Slam Dunk 2015 Hatfield Review

Returning home both Bruised and exhausted, and yet, utterly impressed. Once again Slam Dunk, delivers, showing once again that Pop-Punk is not yet dead.

Knuckle puck showed why they continue to gain hype, kicking off the day at 2:00pm, it was not just me surprised by the number of people familiar with the Californian band.  “Its people just like you who make me the pessimist I am” – was screamed back at the band, with shockingly heavy action in the pits for a pop punk band.

Photo by Ed Mason

Photo by Ed Mason

It come as no surprise to me that Trash Talk have quite the reputation. With one fan saying he couldn’t believe “Trash Talk were allowed to play here”, having been banned from various other UK venues for their eccentric performances and aggressive mosh pits. For only 20 seconds was the lead singer on stage, spending most of his time in the pits, getting heavily involved with some of the most devoted supporters, even crowd surfing across the room on a number of occasions.

Back on the Main stage, We Are The Ocean played favourite ‘the waiting room’, with the only criticism being the fans wanted more with the set ending five minutes early. All was not lost however, with Neck Deep following them. The crowd went into madness, screaming lyrics to the likes of ‘Crushing Grief’, and ‘What Did You Expect?’. Then taking a more ‘lighter waving’ approach to their slower hit ‘A Part Of Me’, with fans singing every word, you struggled to even hear Ben Barlow, the lead singer.

Zebrahead put on a crazy entertaining performance. One of the main vocalists, Ali Tabatabaee was clearly hyped up, having people downing beers on stage, most notably Santa Clause, who was looking even more jolly than usual. The crowd were exceptional, with a brief appearance from Real Big Fish at the end, to top off the show.

The Wonder Years and You Me At Six were both final headline acts of the day. Luckily I was able to get a glimpse of both. The Wonder Years were on top form, clearly appreciative of where they have come, having only been a minor act just a few years ago. Breaking through with an avalanche of momentum that has led them to the forefront of the Pop Punk community, with their album ‘The Upsides’ in early 2010 grabbing the attention of a wider audience for the first time. Thanking the fans after each song, fans showed their appreciation by going mental (as with all the gigs) summed up perfectly by watching a crowd member climbing on a bus shelter before scattering away in hilarious fashion from a security guard.

Photo by Ed Mason

Photo by Ed Mason

There was a lot of hype surrounding the return of You Me At Six to their Slam Dunk roots, having kicked off their career at the festival 10 years prior. The Surrey based band opened their set with a few of their older nostalgic songs, ‘The Truth is a Terrible Thing’ and ‘Save It For The Bedroom’. However during their set thousands of festival-goers waited patiently for over 25 minutes, after a fan was injured in the crowd. The band stopped playing five songs into their headline set, whilst You Me At Six front man, Josh Franceschi continued to charm the audience with a few stand up jokes and a thank you speech whilst the medical team dealt with the emergency. Fortunately after all the drama had unfolded, they were allowed to finish their complete set, before finally coming off stage around 11:20pm after playing their closing hit, ‘Underdog’. You Me At Six had the crowd ecstatically roaring throughout, not to mention a crowd sing-along to ‘Always Attract’ which really rounded up a fantastic day at Slam Dunk.

The festival itself was easy to find your way around, not being excessive in size, made it a great experience and easy to meet others who shared music interests. Entrance queues moved quickly, and all staff were more than helpful. Security were magnificent, considering they spent a considerable amount of time pulling down crowd surfers, all were in good spirits, with them full knowing it was going to happen again…and again…and again.

The festival numbers were unbelievable, and its amazing seeing so many people come together all for their love of the same music. Rumours that genres of music performing at Slam Dunk are in decline, can be put to bed. Seeing massive numbers screaming every word to every song, thousands coming together, discussing music, sharing favourite songs, showed there is more than a substantial fan base for Pop punk, hardcore and metal. Bring on Slam Dunk 2016!


All Photos By Ed Mason. 



Joe Papworth


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