Slam Dunk festival returns for its ninth successive year in May. During its previous eight year it has grown from a one day festival in Leeds with just one stage to one of the biggest punk, metal and ska festivals in the country with it taking place on three separate days over the May bank holiday weekend in Leeds, Hatfield and Wolverhampton and now boasts seven different stages with some of the very best bands from all over the world appearing at the festival. Now the first two announcements of bands has happened I preview six of the ones that I really can’t wait to see.
The first band that stood out after the first announcement was Swedish skate punk legends Millencolin. Returning with their long awaited new album True Brew, their first since 2008’s Machine 15 Millencolin are sure to draw a big crowd of dedicated fans and create an army of brand new ones after their appearance at Slam Dunk. Since forming in 1992 Millencolin have toured all over the world and are probably the most successful European punk rock band to come out of that era. Live, expect a passionate performance, with every note sang like it was the last front man Nikola Sarcevic’s last. Millencolin’s return to England could be an unforgettable performance.
Another band from the 90’s who are making a long awaited return to our shores are Los Angeles, California’s Goldfinger. They will be making their first appearance at the festival in four years and will be going all out to make up for lost time, especially after having to pull out of last year’s festival. Playing a fantastic hybrid of pop punk with a hint of ska will get everybody singing and dancing their hearts out. There will also be a great feeling of nostalgia during the set with many of the people in attendance having grown up listening to Goldfinger. Songs such as Superman, 99 Red Balloons and Counting The Days will be sung as loudly as any song played throughout the festival.
Another band that will have a very nostalgic feeling despite still being very very active are Orange County’s kings of ska Reel Big Fish. Still going strong after 24 years as a band there are very few acts in the world who can put on a live show as good as Reel Big Fish. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of seeing them five times in the past three years there hasn’t been a show where I’ve come away smiling, hoarse, tired and covered in sweat from nonstop skanking. Expect to hear a set comprised of classics such as Beer and Sell Out, newer songs such as Everyone Else Is An Asshole and Don’t Stop Skanking as well as the obligatory covers of Take On Me and Monkey Man. Not to be missed.
At the past two Slam Dunk festivals the organisers have managed to coach some of the best bands from the early new millennium out of retirement to play the festival. I like many others grew up listening to the likes of King Prawn and Jesse James and completely fan-girled at both of their performances in recent years. This year the fantastic folk booking the line up have done it again and have announced Derbyshire ska punk legends Lightyear will be reuniting to play together in May. I could not be more excited. I was lucky enough to be in attendance of their last ever gig at the Islington academy back in 2012 and still remains one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Expect the perfect combination of fun, mayhem and probably some male nudity as Lightyear remind us what we’re missing in today’s punk rock world.
Big D and the Kids Table are a band I have been waiting a very long time to see live and will finally have the chance to at Slam Dunk. Carrying the torch for ska punk in the US Big D are a band that have always stayed true to their routes despite ska’s fluctuating popularity in the music scene. Whether playing an in your face, fast ska punk anthem or a slowed down reggae song Big D are masters of their art. Big D are a band known for leaving everything on stage whenever they play live and will be one of the most energetic performances of the weekend. I can’t wait to hear LAX live, that will be a goose bumps moment.
When I think of perfect festival bands Zebrahead are a band that always spring to mind. After delivering a show stealing set last year despite lead singer Matty being ill this Californian five piece returns to throw a punk rock party. Combining pop punk with hip hop may sound like an odd blend but Zebrahead play it perfectly and will have the crowd going completely crazy, encouraging the biggest circle pits of the festival. This year Zebrahead are releasing an album full of older songs re-recorded with Matty singing lead so expect the band to perform so old classics you haven’t heard it a while as well as a selection of newer tracks that will bring the house down.
Also playing the festival are You Me At Six, Taking Back Sunday, Don Broco, Lower That Atlantis, While She Sleeps, The Bronx, Gallows, Crossfaith, H2O, Comeback Kid, Emmure, Thy Art Is Murder, Bane, Beartooth, Trash Talk, The Color Morale, The Wonder Years, Neck Deep, Bayside, Fireworks, Transit, Such Gold, PVRIS, Mariachi El Bronx, Patent Pending, A Loss For Words and Knuckle Puck.
Get all the latest information on Slam Dunk here: http://www.slamdunkmusic.com/
Now listening to Anywhere You Wanna Go by The Bennies