Slam Dunk Festival just seem to pull it out of the bag every single year and 2017 was no different. The mighty Enter Shikari were booked to headline the main stage with a Take To The Skies 10-year anniversary show and we loved it so much we dedicated a whole post to how amazing it was.
It wasn’t just Shikari who were top notch at Slam Dunk, every single one of the bands who played the main Jagermeister Stage brought something special and unique to the festival and luckily we were there to catch them all and bring you the low down.
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
The former Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate frontman was the first to hit up the Jagermeister stage, and he sure brought the nostalgia, playing classic tunes from both bands along with new material from his solo endeavors. At times it did feel like his stripped back vibe didn’t quite fit in on the main stage. Nevertheless, it was a lovely set to start off what was going to be a long day of good music – almost like a calm before the storm, if you will. 7/10 SW
Japan techno metal outfit Crossfaith continue to leave their marker as a live act in the scene that truly need to be witnessed to be believed. Energy, sweat, and passion drips from the band throughout their set, it’s an endearing watch that further cements the band as an outfit that can be put onto pretty much any bill willing and smash it out the park. Crowd favourites such as ‘Monolith’ and ‘Omen’ make their way into the set and subsequently cause more than a little bit of carnage. Vocalist Kenta Koie never lets his vocals drop below pulsating, and as expected – there’s a level of bounce that exists throughout the set that just cannot be ignored. Part dance, part fight, part riff – Crossfaith never seem to disappoint, and while on record aren’t always as consistent as they should be; live they are a sight to behold. 8/10 KP
We Are The Ocean
Saying goodbye to a band is never easy especially when that band has been synonymous with Slamdunk Festival for years. We Are The Ocean announced their impending split a while ago and their final shows were set for Slamdunk but at the time it seemed so far away so when it crept up on us it was a pretty emotional time. It seems like we weren’t the only one’s a tad emotional with some tears shed from the crowd. As you’d expect WATO decided to do a complete ‘best of’ set which really drove home how even great bands who are extremely talented are finding it tough surviving in the current musical climates.
Tears and sadness aside it’s one of the most fun sets we saw at Slamdunk Festival from the massive opening sing-a-long to ‘Confessions’ right through to the screams of ‘The Waiting Room’, there’s something about this band that really connects with the crowd. Liam Cromby’s vocals have always been one of the best things about the band and they don’t disappoint at the festival with a raspy nature that’s almost impossible to find anywhere else.
During their London set Slamdunk organizer Ben Ray joined the band on stage to present them with an award for being the band who have played the festival the most times, a fitting end for the band. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that we won’t be seeing the band again but we’re ready with the albums just a click away if we want some nostalgia. 9/10 RW
After being billed as ‘special guests’ for this year’s Slam Dunk, and having played the festival several times already, Bury Tomorrow were one of the more hotly anticipated bands on the lineup. By the time the band was expected to take to the main stage a decent sized crowd had gathered, but unfortunately, technical difficulties meant they were late starting by about 15 minutes. With only a 40 minute slot this meant a few songs had to be cut, but Bury Tomorrow still put on an impressive show despite this. With most of the cut songs being from latest album Earthbound, the set focused mainly on ‘hits’ such as ‘Man on Fire’ and ‘Lionheart’ as well as a ferocious rendition of ‘Sceptres’.
To make up for such a short set, frontman Dan Winter-Bates promised the disappointed crowd that he would say hi to every single one of them at the band’s merch table. We’re not sure whether he stayed true to his word, but it was certainly a nice gesture that suggests Bury Tomorrow are a band that treats their fans with respect. 7/10 JF
Despite being just two albums old, Beartooth are a well-traveled band, notching countless tours and accomplishments on their belt during their five year stint as a metalcore quintet. Dipping into hits from their debut album Disgusting as well as latest release Aggressive – Caleb Shomo and co put on a youthful set that was certain to please a majority of the crowd.
The star-power of the band never really seems to flash though, and while ‘The Lines’, and ‘In Between’ all cause a raucous and a sing along – it never really manages to hit fever pitch. It was a professional performance from Beartooth; turn up, play some hits, get a sing along going, and then off we go. Such is the growing size of the metallers that maybe a slightly later slot, or a headline slot on a different stage would have caused a more intense atmosphere – but Beartooth fall a tiny bit short of perfection here. 7/10 KP
In stark contrast to Bury Tomorrow’s set earlier in the day, Deaf Havana’s set consisted mainly of songs from their latest album, All These Countless Nights. Kicking off with album opener ‘Ashes, Ashes’ it was clear that though they may not have been as heavy as some of the bands they were sharing the stage with, they were perfectly worthy of their position on the main stage. The huge sing-alongs to singles ‘Sing’ and ‘Trigger’ as well as older tracks like ‘Mildred’ and ‘Cassiopeia’ sounded perfectly at home in an arena making it easy to imagine Deaf Havana headlining venues like this themselves one day. 8/10 JF
Don Broco were the talk of the town during this year’s Slam Dunk, thanks to promotional masks that tied in with their latest single ‘Pretty’ seeming to make an appearance anywhere you looked. Playing on the main stage right before the headliner was going to be a tough act to pull off, but they did it with such ease and precision that it’s quite clear to see why they’ve managed to evoke such a large following all over the world.
The set was packed with the best of the best, including cuts from both albums— Priorities and Automatic— but, much to fans’ excitement, they touched on their very roots as well with tracks such as ‘Thug Workout’. Lead singer Rob Damiani still possesses that very raw energy that he did years ago, which went on to inspire the fans to be just as spirited. Unsurprisingly they closed the set with their latest offering, the one that had been promoted on creepy masks all day, but with that it was safe to say that Don Broco had secured their position as one of the bands that really made Slam Dunk 2017. 9/10 MC
Reviews by: James Fitzgerald, Kris Pugh, Madison Convey, Santhi Weiss and Rhian Westbury