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Slamdunk Festival 2014 – MacBeth Stage | Live Review

Check out what we thought of some of the bands on the MacBeth Stage at this years Slamdunk Festival

Credit: Jade Till

Fandangle- Macbeth Stage- Hatfield

Having been away from the scene for probably going on 8 years it was an absolute pleasure to see ska-punkers Fandangle once again grace the stage and bring back a flood of memories of the now practically extinct UK ska/punk scene (big up those still keeping it alive!). As a bit of background, my old band used to tour with these guys back in the day. I’ve seen Bassist Andy get his nose broken with a mic stand, filled their van with fish and had more world domination meetings with Vocalist Adam than I can remember. May as well get it out the way now, this review is gonna be bias as f**k. Honestly though, the guys sounded as tight as they ever have and considering ska-punk is in no way as popular as it was back in the day it was great to see so many people there ready to get their skank on so early in the day. Tracks such as the chirpy ‘Cheap Escape’ and the fast political anthem that is ‘Homeland Obscurity’ really highlighted how great a band they are and it really does make you wonder why they never reached the heights of bands such as Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake. Ending on crowd favourite ‘Oliver Twist’ Fandangle gave Slamdunk an incite into how great our UK ska scene used to be. Now can we just get Howards Alias, No Comply, Lightyear, Lubby Nugget and Adequate 7 reformed? I think it’s time for ska/punk to regain it’s crown! 4/5 CH

Decade- Macbeth Stage- Hatfield
For a band that have literally just released their debut album you would think Decade were one of the biggest bands of the festival today. With a packed room, and a crowd going crazy to every tune, this is a band that have an extremely bright future ahead of them. Tracks such as ‘Brain Freeze’ and ‘British Weather’ are arguably some of the best pop-punk songs to come out of the UK in recent times and if they can keep up the momentum we could be witnessing one of the UK’s next big things in action. Do I need to say anymore? Just get the album, love it and go see them! Sort it out! 4.5/5 CH

Gnarwolves – Macbeth Stage- Hatfield
It’s been a brilliant year or so for the Brighton-based trio and with a debut album and Reading/Leeds mainstage performance just around the corner, the hype they’ve received is astonishing. Mere seconds into their set, you could tell how nervous and shocked they were to be entertaining such a huge audience. Yet they performed as if it were just another stride in their snowballing career. All the bangers are played, starting with crowd-favourite ‘Melody Has Big Plans’ and skipping easily to ‘Tongue Surfer’ and ‘Coffee’. With a couple of new songs thrown in, their set yields pits, crowd surfers and plenty of fist-pumps. 9/10 LH

Credit: Jade Till

Zebrahead- Macbeth Stage- Hatfield
Zebrahead always draw in their loyal ska-punk fans at every Slam Dunk set they play, and 2014 is no exception. The Macbeth stage is packed with people and Zebrahead most definitely play up to their heaving crowd with a fun but undeniably tight set. Their stage presence is overwhelming, with the energy practically bursting out of the walls. Their heavy punk-rock riffs blast out over spunky ska melodies that see the crowd alternate between moshing and dancing throughout the set. Zebrahead give a couple of their fans a break by inviting them up to their on-stage bar for a drink before hurtling at top speed into their finishing tracks, which eventually leads to the release of an exhausted, sweaty but ultimately satisfied crowd once the set is over. 8/10 SL

Credit: Jade Till

The Ataris- Macbeth Stage- Hatfield
Having been a good ten years since The Ataris were at their peak back in the days of their most successful album ‘So Long Astoria’, it was nice to finally see the band back on the UK festival scene as they replaced Goldfinger on the Slamdunk line-up. With the band consisting of only one original member, frontman Kris Roe, since the original line-up split back in 2004, would the band still have that spark that made them one of the most influential pop-punk bands of the early oo’s? Tonights set was definitely an awesome blast from the past with tracks such as the anthemic ‘San Dimas High School Football Rules’ and ‘In This Diary’ bringing back fond memories of the classic pop-punk era but something did appear to be missing. As much as the songs themselves held their ground the performance tonight didn’t seen as energetic as usual. It was only near the end of the set we discover the rest of the band, minus Kris obviously, were only standing in as the usual touring band couldn’t commit to the show at such short notice. Not to say the set was disappointing, far from it, but with a noticeable lack of onstage energy, compared to their recent performances, the show wasn’t up to their usual standard and did fall short because of this. With the original line-up reforming recently to tour the ‘So Long Astoria’ album it does make you wish they could reform the original band for good and bring back what they once had. The Ataris are, and will always be, one of the greatest pop-punk bands of all time and if they can re-gain that live spark there is no reason the band couldn’t jump back into the spotlight again and show the newbies how it’s really done. It’s time everyone discovered the real Ataris and not just ‘Boys Of Summer’. Stop reading this review, go download the discography and get educated on one of the greatest bands around. 3/5 CH

Reviews by: Chris Hines, Sam Lawrie and Lizzi Hart

Photos by: Jade Till

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