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Live Review: Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield – 26/05/2013

Last weekend the sun came out from hiding and made Slam Dunk Festival 2013 a massive success. We caught as many bands as we physically could. Check out what HTF thought of the Hatfield leg of the festival here.

Last weekend Slam Dunk Festival 2013 visited Leeds, Hatfield and Wolverhampton, bringing some of the industry’s biggest and best artists along with them. A few of our contributors were lucky enough to head down to the Hatfield leg on Sunday 26th May to check out as many bands as they could, across all the stages. Here is who we saw, and what we thought of their sets:

Heart In Hand – Monster Energy Stage – Words: Matt Borucki

Bournemouth’s Heart In Hand were dished the daunting task of kicking off not only the Monster Energy stage, but Hatfield’s Slam Dunk Festival 2013 altogether. Maybe the huge crowd they drew was partly due to the bare stages elsewhere, but as the ferocious ‘Life Goes On…’ and ‘Broken Lights’ smashed out of the PA, the only place the crowd went was towards the pit. 8/10

House vs Hurricane – Monster Energy Stage – Words: Matt Borucki

Coming all the way from Melbourne, metal mob House vs Hurricane were the surprise package. Fittingly, they instantly swept the tent away with new single ’40 Deep’ and showed exactly what they’re made of with fan favourite ‘Blood Knuckles’ – it’s just a shame there wasn’t many people there to witness it. 7/10

hey vanity

Marc Halls – Keep A Breast Stage – Words: Rhian Westbury

The man and the voice behind Hey Vanity was at Slam Dunk onstage alone with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. Today is a mixture of Hey Vanity tracks including opener ‘Breathe, Bleed, Grow’ (a HTF personal favourite) and ‘Terry Tibbs’ alongside some of his solo material. It’s the sort of set we could have happily sat down and listened to all day if that were possible. 9/10

Transit – Macbeth Stage – Words: Solomon Radley

Boston quintet Transit enjoyed a huge crowd considering how early on in the day they took to the stage and delivered their own brand of boundary-pushing pop punk to a packed out venue.Encouraged by the reception ‘Young New England’ has been getting here in the UK, they included more new material in their set than you might have expected at a festival show. That said, lead single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ was just as warmly received as oldies like ‘Please, Head North’ and set-closer ‘Skipping Stone’. The guys put on a flawless performance, with drummer Daniel Frazier especially looking like he could play his parts in his sleep. Transit try to write music that connects people – today, as thousands of fans sang along with vocalist Joe Boynton throughout their set, they did just that. 7/10

The Story So Far – Macbeth Stage – Words: Matt Borucki

No longer can The Story So Far be classed as a hidden gem – the Macbeth stage was absolutely packed. And people weren’t there to just “check them out”, either, they were there to sing along and support the Californians as much as they could. As commanding as vocalist Parker Cannon is, you could barely hear him at times as the crowd did the job for him, but the look on his face suggested that he didn’t have any objections. 9/10

Mallory Knox – Main Stage – Words: Solomon Radley

Doing everything in their power to live up to the hype that surrounds them in the aftermath of their hugely successful debut album ‘Signals’, Mallory Knox looked completely at home on the Main Stage for this short set. Clearly enjoying being the band of the moment, they tore through the likes of ‘Beggars’, ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Wake Up’ with Mikey Chapman belting out their mighty choruses, much to the delight of the substantial rabble of teenagers cheering and looking on wistfully. These Cambridge rockers are clearly on an upwards trajectory and judging by today they deserve all the success that’s coming to them – they really do represent the best of the British rock scene. 8/10

chunk no captain chunk

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Tiger Stage – Words: Matt Borucki

Arriving at the Tiger stage with a minute to spare was a mistake – not even the magic pink and grey wristband could convince security to let us join the party inside until some people made the even worse mistake of leaving. Thankfully, sneaking in during ‘Restart’, enough was seen to show that these young French guys have a bright future ahead of them, particularly on UK soil. They’re all about the cliché sudden transitions between pop-punk and metal, but when you can party one bar and mosh hard the next, what’s not to like? 8/10

