11 Reasons Slam Dunk 2017 Is Going To Rule
Time off booked? Sunscreen reserves replenished? Last year’s mud scraped off those crusty welly-boots? If not, you better get you’re a*s into gear, because Festival season 2017 is here! Kicking us off with their most earthquaking line-up ever, you don’t really need us to tell you Slam Dunk is a must-have ticket. But gosh dang-it, we’re just so damn excited we thought we’d give you eleven reasons you absolutely need to go along anyway…
11. IT’LL BE YOUR LAST-EVER CHANCE TO CATCH WE ARE THE OCEAN LIVE!
For all the good times, we can expect SD17 to deliver a few tears in beers, too, as Essex rockers We Are The Ocean take the opportunity to wave goodbye surrounded by a legion of friends and fans! “It just made sense to end at Slam Dunk, I think we’ve played there more than anywhere else. We owe a lot to that festival. They seem to have us back every year,” admitted frontman Liam Cromby when we caught up with him recently. “It feels - in a weird, [pseudo-religious] way, like we’ll be at the pearly gates, saying goodbye to all our friends."
10. WE’LL GET TO FIND OUT IF TONIGHT ALIVE’S POP-PUNK RENAISSANCE IS IN FULL-SWING.
Let’s be honest. Tonight Alive’s 2015 detour into pop territory was, er, divisive at best. Delicious stormclouds appeared on the horizon, however, with the drop of the Aussie wonders’ latest single World Away. Lightning-strike guitars. Thunder-rumble percussion. And irresistible frontwoman Jenna McDougall sounding, once again, like a singer with her face to the tempest. One track, of course, isn’t exactly enough to consolidate a punk-rock revival. But with a new album waiting just over the horizon, where better than Slam Dunk to write themselves back into heavy(ish) music’s history books?
9. THERE'S A NECK DEEP HEADLINE SET!
“Generic pop-punk,” they may well play, but does anyone do it better than Wrexham lads Neck Deep right now?! With their upcoming third album in the can as of the start of April, it’s the ideal time for them to overcome those Growing Pains and step up to festival headline status. And, while their return to the main stage will have to wait, there’s something brilliantly appropriate about what’s likely to be the most vigorous set of the weekend taking pride of place on the Monster Energy stage. Altogether now: “Kali Maaaaa!”
8. A CLASH OF THE PUNK TITANS: AGAINST ME! VS THE BRONX!
What’s better than getting one of punk-rock’s greatest bands to headline the a stage at your festival? Getting two of them to do the deed one after another, obviously. Laura Jane Grace and Gainesville greats Against Me! have been on an unstoppable roll in recent years – latest albums Transgender Dysphoria Blues and Shape Shift With Me arguably the greatest of their twenty-year careers – but Matt Caughthran and LA veterans The Bronx – celebrating a fifteenth anniversary themselves – will relish the presence of a little chaotic competition. I Was A Teenage Anarchist. Heart Attack American. True Trans Rebel. Sh*tty Future. Black Me Out. White Guilt. With that sort of arsenal at their disposal, we can’t wait to get caught in the crossfire
7. FRANK IERO & THE PATIENCE. NEED WE SAY MORE?
We’re not going to lie about it; we absolutely love Frank Iero. We’d be excited to catch him whether he was jamming out an acoustic set in a cardboard-box factory, splashing up a storm amidst some mucky festival portaloos or haunting the hotel lobby from American Horror Story Season 5. [Actually, that last one might just be pretty awesome…] Thankfully, that near-fatal bus accident down under has done nothing to dampen his performer’s desier, and we can expect his set on the Signature Brew stage to be the perfect spot for him to unfurl some ragged cuts from his Cellabration and Patience incarnations. Whether it’s Stomachaches or Parachutes, however, you can expect the ex-MCR man to strike you right in the feels.
6. COUNTERFEIT, WATERPARKS, SEAWAY, WITH CONFIDENCE, WSTR AND BOSTON MANOR ARE HEADING-UP A RAVENOUS NEW-SCHOOL PACK
Nostalgia is all well and good, of course. But expect the new breed to put on the sets people will be lying about having been to in years to come. Snapping at the heels of the aforementioned legends, Jamie Campbell Bower and Counterfeit will be the spearhead of the fresh blood strikeback, out to win over scores of new fans with their promise that Together We Are Stronger and the raggedly affirmative tunes to match. Repping the transatlantic contingent, Awsten Knight and Waterparks can consolidate their status as US pop-punk’s rising stars with a shedload of candied hooks. Elsewhere, Ontario rockers Seaway, rising Sydney crew With Confidence, Liverpudlian smashers WSTR and Blackpool lot Boston Manor can confirm that the international punk scene is in the rudest possible health.
