On Sunday 24th of May Slam Dunk Festival rolled into Hertfordshire University, Hatfield, for one of our favourite festival days on the calendar. With stages fit for all music tastes, Slam Dunk knows how to attract the fans to this sold out festival, each year the crowds grow bigger and bigger and 2015 was certainly no different!
On arrival, the latest rock act to break the mainstream, PVRIS were walking on stage to greet the main stage crowd. Lynn Gunn’s hair was as slick as her performance as she got the crowd bouncing in the rain from opening track ‘Smoke’, right through to radio favourite ‘My House’. Josh Francheschi of You Me At Six joined the band on stage to blast out the last chorus but unfortunately he looked like the greatest mime artist of all time as his mic unfortunately wasn’t plugged in!
Neck Deep’s rise to the top is still in full swing as their appearance on the main stage this year proves, as well as the fact that every song on their set was sung back to them by the Slam Dunk crowd, even brand new single ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’. Ben Barlow’s ability to get the crowd in the party spirit is effortless, even with a slightly croaky voice from the previous day in Leeds. Their stand out moment was the acoustic sing along of ‘A Part Of Me’ which even to this day seems to get the boys on stage choked up from the amount of people joining in with every word. Their new album can’t come soon enough!
Lower Than Atlantis had a very busy Sunday! If you were lucky enough to get a Radio 1 Big Weekend ticket, you would have seen the boys perform in Norwich earlier in the day. Late Sunday afternoon however, they rocked up to Slam Dunk to put on their second show of the day! Smashing through most of their latest and greatest self-titled album with sprinkles of other tracks from ‘Changing Tune’ & ‘World Record’, Lower Than Atlantis are starting to boast a catalogue of songs worthy of a future headline slot. Mike attempted to enter the crowd for an acoustic performance of ‘Another Sad Song’ but his guitar wouldn’t behave as the power shut on and off repeatedly. Ending on the huge ‘Here We Go’, LTA showed no signs of fatigue from doing their double duties for the day!
The Don Broco lads are known for bringing party antics to any show they grace, but unless you have kept up with their recent song releases leading up to the release of new album ‘Automatic’ this August, you could have potentially been disappointed with their setlist. Regardless of whether you knew any of the five new tracks, it’s impossible not to bounce at a Broco gig. After the last of their new tracks ‘Superlove’ ended, the chants for cult favourite ‘Thug Workout’ were too loud to ignore. Though Rob claimed it wasn’t on the setlist, they clearly were planning to treat the main stage crowd to their live-show classic. Broco closed their set with ‘You Wanna Know’, leaving Slam Dunk fans pre-preparing to order their new album in droves.
Taking Back Sunday may have dropped in popularity since the huge success of ‘Louder Now’ back in 2007, but multiple band member changes later, they seem to be at their best again. Adam Lazzara still has the swagger to pull off being one of the best frontmen on the scene, even if his claims of taking back girls to his hotel were met with laughs from fellow band members, reminding him that he is no longer young, free & single – and that even pretending to be doesn’t work anymore. Even at 33, his presence alone is enough to pack out the main stage through new tracks ‘Flicker, Fade’ and ‘Stood a Chance’ as well as emo classics ‘You’re So Last Summer’, ‘MakeDamnSure’ and ‘Cute Without The E’. Their new album may not have struck a chord with the same fans that loved their first few albums, but the quality is still there and even heading into their mid-30’s, they are sounding better than ever.
After headlining Slam Dunk in 2009, a more mature looking You Me At Six were back to do it again, but this time they were arena filling stars turning up to the main stage! After a successful run of shows with All Time Low, the guys hinted that after 10 years as a band, they would be treating Slam Dunk to more of their earlier tracks – and they didn’t disappoint! Opening the set with the first song from their first album, the crowd erupted as ‘The Truth Is A Terrible Thing’ hit! After a few songs, the set came to a screeching holt as a fan passed out in the front row. Thankfully the band and security were alerted promptly and after a 20 minute delay, the boys were back as they jumped straight into the bouncy hit ‘Reckless’. The whole set delayed Slam Dunk’s curfew, but no one walked away as they added other rare treats such as ‘Always Attract’ before sending Hatfield home happy with the huge ‘Underdog’. A fantastic end to another great Slam Dunk Festival! Roll on 2016!