So here it is. Slam Dunk Festival 2019. In all its glory. A feat of brilliance from the organisers who pulled this off but a day of music? in Leeds? Well, there was Live @ Leeds just the other week but this is one festival very close to my heart because it was actually one of the first I ever went to in my teenage years and I’ve been continuing to go back because of its location in Yorkshire, the people I meet, the acts that they’re able to put on and of course, its one that brings my friends together.
Side note on this as well before the review starts, I know this is coming super late but life, work and everything has just gotten in the way of so much lately to the point I’ve had to re-schedule a lot of things and cancel on going to some gigs but I’ve cleared some time here.
Let’s dive straight into Slam Dunk Festival 2019.
So the first moment I heard my alarm, I raced to get ready because this is always my favourite day of the year! I was up roughly at 6.30AM to get a bus to the train station in York at about 8AM, from where I was heading off to Leeds so I could get the very first shuttle to the festival! Luckily this was a reliable day for the train services so thank you to the great train god, in the sky! So, I hopped off in Leeds and it took a little bit of a finding for the shuttle buses to get to the festival as there’s a lot of maintenance being done to Leeds Train Station. I found my way eventually and was one of the first people to be in the queue. The festival staff had to get on board one first because who’d be serving the drinks and operating otherwise? So that was a good move. The only thing I’d say as a tiny complaint was to tell us to start queuing from the end of the queue because of those of us who got here first was waiting for the second or third bus (If there had been a longer queue and I was waiting for an hour or so, it’d be a bigger complaint on my end). The actual route there, it took roughly twenty minutes with the shuttle. So far, so good.
Now getting dropped off at Temple Newsam, I’d never been there before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but the shuttle to get there was about 20 minutes or so max. When I got past the initial bag drop off, I thought the lines would be 2-3 times longer than what they actually were (Somewhere closer to last years.! To my surprise, I was inside the main festival grounds in two to three minutes max! Now I was thinking holy f***! So much better this year because of that one thing. I had no idea what I was in for yet. Also, getting my DSLR through was no problem at all, Slam Dunk Festival is the only festival in the UK that’s pretty lenient on this sort of thing, provided you only have one lens. When I was through to the main festival area, it just looked gorgeous. This was the first real festival I’d experienced with a tent in the field as well so I was pretty excited! But until 11AM (I was in my about 9.20 by this point) there wasn’t so much to do apart from sitting down and have a drink.
When I was able to meet up with a few friends after the main festival gates opened, we decided to explore a little bit. (TIP: Go to the big merch tent after an hour or so next year because that was rammed and there’ll be more chance to meet bands later in the day as well). There was everything from Impericon to American Socks on the day. I actually got a Dream State shirt because Impericon they were running a surprise shirt giveaway for £5 and my friend got two Dream State shirts which were the same size as well! So after a little exploring the festival grounds which were just beautiful, I headed over to the Marshall stage for William Ryan Key to kick off the festival!
Seeing Ryan play live is always heartbreaking because he’s not with the full Yellowcard band although, although watching him is always heartwarming all the same as he conquered his solo set going through ‘Way Away’, ‘Southern Air’ and more Yellowcard classics. There is a little bit of a problem in itself for those who are fans of his newer solo material where I believe he only played one and the rest were Yellowcard in that he could’ve been a little more original on the day but I think he wanted to give the fans what they wanted and that’s understandable. The only thing was Milk Teeth had to follow ‘Ocean Avenue’.
I’d waited roughly two to three years to see Milk Teeth again! I think the last time I saw them was when they had Employed To Serve supporting them. (Who were performing on The Key Club Stage later on the day as well!) There had been an obvious lineup change but I know they’re all the better for it now with ‘Nearby Catfight’, ‘Brain Food’ and more from their catalogue, the punks are ready to take on the world and more where hopefully ‘Stain’ is just the beginning of a new chapter for the young punks.
From here, I met up with another friend who was at for the festival and this is what I love about Slam Dunk, it gets you to meet new people and reunites old friends who come down for it as well! It’s funny as well from here because I almost always go to gigs alone, chat away to people but I’ve never really met up with people at other gigs.
