The long running independent rock festival Slam Dunk is fast approaching. Taking place on the second May bank holiday weekend, it brings fans of rock, metal, punk and ska together to celebrate all things alternative. This year the festival is running for two days, in the South at Hatfield House Park and in the North at Temple Newsam Park in Leeds. This year will be my sixth time visiting the festival and my first visiting the new site in Hatfield. We love doing a top ten at CPRW so here's my top ten bands to see at Slam Dunk Festival 2019.
I haven't seen Anti-Flag live anywhere near enough times. For me, they are one of the most underrated live bands around. Playing powerful, political punk rock that will get you singing loud and proud, as well as making you think about the world. Anti-Flag are playing pretty early in the day but will no doubt blow out any cobwebs and get their crowd moving early.
Californian pop punks The Bombpops are the band tasked with opening the special Punk In Drublic stage at Slam Dunk. The four piece, lead by the brilliant vocals of Jen Razavi and Poli Van Dam, play sugary sweet pop punk jams but perform with a tonne of attitude. Having first seen them live at the New Cross Inn a couple of years ago, I was so impressed with the way they controlled a crowd. Make sure you get to Slam Dunk early to see what is likely to become your new favourite band.
You may know Chas Palmer-Williams as the frontman for legendary UK ska punks Lightyear. When he's not throwing his body around and singing songs for what is arguably the best UK punk band ever, Chas is also a very accomplished solo performer. Whether he is playing his own solo songs or acoustic re-workings of Lightyear songs, one thing is for certain, you will have a great time watching Chas perform.
No band has done more to push ska back into the mainstream in the past year than Los Angeles, California's The Interrupters. Following the release of last year’s Fight The Good Fight LP, The Interrupters have taken the punk scene around the world by storm with their catchy and danceable songs as well as a polished and fun live show. I'm really looking forward to seeing The Interrupters welcome Slam Dunk to the family.
The great thing about the Punk In Drublic stage is that it is stuffed with nostalgia. As a young punk growing up wanting more than anything to go to the Warped Tour (when it was good), the Punk In Drublic stage is as close as I'm ever going to get – without inventing a time machine. When you think back to those Warped Tour days, Lagwagon were a big part of it. Boasting some of the most popular tracks of the time, expect some of the biggest sing-alongs of the festival.
Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake are Slam Dunk veterans by this point and perhaps the most well known band from the world of ska punk. Is there a better live band on planet earth? I don't think so. You'll be skanking and moshing away or singing yourself hoarse to their unlimited back catalogue of hits. There is no band in history that gets a live crowd going like these Gainesville legends and I can't wait to see them steal the show yet again.
Nobody can go and see California's Mad Caddies and not come away with a big smile on their face. Combining punk, ska, reggae and polka for almost twenty five years, the Caddies are still one of the greats. For me they're one of the most underrated bands from the Fat Wreck Chords roster, they never seem to be mentioned whenever the conversation about best Fat bands comes around. Whether you're swaying along to Drinking For 11 or getting silly with Road Rash, with the Caddies it's always a good time.
Maybe the most popular punk band of the past decade, Scranton Philadelphia's The Menzingers are making their first appearance at Slam Dunk Festival this year. Headlining The Dickies stage, it's bound to be fifty minutes of non-stop sing-alongs. The Menzingers have just finished recording their sixth full length album so hopefully we can expect some songs from that as well as plenty of old favourites.
When you think of punk rock bands, you don't get much bigger than NOFX. The Punk In Drublic stage is named after their classic album and they are rightfully headlining it. NOFX are a band that can split a crowd, it seems if you either love them or hate them. They can also be quite hit or miss live but when they hit their aren't many better. With thirty-six years of songs to choose from, they're bound to play plenty of favourites as well as giving some forgotten gems a showing.
Saves The Day
Making an extremely rare UK performance are New Jersey's Saves The Day. I've never seen them before so I'm really looking forward to finally see them. Mixing 90s emo and pop punk, Saves The Day have written many an angst filled anthem in their long and storied careers. They released their ninth LP in October last year so I guess we can expect some tracks from that as well as plenty of old school Saves The Day favourites.
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.