Review: Slam Dunk Festival South

The Slam Dunk festival started on Saturday 23rd May in Leeds, travelled down to Hatfield on the Sunday and finished up in Wolverhampton on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Five piece Surrey band You Me At Six were scheduled to headline all three dates.

It was said by bassist Matt Barnes that they were going to play seven songs from their first album Take Off Your Colours.

There was a total of seven stages: Main Stage, Monster Energy Stage, Desperados Stage, Macbeth Stage, Impericon Stage, Fresh Blood Stage, and last but not least, the UPRAWR DJ Stage.

The variety of genres was very impressive and it’s refreshing to still see festivals with such a mixture of bands and artists come together to play for a mass of people.

Food, beer, and clothing stalls were placed all around the festival ground, as well as a bunch of portaloos which decreased in cleanliness very, very quickly. The floor also became a giant bin as discarded cups, cans, and food were seen everywhere you looked.

Two of You Me At Six’s members brought their clothing line to Slam Dunk. Max Helyer had Antique and Matt Barnes had Cheer Up! Clothing stalls next to each other which they visited during the day at different times.

Kerrang! had a signing tent to the side of the festival. Bands such as Don Broco, Set It Off, Pvris, Neck Deep, and Architects were scheduled there throughout the day for 30 to 45 minutes. The queue for it got longer and longer the closer it got to Architects slot. The Leeds Slam Dunk was the only one to have a You Me At Six signing.

Set It Off opened for the main stage at 1.30pm and succeeding in getting the festival off to a smashing start. They were all very energetic, running around the stage and jumping up and down. Playing a number of songs including Why Worry and Ancient History they even managed to play their Pop Goes Punk cover of Ariana Grande’s song Problem including the rap verse by Iggy Azalea. Cody Carson, lead singer, made his way into the crowd and trusted them all enough to let them hold him up. After making his way back onto a solid surface they played a couple more songs and departed.

By the time 3.30pm rolled around, We Are The Ocean were gracing the stage and rocking out with a bunch of tracks that got the crowd hyped up. Even though they lost a member due to musical differences back in 2012 I think that they more than make up for it and have not let it affect their band as a whole. They played a number of songs from Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, including Machine.

I was keen to see Don Broco as I find they always put on a good show and seem to engage the audience a lot. I was not disappointed. They played a couple of new tracks, including Fire and Automatic, from their second album Automatic which is due for release August this year. Don Broco always manage to squeeze in the oldie Thug Workout which goes down a treat with the older fans who are no strangers to doing pushups in the middle of the crowd.

Taking Back Sunday were the penultimate band to take to the main stage. Although not a massive fan of them I do know of a couple of songs which I prayed that they played. Someone must have heard as I was delighted to hear them play Faith (When I Let You Down) and even more so when they finished on MadeDamnSure. A song which got everyone in the audience singing out loudly. Their whole set seemed to fly by and was very enjoyable. Lead singer Adam Lazzara had a bit of banter with some of the audience members, and it was refreshing to see some audience interaction.

It was finally here. The moment I had been counting down until. It was time for You Me At Six to grace the main stage. They kicked off with The Truth Is A Terrible Thing, getting in there quick with the songs from Take Off Your Colours.

However a couple of songs in, front man Josh Franceschi called out to the security because a fan needed medical attention. They didn’t start up with another song yet instead Franceschi had a chat with the audience. Ten minutes in though it was evident that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. Deciding it best to leave the stage the band retreated, leaving the audience in a state of confusion about what was happening.

Several chants, a number of annoyed fans and half an hour later, the band returned. Thanking the security, Franceschi made a point of saying that the welfare of a single fan is more important than them playing a couple of their songs. Something he addressed further on his Instagram account the following day.

They went straight back into playing songs, their full setlist is as follows:

The Truth Is A Terrible Thing
Save It For The Bedroom
Stay With Me
Jealous Minds Think Alike
Lived A Lie
No One Does It Better
Take Off Your Colours
Kiss And Tell
The Rumour
The Consequence 
Fresh Start Fever
Always Attract
Room To Breathe
Bite My Tongue

Thankfully Slam Dunk allowed them to go on past curfew so they were able to play their set in full.

Both You Me At Six and the audience were full of energy and I think bounced off of each other really well.

Franceschi is a brilliant front man and knows when to take it down a notch with slower songs but then equally also knows when the fans want nothing more than to scream their lungs out.

Playing songs from their first album was a good shout in my opinion as for many fans it would have been years since they had heard them live and it was amazing to relive those memories.

The festival as a whole was incredible.

It was my first time going and I loved every minute of it. The rain was only a small inconvenience and was greatly outweighed by the bands playing.

If the line up for next year is as good as it was this year then I will definitely consider getting a ticket for 2016.

Written by CelebMix