By Chris Fishlock

As things start to kick off for The Skints’ annual Christmas party, with the bar in full swing and as the venue starts to pack out, I head backstage to catch up with Josh from The Skints to talk about their very successful 2011, touring, the making of the new album, their year ahead and more…

2011 has been a fairly big year for you despite not releasing anything, has there been any particular highlights?

Yeah man, it’s been kind of nuts really, we’ve done a bunch of touring, we started the year going on tour with Reel Big Fish in the UK and Europe, we demoed the album and then we did some more headline shows then it was festival season. We recorded the album, it was kind of stressful at points but we did have a lot of fun doing the album, getting to do an album with Prince Fatty is definitely my highlight of the year personally, but the Gym Class Heroes tour was wicked as well.

Josh from The Skints

You have done a lot of big shows this year, playing with loads of big bands such as Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Capdown, did you grow up with these bands, is it pretty mind blowing that you’re now supporting them and hanging out backstage with them?

Yeah man well we listened to a lot of different types of music growing up but the ska punk thing was always the kind of shows that I went to and I went to see all those bands when I was a kid, I never ever thought that one day oh yeah I’m going to be on tour and just hanging out with these guys and you know their just normal dudes like everyone else, it still does mess with your head slightly in that how things can come full circle when you have been listening to a band growing up, so yeah man in a big way.

Is there any one band in particular you have sort of thought ‘wow, I love this band, how have I ended up playing with them?’

There’s so many dude, when we went to Europe with The Slackers that was one, the Sublime shows in London that we did, that was unbelievable for us to be the only British band that has played with Sublime at the time, that was fucking crazy and even when we’ve just done some festivals with people like Toots and the Maytals, Julian Marley and people like that, it’s just yeah outrageous man, Reel Big Fish, loads and loads man, were very very humbled by most of the people who we support.

Aside from the album, what else can we expect from you guys in 2012?

Videos definitely because we haven’t really had our video game up to scratch so the videos and stuff will be coming hard, and much more touring and festivals next year, headline tour, load’s man, were going in guns blazing.

You seem to be doing a lot of acoustic things at the moment with the acoustic session today and also tons of YouTube videos, is that something you are loving quite a lot as a band?

Yeah it’s just like you know, we’ve always kind of played acoustically to ourselves just hanging out and stuff and we’ve done a lot of touring full band and the acoustic thing is something really simple that we can just set up in front of a camera  and it doesn’t take any effort on our part at all and it’s something really quick that we can turn around within a few hours and we’ve been enjoying some of the stuff, some of the covers we were doing  and just yeah we sort of thought we’d use it to our advantage. We thought how little effort it takes us to be able to throw together , so hopefully people enjoy that side of it as well as the heavier bassier side of the live show and the records.

When you played the acoustic session earlier to a very small amount of people, is that almost even more nerve-wracking than when say supporting Capdown to loads of people?

So much man, purely because we’ve never really done it before, playing acoustic to like 20 people today was scarier than when we played Reading Festival in front of like 4000 people, definitely. It’s really weird.

The Skints – Up Against The Wall

You’ve made the album with the pledge campaign, is it important to have the fans as being part of the album?

Yeah it definitely was that, but in truth the reason we started the pledge campaign was that we didn’t really want to be in debt to anybody, like a label or anything then them being able to call the shots on what we do because they’ve lent us money, so obviously we didn’t have our own money to record at the time. It is important to have the fans involved, the thing is, it is important to us but at the time we really didn’t expect the response it got, it was a full on gamble really and it really did pay off in our favour so we literally can’t thank everyone that helped enough. It’s shown us that there are people that care about this band enough to pay for something that they’re not going to see a return on for a while.

Was making the album with complete creative control something that was important for you and is that something you plan to keep to for the rest of your career?

