Slam Dunk Festival 2015

Posted by vibrations on 14-08-15

It’s great to see the city being purposeful, no matter what the purpose: when the stages and stalls are up and there’s music and community, the city comes alive; it’s vibrant and exciting and what?  Somewhere to have a good time.  Lovely…

Proving yet again that the Gods love the outlaws, it’s a perfect day in Leeds for just such an alternative do: Slam Dunk festival has arrived in town for the first of three dates in the UK, bringing with it an eclectic mix of music and mayhem across 7 stages/venues in Leeds centre.

Set It off… set it off on main stage, bringing the Florida sunshine and making a perfect start to the day.  They’re happy punk pop, who are going to be loved by the young’uns and with enough personality to please us oldies - they’re just so darn cute!!

Next up on main stage are Pvris (pronounced Paris) from Massachusetts, who continue to show what the next generation have up their sleeve.  Like Set It Off, they’re full of youthful energy both in person and music, a strange blend of disco era Cher and Florence & the Machine; sometimes melancholic, sometimes fantastically cheesy.

Moving over to the Desperado stage we find New Yorkers Patent Pending and what could be more fun on a sunny afternoon that a bit of punky ska? Perhaps not appropriate for the very young, “Douchebag” was a crowd pleasing, crowd jumping highlight.

Seeking the shade offered by the the dark of a packed O2 Academy, it’s time for Beartooth who, in my opinion, were far too low down the running order.  Performing at the Academy for a second time this year, these metalcorers are going from strength to strength with their pungent mix of scream and clean. Today they ‘king nailed it.

Blinking my way back out into the sunlight, I stumble across Big D & The Kids Table.  More happy ska with a lively and dedicated bunch of followers, this lot should definitely have been on a bigger stage.  Carlsberg™ don’t book acts for summer fetes but if they did…

In one of the more incongruous venues (Haha Bar) is Crossfaith DJ, Terifumi Tomano giving it the beans in a DJ set whilst being enthusiastically supported by the rest of the band.  It’s no surprise they like their big beat but there were some class tunes to be had even though there weren’t too many people there to hear them.

Back to the Desperado stage and this writer is starting to lag a bit, so what better for a quick fix perk up than The Bronx’s alter ego Mariachi El Bronx.  Bedecked in more gold braid than is necessarily respectable, these guys and gal are hosting a mildly mannered Mexican party and certainly brought a mariachi fiesta.  A perfect blend of sunshine, brass and guitar.

Like a yo-yo I’m back to the O2 for Japanese techno metallers Crossfaith.  Although I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do their cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ they certainly did themselves proud.  With more energy than a two year old on Sunny D this bunch brought havoc and mayhem and a wall. And I mean a WALL OF DEATH! (p.s. nobody died)

Over on main stage are Don Brocco.  I’m not going to make any friends here but I just don’t get it.  Although there was nothing wrong with their performance and they were without doubt one of the best supported groups of the day, I just didn’t get it and found them decidedly mediocre.  I guess I was tired…

Taking Back Sunday follow, with front man Adam Larazza taking on a Jim Morrison-esque rock god status.  Showing the young upstarts how it’s done, their brand of rock is more traditional but is an appropriate support act for the headliners.

You Me At Six are hardly ancient but the boys bring things to a close with a warming dose of nostalgia.  A word perfect crowd enjoying the party and filling every space Millennium Square has to offer.  I love it when the city has a purpose and today it did… glorious purpose.

Alex Cooper




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