Slam Dunk Festival 2010
Venue: Leeds University
Date: May 30 2010
Sponsors: Big Cheese, Punktastic, Heineken
Slam Dunk Festival has been showcasing the finest and newest talent from the international punk scene since back in 2006. The event has grown each year, and 2010 brought the introduction of a Hatfield (South) venue to run alongside the original location at Leeds University. Reports suggest that the Hatfield festival didn’t run without error, however, clearly the organisers of Slam Dunk North had the day all worked out. The line-up, boasting the likes of New Found Glory, and a one off re-union gig from Capdown, was evidently yet another improvement on the previous year. With so many bands playing on a total of eight stages, Slam Dunk 2010 was destined to be a great value day out.
Opening the Vans (Off The Wall) Stage were reggae-punk four piece, The Skints. Following the release of their debut album, Live. Breathe. Build. Believe. on Rebel Alliance Recordings, The Skints have gathered a loyal following. It’s no surprise really, as the reggae band offer something completely different to the majority of emerging bands across the UK. Each time The Skints perform it seems they have matured more as a band, attract more fans and output a more attractive sound. The debut album was being sold by the band at Slam Dunk Festival, however, not through Rebel Alliance Recordings. Leaving the record label to distribute independently — it seems the band are feeling as optimistic about their music as the critics are.
The second band on the Atticus Stage was indie rock band Moneen. It may be easy to mistake this band for a post-hardcore band similar to the likes of Alexisonfire following the release of The Switcheroo Series: Alexisonfire vs. Moneen released back in 2005; however, the only similarity between the two bands is their location. Moneen played a set including their best known hits, such as Hold That Sound, and a variety of their older tracks. The Canadians were certainly animated on-stage; at one point lead singer, Kenny Bridges, appeared to face plant the stage floor. A later statement from the band announced that the singer had injured his shoulder… the European tour will continue as scheduled.
Demonstrators of some of the heaviest punk in the UK, Leeds based Random Hand, never fail to attract some of the most manic fans around, and Slam Dunk North was no exception. Sonic Boom Six’ somewhat forlorn acknowledgement of the punk-metal group offering ‘the biggest pit of the day’ gives an idea of what was happening down in the crowd. A spontaneous human pyramid one of the many antics displayed. Random Hand went on to play many of their tracks from their latest album: Inhale/Exhale, including the likes of Anger Management and I,Human.
Long-Island, melodic hardcore group, Crime in Stereo played a part in the Relentless Stage line-up. The venue for the line-up (named Mine), wasn’t the best… to be blatantly honest, it was probably the least feasible stage of the festival — a bunker surrounded by one small set of stairs and paths alongside it – with small horizontal holes to observe through. For the unlucky late-comers at the back, a quick glimpse of their favourite band might be caught once every few seconds. Disregarding the stage, Crime in Stereo played an excellent set filled with many familiar tracks such as Small Skeletal and Drug Wolf. The majority of the crowd seemed somewhat uninterested or unaccustomed to the band’s sound; however, many of the previously unacquainted will certainly be seeking their music in the near future.
The owners of the well-known British punk label, Rebel Alliance, are of course, Sonic Boom Six. Whenever SB6 play in the north of England the fans seem arrive in their numbers. Leeds is evidently an area that contains a large amount of Sonic Boom Six fans, and this was clear from the crowd size, practically filling the Vans Stage hall. As always, the female fronted Manchester group put on a great, intense show. The crowd were certainly enthusiastic; and the band acknowledged the crowd’s efforts, something along the lines of: “you’re better than Hatfield, and that’s not easy to beat…”
Following Sonic Boom Six were eclectic punk group Rx Bandits, creators of some of the most original punk around. As a result of their Californian abodes, UK shows are somewhat of a rarity, therefore many were excited to see this band play live. The odd riff patterns and overall style of Rx Bandits is certainly an acquired taste; and for this reason more people seemed to have trouble adjusting to the sound in comparison to the raw, familiar sounds of Britain’s core punk bands. While many undoubtedly became indulged in the various heavy punk and hardcore bands across the festival, those in the presence of Rx Bandits lapped up the mellow, exquisite vibes and left with a very memorable performance.
Sub-headlining one of the many stages was Ragga-metal group, Skindred. Similarly to Rx Bandits, Skindred offer a very unique sound. The Skindred set consisted of a wide range of songs and genres. “Is anybody in here racist?” lead singer Benji Webbe asked the Leeds crowd; followed by, “I’m talking about music racism”. For the narrow-minded fan the bassline/dubstep interludes amongst reggae metal set list may have come as a slight shock, however, Skindred certainly stole the award for the most diverse on-stage. Webbe is undoubtedly a great front man, crowd involvement, humour and great music: the perfect combination.
The headliner that Sound-Revolution chose to finish off the festival with was Capdown. A one off re-union was too good to turn down, and while New Found Glory and The Rocket Summer quite possibly put on great shows; such an opportunity could only be turned down by a fool. The Vans room was packed from front to back with fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of their favourite ska-punk band, and the day couldn’t have been completed with a band more worthy. Playing a selection of familiar songs, particularly from critically acclaimed record Civil Disobedience, Capdown displayed one of the most exciting shows of the past year. This was really one not to miss; the crowd excitement could be sensed from one side of the room to the other. On-stage security had a tough time with a few individuals, finding it practically impossible to keep fans off the stage, and it was no surprise — the die-hard fans simply overjoyed to be in the same humid room as their ska-punk idols.
~ Article by James Murray
Select the links below to view video clips of various acts across the day including the likes of Capdown and Skindred: