Published on March 31st, 2016 | by Ben Adsett0
SLAMDUNK MIDLANDS 2016 PREVIEW
After the Easter bank holidays offered a few days out of offices and the relative freedom for most, I am left looking forward to the next bank holiday. In just over a month I will be stood shoulder to shoulder with likeminded people watching another killer line-up at Slam Dunk Midlands 2016. Much like the line up every year there is an almost endless combination of great bands on offer allowing for a personalised line up to make any given Sunday an aural treat.
The venue change to the NIA in Birmingham will be Wolverhampton’s loss as Slam Dunk has always been a fantastic event in the city but it is un-arguably Birmingham’s gain. With the ticket price totalling less than standard entry just to see some of the headline acts it’s clearly going to be another busy year.
The main draw is of course neither venue or ticket price; it is all about the line-up and twenty sixteen promises to offer one of the strongest line ups you could possibly fit into a day. It would be impossible to pick just 5 acts that should be pencilled into a ‘must sees’ list (clash dependent) so check out the tabs for various lists
This festival has a really special thing where through booking bridges between musical history are filled, the idea that at any point a kid is going to find their new favourite band or see a band that inspired one of their idols is as wonderful as the reality of seeing a crowd getting hyped up by a great band. There are always some incredible acts within the Slam Dunk line-up but this year they have really pushed the boat out and already announced some ‘legendary’ choices. The kind of bands that have worked for years, decades even to develop their trade and to achieve success and legend status. If one thing is for sure these five are going to blow you away as live acts and give you a great story to tell.
It would be rude not to start with the Beat, it seems almost un-necessary to offer an introduction. As far as British music goes the Beat are incredibly important, as far as the midlands go the Beat are important and I’m sure you can predict the ending to any further sentences. This is a band who clearly tick all possible boxes in the legend category as veterans of a music scene which really stood for something and as incredible musicians, writers and performers. After standing in the forefront of the ska and two tone movements there are few acts who will be sharing this stage who have not been inspired by these Birmingham natives.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO
The crossover between emo and pop is often a bane of contention amongst music fans, Panic! At the Disco are a great opinion divider in this sense. There is no real argument to be had about the level of success or the level of importance they have had as an influence on fellow musicians as they have achieved as much as anyone else on the bill. Their ability to draw a crowd will ensure there is a sea of sing-a-longs for them to look over from start to finish.
NEW FOUND GLORY
NFG have a similar level of widespread inspiration, generations of pop punk fans have been blooded into the pop punk scene by this Floridian four-piece and I’m sure many more will take the oath whilst watching a storming set in twenty sixteen.
EVERY TIME I DIE
These New Yorkers come from a city respected so highly for hardcore it has its own sub-genre (NYHC) unsurprisingly Every Time I Die have taken this inspiration and moulded it into an individual sound. They have embraced elements of metalcore, math rock and noize and it all fits into a tight live show. Whatever time of day ETID take the stage you can be safe in the knowledge that this set is going to go off.
New Jersey has a diverse musical history which spans genre and time, Catch 22 are firmly carved into this musical legacy and they are going to without doubt offer one of the most memorable performances of the day. As a band they have been active for twenty years and they have been integral in launching or at least boosting the early careers of an incredibly diverse selection of bands. As a live entity expect mayhem and songs you leave the building humming.
There is an incredibly strong little scene simmering away in the UK at the moment with an almost weekly emergence of talent. We are at a point where the important records of the late nineties and early noughties are slowly developing cult status and interesting a whole new generation of musicians. This UK punk scene has been built on the foundations of hard work and a love of musical craftsmanship and within every note or impassioned performance from these five you will be drawn into this scene.
If anyone is at the forefront of this musical revolution its these three Brighton via Cornwall chaps, they seem to have gone from strength to strength as both performers and songwriters in the last couple of years and are one of the hardest working bands you will find. Every time these three play a show it becomes an event and there is absolutely no doubting that this will be a memorable moment. Each time Gnarwolves play a show in a reasonably small venue there is a feeling that it may be their last in such a setting and this will be a similar case. In a festival where headline quality acts will be playing back to back Gnarwolves are still hotly tipped to steal the show.