We’d never say never to having a label it’s just at the time we didn’t want someone to have our nuts in a vice about the kind of album we wanted to make, you know if the time comes and there’s a deal offered where we have got complete control and they can fund it then yeah that’s cool but at the time it wasn’t really being offered to us so, you know I’ve got nothing against record labels, what I have got against is people trying to buy their way into being in The Skints.

Jamie from The Skints

You use Twitter and Facebook a lot to connect with fans, is it an important thing to keep a good relationship between yourselves and the fans?

I think with the twitter and Facebook thing, it is important in this day and age with people looking at their phones looking at that every 5 seconds, if you can be connecting with people and let them know what’s going on because people see so much information all the time from bands, if you want people to know you’re there, you’ve got to let them know all the time so that stuff is important.

Yeah yeah definitely, well me, Jamie and Marcia are the ones who write all the tunes, and we have collaborated a lot more on this album than we did on the first album and I think it benefited from that. The first album, the way we write, and is sort of still true, is that whoever’s singing has probably written the song, we kind of write our own parts. This album was a lot more all 3 of us writing on one tune together rather than Jamie’s song, or Josh’s song, or Marcia’s song or whatever.

There’s a big mix of instrumentation on the first album, is that something were expecting on the new album as well?

Yeah man, even much more so, when we recorded we just went hard, we’d tried to make our album sound as full as we could, so yeah, loads more.

You’ve got a fairly dedicated fan base but you’re starting to branch out more with shows, such as the tour with You Me At Six next year, what are you thinking about playing to a different crowd that isn’t quite as dedicated to you?

It’s not about playing to people who are and who aren’t dedicated it’s more about getting more people involved you know. We’ve been kindly offered the You Me at Six tour by the band and were really not going to say no to playing to those kinds of numbers even if a handful of those people become fans after it then it was worth it you know. Obviously we’ve got mad love for the people who are into us already but for us were really not interested in staying in one little box and playing with one type of band and playing to one type of crowd you know, we just want as many people who are up for it to get involved and come hang out at the shows and stuff and listen to our records.

You Me At Six talk about The Skints on BBC Radio 1

With your own gigs like this, when you get to pick your own support acts, you’ve gone with a bit of a different flavour of genre with the acts tonight, do like mixing it up a bit?

Definitely man, I get bored with one genre at a gig you know what I mean, obviously we don’t always get to pick the bands all the time but tonight it’s our show that were hosting so we got to pick bands were really into and their kind of doing their thing which is different things to us which is important, we listen to so many different types of music were probably not going to put on a gig of bands that all sound like us or whatever, yeah man there’s a lot of different flavours tonight, I’m hoping that will make it worth a ticket for people as well, because we’re here to entertain.

Marci from The Skints

As well as this being your own Christmas party and headline show, in a relatively small venue from around where you’re from, it’s almost a friend and family type show, is that something you love doing? And how do you feel about tonight?

London shows in general for us do feel like coming home. We haven’t headlined in London since the summer, and we’ve had such a good year that we just wanted  something to round the year off and have a bit of a party, to say thank you to everyone who has been with us this year. Gecko who have been friends with us for a long time and Random Impulse we’ve been touring with this year and we’ve been really good friends. Yeah man it’s to see the year off in a party style you know, yeah and have a bit of fun tonight.

To end with, any idea when were expecting the new album, that seems to be on every fans mind right now.

Literally, there’s going to be an announcement in the first week of January, but it’s really not that long, it’s really not that long, it’s not that long at all, it’s just the thing were waiting on at the moment is finishing the artwork, were really proud of the artwork with the first album and with this one we want to make even better, the album is done, all the music is done.  But we have a date and that will be announced in January.

When you’re spending a long time on the album, do you prefer it so you can make the best album you can make rather than just throw it together to get to the fans straight away?

It wasn’t really a case of being in the studio for ages, the album, we finished recording it for quite a few months now, realistically if you add up all the sessions we had recording we probably only spent about three or four weeks in the studio, of course it’s long but we did the first album in 6 days, which was because of the budget and stuff but this time we had a little bit more room to breathe, we didn’t get anal about it at all, we tried not to get hung up on being perfectionists because otherwise you’re never going to be happy with it, but the reason it’s taken so long is more because of the timing and us wanting to do things in a bit more of a structured way you know, rather than just get it out for the sake of it being out, were really proud of this album and we want to do it right, we want to do it justice.

