Slamdunk Festival returned to Leeds with a bang last weekend, bringing with it some of the best bands of the pop-punk world. A legendary weekend for alternative music, bank holiday Sunday saw over 60 bands descend on the city centre venue and kick off a day of revelry for the Northern leg of the tour, blessed by a welcome appearance from the Yorkshire sunshine.
Arriving to the party a little late, we kicked off our Slamdunk with punk rockers MILK TEETH. Bringing back some serious ’90s vibes, the lively band had the crowd shouting, dancing and singing along with their infectious energy. We’d never heard of the band before, but definitely one to check out with their grunge-y riffs and catchy lyrics.
Onto one of the most hotly anticipated acts of the day, BEARTOOTH didn’t disappoint: delivering a set to remember with our first taste of a mosh pit for the day. With fierce encouragement to keep the energy going throughout the set meant there was no shortage of people screaming the lyrics back from shoulders and circle pits. With such intense energy from the band and the crowd, the Beartooth set was clearly one of our standout sets of the day.
Next up came one of my absolute favourite bands, DEAF HAVANA. As someone who remembers seeing this band before their breakthrough album Fools and Worthless Liars on the Kerrang! Introducing Stage at Slamdunk 2010, seeing the results of this band’s progress, increased popularity and following has been so special as a fan. Having seen them play since in headline tours and the main stage at Reading and Leeds, you know you’re in for a good show. Favouring their newer material, Deaf Havana are clearly very at ease with their constantly developing style, and roused a genuinely energetic crowd and atmosphere with their summery vibes.
Sticking with the main stage, next up came DON BROCO. Bursting onto the stage in a whirlwind of energy and excitement, their catchy anthems blared through Millenium Square, rousing an intense reaction from superfans and newbies alike. More mainstream than many bands at the festival, it’s easy to picture Don Broco making the crossover between the alternative music scene to a chart household name thanks to their polished performance, catchy songs and infectious energy on stage.
A nostalgic throwback from our teenage years, we caught the end of WE THE KINGS‘ set. Covering the legendary ‘The Middle’ by Jimmy Eat World, We The Kings firmly kept the attention of both their die hard fans, and the people like us on the way to another stage who are only really familiar with their more famous hits. A rousing chorus of ‘Check Yes Juliet’ proved a massive hit making us all feel 14 again.
Finally, the headliners. Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the legendary ‘Take To The Skies’ ENTER SHIKARI burst onto the main stage to close this music bonanza in the heavy, techno, mismatched-perfection style that only they can pull off. Old and new fans came together, treasuring the performance of the very heart of Enter Shikari’s success so rarely seen performed live. Interspersing the Take To The Skies setlist with favourites such as ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘The Last Garrison’ the electronic vibe and light show left the Jagermeister stage a pretty insane place to be. With a stunning rendition of Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’ following an emotional tribute to the Manchester victims and declaration of solidarity and defiance in the face of evil, this set really summed up the spirit of Slamdunk Festival 2017: fantastic music, passionate and engaging musicians and a united crowd.
BRING ON 2018!