Slam Dunk Festival 2017: A Bullet Preview + Playlist
Since its debut in 2006, Slam Dunk Festival has gained a reputation for showcasing a range of diverse music across a three-day, three-city event - likened frequently to the American Vans Warped Tour on a smaller scale. There’s nothing else in the UK offering such a compact but exemplary dose of music within a twelve-hour window and, as such, Slam Dunk marks a must-attend for many young adults across the country.
With the festival looming, we at Bullet took a closer look at this year's line-up, highlighting a few artists we’d recommend catching should you be attending the event. With so many bands to see in so little time, split across eight stages, you’re likely spilt for choice already.
For The Big-Guns
Where: Jägermeister Stage @ 9:25*
If you needed a reason to still buy your ticket for Slam Dunk 2017 then here it is: Enter Shikari, (read our review of their Atlanta show) playing their debut album Take To The Skies in its entirety. Ten-years-ago the St. Albans four-piece broke from the underground with a record that has since gained cult status among the band’s massive following. The rare chance to hear the record in full, live, is an unmissable addition to this year's already stacked line-up. The band are sure to draw the biggest crowd of the long weekend, and for a very good reason.
Where: Jägermesiter Stage @ 8:00PM
At the core of Slam Dunk is a good-time mentality, and of all the bands on the billing Don Broco are sure to embody it. The Bedford pop-rockers bring a killer live energy to their set, ensuring that all who witness their shows enjoy them. Expect big hooks, riffs, and more than a few inflatables to be tossed around the crowd during, as the band mix their older material with their danceable new tunes. Catch these guys playing just before Enter Shikari, and guarantee a stellar night of live music.
Where: Jägermeister Stage @ 2:30PM
Making the long journey from Osaka, Japan, to play The Jägermeister Stage this five-piece are bound to make their set worth the trip over - for both themselves and spectators. Their furiously technical blend of chaotic metal and electronic elements makes for a frenetic and electrifying live show. It's a spectacle, and one well worth witnessing. Crossfaith are bound to kick a viewer into life just as Jägermeister has a tendency to do so for myself. We probably wouldn’t recommend going for the Jäger that early in the day, but we can certainly recommend Crossfaith.
Bowling For Soup
Where: Fireball Stage @ 9:45PM
If you’re feeling a drunken evening singalong after a long day of excellent music then Bowling For Soup should have you covered. If you're not, turn out anyway, because the band’s set is sure to be one of the weekend's most entertaining. Plus, the guys may also be a little drunk themselves, which is even better. Expect copious amounts of banter, dick jokes, and some catchy songs in between. The band plays the Fireball Stage, which is also home for the day to the likes of Reel Big Fish (read our interview here) and Less Than Jake (read our review of their Atlanta show). Dive on in.
Where: Signature Stage @ 9:45PM
Led by the iconic Laura Jane Grace, Against Me! returns to the festival for the second time, having played it previously in 2010. Headlining The Signature Stage with what will almost definitely be a headline-worthy set, the band is a must-see for those of a punk persuasion. Expect a setlist comprised of hit after hit, with a driven intensity to match. When the likes of ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ and ‘Thrash Unreal’ go down you should probably be there to see it; go get sweaty with Against Me! A killer alternative to Enter Shikari and co.
Where: Signature Stage @ 8:25PM
Like Against Me!, The Bronx are basically legends in the punk-rock scene. Following an appearance at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Festival, and preceding a June French tour, the band are visiting the UK exclusively for Slam Dunk, and are sure to make their short stay a good one. These guys are infamous for always keeping their shows loud and raucous, proceedings brimming with punk bravado and bristling with a barely-controlled chaos. The likes of ‘Knifeman’ and ‘Six Days A Week’ are sure to be weekend highlights. You’ll likely wish that Slam Dunk was pulling a six-day week after this one.
Memphis May Fire
Where: Impericon Stage @ 9:50PM
The Impericon Stage is the place to spend your day if you're into your heavier music, and Memphis May Fire headline the bill, with the likes of metalcore outfits Ice Nine Kills and Oceans Ate Alaska also playing. Slam Dunk is known for catering to a number of alternative genres, and Memphis May Fire will certainly cater to the crowd not necessarily won over by the likes of Neck Deep and co. If you're looking to mosh, make sure to catch Memphis May Fire.
