The Rocksound Breakout stage at Slam Dunk Festival is set to bring some of the newest and freshest bands to the crowds across bank holiday weekend and the acts just get stronger and stronger. We’d have loved to hang around to catch all of the news to grace the stage but we only managed four, but we’re sure these four are set to become some of our new favourite bands.
A lot of us are creatures of habit and head to the same stages to see the same bands year after year despite there being so much more to discover and this is something we’re trying to push ourselves to do. This is exactly how we came across Glaswegian’s Vukovi. The band have slowly been making a name for themselves after releasing their self-titled debut album earlier this year so armed with that release they took over the Rock Sound stage. Frontwoman Janine is the perfect release of fun that you want at a festival, armed with a water pistol and an all guns blazing attitude the band work their way through a huge chunk of their debut. The riffs are heavy in part but not so heavy as to segregate people and the supercharged tempos were enough to get the crowd singing and dancing along. ‘Animal’ proves to be one of the bigger hits as Janine encourages crowd participation, and whether you knew the band or not you found yourself singing along. Vukovi are everything the music scene should be; fun and fresh. 9/10 RW
The Gospel Youth
The Gospel Youth are a band who are growing in popularity as the days go by. They have just announced the release of their debut album Always Lose in July, and Slam Dunk Festival proved that they are already building up quite an impressive fan base. Crowds sang along as The Gospel Youth played their melodic, emotional set. Everything about this band works in complete harmony and is packaged up into a very neat, very catchy and very impressive sound. Vocals from frontman Sam Little are hard to top. His lyrics soared and touched fans; we’re not afraid to admit that we might have shed a tear or two during the band’s moving performance of ‘The Hospital Blues You Gave To Me’. The Gospel Youth are going to be huge, and one day you’ll probably be telling all your friends that you remember seeing them play at Slam Dunk Festival before they had even released their debut album. 9/10 ZS
Casey are a band that have caused a lot of excitement over the last year, and when you see them play live, you can see why. The mixture of aggression, speed and emotion is intoxicating, and the crowd were fixated on the stage while they played. The vocals that come from this band are massive. Whether he’s screaming as if his life depended on it, or singing the personal, touching lyrics with such emotion it could bring the crowd to tears, Tom Weaver is a ridiculously talented vocalist. The band plays with such a passion too, and not one person in the crowd can have left Casey’s Slam Dunk set unmoved. If you missed Casey at Slam Dunk, you really missed out. But don’t worry, they are going to be huge, so we think you’ll have plenty more chances to see them. 7/10 ZS
For a band that’s only just starting to venture onto the festival circuit, Bristol’s Area 11 managed to draw a respectable crowd as they played their first gig of 2017 on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. Opening with ‘The Contract’ before going into ‘Versus’, the four-piece showed off their ability to go from poppy singalongs one minute to heavy riffs the next. The band appeared to be happy to be back on stage for the first time in a few months as this was reflected in their tight, enthusiastic performance and playful banter between songs. As well as songs from their 2016 album Modern Synthesis, the band also threw in a couple of treats for older fans, with debut album tracks ‘Cassandra (Pt. 2)’ and ‘Heaven-Piercing Giga Drill’ both making an appearance. The latter closed the set in style, with its riffy outro provoking a sizeable circle pit, and seemingly coaxing the sun out after what had been a fairly grey and miserable day. All things considered, Area 11’s first appearance at Slam Dunk Midlands was a resounding success, and will hopefully not be their last. 7/10 JF
Reviews by: Rhian Westbury, Zoe Stevens and James Fitzgerald