Slam Dunk Festival 2015 Review!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Grindstore Festival Guide 2015

The sun is starting to shine here in the UK which means festival season is just around the corner! If you’re not sure where to spend your hard earned cash or just want a helpful reminder of who is on where, we’ve put together a guide from the smallest day fests to the 5 day muddy extravaganzas!

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Radio 1’s Big Weekend – 23rd-24th May 2015

Though Radio 1’s collection of bands and artists are mostly global stars from all genres, their uniqueness lies with where they hold this 2 day festival. Every year they pick somewhere you wouldn’t expect and this year is no different, as the likes of Snoop Dogg and Taylor Swift make their travels to Norwich! More importantly, Muse & Foo Fighters will be headlining with Fall Out Boy making an appearance on the Saturday too. Brit rockers Mallory Knox & Lower Than Atlantis have both enjoyed commercial success this year and will open both main stage days! Unfortunately tickets for this festival were give-away only and they have now gone but you will be able to tune in on the radio or TV!

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Slam Dunk – 23rd-25th May 2015

One of our favourite festivals of the summer, Slam Dunk always brings the sun and this year will hopefully be no different as You Me At Six headline the 3 day’s in Leeds, Hatfield & Wolverhampton! The main stage features tonnes of Grindstore favourites from Lower Than Atlantis, Neck Deep, PVRIS & Set It Off! Not to mention Don Broco, who will be bringing the party to Slam Dunk and emo kings Taking Back Sunday will be warming up for You Me At Six’s headline slot. If you like things a tad heavier then Architects and While She Sleeps will be destroying the Monster Stage along with Finch, Bury Tomorrow, Beartooth and more! Over at the Macbeth stage is a headline slot from American pop-punkers The Wonder Years with the energetic As It Is kicking off the day!

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Download Festival – 12th-14th June 2015

The biggest UK rock festival returns this June with Muse taking on their first Download Festival headline slot, while Slipknot return for their 3rd headline appearance. Mötley Crüe will be bowing out after over 35 years as a band with their final UK Festival show before KISS hit the stage on Sunday night with their first appearance since 2008. A Day To Remember will be ripping up the main stage with Jeremy hopefully venturing into the Download crowd with his Zorb Ball on Saturday afternoon! Other notable main stagers include the most recognisable guitarist on planet earth, Slash and Five Finger Death Punch return to create hassle for the security guards no doubt, along with Rise Against, Parkway Drive, Billy Idol, Mallory Knox and more over the 3 days.

On the 2nd stage – Black Stone Cherry, Marilyn Manson and Enter Shikari will be providing alternative headline slots. Don’t forget Grindstore favourites Black Veil Brides will be supporting Marilyn Manson on the second stage on Saturday evening, so be sure to check out the sea of black make-up for the final two acts that night. Other notable bands to check out include Fearless Vampire Killers who will be opening the second stage on Friday, Motionless In White will share the same stage as Black Veil Brides on Saturday afternoon and Lamb of God, InFlames and We Are Harlot all hit the second stage on the final day!

If you’re still not impressed, Charlie Simpson brings Fightstar to the 3rd stage headline slot on the Friday night with support from guitar wizards Dragonforce and metalcorer’s Beartooth. Andrew W.K. will be partying hard in the headline slot on Saturday night with support from Every Time I Die, Crown The Empire, Northlane, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! and more! Finally, Yellowcard finish off the 3rd stage on Sunday night with support from The Ghost Inside, American nu-metal legends Three Days Grace and plenty more!

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Glastonbury – 24th-28th June 2015

Sharing June with Download is the other huge UK festival – Glastonbury! Foo Fighters will be venturing back to the UK after their Radio 1 Big Weekend headline appearance to take on Glastonbury for the first time, with the likes of Motorhead and Enter Shakiri appearing over the long weekend!

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2000 Trees – 9th-11th July 2015

You may not be as aware of 2000 Trees when it comes to UK festivals, but this one is really starting to grow! It’s a cheaper option than big festivals such as Download, but still provides an incredible line-up of new and established bands. Deaf Havana headline alongside Alkaline Trio with appearances from We Are The Ocean, Young Guns, Bury Tomorrow, Feed The Rhino, Hacktivist, The Xcerts, Turbowolf, Radio 1 favourites Nothing But Thieves and new blood such as Fort Hope.

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Bloodstock – August 6th-9th 2015

If your ideal festival is pure heavy metal and a sea of black t-shirts then your money needs to be spent on Bloodstock this August! Trivium, Within Temptation and Rob Zombie headline this 3 day festival in Derbyshire. Zakk is back with Black Label Society on the final day with other appearances from Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and tonnes more!

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Reading & Leeds – 28th-30th August 2015

The final big festival of the summer hits us on Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August when Metallica and co make their way to the Reading & Leeds Festival. Welsh pop-punkers Neck Deep open up the weekend’s main stage on Friday with All Time Low making their only UK Festival season appearance on the main stage later that day after Panic! At The Disco! If you can’t stand Mumford & Sons, then you’re in luck, because Fred Durst is rollin’ his nostalgic nu-metal party to the 2nd stage headline slot with Limp Bizkit!

Saturday is the day that grabs our attention here at Grindstore with Metallica ending the day on the main stage, after sets from metalcore kings Bring Me The Horizon, rock’s newest superstars Royal Blood, the return of Alexisonfire, Grindstore best sellers Pierce The Veil, the weird & wonderful Marmozets and Japenese metal ‘idol’ band Babymetal, who will kick off the day!

Sunday’s rock & metal bands can mostly be found at the Lock Up Stage with Refused, While She Sleeps & Cancer Bats bringing endless pits on the final night! FrnkIero and the Cellabration will also be in attendance as Frank Carter returns with his new band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes! Bury Tomorrow and Beartooth are covering most festivals this summer and can be found at Reading & Leeds too! Other Lock Up Stage bands over the weekend include Pop-Punk veterans New Found Glory, Simple Plan, Prog metallers Mastodon, Atreyu, PVRIS and more!

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Whichever festival you decide on in 2015, remember Grindstore is the place to grab your essentials, whether it’s Ponchos, Band Tees, Band Hoodies, Umbrellas, Wristbands or Sunglasses, we have them all and loads more!