With students up and down the country turning in their dissertations or walking thankfully out of their last exams of the year, there’s no doubt that festival season is finally on the horizon. However, before the mud-laden slog of Leeds Fest or the sun-baked, Instagram-fueled chaos of Glastonbury – Slam Dunk arrives every May to herald in the summer in the most emo way possible.
Okay, so that’s not completely fair. Contrary to popular belief, Slam Dunk is not just the UK’s answer to Warped Tour, filled with camo shorts, checkered vans and wrists weighed down by rubber bracelets. Instead of just parading out the current high-flyers of the alternative scene, Slam Dunk takes the time to balance the nostalgic with the cutting edge, inviting respected mainstays to share the stage with underground talent.
The result is a genre-spanning, multi-faceted celebration of rock in all it’s forms – where you can eat your weight in vegan mac and cheese and then work it off in the moshpit. Also, 2018 sees Slam Dunk North get to really stretch its muscles, moving from the confines of Leeds City Centre to the sprawling grounds of Temple Newsam. There, you can see heavy metal heavy-hitters Bullet For My Valentine just across the field from punk legends NOFX, while All Time Low deliver their trademark feel-good pop-punk.
With that said, it’s further down the bill where things get really interesting. I Don’t Know How But They Found Me features the bassist from Panic! At The Disco in an art rock duo focussed around bringing the music of a long-gone seventies band back to life. Though the songs are written by Weekes Seaman themselves, they frame their discography as a process of rediscovery and that, combined with their uniquely charismatic performance style and slick retrofuturist aesthetic, makes them an unmissable act.
Likewise, As It Is and Microwave have both breathed life into two contemporary genres that can occasionally feel a little paint by numbers. Patty Walters and co have evolved from happy-go-lucky pop-punk puppies into a much darker and more layered version of themselves – proving with undeniable live prowess that emo really isn’t dead. As for Microwave, the sincerity with which they’ve approached the tried and true formula of stripped back post-hardcore has earned them a loyal legion of fans, who you’ll no doubt find, along with many others, singing along in the sunlight.
You can buy tickets for Slam Dunk North (and South!) here.
Image credit: www.lfxevents.co.uk