Slam Dunk Festival 2013 Leeds review

'Slam Dunk consistently manages to impress'

Slam Dunk Festival 2013 Leeds review

Photographer: Sara BowreyJamie Barker on 27 May 2020

Over the past few years, the Slam Dunk brand has continued to grow. No matter how big it gets and how many dates the festivities are spread over, Leeds will always be its spiritual home. It’s no surprise that today’s Northern outing was the first of the 2013 events to sell out. With the wristband exchange opening over an hour before gates, the entrance into the festival is one of the most trouble-free and efficient. Once inside Gnarwolves (9) are opening the festival in the Riley Smith Hall. Unfortunately, even at this early point, the hype surrounding the Cornish trio is such that entrance to the venue is one-in-one-out. For those lucky enough to be inside, it’s a frantic start to proceedings and, recently debuted new track, ‘Melody Has Big Plans’ serves as a clear highlight. Stylus is already heaving as Transit (7) take to the stage. Despite only playing the event last year, the crowd reaction is a world apart from their Mine set. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Class of 92 (2). The solo project of A Loss For WordsMatt Arsenault, it boils down to nothing more than a man in his 30s singing poor R&B over a backing track. Stick to the day job Matt.

The Story So Far (8) were one of last year’s highlights and it’s a stroke of genius from the Slam Dunk team to have got them back again so soon. Stylus reaches its fullest point of the weekend and songs like ‘Quicksand’ reveal themselves as having morphed into singalong anthems over the past 12 months. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (6) play a well-received set drawn largely from their new album ‘Pardon My French’. A large portion of the crowd seems to be there out of curiosity rather than familiarity but the reaction at the set’s climax suggests they’ve been completely won over. Fireworks (5) get a good reaction as they tear through a set drawn largely from ‘Gospel’, but a few more older songs would have been appreciated.

Ace Enders (9) is burning the candle at both ends today as he delivers an early afternoon solo set as well as his sub-headline performance with The Early November. The set is criminally short but it manages to span his entire career and all of his various musical guises. Unsurprisingly it’s ‘Sunday Drive’, from his aforementioned day job, that marks the performance as truly monumental and the packed room shout every word back at Enders. There’s plenty more shouting of lyrics happening in Stylus where The Wonder Years (10) are seeing the pay-off for their relentless touring. ‘The Upsides’ put them on the pop punk map, ‘Suburbia..’ saw them filling larger rooms and now ‘The Greatest Generation’ is setting them on the road to world domination. It’s a surprise that there’s anyone left on the floor to catch the deluge of crowd surfers as they close with ‘All My Friends Are In Bar Bands’.

All Time Low (6) are a huge coup for Slam Dunk as they now play their own headline shows in venues of this size. Judging by the amount of their shirts adorning people around the festival they’ve singlehandedly sold many of the tickets. As they open with the heavy-hitting pairing ‘Lost In Stereo’ and ‘Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)’ the response from the crowd is immediate and they sustain it right up to the end of the 16 song set. On the other side of the festival, Andrew McMahon (9) is offering a very different climax to this year’s event. Working through his new solo material, alongside a number of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin classics, he even finds time to incorporate ten minute epic ‘Konstantine’ which even reduces some crowd members to discreetly dabbing away tears. Slam Dunk draws its line-up from fairly narrow genres but it consistently manages to impress. There are a few organisational issues which need sorting before next year but Leeds has once again bore witness to a successful event from one of its favourite sons.


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