If you listen closely you can hear it: the sound of Vans being laced up, trombones being polished and pairs of perfectly good jeans being severed at the knee, because – you guessed it – Slam Dunk Festival is upon us once again. But with its line-up growing in scale and diversity each year, it can be hard to know where to get started.
Well, that's where we come in. We at Louder have assembled a crack team of pop-punk aficionados – each of whom are playing the festival themselves – to guide you through this year's line-up and provide you with some festival survival tips, because who should know better than the people who will actually be there?
State Champs: “When I think about Slam Dunk, I think about a good weekend with good bands and maybe a couple good bevvies. With a fair amount of diversity in the lineup, you have to make sure all of your boxes are checked. Are you into heavy music that makes you want to lift a car above your head and send it crashing through your neighbour's front window? If so, you'll probably want to check out Counterparts on the Impericon Stage. Absolutely delightful band and a good choice if you want to blow off a bit of steam but potentially shed a tear or two.”
Broadside: “Counterparts are one of the tightest live bands, and they’ve crushed it every time I’ve seen them. Definitely a must-see performance.”
Loathe: “Counterparts are the obvious reigning kings of that crazy melodic hardcore vibe. We've all been huge fans of them for the longest time, so it's mad to finally get to play with them. A band we'll be watching consecutively at the three Slam Dunk dates. “
Northlane: "You’re Not You Anymore was one of my favourite releases of 2017. Their unique breed of chaotic metalcore is reminiscent of Misery Signals, but with so much desperation and attitude. They’re so tight live and they’re Canadian."
Festival Survival Guide
STATE CHAMPS: "My tip/challenge for surviving the festival is to give bands a chance! Don't go just to see who is hype, give somebody new a shot! Discovering an artist is a feeling all of its own."
BROADSIDE: "Festival survival pro tip – bring an external battery/charger for your electronic devices. You decided to go to the fest with other people and you’re almost guaranteed to be separated at some point. You’ll need the extra juice to make that call or send that text to be reunited, especially if that friend is at the barricade for your favourite band."
CAN’T SWIM: "Tip – charge your phone. Drink a lot of water. Don’t hug the guy with the “free hugs” sign."
LOATHE: "For our survival tip I would suggest a few things. One – to get a good amount of rest prior to the event as more than likely you'll be on your feet throughout the running time of the festival. Two – stay hydrated. Depending on the weather, staying hydrated could be the difference between life and death but regardless it's always best to keep yourself topped up on fluids!"
State Champs: “I overheard you want some no frills straight up ROCK? Ok, well then head over to Signature Brew stage and saddle up your horses for some Homesafe. The band just signed to Pure Noise records and dropped a very hot single, if you ask me. They'll be the band you want to tell your friends 10 years from now, when they're playing arenas, ‘Oh yeah, I saw Homesafe play their first UK shows.’"
Save Ferris: "I’m most excited to see these guys live. I’ve been listening to them for ages, and this will be the first live show of theirs I’ll see. Happy to see a band of their genre (ska, reggae, dub) adding modern sounds and production to their records. Their albums are beautifully produced, with a nod to the classics without sounding tired. Sweet melodies and toasting with a fresh approach. A great showcase of female talent, which seems, sadly, to be lacking in great numbers at this year's festival stages. I hope their stage show is as exciting as their songs are. Can’t wait!"
Every Time I Die
Broadside: "The energy that ETID gives off in their live show is addicting. No matter where you see them, two things are always certain: it’s gonna be loud, and it’s gonna be fast."
Jimmy Eat World
Can’t Swim: “They have put out some of my favourite records of all time. Incredible live band with an amazing discography, no matter when you walk around to their stage to check them out, the song will be great.
Loathe: “Jimmy Eat World are a regular listen for us, their song Sweetness was a huge influence on our most recent tune White Hot. We're all so very excited to watch them for three nights in a row and we implore everyone who isn't already, to do so. Massive band.”
Save Ferris: "One of my favourites of the third wave OC ska scene that we’re from. My favourite guitar player of the whole day, an old-timey, strong-man looker named Dan that shreds the shit outta that upbeat, and a singer with pipes for days. Aside from being nice guys, they always put on a fun, polished and exiting show with great, well written catchy songs to skank to."
The Skints: “Capdown are one of our original influences for starting The Skints and are one of the best British bands ever! If you've never seen Capdown play, you ain't been living right, make sure you are there to witness.”
State Champs: “You a fan of jumping and dancing all the while banging your noggin? Then why would you dare miss PVRIS on the Jagermeister stage? They're not just a good looking band (although they are just all around smokin' hot), but they put on a fun live show and create a very cool atmosphere for everyone involved. You'll definitely find me at these sets, along with Good Charlotte and Jimmy Eat World, because I'm desperately clinging to my youth and I'm not ready to let it go.”
Northlane: "Lynn is a powerhouse of a frontwoman, rewriting the rulebook of what it takes to be a star. Their songwriting and performances are equally amazing. Absolutely not to be missed."
Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes
Can’t Swim: “One of the best frontmen who have ever done it. Great music with an even better stage performance. It’s not a rock show when this band plays, it’s an experience."
Northlane: "I’ve known some of these chaps for quite a few years and recently was at a show they played in Melbourne. It was off the bloody chain, absolute fucking carnage by some absolute good blokes."
Broadside: "This band is not capable of writing bad songs. While on Warped Tour together in 2016, I made sure to see them as often as possible."
Reel Big Fish
The Skints: “We've toured and played with these guys a whole bunch over the years and they will never fail to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.”
Can’t Swim: “I’ve probably personally went out of my way to see this band more times than anyone else on the bill. Infectious melodies and lyrics that have haunted me for a decade. Awesome to see them still doing it and doing it so well.”
The Devil Wears Prada
Loathe: “The Devil Wears Prada, literally, one of my personal favourite bands from back in the day. If 15 year old me could see himself playing on the same bill as TDWP, he would not believe it for a second. I've never had the chance to watch them so I am pumped UP. It's gonna be ridiculous and nostalgic time for sure.”
Save Ferris: "We did Warped tour with them last summer. One of my favourites on the side stage, I knew they would go on to do great things. Their songs are beautifully written, the singer has a lovely voice, and their stage performance is infectious: modern punk for punks that like classic punk. Just the right amount of touchy-feely lyrics thrown in for romantics like myself to swoon to."
Four Year Strong
Can’t Swim: “Tone Kings. Tons of energy. The crowd might as well be on the stage with them, very interactive and they put it all out on the line. Great friends of mine and always a pleasure to watch live.”
The Skints: “Another massive influence on us from back in the days, King Prawn have been mashing up styles in London from early and have got bangers upon bangers for you to enjoy.”
Loathe: “Been into CK since we got shown their album Die Knowing the last time we were in California as a band. It's just obvious that it's gonna go off when they play. Really excited to watch 'em every night.”