5. POP-PUNK LEGENDS BOWLING FOR SOUP, LESS THAN JAKE, REEL BIG FISH AND GOLDFINGER WILL DE SHOWING THE YOUNG GUNS EXACTLY HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE.
Seriously, if the promise of getting to hear Girl All The Bad Guys Want, All My Friends Are Metalheads, Sell Out and Superman all on the same (Fireball Whiskey) stage on the very same day doesn’t have you immediately scrambling for a ticket you need to take a long hard look at yourself. Big-grinning pop-punk figureheads Bowling For Soup will be doling out lessons in Punk Rock 101. Ska-punk veterans Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish will be keeping it brassy in their race to empty the skank-bank. And latter-day pop-punk production overlord John Feldmann will be reminding everyone that he had a life before 5SOS, All Time Low and One OK Rock with his outstanding original outfit Goldfinger.
4. IT WILL MARK THE RETURN OF MADINA LAKE
It’s been too long. It really, really has. The Chicagoan alt. rockers might have their roots in the American Midwest, but their hearts have always belonged to the UK. Three and a half years on from their last shows – and, like Shikari, celebrating a decade since their seminal debut From Them, Through Us, To You – the return of Madina Lake (subheadlining the Impericon stage) is bound to delight fans new and old alike. Boasting a history of triumph, tragedy and all round niceness, the’re just too good to be allowed to gather dust on the shelf. And though additional cuts from Attics To Eden and World War III are enough to sweeten the deal in and of themselves, the promise of new material has us salivating at the prospect.
3. BEARTOOTH, BURY TOMORROW AND CROSSFAITH WILL BE COMPETING FOR THE BIGGEST CIRCLE PIT
Smashing the Jagermeister stage like an old-school Batman “SMACK! BAM! WALLOP!” three of modern metal’s hardest hitters will be throwing-down in an intercontinental battle to see whose fans will lose the most sh*t. In the red corner, Osaka electronicore mob Crossfaith will be continuing the charge off their RX Overdrive EP, gearing up for a new long-player. Punching out of the white corner, Southampton’s no-longer-secret special guests Bury Tomorrow have all the elemental excellence of fourth LP Earthbound to draw on. And in the stars-and-stripes shorts, Ohioan ragers Beartooth will be looking to live up to the name of unhinged second LP Aggressive. If there’re to be winners, however, you can expect them to be the bloody-knuckled bruisers absolutely owning the Jagermeister stage right through the mid-afternoon. Pack a gum-shield.
2. DON BROCO AND DEAF HAVANA ARE BACK!
It’s not just Shikari representing the best of British, mind. Filling out the upper slots on a UK-dominated mainstage, Norfolk alt. rockers Deaf Havana will be rolling through with the latest stop on their All These Countless Nights trek, while we can expect a resounding homecoming for Bedford lads Don Broco who’ve already rocked Japan (alongside Babymetal) and the U.S. (with State Champs, Against The Current and With Confidence) in 2017 already. Can stop-offs in Leeds, Birmingham and Hatfield really compare to that sort of globetrotting jetset lifestyle? We’d bet our bottom Dollar, Yen or Euro that there’ll be 40,000 fans waiting to remind them there’s no place like home.
1. ENTER SHIKARI CELEBRATE 10 YEARS OF TAKE TO THE SKIES
If you’re going to make your Slam Dunk debut, you may as well do it in style. That’s bound to have been the thinking from St Albans’ finest, who’ll be making their festival bow with a headline return to their rave-rock roots and a ten-year celebration of the album that started it all. Expect Labyrinth, Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour, No Sssweat, Return To Energiser and Mothership off Take To The Skies. In fact, if the whopping twelve tracks off that genre-bending debut they’ve been featuring on this tour so far are anything to go by, you can expect even deeper cuts than those. Expect a whole host of other milestone bangers, too, of course: everything from Juggernauts’ towering optimism to Anaesthetist’s slipshod intoxication a celebration of their decade-long metamorphoses into the UK’s most vital contemporary outfit – and our most unmissable live act.
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Words: Sam Law