Slam Dunk 2015: Macbeth Stage

Here’s everything you need to know about Slam Dunk 2015’s Macbeth stage, headlined by The Wonder Years…

**THE WONDER YEARS **Fiercely strong universal lyrics combine with precision musicianship to make The Wonder Years the leading light in the pop-punk revival. They write the kind of music that makes you want to look inside yourself, come to terms with the person that you are and go about becoming the very best that you can be. That’s not to say that we’ll ever tire of hearing songs about skateboarding, getting wasted and having your girlfriend leave you, but it’s also nice to hear some genuinely thought provoking songs from time to time. And that’s where The Wonder Years come in. What better way to end the day than with your arms around your friends singing along in unison to the sounds of Pennsylvania’s finest?

FIREWORKS Originating in the Motor City of Detroit, this six piece pop-punk band (that’s the equivalent of two Green Days) deal in peppy, guitar-driven, tuneful melodies with intimate lyrics. They were taken under the wing of pop-punk king Chad Gilbert when he signed on to produce their debut album All I Have to Offer Is My Confusion, which was released via renowned New York record label Triple Crown in 2009. Following that release, Gilbert took Fireworks on tour all over the US and Australia with his band New Found Glory, providing them with an international platform for their music. Since then they’ve shared the stage with everyone form Set Your Goals to The Wonder Years, and they’ll be performing as main support to The Wonder Years once again at this year’s Slam Dunk.

**CARTEL **Cartel rose to prominence in 2007 when they took part in the Dr. Pepper-sponsored MTV experiment Band in a Bubble: they had to write and produce a full-length album in 20 days. The resulting self-titled record earned the band support slots with the likes of All Time Low, Good Charlotte and Simple Plan, and they’ve been steadily touring and releasing albums ever since, proving these earnest pop-punks are much more than just a flash in the pan.

**BAYSIDE **Purveyors of melodic, angst-ridden emo from Queens, New York, Bayside came up with their name on the way to a New Found Glory show in Long Island back in 2000. Since that fateful train ride they’ve since gone on to sell over a quarter-of-a-million records, but they’ve never lost touch with their roots. Hell, their last album was called Cult, and they’ve been that way for the last 15 years despite all the success they’ve enjoyed. If you like raw, honest music with tasty riffs and soaring choruses, then you’ll love this lot.

TRANSIT Originally more of an emo band inspired by the likes of Saves The Day and Lifetime, Boston five-piece Transit has evolved over the years to incorporate elements of pop-punk (they did a split EP with Man Overboard in 2009) and indie rock. Their career development is in many ways akin to that of Jimmy Eat World – only without as much mainstream success – in that both bands share a back catalogue of daring and harmonious explorations of sound that keep the listener guessing as to what will come next. This, of course, makes for an unpredictable and exhilarating live show.

**SUCH GOLD **Melodic hardcore punks Such Gold did a split seven-inch with AL4W a few years back and we’d be very surprised if the two bands didn’t team up, what with them being conveniently placed next to each other on the bill and all. Their last record The New Sidewalk was produced by the legendary Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) who added some punk pedigree to their emo-tinged sound, which is still developing but already shows intricate subtleties and a genuine desire to be progressive – a band to keep an eye on for sure.

**A LOSS FOR WORDS **A Loss For Words (or AL4W for short) marry heavy and fast guitars with booming drums and hard-hitting vocals to create intense and infectious melodies, particularly in the live setting. They even did a Motown covers album, which ain’t half bad considering how bold a move it was to take on Berry Gordy’s hit factory. If you like your pop-punk with a kick and a lashing of soul, this Hanover quartet is the band for you.

**ROAM **Recently signed to Hopeless Records (US label home to All Time Low and We Are The In Crowd), this Eastbourne five-piece has been garnering attention on both sides of the pond following the release their debut EP Viewpoint, which came out at the start of this year. They travelled through Europe last year with Enter Shikari too; spreading the pop-punk message far and wide. This weekend Roam brings the party to Leeds, Hatfield and Wolves. The question is, are you in? Of course you are.

**KNUCKLE PUCK **Knuckle Puck hail from the south suburbs of Chicago where all the John Hughes movies were set, and their emo-inflected pop-punk is just as thought-provoking as those feel good classics. They’re already one of the most respected pop-punk bands on the scene, and they don’t even have a full-length album out yet. So come join the ride as they take the crowds on rollercoasters of hooks and choruses at Slam Dunk.

**AS IT IS **Still fresh off the release of their debut album (Never Happy, Ever), Fearless Records signings As It Is are gearing up for a summer stint on the Vans Warped Tour with a pit stop at the UK’s premiere pop-punk festival. Fronted by famed YouTube star Patty Walters, the Brighton-based quintet already have a legion of fans and their set first on the bill of the Macbeth Stage is your opportunity to join the ranks.

Matt Stocks

DJ, presenter, writer, photographer and podcaster Matt Stocks was a presenter on Kerrang! Radio before a year’s stint on the breakfast show at Team Rock Radio, where he also hosted a punk show and a talk show called Soundtrack Apocalypse. He then moved over to television, presenting on the Sony-owned UK channel Scuzz TV for three years, whilst writing regular features and reviews for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine. He also wrote, produced and directed a feature-length documentary on Australian hard rock band Airbourne called It’s All For Rock ‘N’ Roll, and in 2017 launched his own podcast: Life in the Stocks. His first book, also called Life In The Stocks, was published in 2020. A second volume was published in April 2022.