As this year is Slam Dunk’s 10th Anniversary, they are bringing some of the best names in music to the stage along with an amazing headlining show from Panic at the Disco. What’s so great about this festival is that you can walk from stage to stage always finding fantastic new music that shifts from genre to genre until something eventually strikes your fancy. As Slam Dunk wraps up its last 2016 show at Hatfield South, here are some of the highlights of the day…
The Kerrang! Fresh Blood Stage gives new, but dedicated, up and coming acts the chance to perform and gain some new fans. These performances are easily some of the best of the day as these musicians are at their most pure and raw, performing just for the love of music. The first of the day on the stage is hardcore newcomers Blood Youth, an energetic band with great breakdowns and drums that hammer into your soul. Their debut EP, Closure, having just recently come out, makes up much of the setlist. Shocked but grateful at the amount of people in the room, vocalist Kaya Tarsus comments, “We weren’t expecting anyone to show up. You guys know Moose Blood is playing right now right? Thank you so much.” Their entertaining and thrilling performance pulls a mosh for almost every track.
Another highlight of the Fresh Blood Stage is pop-punks Waterparks, who have quickly been gaining a following thanks to their recent release of EP Cluster. Their set can be described as nothing but fun, with catchy hits and quirky commentary by singer Awsten Knight. From attempting to get a group of people with vapes to create a human fog machine to telling stories about chasing down Adam Lazzara (Taking Back Sunday) to go bowling with him, he has the room in stitches. The trio put on an amazing set, their style almost reminiscent of Green Day back in the early days, playing hits like ‘Silver’ and ‘I’m a Natural Blue’.
The Atlas Stage plays host to some of the best names in the hardcore realm, including The Word Alive. Many were looking forward to their set as they have recently released new heavy and refined record Dark Matter. They take to the stage with a new air of maturity, playing latest tracks ‘Trapped’ and ‘Face to Face’ as well as popular oldies like ‘Lighthouse’. Singer Telle Smith enjoys jumping into the crowd where he sings face to face with fans screaming the words back at him.
Hardcore hip-hop crew Issues begin their set with new track ‘Coma’, promoting their brand new record Headspace. Although vocalist Tyler Carter is under the weather, he bounces around the stage keeping up the energetic show. New tracks make up most of the setlist but are mixed in with favourites like ‘Stingray Affliction’. Though the songs are upbeat, small talk is not their forte in between. Unclean vocalist Michael Bohn is prone to stating awkward comments that are followed by a silence finally filled with the beginning of a new song.
At the pop-punk hall of fame known as The Key Club Stage, veterans The Starting Line bounce onto the stage. They may have gotten older since their popularity almost twelve years ago, but after finally getting back together they’re making their comeback to fan’s nostalgic delight. During the set they play fan favourites from Say It Like You Mean It and Based On a True Story as well as ‘new-school’ tracks like ‘Direction’. Vocalist Kenny Vasoli jumps around the stage like a kid with endless energy, slamming on his bass. They finish with a fantastic performance of ‘Best of Me’.
Headliner Panic at the Disco makes their presence known with a loud and spectacular performance of fired up track ‘Victorious’ to open the night. They continuously churn out hit after hit from every one of their records from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out right up to Death of a Bachelor, mastermind Brendon Urie’s voice at peak precision. Classic ‘Time to Dance’ has the crowd off their feet and ‘Vegas Lights’ is a massive sing along. Urie pulls off an amazing backflip from the stage at the end of ‘Miss Jackson’ and even throws in a Queen worthy cover of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, hitting the high notes to a tee. Between the incredible light show and blazing fire cannons, it’s a non-stop dance party that brings the entire festival to an amazing close.
Images by Isha shah