The Word Alive – Monster Energy Stage – Words: Matt Borucki

The Word Alive, perhaps one of the best acts of last year’s Slam Dunk, didn’t quite have the same impact this time around. As to be expected, they were tight as a unit, but the setting and quarter-filled tent gave them little vibe to work with. Relying heavily on technology during live performances is a common tactic nowadays, but it doesn’t always goes to plan and a lack of synths in opener ‘2012’ summarised exactly how flat they can be when it doesn’t. 6/10

Bury Tomorrow

Bury Tomorrow – Monster Energy – Words: Matt Borucki

Bury Tomorrow have been destroying every stage they set foot on and it has come to the point where there are no more superlatives to partner them with. Opener ‘Lionheart’ caused mosh on tap and the unexpected inclusion of ‘Redeemer’ was no less accepted by the faithful crowd than any of their recent hits. This was BT at their finest, and #TeamBT at their loyalist. 10/10

Kids In Glass Houses- Main Stage- Words: Rhian Westbury

You wouldn’t think Kids In Glass Houses had been away for long but last album ‘In Gold Blood’ came out in August 2011; almost 2 years ago. We know, where has the time gone?! But they have recorded a new album so we don’t need to wait long and they play lead single ‘Drive’ with the crowd being thrown blow up beach balls. It worked perfectly in the sunshine, risky choice if it had been raining though! You wouldn’t have sensed the band’s absense from the crowd though, ‘Give Me What I Want’ sounds stronger than ever and closer ‘Saturday’ sounds meatier and louder than ever before. Kids In Glass Houses are officially back and ready to take over! 9/10

The Wonder Years – Macbeth Stage – Words: Solomon Radley

Three years ago The Wonder Years‘ vocalist Soupy climbed the scaffolding of the Macbeth Stage, believing it would be his only chance to look out on a crowd that size. This year, they proved decisively that they’ve earned their spot on the bill by delivering by far the most enjoyable set of the festival. The venue was packed to the rafters, with fans eager to witness the band’s own unique blend of musical honesty. Songs from new release ‘The Greatest Generation’ proved particularly popular – the coda of ‘The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves’ and THAT bridge in ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’ made for particularly emotional moments that were just incredible to be part of. This is a band that just keeps getting better and it was almost a shame that they didn’t include more new material in their set – ‘Logan’s Circle’ could easily have been substituted for ‘There, There’, for example – but this was a textbook festival set, one that further cements their reputation as the best modern pop punk band out there. 9/10

Woe, Is Me – Monster Energy – Words: Matt Borucki

Unfortunately, it was more like “Woe, Is Them” today as a series of technical issues marred their much-anticipated set. With one guitarist down already, it was crucial that Andrew Paiano’s notes sounded as loud and powerful as ever, but they weren’t to be heard at all for the first couple of songs. And the failure of Doriano Magliano’s microphone just before ‘Vengeance’ capped of a technological shambles. Better luck next time boys, but at least we know now the bass line to ‘A Story To Tell’ is catchy. 5/10

Deaf Havana- Main Stage- Words: Solomon Radley

There were all sorts of things wrong with this set from Deaf Havana. Opening with a cover of ‘Let Me Entertain You’ by Robbie Williams was a questionable move and following it immediately with dreadful new single ‘Boston Square’ only made matters worse. James Veck-Gilodi sounded extremely hoarse and at one point he had to stop and apologise for how bad his voice was sounding. Despite all that, though, the show wasn’t completely un-enjoyable. Thanks to some great songs from their back catalogue, including ‘The Past Six Years’ and ‘I’m A Bore, Mostly’ there were still moments that could be enjoyed despite Gilodi’s dodgy performance. 4/10

Memphis May Fire – Monster Energy – Words: Matt Borucki

Memphis May Fire took one step closer to taking over the world tonight, as their 45 minute set was nothing but sensational. From the inspiring ‘Legacy’ to the hate-filled ‘The Deceived’, every note the Texan boys delivered was oozing with confidence, but it was ‘Losing Sight’ that clinched the crowd’s hearts with its honest, yet committed approach. Matty Mullins claimed to be “the voice of a generation”, but who’s going to argue when his words sound so good? 9/10

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