Just before you thought you were over your Slam Dunk blues, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reminisce about the weekend I overheard someone call “Pop Punk Christmas”. Whether you attended in Leeds, London or Birmingham, Slam Dunk 2018 certainly delivered some amazing presents this year. We had the pleasure to Interview some great bands like State Champs and Can’t Swim, DJ all three days on the Uprawr Stage and witness some of the greatest artists of the genre, so let’s remember what made Slam Dunk 2018 one of the best in years.
When I talked to most people, it seemed like there was one question that divided the popular opinion…who were you watching to headline, Jimmy Eat World or Good Charlotte. They seemed to fall into two camps, the younger crowd who may have missed Good Charlotte the first time round and the 24 years and over who were always going to see Jimmy Eat World, no questions asked. I never asked anyone at The Fireball Stage because it was only going to be Reel Big Fish for them.
So in the immortal words of Paramore, let’s take it from the top…of the bill. I had a plan to see Jimmy Eat World on one date and Good Charlotte on another, however after watching Jimmy on day one in Leeds they blew me away so much I watched them again. Frankly this review is a little bias because they’re one of my favourite bands, nonetheless, for a band to play for nearly twenty odd years with consistently great songs, a sound so good it made a converted warehouse in Birmingham feel like they were playing your front room, and a fan base that falls in love with them on every song, it’s easy to see why my decision was legitimate. I’ll also personally send £10 to whoever can tell me the secret of how Jim Adkins hasn’t aged a day since forming the band in 1993. Emo Vampire?
Taking Back Sunday were another band people were eager to watch, but heard a few grumblings around after their set. For me they will always be a part of my youth, and part of growing up is accepting that, like all of us, they will change. If you just went to see “Cute Without The E” and know a couple of tracks of ‘Louder Now’ you may have been disappointed. Adam Lazzara’s vocals are far from perfect but the band themselves are tighter than they’ve ever been, which shows when they play some of their latest tracks which are rock and roll songs rather than the emo/screamo from 2003. Therein lies the rub, sure they will always play the songs they wrote 15 years ago when they had wooed attention with a witty play on words, but the soul is in songs like “Better Homes And Gardens” about divorce and the collapse of a family. And hey, who doesn’t enjoy the mic swinging, eh?!
The middle of the afternoon was filled with some good old rock and or roll with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes bringing a solid set that proved worth of a main stage slot, and for all the old hardcore fans out there, Comeback Kid proved that you can make any stage, any size feel like a basement punk show. Here’s also a pro tip for time travel, have a few beers and pump your fist to Comeback Kid’s “Wake The Dead” and you’ll immediately be in a dirty rock club in 2006 being your true 20 year old self. In a similar bar, watching The Impericon Stage from a bar meant I got to witness some crazy mosh pits … kudos to those kids keeping the two step alive, because I’m old and knees are turning to chalk, I was living vicariously through each swing of your windmilling arms!
That’s it for the first part, our next article will go over the Creeper Enigma, the potential My Chemical Romance movie and loads more, so keep a look out over the weekend