Ones To Watch at Slam Dunk 2019

As we have just under a month until Slam Dunk Festival, Tom Butterworth gives us his lowdown on his stand out acts of the festival in the first of a two part Ones To Watch.

Menzingers

With the release of After The Party, Menzingers shifted from the emo tinge of their breakthrough The Impossible Past and it’s follow up Rented World, to something more akin to the Springsteen-influenced punk that The Gaslight Anthem have popularised in recent years,  and what an inspired switch it has proved. Perhaps it was made for the bigger moments and bigger stages, and this will be the chance for us to find out with them playing the headline slot on the Dickies Stage. This is a big moment for the Philadelphia-based band and they will surely top line-ups on stages bigger than this in the near future.

Employed To Serve

As Monty Python once said, and now for something completely different. Employed To Serve’s journey over the last four years has been nothing short of astonishing. They’ve gone from being a relatively unknown band, to releasing The Warmth Of  A Dying Sun and scooping Kerrang’s album of the year gong in the process. They’ve moved to a major label, and are currently gearing up to release third album, Eternal Forward Motion. In the process of this, they’ve developed a prestigious reputation as a ferocious live band.  This will be the band’s first UK festival appearance after the release of Eternal Forward Motion, and their first chance to showcase those new songs to a wider audience. If you want to see them on a smaller stage, do it now, because if current trajectory is anything to go by, this could be one of the last times.

Pagan

A year ago, the members of Pagan hadn’t released their debut album and hadn’t set foot on English soil. Since then they’ve unleashed last year’s death-disco masterpiece that was Black Wash and played a UK headline tour (and they’ll have done another by the time they hit the stage at Slam Dunk). This is a band at the very promising beginnings of what will hopefully be a long career. They are already beginning to climb up the venue ladder from tour to tour. You’ll have to be in early to catch them as one of the first bands on The Key Club Stage, but they’ll surely be a live-wire start to the day that you won’t want to miss.

Cancer Bats

From a band building a reputation, to one whose is so firmly cemented that you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has seen a bad Cancer Bats show.  They’ve become veterans at Slam Dunk, even headlining a stage in 2013. The last few years have been pretty full-on for the Canadian hardcore crew, from performing explosive Black Sabbath tribute sets as Bat Sabbath, to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the exceptional Hail Destroyer, to surprise releasing their 6th album The Spark That Moves last year. Now they bring their wild stage presence and unrelenting riffs to the heaviest of the stages at Slam Dunk, The Impericon Stage. With the bands they’re brushing shoulders with here they’ll have to bring their A-Game, but it would appear that that’s all that they’re capable of, so we should be in for a treat.

Turnstile

One of those bands rubbing a shoulder with them is the revelatory Turnstile. At the end of last year, it was impossible to move for seeing their sophomore album Time & Space atop everybody’s end-of-year lists. They have absolutely taken the world by storm with their brilliant melding of classic hardcore and 90s alternative rock which they blend the two expertly with ear-worm riffs and scream along vocals. If the clips coming out of last years’ US festival circuit are anything to go by, those attending Slam Dunk are surely in for a treat.

Milk Teeth

One album, a large number of EPs, and more line-up changes than a Premier League football team. Now a three-piece, British alt-punk rioters Milk Teeth are not showing any signs of letting recent changes slow them down. 2017’s EPs Be Nice and Go Away were followed up with the departure of bassist Chris Webb and guitarist Billy Hutton. Wasting no time, they drafted in the singer of Nervus (and countless other bands), Em Foster, to complete the trio with Becky Blomfield and Oli Holbrook, and released the outrageously brilliant single Stain. Given the prolific nature of this band, and the hunger they seem to have to either be on tour or in the studio whenever possible, it can’t be long until the next material is released, and it would be great  to hear new songs performed at Slam Dunk.

Tom Butterworth

April 26, 2019

Hi, I'm Tom Butterworth. Born and raised in Northampton, resident in Liverpool for six years now. I've been obsessive about music for over ten years. My favourite bands include Nightwish, The Beatles, Letlive, Slipknot, Pink Floyd, The Menzingers and Biffy Clyro among others. \m/

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