For The Nostalgia
Cute Is What We Aim For
Where: Monster Stage @ 4:35PM
If, like me, you grew up thinking that Cute Is What We Aim For’s debut LP The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch was the pinnacle of pop-punk excellence (no shame) then you should probably wind back the clock and revisit your teenage years / teenage angst. My thirteen year-old self is more than keen. He's a little emotional about it as well, to tell the truth. Catch me belting ‘The Curse Of Curves’ and grinning like a goon at some point.
Where: Fireball Stage @ 2:25PM
The history of The Ataris is certainly a rocky one, but there’s no denying their status or impact on the pop-punk scene of the very early 2000’s. For those raised on the likes of Blink-182 and New Found Glory, the music of The Ataris should certainly resonate. Although vocalist Kris Roe remains the only founding member, the music hasn’t changed a great deal, and as such the band are near essential for those keen to revisit their early years. It’s set to be an interesting set, even if the band aren’t quite what they once were.
Where: Impericon Stage @ 8:40PM
I'm still not entirely sure why the world needed a Madina Lake reunion, but for the most part, the world seems okay with it. Over at The Impericon Stage, you can revisit post-school stints spent in front of the TV browsing through music channels in the hopes of catching ‘House of Cards’ or ‘One Last Kiss.’ I know you still remember the words; go sing them.
Where: Monster Stage @ 8:20PM
Recently reforming and signing to Rise Records, Slam Dunk offers an excellent opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the legendary Long Island emo-punks prior to their imminent resurgence. The potential for new material is certainly enticing, but the band's early '00s discography is more than enough reason to catch The Movielife in action. Excellent back in the day, and likely just as excellent now, the band guarantees a storming set which should prove to be one of the weekends most dynamic. It’s also worth mentioning that frontman Vinnie Caruana will be playing acoustic shows under his I Am The Avalanche moniker on each day of the festival, over at the UPRAWR stage - where you can catch similar acoustic artists.
For The Smaller Show Stealers
Where: Signature Stage @ 2:05PM
Not so much ‘small’ stateside, but perhaps mostly unfamiliar to a British audience, 2017 marks Sorority Noise’s first appearance at Slam Dunk, and their emotive, powerful live show is sure to be a hit. Despite the often weighted nature of their songs, the band’s gigs have a tendency to turn out triumphant. Catch these guys early, and feel alive for the remainder of the day.
Where: Signature Stage @ 3:10PM
Milk Teeth’s debut 2016 LP Vile Child is still in steady Spotify rotation for myself, as it likely will be for those who turn out to catch the band's set on the Signature Stage - which they share with former tourmates Sorority Noise, Citizen and Turnover. One of the choice picks from that already solid line-up, Milk Teeth are set to serve up a frantic half hour of huge songs, with the potential for new music a decent possibility. It’s going to be big, and it’s a shame the band's set clashes with We Are The Ocean over at the Jägermeister stage. Still, try not to miss out on these British punks.
Where: The Key Club Stage @ 4:20PM
These Blackpool-based rockers have been on a steady accession in recent years, thanks in part to signing with Pure Noise Records and firing out a string of killer releases while delivering pulse pounding live shows. Emotive and anthemic, their songs are well suited for a live environment, and their set is sure to go down a storm. Expect them to be higher up the bill in the coming years, but try and catch them this year all the same.
Every Band Playing The Rocksound Breakout Stage
Not too surprising an inclusion given the stage name. Featuring nine bands on the verge of bigger things, this stage is the place to catch up-and-coming artists. Packed with hot tips for the future, choice picks include Southern Wales post-hardcore outfit Casey and contemporary pop-punk band Homebound. It's certainly tempting to neglect this stage for the more popular bands, but there's plenty of new sounds here worth taking in.
Tickets for remaining dates can be purchased HERE.
*All set-times are for the London Hatfield date, but don’t fluctuate greatly in other cities.