This weekend the UK festival truly springs into action as the annual Hit The Deck Festival takes place in Bristol and Nottingham. Although it may not be as big or as impressive as some of the UK’s other indoor festivals, Hit The Deck has once again put together a strong line-up highlighting some of the UK’s best alternative acts; something which it has always done. In previous years we’ve seen the likes of Mallory Knox, Don Broco, We Are The In Crowd and The Front Bottoms being placed low on the bill only to come back the following year as bigger and better. Hit The Deck is a great opportunity for bands to get noticed and in front of some who may have never heard of them before.

So who should you go and see at this year’s Hit The Deck Festival? Well as always Already Heard has put together a list of 10 must see bands that we insist you should check out this weekend.

Preview|Stage Times

While She Sleeps
Fresh off the release of their outstanding ‘Brainwashed’ album, Sheffield’s While She Sleeps go into HTD with tons of momentum and with tour buddies Cancer Bats joining them on the main stage, we expect WSS to knock it out the park. Expect a sharp and raucous display as ‘Brainwashed’ is full of anthems made to be sung in unison. Add to that a plethora of breakdowns, crushing riffs and pummelling drums and you’re bound to be left with little energy after WSS are finished. A dead on cert to be a festival highlight.

Where & When: Bristol: Academy 1 – 20:30 / Nottingham: Rock City Main Hall – 20:30

The Xcerts
Appearing for the second year in a row, The Xcerts return to HTD off the back of (another) UK tour and following the release of their exceptional ‘There Is Only You’ LP late last year, the trio are set to play the record in full this weekend. If you have seen The Xcerts at any point in recent months, then you will know they pour every inch of heart and soul into their shows. Like the album itself, The Xcerts will take you on an emotional-yet-rewarding journey as they showcase their brand of pop-infused indie rock. From the raw, catchy ‘Kick It’ and ‘Shaking In The Water’ to the deeply moving title track, you will walk away knowing you’ve just witnessed something special. Guaranteed.

Where & When: Bristol: Academy 2 – 20:00 / Nottingham: Rock City Basement – 20:00

The Swellers
As part of their farewell UK tour, Michigan melodic punk rock quartet The Swellers pay a visit to HTD one last time. Although it is certainly going to be sad seeing the four-piece for the final time, it’s still the perfect time to celebrate them and their music. Having repeatedly delivered outstanding performances in the past, and with a plethora of anthemic songs in their aresenal we’re sure to see The Swellers out on a high.

Where & When: Bristol: Thekla – 18:15 / Nottingham: Rescue Rooms – 18:15

As one of the many up-and-coming bands playing this year’s festival, Leeds-based quartet Brawlers are certainly ones to watch. Having recently released their debut full-length, ‘Romantic Errors Of Our Youth’ to plenty of critical acclaim, HTD is the perfect opportunity to see Brawlers before they get even bigger. Trust us. If you like scruffy, melodic, tongue-in-cheek punk rock then Brawlers might just be your favourite new band.

Where & When: Bristol: Fleexe – 15:30 / Nottingham: Stealth – 14:50

Devil Sold His Soul
Devil Sold His Soul are no strangers to HTD but having released an impressive EP last autumn in the form of ‘Belong ‡ Betray’, the sextet are preparing for a new full-length. Playing HTD as part of a UK headline tour, expect DSHS to produce a stunning set full of atmospheric and explosive moments. Tracks like ‘Time’ and ‘Alive’ from the aforementioned EP are certain to resonate in a live setting.

Where & When: Bristol: Fleece – 21:15 / Nottingham: Stealth – 21:15

As It Is
Being one of the UK’s most promising pop punk bands can be no easy fest but with the release of their debut album, ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ is sure to see As It Is live up to expectations. But can they do it a live setting? Well thankfully HTD arrives just after the album drops this week. With an infectious style, these Anglo-American pop punks bring a whole host of hooks and catchy melodies that leave you with a massive smile plastered across your face.

Where & When: Bristol: Thekla – 16:15 / Nottingham: Rescue Rooms – 16:15

Rolo Tomassi
Celebrating 10 years as a band and with a new album (‘Grievances’) set to be released in June, expect to see a lot of Rolo Tomassi in the coming months. With their mix of angular guitars, offbeat keyboard parts and intense drumming all wrapped in a ball of intense and chaotic energy, expect Tomassi to head into HTD at full speed.

Where & When: Bristol: Fleece – 20:00 / Nottingham: Stealth – 20:00

Still riding the wave from last year’s brilliant debut ‘Good Luck’ album, we still can’t get enough of Decade and their brand of alt-rock/pop punk. Without a doubt fan-favourites ‘British Weather’ and ‘Brainfreeze’ will have the biggest response of a set that is sure to be full of catchy, upbeat numbers that demand a response.

Where & When: Bristol: Thekla – 17:15 / Nottingham: Rescue Rooms – 17:15

At last year’s UK Tech Fest, Monuments blew us away as the London-based group pulled in a dazzling, festival-stealing set and at Hit The Deck they have the potential to do the same. Look out for extraordinary vocals from Chris Barretto whilst his band mates produce a dazzling combination of twisting guitars and drum fills alongside Barretto’s soaring vocals. Last year’s ‘The Amanunensis’ LP saw Monuments become reinvigorated and was a tech and prog rock stand out. Sure they might not appeal to the majority of the HTD but if you want a band who can pull in a stunning vocal and musicial display, then Monuments are a must!

Where & When: Bristol: Academy 1 – 18:15 / Nottingham: Rock City Main Hall – 18:15

Oceans Ate Alaska
Birmingham’s Oceans Ate Alaska arrive at HTD with their recently released debut, ‘Lost Isles’, in their arsenal. Their style is technical and chaotic that walks the fine line between metalcore and prog rock, so expect a frenzied set that highlights the best parts from ‘Lost Isles’. Tracks like ‘Vultures and Sharks’, ‘Floorboards’ and ‘Downsides’ are certain to fulfill your skull-crushing (but melodic) needs.

Where & When: Bristol: Fleece – 17:00 / Nottingham: Stealth – 16:45

Sat 25th Bristol – Thekla, O2 Academy 1, O2 Academy 2, The Fleece
Sun 26th Nottingham – Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth

Stage Times

Sat 25th Bristol – Thekla, O2 Academy 1, O2 Academy 2, The Fleece

Sun 26th Nottingham – Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth

View Already Heard’s content from past Hit The Deck Festival’s: 2012|2013|2014

Hit The Deck Festival links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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