Features

The bands and artists you can’t miss at Slam Dunk Festival 2023

Slam Dunk is here! With Enter Shikari, The Offspring, Creeper and loads more coming to Hatfield and Leeds, it’s going to be a lovely time. Need some hot tips for the weekend? Step right this way…

The bands and artists you can’t miss at Slam Dunk Festival 2023
Words:
Nick Ruskell
Photo:
Andy Ford

From returning heroes to the most exciting new stars of the scene, this year’s Slam Dunk Festival line-up absolutely rules. Sadly, you won’t be able to see everyone there, so here’s some K!-selected tips to make your day a bit easier. You’re welcome.

Enter ShikariAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 9pm

“This is as close to a local gig as we’ve been in about five years,” laughed Rou Reynolds to K! a few weeks ago about Shikari’s headlining slot, a short bounce from the band’s St Albans hometown on the day Slam Dunk hits Hatfield. And having recently admitted that over lockdown his creative impulse had dulled to the point that he’d “made peace with the idea of not being ‘Rou from Enter Shikari’ anymore”, what could have been the end has actually resulted in a band refreshed, renewed and really ready to smash Slam Dunk in half. And the stuff from banging new album A Kiss For The Whole World will put their already-high arms-around-your-mate-singing-your-head-off factor into the red. Get yourself in the mood by seeking out their stunning Download Pilot set on YouTube, when they were the perfect band to help joyously release the complex patchwork of emotions of being back out and celebrating all that’s good in life with others after 15 months locked indoors. Oh, are we ready for more of that sort of thing.

Static DressKnotfest Stage, 3:05pm

The rise and rise of Static Dress has been absolutely staggering. Already standing firmly in the “heroes” category, Olli Appleyard and co.’s set is being talked about as one of the weekend’s most eagerly awaited. If you’ve seen them before, you’ll know why: the lad’s a star, and it surely can’t be long before Static Dress’ name shoots its way up festival posters. The perfect opportunity to be able to say you were there…

CreeperThe Kerrang! Tent (Right Stage), 7:15pm

Coming on at dinner time means it won’t be dark when Creeper headline The Kerrang! Tent (yes, we have a whole tent, with two stages in it and everything), but the Southampton horror-punks have long proven themselves spooky enough to be unbothered by even the most glaring of sunlight. This’ll be their first show in the UK since they smashed the Roundhouse back in November, so expect them to have big plans up their sleeves. And if they’re not wearing sleeves, expect big plans anyway. Do we love goths in hot weather? Absolutely.

Trash BoatAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 1:10pm,

Ensuring that St Albans is well represented on the bill, Trash Boat are on hand to bring their fabulous post-pop-punk to the weekend. Currently, they’re writing new music to release as each bit’s ready, to eventually make a full album. What we’ve heard so far slaps, so when it hits at Slam Dunk it’s going to… double slap? Anyway, it’ll be good and we’re here for it.

The OffspringDickies Stage, 9pm

Slam Dunk and The Offspring are a no-brainer pairing. Having laid ground for basically every band on the bill, and indeed, the festival itself, the Cali punk superstars are going to be your guaranteed winner if you’re looking for a party packed with bangers. Twenty-five years since they wrote Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), it’ll still cause pandemonium when they bust it out. Uno, dos, tres, that’s how you end a lovely day…

Holding AbsenceAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 2:10pm

How did Holding Absence get ready for Slam Dunk? By doing a U.S. tour. Which was very considerate of them. It’s another notch on the ol’ scoreboard for Wales’ brilliant rising stars of post-hardcore, and deservedly so. Also, it means they’ll be perfectly match-fit for the weekend on the main stage, and what’s going to be a welcome, victorious return home.

Scene QueenKey Club Stage (Left), 2:20pm

We bloody love Scene Queen, we do. Half party-starter, half hilarious gobshite, all wild time, the Bimbocore sovereign has turned being completely ungovernable into a work of art. Recently, she caught shit from all the right people after releasing anti sex-abuse anthem 18+, and expect her to be on full-bore, troublemaking foghorn mode at Slam Dunk. In the highly unlikely event that she’s not, demand your money back.

Kids In Glass HousesAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 5:20pm

Time for a reunion: here’s Welsh wonders Kids In Glass Houses getting back together for their first show in almost a decade. And we’ve missed them, we have. Out in the (hopefully) sunshine, hearing bangers like Undercover Lover, Give Me What I Want and Matters At All busted out in all their shimmying glory after so long will be the perfect way to spend the early summer afternoon.

ZANDAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 11:25am

It’s the Slam Dunk debut for everyone’s favourite green-headed alt. polymath ZAND. And, for extra badness, they’re going straight to one of SD’s two main stages. Start your day properly with some of the sassiest, coolest, no-fucks-given-est music of the weekend, as ZAND detonates their mix of rock, rap, electro and pop. Watch them, then try to tell us we’re wrong to be this excited.

girlfriendsKey Club Stage (Right), 12:35pm

Rising California outfit girlfriends are a dose of a very particular stripe of pop-punk. They just opened for Avril Lavigne on her Euro run, so you get what we mean, even if you haven’t checked out their sunny new choon Life’s A Brittany. And you should, because at Slam Dunk such sunny fare is an absolute, uh, slam dunk.

WARGASMAmazon Rock Scene Stage, 3:10pm

Fresh from tearing it up on Limp Bizkit’s recent UK arena tour, expect WARGASM to be on particularly cocky form at Slam Dunk. Haters be damned, the dynamic duo have long won the argument by becoming massive and waving it all in their naysayers’ faces. Which actually just adds to the noisy, obnoxious fun.

HeriotKnotfest Stage, 11:40am

Even on the ultra-weighty Knotfest Stage, Heriot are by some distance the heaviest band at SD2023 – possibly ever. Continuing to make a case for themselves as the most exciting new (ish) metal band in Britain, their early start will be one of the fiercest wake-ups you could ask for short of camping on Bikini Atoll. Turn it into a drinking game and have a sip every time guitarist Debbie Gough does a massive kick while she’s playing. You’ll ruin the rest of your day, but it’ll be fun.

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