Slam Dunk North 2012

Slam Dunk is, without a doubt, one of the best organised and best supported of the one day music festivals in the UK. Over the past few years it has grown to attract music fans from all over the country, and has developed a reputation that draws bands from all over the world.

CackBlabbath’s Slam Dunk 2012 started off in the press area where we had lined up interviews with some of the bands who were playing the festival. You can check these out on our YouTube Channel, if you want. Now as we’re not the biggest fans of hanging about in Press rather than getting out and seeing the music we got through the interviews as quickly as possible. To be honest it was all a bit of a blur, a blur mostly caused by the proximity of an apparently self refilling fridge full of Red Bull in the corner where we based ourselves.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbathVideos looked OK though….

Our duties in the press area concluded, it was time to run to the main stage, just in time to catch the last part of what looked to be an impressive set from Lower Than Atlantis. We arrived just as the band were doing their finest Foo Fighters impression with a spirited blast through Everlong. Although the day was really only just getting started the main stage area was already rammed, and the waves of crowd surfers going over the barrier certainly made sure that the pit crew kept busy, very busy.

Next up on the main stage were one of the bands that, prior to the event, hadn’t popped up on the CackBlabbath musical radar (but then, it’s not usually pointed at the pop-punk genre, to be fair). Well missing Say Anything would have been a bit of a tragedy. A lot of the bands in this particular musical meat market portray their heartfelt intensity through the medium of the scream, but not so Say Anything, no their drive comes from something much, much deeper.

They may well have been less heavy than Lower Than Atlantis but they were certainly no less intense.

Say Anything were a band on a mission and it was a performance that was stunningly good, definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbath

The Cheer that went up in response to “Who’s heard of us before tonight ?” can certainly haveĀ  left them in no doubt that they were among friends here, and judging by the massive sing along we were the only people in the room who didn’t know all the words to their songs šŸ™‚

Great weather for an indoor festival though.. It was still early and the place was already warmer than Satan’s scrotum. This was all going to get a bit sweaty.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbathThe Leeds Uni complex is a rabbit warren of corridors and the whole place was taken over for Slam Dunk, so leaving the main stage we headed off to do a spot of exploring, and found ourselves enjoying something completely different as we caught “two fourths of Make Do And Mend” in a laid back, acoustic stylee on the Punktastic stage.

Hand on heart this was another “new to us” band, but it has to be said that acoustic is something that many bands think they can pull off, but few can actually manage. Well considering that the band had just been blasting it out “electric” MDAM supplied one of those special festival moments, another really enjoyable set.

Nice to be somewhereĀ  Air conditioned too šŸ™‚

We’d seen some pretty good bands so far, but the next stop on our travels involved catching the last few minutes of Decade. And to be honest that was enough so we headed off to the Vans stage where Random Hand were (not literally, obviously) tearing the roof off the place. The delays on other stages were starting to mount up so we only caught the last few minutes of their high octane brand of ska-punk-metal mashup, but it certainly left us keen to see more..

Mark Random Hand as one well worth looking out for.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbathAfter a brief detour back to the press area to interview Max from Say Anything it was time to head back to the main stage for Funeral For A Friend and, well, not great I’m afraid. The sound up until now had been respectable enough, but it appears that all the technical gremlins came out to play and, judging by the looks passing between the band members on stage, they weren’t exactly overjoyed with the situation either.

Having said that the band battled through in the face of adversity and things certainly improved as the show went on but, even for the most die hard fans down the barrier, things just seemed a little flat.

Pity. Still, there were loads of stages to chose from….

Flat is a word that definitely couldn’t be used to describe the frankly awesome Cancer Bats though. If the main stage arena was hot and sweaty then the second stage, where they were playing to a stuffed-to-capacity crowd, was just off the thermometer.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbathAfter the disappointment of FFAF, the honour of Wales was in the hands of The Blackout.

Yeah, I know..

Well think what you like (and many people do) but there is no denying that The Blackout are a massively entertaining live band, they obviously take what they do seriously, without taking themselves too seriously and it’s all brilliant fun.

I mean, there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned left hand side Vs right hand side sing-off to get the crowd going. Competitive, these pop-punk types. They have a level of audience interaction that gives their whole stage presence a lift, asking some important questions along the way…

How many of you have seen The Blackout before ?
How many of you are wishing you weren’t seeing The Blackout now?

Before doffing their caps to tonight’s headliners by playing the intro to What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost, apparently just the intro because “That’s all we know”.

Meanwhile back in the hotter-than-Hell’s hot bits confines of the second stage Every Time I Die were serving a reminder that there are some brilliant bands about at the moment. They’ve been around for near on 15 years but managed to pack in a level of intensity and energy that few of their younger competition could manage. New York State was well represented with the Cancer Bats and ETID, and to be honest I’m not even going to try to split the two, both definitely among the bands of the day.

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbath

After the decent sound enjoyed by The Blackout hopes were high that the technical gremlins that had blighted FFAF’s set had been vanquished. Alas it was not to be, and the little bastards were back with a vengeance for Taking Back Sunday’s headline set, starting off with Adam Lazzara’s In ear monitors going on on the blink. Hats off to the stage crew here though, it was impressive to see how quickly they got the on-stage monitors up and running.

It’s always nice to see a headline set that provides a fitting end to a days entertainment, and Taking Back Sunday certainly provided that. I mean with tracks like Liar, What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost and the tour-de-force of Everything Must Go how could they go wrong ?

Slam Dunk 2012 by CackBlabbathAnd the abiding memory of Slam Dunk 2012 ? Well for all of Team CB it was watching Adam Lazzara leave the stage after asking “How long is this mic cord ?”.. before heading up the stairs and onto the balcony leaving the rest of the band wondering where he had disappeared to.

This was pure showmanship, leaning out over the barrier on the balcony, singing to the packed crowd below. It was also quite funny watching the security guys trying to stop him going any further, and then trying to stop him leaning too far over and ending up in an impromptu stage dive.

Brilliant.

Well, Slam Dunk, you’ve done it again, See you next year. The only question is how the hell do they top this. What a day, what a festival.