discovered when we headed to Leeds.
01. The new location for Slam Dunk North is sick!
– Temple Newsam might be a little bit out of the way but, quite frankly, we couldn’t think of a better location for Slam Dunk North. Situated in the grounds of a Stately Home, there were plenty of other new ideas implemented by Slam Dunk organisers to make it one of the best run festivals we’ve been to in ages. The main one which stuck out was the alternating stages, something that other festivals have tried, which worked perfectly. One minute you could be watching Gallows then, five minutes later, turn your head and you’re watching Story Of The Year. Not only did it run like clockwork, it meant that bands were pretty much guaranteed a decent crowd which is a winner all round for everyone.
02. “Yorkshire is the Reason” according to Gallows
– We all know how utterly devastating punk rockers Gallows can be and they demonstrated that with a flawless display of punk rock ferocity. From the moment frontman Wade Macneill put the shits up security by barrelling through the crowd, the punk rockers set was clearly going to be one of the highlights of the day only for them to go and top it off by thrashing through a breakneck and impromptu rendition of “Yorkshire is the Reason”.
03. Nobody parties harder than a Pop-Punk band
– Although there was plenty of “proper” punk rock across the Slam Dunk stages including the likes of NOFX and Bad Religion, nobody partied harder at Slam Dunk than the plethora of pop-punk bands. Even when the weather got shitty, Simple Plan had an entire field bouncing, Neck Deep had everyone singing along to their cover of “Torn”, Jordan from New Found Glory almost out-Rocky’d Rocky himself and, well, headliners All Time Low just put the cherry on the top of this massive pop-punk cake with a brilliant set and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the fact that the Masters of pop-punk, Busted, made a secret appearance midway through the afternoon.
Simple Plan were one of many pop-punk bands who made you “Shut Up” and party!
04. Heavy music coming out on top again
– We love heavy music here at PureGrainAudio and we’re happy to report that every single heavy band we checked out at Slam Dunk kicked our asses. We watched Employed To Serve slay the Key Stage crowd, Shvpes come armed with a stack of nu-metal inspired hardcore-tinged tunes and Cancer Bats simple crush like they always do. But, that wasn’t enough so we checked out the aggro-rock of Press To Meco, the bouncy metalcore of Wage War and the all-out fury of Knocked Loose all of them giving fans of Slam Dunk’s heavier element plenty to rage to.
05. The Interrupters being the highlight of our day
– One of the best things about going to a festival like Slam Dunk is that, even just wandering about, you can discover awesome new music (Pagan we’re looking in your direction) however there are those new bands you hear about that you make a point of seeing, which is exactly what we did when Los Angeles ska-punk band The Interrupters appeared on the bill. Their set had it all – a sea of crowd surfers, loads of infectious tunes and, in Aimee Interrupter, a bad-ass vocalist, all coming together under the early afternoon sun… the perfect setting for their stunning set.
The Interrupters were one of our favourite bands of Slam Dunk 2019. Here’s why:
06. Bullet For My Valentine were worthy of their headliner status
– Many people thought Welsh metallers Bullet For My Valentine had reached the top of their career a few albums back but, as they hit the stage all guns blazing at Slam Dunk where they headlined the Jagermeister stage, Matt Tuck and his bandmates were simply unstoppable. From “Your Betrayal” through fan favourites like “Scream Aim Fire”, Bullet made sure they put in one of the most talked about sets of the weekend and left a very packed tent in no doubt that they still have plenty to offer the rock scene in 2019.
Honourable Mentions: With so much going on across a bunch of different stages, there was just too much to take in so we’d just like to finish off by giving honourable mentions to Anti-Flag, Our Hollow Our Home, Turnstile, Lights, Mad Caddies and Silverstein and thanking Slam Dunk for putting on a kick-ass weekend for alt-rock fans across the UK.