Hot on the tail of Gnarwolves are Creeper who’s individual dark punk sound has propelled them meteorically in the last twelve months. With three releases to their name so far and a gruelling tour schedule these six Southampton natives have been prolific since their inception in twenty fourteen. They are signed to the legendary Roadrunner Records and have a reputation for being one of the best live acts in the country.
In twenty fifteen Roam stole the Slam Dunk show at least within the early afternoon; this was just one example of a festival season which could not have gone any more according to plan for them. Passion, intensity and an instant connection with audiences have propelled Roam’s growth and within this line-up they are ticking the must see box without a doubt.
There are few bands who can offer such intensity both live and on recordings, Trash Boat are one of these few bands. They are the result of clever song-writing and musical talent and like all the bands within this scenes (and list) have prided themselves on hard work and a DIY attitude. Their rewards have come in the shape of a contract with Hopeless Records and an ever increasing musical stock.
Within a scene where meteoric rises have been a mainstay for the last year Moose Blood have surpassed even this description. They are much like the other four on this list a definite success story within this underground scene. They encompass elements of each of the above into an emo/punk hybrid which comes across as deeply compelling when played live. The style which combines the darkness of Alkaline Trio, the grit and intrigue of American Football and the hooks of Panic at the Disco is individual and has clearly hooked in a captive audience.
Slam Dunk’s diverse line up embraces the loud and the brash perfectly, last year the likes of Trash Talk, The Bronx and Deez Nuts took the outdoor stage by storm. This year there will be plenty of heavy moments and there are some truly wonderful hardcore acts on offer. If head-bangs, wind-milling and shout along choruses are your thing these are bands you definitely want to, possibly need to catch.
Longstanding Canadian hardcore with a positive outlook, they play loud, fast and brash hardcore and have developed a following and a sound in over a decade.
Blood Youth bridge the gap between melodic and post hardcore and have picked up live plaudits since evolving from the much loved Climates. This evolution has opened the almost oxymoronic quality of melodic hardcore where they combine fragile melody with the brute force of hardcore.
CHUNK! NO CAPTAIN CHUNK!
French screamo pioneers with all the subtlety of a punch to the jaw. Hidden within all the intensity there is some incredible musicianship and a live performance which will captivate a room within seconds.
OF MICE AND MEN
This Californian Metalcore/post-hardcore five-piece have developed an incredibly strong following based on their clever song-writing and chaotic live style. The headline slot on the heaviest stage will offer a crashing sea of people and the chance for these five to really get something going.
Every year Slam Dunk has a knack of finding bands that haven’t played for a while and bringing them back. Sometimes these are bands that have split up or on a hiatus and sometimes there is just a welcome surprise on the line up. This year is not unlike previous years and there are some great returning acts.
In an almost forgotten British sub-genre (skacore) King Prawn were one of the most innovative acts and found themselves at the forefront of a small musical scene. They have a reputation for playing intense and diverse live sets and have not slowed down as they hit maturity. There is no arguing with the quality of their back catalogue and every King Prawn set is an event.
Much like King Prawn, Capdown are a band who was responsible for innovation and creating a scene full of British strength in depth. After returning at a previous Slam Dunk festival they have continued to blow crowds away with a combo of the hits and new material. Capdown have the same energy they did in the early noughties and will be sure to put on a memorable show amongst a memorable line up.
Rob Lynch is like Slam Dunk alumni and he may have played last year but it seems like it has been forever since he was last on tour. He will fill a room with sing-a-long acoustic punk songs and like every other year he has played it will be magical.
THE JB CONSPIRACY
JB are an incredible live act, they combine jaw dropping musical talent with an intense live presence to create something really special. It has been a very long time since their ever changing line up have taken the stage at such a festival so the audience are going to be in for a treat.