Slam Dunk Festival South 2019

Day two of Slam Dunk 2019 sees us hit Hatfield for the final day of the touring festival. As a regular to the Birmingham date, it was weird heading to an all outdoor version of Slam Dunk. What was weirder but probably the best thing about the festival, was the fact that there were double stages, allowing for clashes to be minimised.

Opening up on a boiling hot day was William Ryan Key (or Ryan Key, depending on what you prefer, he doesn’t mind either). While I was looking forward to hearing him sing his solo material while not ill, I was not disappointed with the show.

As a homage to the festival’s origins, rather than play his new music, he decided to do a one-man version of some Yellowcard classics. This led to one massive sing-a-long for the thousands in the crowd, all joined in a nostalgic throwback to one of the most revered bands in rock.

While waiting for Busted (which turned out to not be Busted as they had changed the bill but not the online clashfinder), Kublai Khan were on the next stage, just finishing their set. If there had not been a double stage in the tent, I would not have seen a band who has become one of my favourites. They’re brutal, heavy, and downright amazing!

After an hour long queue to get cash (downside to having an outdoor venue, WiFi likes to go down, meaning so do card machines), the sun goes in and the heavens start to open as we try to work our way into the tent for Busted.

We failed, but could still hear them clearly from outside (big up to the sound techs), so could still party like we were in the Year 3000 (pun intended). Busted never get old for anyone, they sounded as good as they did back in 2003.

As It Is gave it their all on main stage as they performed a set predominately made up of their latest album to a huge crowd singing every word back to them.

One of the highlights of the day personally was The Word Alive. The band never fail to put on a good show according to their fans, and I must agree. With the focus of the set on the two most recent albums; Dark Matter and Violent Noise, there was absolutely nothing left from The Word Alive as they left the stage, giving their all on the last show of their UK and European run.

Who better to have a punk sing-a-long to than Simple Plan? One of the bands that blew up early noughties and still hold their ground today. They turned main stage into the giant palm of their hand as they powered through a set packed full of classic Simple Plan tracks, adding to the nostalgia of the day. Every word was sung or shouted back to the band and even the drummer got in on the act, becoming frontman for a few minutes and diving into the crowd.

Story Of The Year were the most surprising act for me. I went into their set to get some videos for my partner who loves them and came out a fan. They’re energetic, entertaining and push out some intense bangers from their debut album, right through to their latest release.

Lights is unarguably the most diverse act on the bill, her dance-filled pop stands out against the punk, pop-punk, hardcore and metal on show but she fit right in with the crowd. Getting everyone dancing along (shout out to the two guys behind us who were full on ballroom dancing, you made our day). Her wonderful voice wowed over even the skeptics as she put on a show perfect for healing a stage.

All Time Low were disappointing, listening to the opening track, they were very off key and in turn, this meant an earlier trip to see Bullet For My Valentine, to counter, the last song of the All Time Low set was also as out of tune as the beginning. So I was disappointed that the first time seeing a band who’s music I’ve loved since I was a teenager was so poor.

On to Bullet who put on one hell of a show. For me personally, the Bridgend metallers are better on record than live, purely as the two times I’ve seen them, I’ve been impressed but not as much as I have whenever I listen to their music on record.

They were much better than at Download last year and I enjoyed the set more at Slam Dunk and was delighted to see some local boys doing well. The crowd were absolutely in awe of the quartet, loving every second.

Elizabeth Birt

June 3, 2019

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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