Slam Dunk Festival 2013 Hatfield review

'Good times and good energy'

Photographer: Laura CallanHollie Garraway on 28 May 2013

It's the sunniest day of the year for Slam Dunk South and the kids are out in force, ready to throw down, guzzle cider and party til' they puke!

First band to the Monster Stage are melodic hardcore Brits, Heart In Hand (6), getting the first circle pit of the day going and debuting tunes from new album, 'Almost There'. Frontman, Charlie Holmes, takes a moment to pause from his abrasive vocals to bait the crowd and get things well and truly started, telling everyone "I wanna see this place fucking bouncing!"

A few minor sound issues to contend with at first, but as a band they're so tight they overcome it well and kick things off brilliantly.

Heading down to the Jager Stage outside, the ice cream vans and ice cold beers flow as if it's been a long hot summer all year, and provide a fitting backdrop to American Pop Rockers The Summer Set (5). Sounding better live than they do on record, they have shades of Head Automatica about them, but can't capture the magic of The Story So Far (7) who build tension on the atmospheric, dimly lit Macbeth Stage. It's raining beer and there doesn't seem to be much security as a few kids go nuts crowdsurfing and seriously eat floor! Best crowd reaction of the day goes to these guys as everyone surges to the front and shouts every lyric back to 'Quicksand'.

Onto Spunge (10) next, which let's be honest is only ever going to mean one massive skanking sesh and a whole lot of fun! At this point in their career, they're practically Ska Punk Royalty, with enough energy to keep the crowd jumping for the entirety of the set. 'Kicking Pigeons' becomes the stand out song from the day and makes everyone dance like it's being played for the first time. A nostalgic and happy highlight, which the band's crew take a moment to capture on film for posterity.

For the majority of the younger crowd, catching Sleeping With Sirens is a must for the day. Like an emo Justin Bieber, lead singer Kellin Quinn is the all american teen poster boy and takes every opportunity to maximise it by saying 'Never have I seen so many hot chicks in one place and so many jealous dudes'.

Other notable mentions of the day include Aussie rockers House VS Hurricane who really opened up some pits, and a refreshing, thought-provoking acoustic set of social commentary sing-a-longs from Chas Palmer Williams (formerly of Lightyear).

Saving the best for last, Four Year Strong (8) as a main headliner definitely seperated the men from the boys and encouraged everyone to get a little more energised. Interaction was top notch as Dan O'Connor kept the momentum going by getting out into the crowd and really commanding the stage. 'Bada Bing! Wit' a Pipe! emerges as a highlight and gets the whole room moving.

Going one step further and concluding the day on an epic high, are Cancer Bats (10). Beards, biceps and balls to the wall rock has been missing from a festival like Slam Dunk for the whole day up until this point so a chance to get heavier is much appreciated by the over 21's. 'Pneumonia Hawk' incites the only commited display of windmilling and headbanging that's occured all day, as does 'Bricks and Mortar' and the undeniable anthemic power of their Beastie cover of 'Sabotage'. As a sidenote, the fact that the band spent all day in their merch tent, meeting fans and signing speaks volumes. This is a band that are the real deal, in it for the music, no ego, no pretense, just straight up good times and good energy. Band of the day that never disappoint.

Click here for our Slam Dunk Leeds review.

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