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The Skints // Nambucca // London /

December 27th, 2011

By: Chris Fishlock

As just down the road at Emirates stadium thousands of Arsenal fans descend Holloway Road to watch the match I had been invited to Nambucca, to watch something very different than Arsenal vs Wolverhampton.  Normally when stepping foot in Nambucca it is a busy place of people raring to see bands, but when stepping in mid afternoon for a private acoustic session from one of the best new bands of the last few years it’s a much quieter friendly atmosphere with only friends, family and ten competition winners getting to see a extremely intimate and special acoustic set from The Skints.

Jamie Kyriakides of The Skints

Having seen many sets from The Skints this year, whether headlining their own show, supporting a bigger band or playing a festival, it’s nice to have a change for their usual full live show for something a lot different in their half hour acoustic performance. Although very used to playing acoustic together as we have seen evidence of in many youtube videos this year the band were perhaps slightly out of their comfort zone having to perform acoustically in front of a audience much smaller than they are used to, but a crowd all intently watching the band perform. Despite the pressure the atmosphere is very friendly, with the majority of the stage banter presented as usual by Josh easing any pressure between the band and audience.

The set list consisted of a balanced mixture of first album favourites, tracks from the forthcoming second album as well as a selection of cover songs brilliantly adapted and performed by the band. The highlight of the cover songs was the genuinely beautiful version of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’ performed just by Jamie on guitar and vocals and Marcia on vocals, another highlight was a rare performance of Jamie playing ‘Live. Breathe. Build. Believe’ closer ‘Soul for Sale’ solo. The acoustic set  showed just how talented a band The Skints are and how successfully they can adapt their full band sound to stripped down acoustic version, they even treated us to an acoustic version of ‘Bright Girl’ which they have never played acoustically before. It is also very impressive how well some of the songs sound acoustically, such as the brilliant version of ‘Murderer’ closing the set, a track you would not expect to be easily translated into a slow and stripped down acoustic song. The acoustic set was incredibly special for any big fan of The Skints and was well received, once again the band prove just how talented they are as a unit as well as separately, it’s not often you get to see a band this good in such intimate settings, not a performance to be forgotten.

Moving onto the main event of the Christmas party, once the door opens and the place fills up almost automatically, leaving what was a more chilled out vibe to one of merry anticipation. It’s clear that much of the crowd are very very excited for The Skints tonight, helped by it being their first headline show in London since summer. It’s also clear that The Skints are starting to get bigger with just how fast the venue filled up, you get the feeling quite a few here are seeing the band for the first time, I even overheard someone ecstatic by how small the venue is considering how big The Skints are, not something you would get a year ago, the band have had a decent sized fan base for a while but you really start to get the feeling that the fan base has expanded a lot only in recent times.

Opening the show to an already decent sized crowd was the most enjoyable Gecko, playing a set of brilliantly written catchy songs. They gave a much more chilled out vibe than the other bands playing tonight with their acoustic based songs mixing a clear wide range of influences that come together into songs with great commercial value (in a good way). Gecko are clearly a band who should be amongst the top of the charts with their amazingly catchy and addictive songs, such as ‘Safest Bet’, a free download that got one of the best reactions of their set. Not that the band are modest at all, seemingly enjoying themselves opening for smaller shows but It’s clear they have potential for a lot more. A perfect band to open the night to get a party vibe going.

Next up was the insane, explosive Random Impulse, a London based rapper playing with a full band. The band had a immense energy, with a banging rhythm section who were killing it on stage while being led by Random Impulse’s great hip hop vocals while also joining the band on guitar. It was an incredible and powerful set, with a mega loud and energetic sound which could easily challenge most hip hop acts on the scene today, and was certainly had much more effort and uniqueness from a music scene where very little have the talent to stand out as Random Impulse who has successfully created his own sound.

