We headed down to one of our favourite UK festivals this Bank Holiday weekend – Slam Dunk Festival, of course! Check out the first batch of bands we managed to catch over the dates in the first part of our bumper review.
If you want to see our full Slam Dunk Festival photo gallery, check it out here!
PUPPY – Signature Brew Stage
Braving the earliest part of the day are stage openers Puppy. This London trio deliver heavy grunge thuds with a hint of pop-punk twang, making them an intriguing first watch; they’re a slow burner for now, but we reckon Puppy have enormous potential.
FORT HOPE – The Key Club Stage
With vocals that are out of this world, Fort Hope already stand out on today’s jam-packed line-up. Not only that, but the flashy production and rumbling riffs prompt a definite larger-than-life feel and we can only imagine that their own show, with even more production control, would be even bigger and more exciting.
LIKE PACIFIC – Monster Energy Stage
Canadian pop-punk mob Like Pacific kick off the festival with bags of energy straight away, lifting our mood and throwing us into the day with aplomb. Although a little messy in patches, Like Pacific make up for it as they churn out a set of high-octane hits and have an absolute ball, truly getting into the Slam Dunk spirit and taking us along with them.
SORORITY NOISE – Signature Brew Stage
Managing to perform awkward, vulnerable and endearing emo-punk whilst looking completely natural and at ease on stage in front of an awaiting crowd, Sorority Noise are the first band to really steal the show- and our hearts. Similar to The Wonder Years, this Connecticut four-piece use gut-wrenching honesty, gorgeous vocals and a passionate on-stage presence to win people over, and it works. The day has barely even begun, and Sorority Noise have already set the bar incredibly high.
THE ATARIS – Fireball Stage
Old-school pop-punk band The Ataris take to the stage with a sturdy performance of crowd-pleasers from their extensive back-catalogue. It’s not the most thrilling of sets, and we don’t imagine it will capture new fans compared to the rising stars we see on other stages throughout the day, but it’s definitely made long-time fans happy.
CROSSFAITH – Jägermeister Stage
The perfect appetisers for stage headliners Enter Shikari are Japan’s Crossfaith, providing us with our first taste of a true sensory overload. They’re the first band we see who really get the party going; their energy is palpable, contaminating every corner of the room with an explosion of electro-hardcore, complete with blinding lights, grinding breakdowns and exhausting enthusiasm from each member. It’s like watching an arena support show! We’re impressed- and excited- to say the least.
SHVPES – Impericon Stage
Pumping guitar riffs and throaty screams introduce us to Birmingham hardcore bunch, SHVPES. They deliver a healthy dose of heaviness, their full-throttle aggression bringing hesitant onlookers forward. Despite building rapport with the mingling crowd, the vocals- whether it’s down to illness, sound issues, etc.- aren’t quite strong enough to support such a rip-roaring vibe, and SHVPES lose some “oomph” because of this.
MILK TEETH – Signature Brew Stage
Think the rowdy ‘90s abandon of Hole. Throw in some raw Brody Dale vocals. Inject a hit of slick, stylish punk rock. Ta-da, you’ve got Milk Teeth! This gnarly grunge outfit shine as a glorious bright light in the future of British rock, with a fresh live performance at this year’s festival just taking them one step closer to the big leagues. They’ve got what it takes, no doubt about that; cool, collected and completely at home on stage, we’re over the moon with how well Milk Teeth have done today.
VUKOVI – Rock Sound Breakout Stage
Vukovi might be on Slam Dunk’s smallest stage, but that is by no means a reflection on their performance- they deliver, and they deliver big time. Janine Shilstone fronts this Scottish quartet with quirky grace and playful fun that fills us with absolute joy. The band bring a real, genuine spark to the day, proving that there are still plenty of unique, interesting, original bands out there for us to get excited about right now.
WE ARE THE OCEAN – Jägermeister Stage
There’s something special in the air for We Are The Ocean at Slam Dunk, as the festival sees the band perform some of their final ever shows across the weekend. We can see why they’ve proved popular for so many years- their songs are huge, swelling up around us and filling the venue with an almost anthemic feel. But, as live performances go, this certainly isn’t the most exhilarating and when there are so many dynamic, exhilarating new bands coming up the ranks- many of whom we’ve seen today- maybe it is the right time for We Are The Ocean to step aside and let fresh blood take over.