The final part of our Slam Dunk Festival bumper review is here and it features Frank Iero and The Patience, Don Broco, Less Than Jake and more, as well as festival headliners Tonight Alive and Enter Shikari! Find out what we thought on the last batch of bands to perform at this Bank Holiday weekend’s Slam Dunk extravaganza!
To check out our full Slam Dunk Festival photo gallery, click here.
WE THE KINGS – Monster Energy Stage
You can tell when bands like We The Kings have been in the game for a while, usually thanks to the ease with which they take to the stage and present themselves to an awaiting audience. The band follow their dramatic pre-show countdown with a sturdy performance of their most well-known hit (‘Check Yes Juliet’) and, because of that, we’re eating out of the palm of their hands. We’re sure their success today is largely due to nostalgia, but hey ho, it’s all good fun.
FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE – Signature Brew Stage
Garage-punk emo Frank Iero, with his melancholy tunes and brooding demeanour, is almost too dark for this point in the day; people are laughing, drinking, partying, and Frank Iero and the Patience aren’t quite on the same wavelength. However, they play a stellar set true to themselves and, with that, give the people something punky and noisy that they can throw themselves around to- which they do, with pleasure.
SEAWAY – The Key Club Stage
With so many bands playing, it’s hard for every great one to get the credit they deserve. Some simply get overlooked, and we feel that’s sadly the case for Canadian pop-punks Seaway. They hurtle through a set chock-full of raw, entertaining punk with plenty of danceable hooks and singable choruses. They easily stand their ground along with any band on the bill today, and they definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
THE GOSPEL YOUTH – Rock Sound Breakout Stage
It’s a little late in the day so bands on the smaller stages tend to struggle as they clash with big-name festival headliners, and it sometimes shows. That, however, is most definitely not the case with The Gospel Youth. With a voice like a juggernaut and a gorgeous range, we’re smitten- and we’re not alone. It looks like this small but mighty crowd are right behind The Gospel Youth, despite having a smaller pull than other stages, and they do exceptionally well for it.
DON BROCO – Jägermeister Stage
Offering up something different today is Don Broco, the bouncy British four-piece who bang out upbeat tunes with an irresistible groove. They’re quite unlike anything we’ve seen today, but in a totally inspired way; throwing a band with bright pink-and-purple lights, synth-pop high notes and an uplifting bubblegum vibe onto a stage with Enter Shikari and Bury Tomorrow is a stroke of genius, and the crowd love it.
LESS THAN JAKE – Fireball Stage
We love Less Than Jake and, honestly, if you’ve ever seen them live then you’ll know exactly why. All around us is laughter and positivity, from the band’s constant joking and jostling to the playful balloons and toilet roll guns and the great ska-punk hits that are both gutsy and jovial. They rustle up a brilliant set-list with some of their best-known numbers, and it just provokes yet more energy and adoration from the crowd. Sure, it might also be down to the copious amounts of booze at this point, but everyone seems to have a whale of a time regardless!
SET IT OFF – The Key Club Stage
Set It Off stroll onto the stage armed with bright eyes and cheeky grins and, within seconds, explode into what becomes one of the most entertaining sets of the festival. It’s easy-listening, people-pleasing pop-punk that gets you moving, grooving and bursting into uncontrollable bubbles of giddy pleasure. They are infectiously happy and our hearts can barely take it; if you want something gnarly and heavy then there are plenty of options on the table at other stages but, for a hefty dose of harmless, happy-go-lucky fun, Set It Off are perfect.
MADINA LAKE – Impericon Stage
It’s so difficult at festivals to have seamless sound- despite the copious amounts of work people put in to do so- and, unfortunately, there are sometimes issues. Madina Lake, whilst performing their From Them, Through Us, To You album as a tenth anniversary celebration, experience some of these unlucky technical faults that leave the vocals in particular wanting for more. Their loyal fans adore hearing the soundtrack of their youth, and the band clearly have a fantastic relationship with them; however, it’s hard to tell how this band would fare with new fans and new music when all we hear are decade-old hits.
TONIGHT ALIVE – The Key Club Stage
There is something truly special about Australian pop-rockers Tonight Alive; you can taste it in the air, the intriguing atmosphere that falls upon us as soon as they appear on-stage to the tune of Jenna McDougall’s haunting vocal runs. They have a beautiful energy, something gorgeous yet not quite tangible that gives this band a mysterious glow, and it’s contagious. They skip gloriously from vivacious rock to soft pop without fault and, even though their name might not be the biggest pull of the festival, they soak up the spotlight and it’s impossible to take your eyes off of them and their enigmatic headline performance.
ENTER SHIKARI – Jägermeister Stage
Flying the flag for British rock are headline heavyweights Enter Shikari, topping the bill as they command the sweet spot of Slam Dunk’s main stage. As a thanks to the festival, and the fans, Enter Shikari are treating us to something particularly exceptional this evening; a celebration of their 2007 debut album Take To The Skies. This band are notorious for avoiding nostalgia at their live shows, so this is a truly rare chance to see them play songs that they haven’t in years, and probably never will again. Of course, they don’t do things the usual way- that’d be boring!-, instead interspersing old numbers with some of the best live tunes from across all their years as a band. Top it off with an achingly beautiful tribute to the victims of the Manchester attack, a spectacular laser show and an effervescent energy that only Enter Shikari can deliver, and you have a seriously special headline spot. Enter Shikari are the best live band you’ll see at any festival this year- maybe even the best live band you’ll see this year full stop.