Josh Waters Rudge of The Skints

By the time The Skints take to the stage the room is completely crammed with people, and as they take the stage they do so to massive applause, after the busy year they have had it must be heart warming to come on stage to such a welcome response. Once the band start playing the cramped crowd start moving straight away and it becomes very clear that the band have outgrown this venue, The Skints infectious music makes you compelled to dance but this proves a hard thing to do in a crowd this packed but the atmosphere is generally great. The crowd is very mixed tonight; many family, friends and early fans have clearly turned out but so have many new fans, sadly at times certain members of the crowd ruin the good vibes by attempting to mosh to the more chilled out reggae tracks, as well as a fight almost starting between songs which luckily got stopped, let’s hope that this isn’t a sign of things to come from a usually very considerate and friendly crowd The Skints normally attract. Apart from these few instances, the crowd generally gave a great response to the band keeping the full room constantly moving, the only problem was the lack of room meaning that the first row often collapsed onto the low stage and many crowd surfers almost just falling right onto the band, which helps the intimate atmosphere of the show, for a band fastly increasing in popularity this could be one of their last shows being this close to their crowd.

The performance from The Skints is flawless, they have come a long way since the release of their first album and are now well accomplished in live performance, playing the set list to perfection while being able to consistently keep the crowd pumped, the reaction to the band is truly special and phenomenal, there is a great connection between the band and audience in the room. The band don’t disappoint the crowd in terms of set list, playing all the old favourites such as ‘Roanna’s Song’ complete with a cover of Dawn Penn’s ‘You Don’t Love Me’, which has become a live staple for the band, as well as ‘Murderer’ and ‘Get Me!’ which both get some of the best crowd reactions of the night, but as well as the classics they also preview a decent amount of newer material, including next single ‘Ratatat’, getting one of the most crazy reactions of the night when the crowd gets told that part of the video is being filmed that very moment.

Overall the show was a great way to end the year for The Skints, with a mixed crowd of fans who have been with them from the start, their friends and family and also a portion of newer fans, this could be one of the final times to see the band in such close and intimate settings and was sure to be a memorable gig for all involved.

New Town Kings - M.O.J.O

New Town Kings

M.O.J.O

Released: July 18 2011

Genre: Reggae / Ska

Label: Bomber Music

Rating: 4.0/5

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By: Chris Fishlock

After bringing us great albums recently from The Skints and Random Hand, Bomber Music have another fantastic band up their sleeves – New Town Kings. Having released their debut ‘Sound of the New Town’ way back in 2007, New Town Kings have finally returned with M.O.J.O, one of the greatest reggae albums for quite some time. There isn’t really a weak track on M.O.J.O, and every track, whatever the tempo is very danceable.

The LP is produced perfectly, with a great mix of instruments that create a great authentic ska sound. None of the instruments are too overwhelming, letting no element dominate the music, which gives us a well-mixed sound of horns, guitar, bass and drums. The songs are memorable and have you singing along after a few listens, particularly on highlight tracks Newstand and Dynamite. New Town Kings are clearly talented musicians as well as songwriters and their use of horns is certainly one of their more interesting aspects – bringing us some great horn lines, especially on Stop and closing track Brighter Days.

Many of the songs across M.O.J.O are unashamedly danceable; where ever you are listening to this record whether at home, work or out in public you will feel compelled to start skanking, which suggests they could have some pretty fun future live shows. As well as sounding like an authentic reggae band you also can tell the influence from the two-tone era of ska, and would fit nicely next to albums from The Specials or The Selector.

You’ll be making no mistake picking up this album, but make sure you have your dancing shoes on. It’s great to hear a reggae album this good that also works well as a complete album, as well as the songs working fine alone. And it’s especially impressive that such a good reggae album comes from a British band. The ska scene in the UK right now is becoming more vibrant than ever, and along with their record label companions The Skints and Random Hand, New Town Kings are another great addition to a great music scene.

