Live Review: Slam Dunk Festival North – Leeds University – 26/05/2012

If there’s one music festival that people look forward to hearing about every year its Slam Dunk festival, the festival offers an array of styles of music, showcasing old and new bands of the music scene to cater everyone’s music tastes.

Having sat on a train for two hours, grabbing a quick Nando’s takeaway to eat in the queue, putting my wristband on and donning some sunglasses my Slam Dunk Leeds is underway.

First up are Wales own Straight Lines on the Atticus/Jagermeister stage, playing their way through their pop punk songs off of the recently released album ‘Freaks Like Us’ the band sound great and get the crowd warmed up nicely for the rest of the days music.

Over at the Macbeth stage the punk “supergroup” Misser (comprising of members from Transit and This Time Next Year) play an impressive set. Songs off of their recent album like ‘Just Say It’ sound great live and certainly impress many people. With a few dedicated fans singing along at the front of the stage the rest of the crowd soon enough warm to the band as well.

One band who has a low turnout today is Make Do and Mend the band plays through songs off of their latest album which sound good live. Vocalist James Carroll’s singing style comes across as a little too gruff as the crowd don’t really get into the bands set and with only a few people singing on the barrier, hopefully next time the crowd is alot more responsive.

Having just finished a full UK tour Of Mice & Men come on stage and soon enough have the pits going absolutely crazy. Playing through ‘Still YDG’N’, ‘Ben Threw’ and ‘O.G. Loko’ the band sound truly heavy live, with Austin Carlile jumping head first in the crowd it hypes the crowd up even more. The band finishes their set with a mass singalong to the anthemic and equally heavy ‘Second & Sebring’.

A band who has not graced the UK shores for over two and a half years is The Audition who come out fast and seriously catchy. Working their way through their back catalogue songs like ‘Edinboro’ and ‘My Temperature Is Rising’ sound great to hear live after so long. The band is of course on top form, frontman Danny Stevens looks genuinely excited to be back playing in the UK.As the band go offstage to a rapturous applause, let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long to see them live again.

Next up is an acoustic set with the band Transit on the Punktastic stage. With the bands indie, post hardcore songs slowed down and frontman Joe Boynton explaining how the songs were written in a bedroom thousands of miles away it brings a more relaxed, intimate vibe to their set.

A band that definitely surpassed all expectations has to be the band of the festival for me, The Story So Far. Not only do the band play through most of their latest album perfectly, the songs sound great live as well, ‘Roam’, ‘Mt. Diablo’, ‘Quicksand’ and ‘Daughters’ all set the crowd going crazy. As the set progresses bodies fly around on top of each other, fists pump in the air and the biggest and loudest singalongs take place. They are a band to watch this year and who knows maybe next year they’ll be back playing on a bigger stage as it’d be certainly well deserved.

Over at the Vans stage, Set Your Goals arriveonstage in full all in one monkey onesies to bring the pop punk to the SlamDunk North crowd. The band sound awesome live blasting their way through ‘Gaia Bleeds’, ‘Summer Jam’ and the new song ‘Only Right Now’ the band are in full flow. Finishing their set perfectly with the song ‘Mutiny’ leaves the crowd covered in sweat and happy to have seen yet another memorable set.

Back at the Punktastic stage Evan Weiss better known as Into It. Over It is just starting his acoustic set in front of a packed out room. Telling stories about what each song is about Evan gives a more in depth, humorous feel to his set and the crowd easily warm towards him. Songs off of his latest album sound raw and powerful when stripped down as Evan put it “it’s just me and a shitty little guitar” but what he plays on his guitar today sounds great.

Having released what has to be one of the year’s finest albums Buffalo’s Every Time I Die have alot to live up to and they certainly more than impress. Playing through old and new songs, ‘Floater’, ‘Ebolarama’ and ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outerspace’ to name a few get the crowd going wild. The band plays through the songs with such ease and precision, hitting every note perfectly; causing the biggest circle pits they leave the crowd confused as to what just happened.

Alot of people have had an opinion as to how the change of frontman for Gallows from Frank Carter to ex-Alexisonfire guitarist Wade McNeill would go down with fans. But from what you see on stage today Wade looks menacing, commanding the crowd with ease and even jumping into the crowd getting into the crowds faces he is a natural frontman. Of course the band power through songs like ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’, ‘Misery’ and the fast paced chaotic ‘True Colours’ the band sound seriously heavy. Gallows version 2.0 is here to stay.

Words by Aaron Wilson.


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