Friday, 13 May 2016

Slam Dunk 2016 Preview

Slam Dunk Festival is one of the most popular alternative music festivals in the UK. This year will be the tenth year of Slam Dunk. After starting as a club night in Leeds and then becoming a whole weekend event in three different cities with seven stages featuring some of the biggest bands in punk, ska, metal and rock music. This year is my fourth year in a row going to the festival, here is a list of the bands that I'm most looking forward to seeing.

Reason number one I'm excited to see Capdown is that I was supposed to see them back in January in Milton Keynes but I was too sick to go. Capdown are probably the UK's most well known ska punk band. Combining hardcore punk with ska, the four piece have been tearing it up since 1997. Even though they don't play very often these days it's always a big deal when they do.

Catch 22
When Catch 22 were announced I fanboyed so much. One of my all time favourite ska bands, I've never seen and to be honest didn't ever expect that I would. The New Jersey six piece haven't released any new music since 2006 (ten years!) and I actually thought they had split up. I'm hoping they do a Keasbey Nights heavy set but I'm just over the moon to get to see them after all these years.

No band in the country has grown as quickly as Southampton's Creeper. Since forming in 2014 the band have rapidly become very well known not just in the punk scene but the entire alternative music scene. Playing on the Kerrang Fresh Blood stage, Creeper are sure to be a big talking point for the entire festival.

Gnarwolves are one of the biggest success stories to come out of the UK's punk scene so it seems only right that they play this festival. The Brighton three piece’s brand of fast and furious pop punk has been sending crowds crazy for a number of years now and will be massive highlight from the festival. Expect crowd surfs and stage dives aplenty during their set.

The JB Conspiracy
The JB Conspiracy are one of the top bands currently involved in the UK's ska punk scene. I can't think of a JB Conspiracy set I've seen where the band have failed to get the crowd moving and this will certainly be the case at Slam Dunk. One of the best horn sections in all of ska.

The King Blues
The reformation of The King Blues was the biggest shock of the past year for many people in the music world. It came as no surprise however when Itch and co were announced for Slam Dunk Festival. Headlining the Desperado Stage I'm looking forward to hearing songs from their new EP Off With Their Heads as well as some classics from the band's back catalogue.

King Prawn
I never ever thought I would get to go to a show that has Capdown and King Prawn on the same line up. Slam Dunk has managed it and it's like going in a time machine to a time when I was first getting into the UK ska scene. Capdown and King Prawn were probably two of the biggest bands of that era and are much missed by their fans. King Prawn were among the first bands from that scene to incorporate hip hop and dub music into their ska punk sound and have gone on to influence the likes of Sonic Boom Six and The Skints.

Moose Blood
The rise of Moose Blood is quite astounding. The emotional pop punk quartet from Kingston are not only one of the most popular acts in the UK but they are also making big waves in the USA. Their sophomore album Blush is released on August the 5th on Hopeless Records and big things are expected. Opening up the main stage is a big honour for the band and they will not disappoint.

New Found Glory
New Found Glory are a legendary pop punk band. Having been around for almost twenty years (man, I feel old!) the Californian rockers have released eight studio albums all full to the brim with hits. Slam Dunk's line up is full of pop punk bands and I imagine they've all been influenced by NFG whilst they were growing up.

Real Friends
Illinois pop punks Real Friends are one of those bands influenced by New Found Glory. Playing on the Key Club Stage at The Forum I'm expecting to see a massive crowd to watch the five piece. The weekend of Slam Dunk Festival Real Friends release a brand new album The Home Inside My Head, sort of making the festival their album launch shows.

Rob Lynch
Xtra Mile Recordings artist Rob Lynch is a regular performer at Slam Dunk, having played the Fresh Blood and acoustic stages over the past few years. His acoustic pop punk sound is honest, uplifting and incredibly catchy. The anthemic My Friends And I will be a huge crowd pleaser.

Completing a trio of early 2000s ska punk acts are [Spunge]. [Spunge] are the band that really started everything for me, they are my gateway band into the world of underground music. The four piece are always the most fun when seeing them live and it's impossible not to dance when watching them. Make sure to catch them early as they are also playing shows on their own tour on the same dates of the festival.

The Starting Line
If you are in your mid to late twenties chances are you loved everything put out my Drive-Thru Records in the early part of the millenium. The Starting Line were one of the most loved bands on an incredible roster of pop punk bands and remain hugely popular to this day. I'm really looking forward to singing at the top of my lungs to The Best Of Me.

Yellowcard are a long running pop punk act from Jacksonville, Florida. Since forming in 1997 they have released and impressive nine full length studio albums. At Slam Dunk Festival Yellowcard will be taking to the main stage to play their breakthrough album Ocean Avenue in full. A real treat for long time fans of the band.

Slam Dunk Festival would be weird if Zebrahead didn't play. Combining pop punk, hip hop and a smidge of ska a Zebrahead is always a party. For the past two years the pits have been among the wildest (last year I got kicked in the head) and the sing-a-longs among the loudest. Zebrahead are a perfect festival band who really get a crowd going whatever time of day they play. I can't wait to see them again.