M.O.J.O – Album Sampler

Slam Dunk Festival // The Forum – Hertfordshire University // Hatfield

Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Starting Line, Anti-Flag, Goldfinger, Hellogoodbye, The Skints

29 May 2011

By:  Chris Fishlock:

On Sunday May 29 Slam Dunk brought their festival to Hatfield for the second year in a row, after expanding the festival to two sites last year – which encountered many organisational problems. This year it did feel that Slam Dunk attempted to make amends for last year, with all festival goers generally having a good time – but the power going out on the Jagermeister stage on three different occasions did produce momentary disappointment with long waits between bands.

Opening the Jagermeister stage were Sound-Revolution favourites The Skints who proved as usual how tight their live performances are. The band went through their half hour set playing a mixture of favourites off their first album including ‘Bright Girl’, ‘Roanna’s Song’ and ‘Mindless’ as well as a few songs from their forthcoming second album. The band sounded on great form and had a decent amount of the crowd singing along, with many of the crowd also wearing Skints t-shirts (you truly feel this band is going somewhere). Despite having the dreaded opening festival spot the band pulled a fair few people – but you can’t help but feel if they were on later in the day they would have given us one of the most impressive sets of the day.

Second on the Jagermeister stage, as more people arrived at the festival were Hellogoodbye – who failed to get the crowd energetic bar a few hardcore fans. Hellogoodbye played a decent enough set although ruined by the first power cut of the day – leaving much of the audience confused, with some of the crowd leaving thinking that the set had finished. Once the power had been restored the band returned with jokes about fighting the power and a few more songs to finish their set. They ended with popular single and crowd pleaser ‘Here (In Your Arms)’.

After a rather long wait, the third band of the day to take the stage was Goldfinger, who without a doubt delivered one of the sets of the day. It isn’t too often that Goldfinger visit the UK, but whenever they do they always offer a fantastic show. Opening with the fast paced fan favourite ‘Spokesman’ the band powered through the songs with the crowd going fairly, only to be interrupted after a few songs by yet another power cut. Goldfinger played many favourites such as ‘San Simeon’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’, keeping the fans very pleased and entertained. They ended with what are arguably their two best tracks – early hit ‘Superman’ spurring a massive crowd sing-along and cover of German anti-war song, ’99 Red Balloons’, ending the set with a very pleased band, and very pleased fans.

Next came the highlight set of the day from  Anti-Flag, always a fantastic band live, the band managed to make the most of the day by giving us what turned out to be a very special set. After their opening song, yet again the power went out. Immediately bassist and vocalist Chris #2 grabbed a megaphone as he and Justin Sane climbed into the crowd for a sing along of single ‘This Is The End (For You My Friend)’, creating an intimate feel at the front, at what would be usually a not very intimate atmosphere. This spontaneous moment went down well with both the fans and the band. Once the power came back they ran through much loved songs such as ‘1 Trillion Dollars’ and ‘Die for the Government’, with the passionate fan base going mental in the pit. The song that got the best reaction throughout the set though was a cover of The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, as the pit increased with the vast majority of the crowd shouting along every word. The band then ended the set with a rendition of ‘Drink Drank Punk’, which saw drummer Pat Thetic playing from inside the crowd.

Having not playing a show in the UK for over 5 years, the next band on the stage were The Starting Line, who managed to pull a fairly large sized crowd, playing a mixture of old songs and brand new ones. The band played a successful set and inevitably picked up many new fans who hadn’t heard the band over their hiatus period. The band had smiling faces throughout the set, you could tell they were enjoying it and were happy that they had a decent sized fan base going mad for them in the crowd. The band finished their set with fan favourite ‘Island’ getting a great reception to end their show.

