Slam Dunk North – you did it again. Everyone’s favourite punk-rock festival is over, and as the closing chords of Good Charlotte’s ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’ rung out from Leeds City Centre on Saturday, one thing was very clear: summer had begun.
The sweltering heat and streams of young adults in shorts, t-shirts, and novelty sunglasses were just more evidence that festival season was underway. And, of course, the mighty Slam Dunk Festival did not disappoint.
Here’s everything that went down at Slam Dunk North in Leeds City Centre on Saturday, May 26.
Kicking off things this year, just after a stellar set from Maryland’s The Dangerous Summer, were Chicago pop-punk outfit The Audition.
The band were back with all guns blazing after a five year silence – having released their final EP Chapter II in February 2012. But this break didn’t translate to the stage, and the quintet didn’t sound like they’d stopped for a second.
The Audition’s set was short but energetic – frontman Danny Stevens’ feet barely touching the floor throughout. They stacked it full of classic tracks, mostly from their debut album Controversy Loves Company.
Smoke and Mirrors, You’ve Made Us Conscious, and Don’t Be So Hard made the cut – alongside classic The Audition track Make It Rain.
It was a nostalgic set, and one any The Audition fan in the audience won’t soon forget.
Sleeping With Sirens
A quick stage change and a State Champs set later, and Florida’s Sleeping With Sirens were readying to take the stage.
This year, Slam Dunk’s ‘Monster Stage’ had an upgrade and found its new home in the First Direct Arena. And the area was already packed when Kellin Quinn and his band slid onto the stage – his hair hiding his face from the crowd as he demonstrated his characteristic pseudo-falsettos.
Sleeping With Sirens are the marmite of the alternative-rock scene – and it showed. A small section of the crowd was moving as they belted out We Like it Loud, Go Go Go, and Better Off Dead, with the rest watching on with a bemused expression.
This is true of most festival shows, when attendees will swing by sets for a few minutes then move on, but Sleeping With Sirens didn’t do much to inspire a reaction.
The band know their audience well, and they cater to them spectacularly, but for a casual onlooker it wasn’t anything special.
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
Next up: Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. This was the band’s first appearance at Slam Dunk, and they for sure knew how to make an entrance.
Frontman Frank Carter took to the stage in a Macklemore-esque faux-fur jacket, and strutted his stuff to the microphone. The band kicked things off with Fangs, bringing energy from the very first note, to when the final feedback left the arena.
This band is non-stop. Carter was in and out of the crowd, pausing mid-song to tell the guys in the pit to hold him upright so he could perform with them.
For anyone just happening across the band, this was an accurate introduction – and one any first-timer would be hard pressed to forget.
PVRIS climbed the charts, and worldwide festival line-ups, very, very quickly. By now, they’re basically pop-rock royalty and, well, it’s easy to understand why.
Vocalist Lynn Gun is understated on stage – but that’s because her voice speaks for itself. She’s an incredible musician, boasting her talent on the guitar, piano, and drums, in what is a relatively short set.
Their setlist comes largely from their sophomore album, but they throw in a few classics to sweeten the deal for their older fans, ending their set with fan favourite My House.
It’s a simple show, but it’s effective.
The big kahuna. This year we were faced with an impossible choice – Good Charlotte or Jimmy Eat World. After some careful, and tortured, consideration, 14-year-old us won, and we stuck around for the Madden brothers.
The band were emotional in their set – constantly thanking the audience for sticking around for their twelve-year career.
And, as a thank you of sorts, their set was full to the brim of classics – from tracks from way back in ’04 to everybody’s favourite Girls Like Boys and The Anthem.
It was a very busy set with confetti cannons and bright lights, but nothing could distract from the show Good Charlotte had perfectly crafted over the past twelve years.
It was a massive show, and we wish we could do it again.
Were you at Slam Dunk Festival this year? Let us know @CelebMix.