This weekend Nottingham’s Hit The Deck Festival takes place for the second year running. 2012 sees the festival growing and stretching across five venues; Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, Stealth, Rock City Basement and The Forum, delivering over 40 bands for the one-day event.

With so much to pick from, Already Heard thought it would be ideal to give you the lowdown on the must-see acts at this weekend’s festivities.

The Wonder Years
With the thriving pop-punk scene ever growing, The Wonder Years will be making their return to the UK, and off the back of a ridiculously good year following the release of ‘Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing.’ Expect the Phialdelphia group to truly a deliver an energetic show with choruses boldy sung in unison. (SR)

Where & When: 9:00pm on Big Deal Clothing Stage, Rock City Basement.

Cancer Bats
Surely these words need not exist? This is Cancer Bats we’re talking about! However, if you’ve been busy on another planet or existing solely underground without any communication to the real world on the surface for 8 or so years then let me fill you in; Cancer Bits always bring the house down. Let me repeat that. Always bring the house down. If you want to a band and audience to go nuts and compliment each other oh so well then go and be a part of it. Oh, and they’ll be playing new songs, so there’s even more reason to check it all out. (MB)

Where & When: 9:00pm on the Front Magazine Stage, The Rescue Rooms.

The Dangerous Summer
With soaring melodies and passionate lyrics, The Dangerous Summer’s mid-afternoon slot at Rock City is bound to draw the crowds in as AJ Perdomo and company consistently deliver catchy yet thought-provoking pop-rock numbers in abundance. (SR)

Where & When: 3:45pm at Rock City.

Imperial Leisure
With a new album out it seems about time that Imperial Leisure get the recognition they deserve. As if the ska scene wasn’t underground enough, Imperial Leisure took to the streets for guerrilla gigs when their first album ‘The Art Of Saying Nothing’ was out. Rock, hip hop, ska, and many other instances are brought to the table, dealt out in a hand of time to party! This set should hopefully give the band the public awareness that they need. WARNING!: You will leave having had an awesome time. (MB)

Where & When: 4:30pm at The Forum.

Deaf Havana
‘Fools And Worthless Liars’ was a stellar album that was released last year and thus a lot of great expectations lie with Deaf Havana. Luckily for everyone in attendance, Deaf Havana will exceed all of these expectations and will probably have an anthemic singalong of fans to each chorus. And each verse. And probably every middle 8, actually. Make sure you learn the words so you’re not the odd one out. (MB)

Where & When: 8:00pm at Rock City.

We Are The In Crowd
For many Hit The Deck will kick off festival season, a time of year made up of sunny days and proud singalongs, and for that reason alone makes this Poughkeepsie, New York a must. With insatiable catchy harmonies and pop sensibilities, the quintet are bound to draw numbers in with tracks like ‘Rumor Mill’ and ‘Kiss Me Again.’

Where & When: 5:45pm at Rock City Main Hall.

Since releasing ‘Honesty’last summer, have spent time making a name for themselves having completed a UK tour alongside Every Time I Die and Defeater at the back end of 2011, and earlier this year played the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Now back on UK soil, the Watford band are set to keep up the momentum on the Front Magazine stage with their brand of punk rock-influenced indie rock, which has plenty of memorable harmonies and a subtle edginess. (SR)

Where & When: 2:45pm on the Front Magazine Stage, Rescue Rooms.

The Swellers.
With what seems like a relentless touring schedule for the best part of 2 years now, the Flint, Michigan punk group will be making their second appearance to Hit The Deck and after last year’s crowd-pleasing slot in Rock City’s Basement, The Swellers return to play The Forum and in their arsenal they have raw punk rock anthems in abundance. I advise you’re there when the place erupts for ‘The Best I Ever I Had.’

Where & When: 7:45pm on The Forum.

Rolo Tomassi
A line up change usually brings about a rejuvenation of energy which is always good. However, considering that Rolo Tomassi have to strap themselves down to sleep each night due to the bounds of energy that pulsate through them, it seems that they’re going to be even more off the hook than usual. Expect movement, new songs, old songs, levels of awesome throughout and an awesome level of movement.(MB)

Where & When: 9:30pm on the Valencourt Apparel Stage, Stealth.

Bat Sabbath
Step 1 – read the paragraph explaining why you should go and watch Cancer Bats. Step 2 – imagine this, but with the band playing an entire set covering Black Sabbath songs. Step 3 – appreciate the beautiful pun of a name. (MB)

Where & When: 6:30pm at The Forum.

Arcane Roots
Kingston-Upon-Thames trio Arcane Roots can only be described as a melting pot in which one finds, swirling effortlessly together, both cerebral progressive/math rock twists and turns, and the enticing flavour of catchy pop. Comparisons between The Mars Volta and Biffy are not uncalled for, since they’re style evokes the technical prowess and vocal tone of the former and the angular hooks of the latter. Loud, musically provocative and enthrallingly energetic, the experience of witnessing what Arcane Roots are injecting into an already pulsating british rock scene through their sharp live shows should be considered a requirement. (JBL)

Where & When: 6:45pm on the Front Magazine Stage, The Rescue Rooms.

