After a long trek over from the site entrance we arrived at the Rock Sound Breakout stage to find the party already in full swing. It was 2 in the afternoon but Swansea five-piece Dream State had already drawn a sizeable crowd. A fast, furious circle pit was already in motion as the band pounded out ‘Help Myself’ from their recent Recovery EP. Singer CJ is clearly a natural front-person, captivating the audience with her raw, emotional performance and getting up close and personal by singing from the barrier and crowd surfing several times during the set. The screams of joy from the crowd as they launched into smash single ‘White Lies’ indicated that Dream State’s music is already seriously resonating with people in a big way. They may have only two EPs under their belt but this band are clearly heading for big things.
Sleep On It
Sleep On It only just released their debut album at the tail end of last year and they’ve finally made their way over to the UK. Though they’ve been going for a few years new, it’s only since their signing to Equal Vision Records in 2016 that they truly caught the attention of the scene. Since then it’s just been an upwards journey and it was quite impressive to see the band appear on one of the later slots on the lineup – playing at around 5pm on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. With catchy hooks and infectious melodies, it’s no surprise that the room started to fill up pretty quickly. It wasn’t a very long set but all it took was 7 songs for Sleep On It to leave a mark. The crowd bounced along gleefully to the band throughout the set, with ‘See You Around’ being a clear fan favourite. It’s no surprise either – we had the track stuck in our head for a while after the set and now again just from writing this!
For some of the smaller bands playing Slam Dunk, playing later in the day may mean that the clashes are just a little bit more brutal, which unfortunately seemed to be the case for Milestones’ set. Despite the crowd being slightly smaller than we would normally expect for the band, they didn’t let this dampen their spirits. If you’ve ever seen Milestones before then you’re aware of just how lively and dynamic their performance is. Frontman Matt Clarke has a great vocal range that adds an extra something to band’s already vibrant tracks. Showcasing tracks from their newly released album Red Lights like ‘Paranoid’ as well as bangers from debut EP Equal Measures like ‘Call Me Disaster’, it was a fun time to say the least.
It’s always lovely to see a hard-working, up-and-coming band getting the attention they deserve, and Holding Absence’s set at Slam Dunk was a perfect example of this. As well as Dream State, who we saw earlier, Holding Absence are evidence of a wealth of young talent coming out of South Wales at the moment. Off the back of their recent split EP with Loathe, and a handful of singles, word has spread quickly and the Cardiff band were able to attract an impressive crowd. It’s easy to see why, as they show all the signs of a huge band in the making. Massive, emotionally charged tunes (such as ‘Dream of Me’ and ‘Heaven Knows’) – check. Powerful vocals, courtesy of Lucas Woodland, ranging from beautiful singing to intense screams – check. Soaring choruses that inspired huge singalongs from the Birmingham crowd – check. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them, and you should too.