Moving to the Key Club stage, we decided to see what newcomers Hot Milk were all about. They’re a little bit of an enigma because a lot of hate online comes from the fact they’ve hardly been on the scene yet they’re getting support slots for Foo Fighters. In fact I don’t think they had one track out at the beginning of 2019 when they were supporting You Me At Six in the EU and now they were playing a midday set at Slam Dunk festival having been out in the world for less than a year! Nevertheless, they encapsulated just what the scene needs right now. Young, vibrant and energetic people to show fans how to play a show and seeing these tracks from their debut EP, ‘Are You Feeling Alive’ made people just want more. And hopefully, we’ll see more after the festival circuits are over for 2019 where we’ll see them up and down the country soon.
Now, the secret bank Y3K. It was Busted. It’s a clear Year 3000 reference right there. And I have to say, that was a pretty rowdy crowd. For pretty much every song in their set, they powered through as if it was nothing. I mean, having been on touring circuits for years now, I imagine they’d be used to it but honestly, it was a welcomed addition to the festival. Everyone was rowdy in the pits for them, numerous crowdsurfers, a few moshpits, you had to be there to believe it but I can’t’ believe after all these years how hardcore some of these fans were! That’s what nostalgia does to the young!
Moving across to the Acoustic stage, I couldn’t miss Lizzy Farrall. I’ve seen her tour about four or five times now and every time, she just delivers and constantly improves. Her new surprise EP released recently meant a few tracks did make the cut of the set and her voice is magnificent where backed with her band, there’s nothing this artist won’t accomplish in her lifetime. There’s no part three of A Conversation With…. this time but hopefully, I’ll be able to see her full plugged in sound to see what I make of it when she’s on her tour with Tiny Moving Parts at the end of summer in the UK.
From here, I dotted around a few bands, catching one or two tracks from Seaway, As It Is, Waterparks, Simple Plan etc but ultimately I decided to queue up to meet All Time Low. This was more for my friend because she’d waited 10 years to meet them and the look on her face when she did, priceless. I actually made her go before me when we were at the front because I really wanted to see the look on her face more than anything because I cued up earlier than we originally planned which was a good thing as well because it was getting long! To give a sense of it, we just made the cutoff point, only just! That’s how lucky we were!
From here, it was straight back to the Key Club stage for Employed To Serve, possibly the heaviest band on this stage for the entirety of the festival but wow, they never disappoint. With the release of their latest record, ‘Eternal Forward Motion’, the energy in the room was electrifying as they encapsulated the tent in what was a standout set at the festival! So much to the point that when some of the band finished crowd surfing, they didn’t realise their set had ended! That was brilliant but so humbling to see. They were having so much fun, they forgot they had a time limit!
Darting across to catch the last bit of Neck Deep, I did brave the rain where from what I could see it’s only a matter of time before these lads become festival headliners. I mean, the other year, they headlined their own stage so, with their next record, I’d say it’s pretty close. It’s always huge to see ‘Don’t Wait’ off ‘Peace and The Panic’ which for me is the standout track from the record, either that or December but what I do notice here is that Slam Dunk embraces all these bands as a new generation and that’s what they give the platform to and I suppose that’s what makes the festival so different to others in the world where they give a platform to give lesser known bands the exposure they deserve and Neck Deep are a prime example of a band that rose through the ranks.
Heading back to The Key Club for Lights, this was a strange artist for the festival mainly because she’s more Pop than anything. However, the diversity of genres is something Rock has been kind to so to see Lights perform was a true spectacle with her voice commanding the audience was a sight to behold.
For the headlining band of the key club stage, IDKHOW was the band I was thinking should I stay or not? I’m glad I did in the end because hearing the records on Spotify and seeing them play live is two very different things. For one, the artist’s personality comes out far more where for this band, it does give them something to boast as usually, you just see the songs but not for IDKHOW. They’re someone I’m going to be revisiting because of their standout performance as there wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy and its performances such as that turn the heads of everyone there.