Straight Lines
Welsh pop-rockers Straight Lines have a knack for planet-sized choruses instilled into catchy verses, rousing bridge, as if every section of their songs was carefully crafted to titillate pleasure spots. The quattuor are unabashedly fun, direct, and the few tracks released from their new album released this week further prove that they’ve sharpened their distinctive sound into something that sounds closer to their live shows. Indeed, if they might be accused of one fault it is that the production of their first album somewhat undermined how hard they rocked on-stage. That should not put you off. Really not. (JBL)

Where & When: 4:15pm on the Big Deal Clothing Stage at Rock City Basement.

Crazy Arm
With the imminent demise of The King Blues, one might be left wondering who will bear the torch of bands who don’t compromise great music for the sake of politically-charged lyrics. Enter Crazy Arm: creators of intense punk tracks that lays its foundations in a variety of traditional forms (folk, soul, classic rock, gospel, etc.) to superb effect. The warmth of their sound combined with the uniting nature of their lyrics and the faithful community of punk music ensures that their live shows are always packed with energy both from the band and the sweaty audience. (JBL)

Where & When: 3:30pm at The Forum.

Mallory Knox
If British newcomers Mallory Knox’s debut EP ‘Pilot’ is anything to go by, then a set at Hit The Deck should prove to be emotion-packed, melodic, hard-hitting, and thoroughly enjoyable. Their sound vacillates somewhere between pop-rock and post-hardcore with effortless ease, providing rousing choruses and the occasional breakdown along the way, led by the warm tones of Mikey Chapman’s distinctive voice. For anyone looking for a new british up-beat outfit fresh out of the Deaf Havana/Canterbury academy, then we suggest you hit the Rock City Basement at around 17:15 for your new favourite band. (JBL)

Where & When: Mallory Knox on the Big Deal Clothing Stage at Rock City Basement.

Find yourself uncontrollably thirsty? Thirsty for that tasty dose of face-melting hardcore, the only one that can satisfy the animal that you are? A healthy dish of Polar. should prove an effective medicine. Hailing from the seemingly quiet town of Guildford, the quintet are anything but. They fire an a ferocious onslaught of throaty punk that kicks, punches, wreaks havoc and leaves devastation everywhere they tread. Having shared a stage with some of Britain’s most respected hardcore bands (see Gallows, TRC, etc.), Polar are steadily convincing audiences around the UK (and Europe!!). Bigger audiences can mean only one thing: bigger and better gang vocals on D-Day. Check them out. (JBL)

Where & When: 13:15pm on the Valencourt Apparel Stage at Stealth.

Baby Godzilla
Baby Godzilla describe themselves as ‘general extreme noise’ and I think it’s safe to say that ‘extreme’ is the word that needs to be emphasised. Fantastic showmen as well as musicians, this band are a must see at the start of the day. Expect nothing less than to leave with your jaw dropped after the boys show their hometown what they’re made of. (HG)

Where & When: 12:30pm on the Valencourt Apparel stage at Stealth. 

Decade are a true asset to the British pop-punk scene and are guaranteed to deliver an enthusiastic set. They will be warming up for their upcoming appearance on the Slam Dunk On Tour, by presenting a fresh interpretation of pop-punk. You will not be disappointed with Decade’s distinctive sound and energetic stage presence. (HG)

Where & When: 2:45pm on the Big Deal Clothing Stage at Rock City Basement.

Don Broco
After recently releasing the very promising ‘Priorities’ off their upcoming album, Don Broco are a must see at Hit The Deck. The alternative rock band will be right up your street if you love catchy riffs and memorable choruses. The band is definitely worthy of attention and are bound for big things, so get down early to avoid missing out on what could be one of the finest sets of the festival. (HG)

Where & When: 7:30pm on the Big Deal Clothing at Rock City Basement.

Of Mice & Men
Hitting up the festival as part of their UK tour, the boys in Of Mice & Men will be pumped to put on an unforgettable performance. Their songs will undoubtedly open up numerous mosh pits, so if you’re looking to get involved then this is the band for you. If you who haven’t checked the band out before, then Hit the Deck is a perfect opportunity for those who love breakdowns, roared vocals and gripping riffs. (HG)

Where & When: 4:15pm at Rock City Main Hall.

California’s Zebrahead are a perfect way to end the day, with their catchy pop-punk sounds and charming charisma, they’ll definitely bring a smile to your face. With classic hits as well as some well-known pop covers, the band are guaranteed to deliver a strong set after their successful tour at the end of 2011.

Where & When: 22:00 at The Forum.

Hit The Deck Festival links: Official Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by: Sean Reid (SR), Michael Brown (MB), Hannah Gillicker  (HG) and James Berclaz-Lewis (JBL)

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