Live Review: Slam Dunk Festival, Leeds Uni, May 24th 2009 (George)

slamdunkPeople have literally camped overnight for this one, Slam Dunk is bigger than ever, expanding to 6 stages and a DJ set bar now, and this one is packed out with lots of different colours, (and bands mingling in and out, Sean Smith of the Blackout’s hair sticks out like a sore thumb) and the excitement is ecstatic as people rush to their chosen stages for the day.

Young Guns come out to a gathering Stylus crowd on the Fishing for Eskimo stage, and gartered a splendid reaction considering they were the first band on-stage. They play an assortment of material from new EP Mirrors, and crunch down with superb riffage splitting the floor for some well deserved pits, while each song was sang superbly, this will of gathered them some real fans.

Me vs Hero came out to the Punktastic stage with a lot to be expected, considering the capacity had reached its maximum. They did not disappoint; Spice Weasel BAM! and Days That Shape Our Lives made for excellent sing-a-longs, with a mental crowd, someone even destroying a light on the ceiling with their foot in the process. A real contender for crowd of the day.

The Urgency garter a lot of screams from the younger, female members of the crowd, but unfortunately that’s all they seem to garter, as their set is somewhat…bland, in comparison to the rest of the bands on show on this stage today. Their usual quirky, edgy, and poppy rock form is left with nothing to be desired today, and although frontman “X – cant remember name” has a beautifully sung voice, you can’t help but wonder why The Urgency are even trying to please a crowd who are, in all honesty, waiting for the band next up the bill to take to the stage.

That band in question, takes to the stage in some form. Amid a mass of screams, cheers, and shoves, Hollywood Undead set foot to an uproar. In what must be the most packed crowd of the day, the hip-hop metal act literally tear the room apart with lead single Undead. It seems every person in the room tonight, whether they’re diehard fans, or simply attending for the morbid curiosity of these six masked men, it seems everyone knows at least some lyrics; mostly so, to the gangsta-anthem, Everywhere I Go. The band pull off what is arguably the best performance of the day, and do not disappoint the high expectations they had.

York metallers Glamour Of The Kill take to a tiny sweatbox in an upstairs compartment, the Dropdead Stage. While they play like they always play, and thats brutally, and beautifully, there’s no denying they would of been a lot better placed on a bigger stage. Bodies attempt to crash into each other, to not much avail, as the room is so packed for its size, it ends up as no more than a lame shove. A great set of songs, but some unfortunate placing.

In the main room’s opposite side, Paige take to the UK now! stage to what may be the biggest crowd of the day for their stage. Sing-a-longs are had by all, and righteous pits appear in full force, as Paige drive, and drive, and really put a smile on people’s faces. You Got Guts’s chants and sing-songs, showing why this band is really taking off right now.

Upstairs on the Punktastic stage, Attack! Attack! play possibly the best I for one have ever seen them play. Sound problems go relatively un-noticed, and it’s clear everyone in the room is well up for seeing only the Welsh rockers tonight, and not just here because there’s nobody else to see. (Which in turn, isn’t true indeed, as Cobra Starship and The King Blues are currently playing a set each) Frontmen Neil Starr and Ryan Day treat the crowd like a family of sorts, and encourage each and every sing along, hand clap and mosh pit the crowd start up. A cover of Papa Roach’s Last Resort‘s intro makes it onto the set, to a big cheer from the crowd, and a new track gets debuted. Every song sounds so strong, so brilliant, it’s clear why Attack! Attack! have attracted this many people as opposed to bigger acts currently on-stage.

Unfortunately, northern Irish prog-rock trio In Case Of Fire are saddled with the task of playing to a crowd that are standing on the opposite end of the room to their stage. (At least 2000 people are currently waiting for headliners You Me At Six) With about a row of people at the barrier, with a handful of onlookers near the bar, the band have their work cut out for them. There is but a single light providing some sort of show, and in all honesty, the proceedings are very dim. In Case Of Fire play beautiful music, which is shown here tonight, especially in closer Plan A, and they play it incredibly well, as if fighting for their lives, but if they continue to play to crowds who don’t really get them, just how long will they last?



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