Now… the headliners. All Time Low! Funny fact, back in 2013 when it was my very first Slam Dunk Festival, All Time Low headlined back then as well! Jumping straight into their sets, Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) received instant recognition, crowd surfers you name it. They truly showed everyone there why they were the headlining band. To celebrate 10 years of nothing personal as well, Stella and A Party Song were played throughout their set where the addition of a never before heard track Getaway Green had the classic Nothing Personal feel to it. It was unlike anything I’d heard All Time Low play in a while, especially since their last few records were a bit more mature for the band, it was definitely a throwback and what was a standout track where hopefully, there’ll be a studio version of the track where they just “dropped it old school”. I’ll never get bored of watching All Time Low live though, they always manage to keep things fresh and the chemistry the members all have with each other is so rare these days, it keeps everyone wanting so much more than what’s given.
Right, now the festival was over, getting back to Leeds city centre was the main objective. I confess I did race for the shuttle buses as I was worried I’d end up stuck at the festival site (which is what happened to another friend of mine, stuck there for roughly two hours because of the amount of everyone there) but thanks to some quick thinking (and running), I managed to get one of the first shuttles back into Leeds and a subsequent train back to York no problem whatsoever!
Overall, it was such a smart decision to move the festival site to Temple Newsam where it was a lot more thought out than in previous years, the only thing I saw was that more toilets would be needed as well as bars because, from my perspective, they were two big problems there.
Ryan Key has been quite busy as of late. He’s worked on a Marvel comic, toured as a solo artist for a while and been working with bands.
Now, the former Yellowcard frontman has announced his new EP will be titled as ‘Thirteen’.
That’s it. Just finished the last lyric attached to this new sound. It has been so good to combine these thoughts with new songs. I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. Oh, and by the way, the EP is called #Thirteen.
New Found Glory have announced the details of a benefit show to help raise money for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Joining them will be Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional and Ryan Key of Yellowcard.
All profits of the show are going toward the Broward Education Foundation Stoneman Douglas Fund.
“The members of New Found Glory would like to start by saying this is a statement that we wish we never had to write in the first place. Our hearts are broken, and we cannot imagine the pain the victim’s families, friends, students, teachers, and anyone else impacted by the recent tragedy at MSD must be feeling. While we feel there are no words that we can say or do to fix this in any way, we wish to let you know that our hearts are heavy with the pain that this event has caused to so many.
We want to stress that the most important part of the grieving process is to focus on the healing of those affected by this senseless act. As some of you may or may not know, half of our band went to MSD so it is important to us that we do as much as we possibly can to help the school and families of the victims. They deserve our love, support, and help, and we will help in any way we can. We have decided that, in an effort to help raise funds for those impacted by the events at MSD and to honor the victims and heroes, NFG will be playing a benefit show at Pompano Beach Amphitheater on May 16th.
Tickets will go on sale Monday, March 5 at 10am ET. Also joining us will be Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional) and Ryan Key (formerly of Yellowcard). All proceeds from the show will be donated to the official Broward Education Foundation Stoneman Douglas Fund gofundme.com/stonemandouglasfund who provide relief to those affected by this tragedy.
In addition to the show, we are releasing a MSD inspired t-shirt, available on our web store (newfoundglorystuff.com), with all the profits also going towards the Broward Education Foundation Stoneman Douglas Fund.
We are, and always will be, proud to be part of the Coral Springs/Parkland community. We love you all, and together we will get through this, one day at a time. #parklandstrong”
The t-shirt the band have released looks like this:
There is a whole host of artists that have been announced for The Chester Bennington Tribute Show!
Artists such as Machine Gun Kelly, Yellowcard’s Ryan Key, Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Kiiara and Korn’s Jonathan Davis will take the stage on October 27th at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl to pay tribute to the frontman.
Linkin Park premiered a new video earlier this week for ‘One More Light’ which can be viewable below.
Ryan Key is certainly a busy man post-Yellowcard. He’s working with marvel, getting on with more music projects and now he has opened an online store that allows fans to purchase handwritten lyrics, which he has written.
“Hey, friends! Thanks for your interest in handwritten lyrics. Choose any song or songs that I’ve written lyrics for (Yellowcard or otherwise) and I will hand write the lyrics on nice card stock paper, signed and dated.”