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Desperados Stage – Slam Dunk 2015 | Live Review

The desperados stage brought us a fantastic excuse to have a dance at this years Slam dunk Festival. Ranging from Zebrahead to headliners Reel Big Fish.

Mariachi El Bronx

Source: Graham Berry


Every festival needs a band like Lightyear! Chaz Palmer and crew made a welcome return this year and bring the mischief that a day like today needs. Blastingthrough a set of pure ska punk, they get the band bouncing from beginning to end and holding their sides at the bands onstage antics.

This is the band that were chased by Ice-T and his crew after invading his stage (and dressing room) at Leeds festival, this is also a band that got chucked off Jackass Alumni Steve-O’s tour for outrageous behaviour so you just know that anything can happen. Today we get slices of ham dished out to the crowd and a crowdsurfing pantomime horse. Add to that a whole bunch of killer tracks from their back catalogue and the band don’t miss a beat. Welcome back Lightyear! We have missed you. 7/10 MS


Mariachi El Bronx

If there is one band that could really bring a smile to your face no matter what the circumstance, Mariachi El Bronx are that band! A sea of curious onlookers as well as long time fans makes the crowd up at the Desperado Stage for their arrival, and even though the band start a few minutes late due to a technical difficulties, it is very clear from the opening notes that they have won this crowd instantaneously. On fine form as always, tracks such as ‘Cell Mates’, ‘Litigation’, ‘Norton Lights’, and ’48 Roses’ whip this crowd in to a steady progression of classy tango dancing, sexual swaying, and a small flurry of Mexican hats being thrown in the air for measure of appreciation. Quite easily the most feel good wildcard band of the entire day! 8/10 JPM



One of the undisputed musical gems of the 90’s, US punk royalty Zebrahead were just one of many old school legends to grace the Desperados Stage at Slam Dunk Festival 2015.

As you may expect Zebrahead’s performance just screamed PARTY from the minute they walked on stage. Armed with a smattering of party punk classics from their extensive 10-album arsenal, Zebrahead effortlessly ensured everyone present had an absolutely bonkers time. Opening straight away with a bit of MFZB! ‘Rescue Me’ got everyone’s feet off the ground and was definitely responsible for more than a few spilled beers, whoopsy.

The whole Zebrahead set was just good fun! There wasn’t one serious point about it. The band came to have a good time. We all went to have a good time, and unless you were that dude who got his glasses broken or the girl who took a crowd surfer to the face it was pretty much a given you had an absolute blast. Definite highlights were fan favourites: ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘Anthem’. But saying that, even the newer material like: ‘Call Your Friends’ and ‘Sirens’ held it’s own against the older stuff. It was nice to see that Zebrahead don’t have to rely on the old songs to play a good show you know?

The final cherry on the Slam Dunk Gateau would’ve been one of those cheeky covers that Zebrahead have recorded over the years. Some Spice Girls? A bit of Avril Lavigne maybe? But no matter, the California quintet played a cracker of a set and we can’t wait for them to mosey on over to the UK again sometime in the near future. 9/10 LS



Would we even see Goldfinger was the main question. With the band pulling out last year the anticipation was high for todays set, but with the P.A system failing not once, but twice, it was nearing what would have been the last few minutes of their set, and the band had still yet to enter the stage. Would we all be waiting yet another year to see them?

Finally, after what must have been a miserable time for the stages sound team, the band fly on stage and do what they do best; as quickly as possible. With such a high energy show you do tend to forget that frontman John Feldmann is nearing his 50’s and his perfected punk-rock jump still brings shame to any 5SOS or Mcbusted member. Storming through big tracks such as ‘Spokesman’, ‘Get Up’ and ‘San Simeon’ Goldfinger give it their all in order to make up for lost time though are let down by the stage sound not giving them the punch they deserve. By the time ‘Superman’ hits though no one cares as nostalgia hits it’s peak and everyone finds themselves mentally bashing buttons on Tony Hawks Pro Skater. Goldfinger never fail to please and tonight was no exception. Let’s hope they come back soon so they can give us the set they deserve. 7/10 CH



It has been far, far, far, far, far too long since Millencolin were last in the UK and they are welcomed back with open arms today. So the crowd may look a bit older than the one Patent Pending had but those kids don’t understand! For all those in their late 20’s/early 30’s Millencolin were the soundtrack to their introduction to skate/punk and they are all here in force to welcome back the Swedish punk gods.

The band mic choice cuts from latest album True Brew alongside their deep, deep back catalogue of eternal classics and everyone here laps up every single note. Sure the band may not be as crazy onstage as some of the other bands today but who needs that when you have songs this good?

The whole set passes far too quickly and the band say goodbye. Hopefully it wont take them as long to return to these shores again. 7/10 MS


Reel Big Fish

Ska-punk hasn’t been the “in” thing for a fair few years now but that means nothing in terms of Reel Big Fish’s live appeal. Hardcore kid, emo, punk, or even metal-head, there is just something so insanely catchy and appealing about RBF that no matter how “cool” you think you are, you can’t help but skank your ass off when the time comes.

Even with the band now consisting of only one original member – vocalist Aaron Barrett – huge hits such as ’Trendy’ and ‘Where Have You Been’ still sound as good as ever and the atmosphere is one of the most fun of the entire weekend. Part way through the set, we are even treated to a guest appearance from Laila and Barney of Sonic Boom Six for ‘Hiding In My Headphones’ and ‘She Has A Girlfriend Now’ and finishing the set on the big three – ‘Monkey Man’, ‘Beer’ & ‘Take On Me’ – it was a perfect end to the day.

If you were lucky enough to be on the front barrier you may have even caught Chas from Lightyear sitting in the water bin (aka your drinking water) and then attempting to push a table full of drinks into the photo pit. What more do you need? 8/10 CH

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