The first of the night’s co-headline performances came from ska-punk legends Reel Big Fish who are always great fun live. The band got the best reception of the night as the crowd went completely nuts, dancing, moshing and singing all the words – it’s not too often the band play festivals in this country, but they prove to be an almost perfect festival band. The band treated the crowd to many much loved songs including ‘Trendy’, ‘Everything Sucks’ and a brilliant rendition of ‘She Has A Girlfriend Now’ with female vocals from Marcia Richards from The Skints. The band also gave us a fantastic performance of ‘S.R’, playing it in many different styles such as country and metal versions. The band then continued to tease the crowd by claiming they were playing their last song, only to keep playing more, the band then finished what had been a momentous performance with a trio of their most loved songs, ‘Beer’, ‘Sell Out’ and their A-ha cover of ‘Take On Me’, leaving the mental crowd exhausted and very much satisfied.

The final set of the day came from co-headliners Less Than Jake, although coming on stage to a tired crowd after the fantastic Reel Big Fish performance, the band soon got the crowd going by bringing out some fantastic tunes such as ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’ and ‘The Science of Selling Yourself Short’ and influencing crowd members to climb up trees, yes you read that right. After asking the crowd to get naked Less Than Jake, disappointed by the lack of response, told the crowd to climb a tree instead – of which about 7 people crammed their selves up a tree. The band then brought more fun to the show by bringing a selection of cartoon theme songs: ‘Animaniacs’, ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ and ‘Scooby Doo’. The crowd soon lost their tiredness to break into giant circle pits, one being around the sound desk as the band brought us more great tracks such as ‘Last One Out of Liberty City’ and ‘Dopeman’, keeping the crowd dancing and moshing – ending the day in style.

Overall, despite a few technical problems, the day was very enjoyable for the crowd and the bands. Slam Dunk Festival proves to be a great value festival for £35 considering how great the line up is, even if sometimes the festival can be prone to organisational and technical problems. If Slam Dunk manage to have a problem free festival next year, and another very strong line up, it has a good chance of staying at Hatfield for a long time – let’s hope so!

Resolution 242 - Resurgence

Resolution 242 - Resurgence

Resolution 242

Resurgence EP

Released: March 11

Genre: Ska / Ska Punk

Label: Do The Dog

Rating: 3.5/5

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By Chris Fishlock:

UK ska has been on the rise recently, bands such as The Skints, The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six, Mouthwash, Random Hand (I could go on all day) getting much more popular. As time goes on you would think there would be no room for new British ska bands to break through. However, Resolution 242 proved this theory wrong after their debut self-titled release last year, and they are still developing their own unique sound with the new Resurgence EP. All 3 tracks on the EP sound similar and are all just over 4 minutes long, giving the EP its own overall feel – with a heavy political theme throughout.

The EP starts with Pyramids and Poltergeists – opening with a bass line similar to that of ‘Waiting Room’ by Fugazi, as well as having post-hardcore style guitars playing combined with the general reggae style. The second track, Blueprints is the highlight of the whole EP, continuing a funky bass line but also getting heavier in parts, with a shouting chorus giving the track an angry feel (similar to Get Me by The Skints). The lead single Blueprints also features a great guest rap verse from Mr Wheelz.

Final track Speak of the Devil is heavy from start to finish, concluding the EP. The production is great, with an overall heavy sound that will be sure to make these songs incredible live. Resolution 242 are ones to watch as they start to create their own unique sound – setting themselves apart from the many other bands in the scene currently.

Slam Dunk Festival 2010

Slam Dunk Festival 2010

Slam Dunk Festival 2010

Venue: Leeds University

Location: Leeds

Date: May 30 2010

Sponsors: Big Cheese, Punktastic, Heineken

Rating: 4.4/5

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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:

The Skints – Roanna’s Song

Rx Bandits – My Lonesome Only Friend

Skindred – Rat Race

Capdown – Ska Wars

The Skints perform Roanna’s Song live at Slam Dunk 2010 (Leeds Date). A great set from The Skints as always opening up the Vans Off The Wall Music Stage.