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Slamdunk Festival 2014 – Main Stage | Live Review

Here’s the first part of our Slam Dunk Festival reviews including all the bands to play the main stage. Check out what we made of the stage here!

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Credit: Jemma Dodd

It seems like we have been waiting for bloody ages for Slam Dunk Festival but it came and went in the blink of an eye. We were lucky enough to head along to both the South and Midlands shows across Sunday 25th May and Monday 26th May. One of the things we were dreading was rain but fortunately both days were filled with sunshine and even Hatfield could even be classed as glorious sunshine: we rocked our sunglasses for half the day! (Why can’t all festivals be like this?! Download take note!) With so many amazing stages filled with fantastic bands we decided it only fair to spread the festivities out over stages so here’s welcoming our review of all the bands playing the festivals Kerrang! Main Stage.

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Blitz Kids- Hatfield

A year ago Blitz Kids were brushing the lower end of festival line up’s and in 2014 they’re opening the main stage: their debut album ‘The Good Youth’ probably has a lot to do with this. The sun is shining, the drinks are flowing and the music just adds to the summer vibe. Blitz Kids are becoming somewhat of a festival staple now and when opener ‘All I Want Is Everything’ kicks in so many people sing-a-long that we almost wish we had ear plugs! The band seem to thrive in festival settings and today is no different. Eight songs pass by in the blink of an eye and quickly we’re stood contemplating where the last half an hour went. 3.5/5 RW

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Canterbury- Hatfield

Following in the footsteps of Blitz Kids, Canterbury were quick to step into the limelight of the main stage. The four-piece played a variety of tracks from recent release ‘Dark Days’ including ‘Expensive Imitation’ and ‘Think It Over’.  Igniting the crowd and encouraging them to move, the upbeat nature of the tracks infected the audience with both boys and girls bobbing their head along to the punchy rock numbers.  In midst of the newcomers, the band also played an array of classics. ‘Calm Down’ bought a calmer energy to the set, with fans singing along to every word, whereas ‘Saviour’ allowed the performance to come full circle with the boys initial energy at its peak. 4.5/5 EM

Credit: Jade Till

The Skints- Wolverhampton

With the hype that surrounds four-piece The Skints, they had a lot to live up to at this years Slam Dunk. Luckily they don’t disappoint and played a quintessential mix of rock-reggae jams that went hand-in-hand- with the blazing summer weather. At times we wished the audience gave a little more back to the band, with the crowd remaining fairly still as they soaked in the atmosphere. Regardless, their mellow mood worked effortlessly with composed hits like ‘Rise Up’ and ‘My War’. 4/5 EM

Credit: Ellie Mitchell

We The Kings- Hatfield

It was perfect weather for a good old fashioned sing-along, and that is exactly what fans of We The Kings were treated to in the fantastic mid-afternoon sun. Tracks like ‘Check Yes Juliet’, ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘Say You Like Me’ predictably relieved the best reaction from the crowd, but the show was stolen by a couple of key moments. The first being an unexpected cover of Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle’ and the announcement during their performance of ‘Just Keep Breathing’ that we would all be part of an upcoming new music video. The entire band kept interacting with the crowd throughout the set and just made it feel like one big party instead of a small set. 4/5 CT

Credit: Jade Till

Motion City Soundtrack- Hatfield

Minnesota’s finest Motion City Soundtrack took to the main stage in the early evening, bringing their oh-so-familiar, straight out of the 90’s alt rock with them. The large crowd might have not all been diehard fans, but almost everyone could easily sing along to the likes of ‘Everything Is Alright’ and the more recent hit ‘Her Words Destroyed My Planet’ which naturally kept the energy high. Being far from their first appearance at Slam Dunk, it was clear that Motion City Soundtrack knew what to expect, and how to execute a great set that would have the crowd entertained regardless of music tastes – and vocalist Justin Pierre’s wit was just the cherry on top of the cake. 4/5 MC

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Credit: Jemma Dodd

We Are The In Crowd- Hatfield

We Are The In Crowd have spent a lot of time in the UK in recent years. From headline tours to festival appearances, and even a few support slots earlier on in their career, there’s no doubt that the New York pop rockers are a well received outfit when it comes to British audiences – and their stint at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival was no exception. Kicking off with ‘Long Live The Kids’, their staple opener since the release of their latest album ‘Weird Kids’, the crowd at the main stage were then treated to a set packed with contemporary tunes and older favourites including ‘Lights Out’ which is taken from their very first EP ‘Guaranteed To Disagree’ and gave the audience the chance to see how much We Are The In Crowd have grown as musicians since. 4.5/5 MC

Credit: Ellie Mitchell

Mallory Knox- Wolverhampton

There are very few bands we’d happily see two days on the trot but Mallory Knox are one of those few. The contrast between Hatfield’s outdoor main stage and Wolverhampton’s indoor main stage is evident during their set. As Mallory blast onstage in Wolverhampton to ’Beggars’ from last years debut album it’s a complete showcase of ultimately how brilliant ’Signals’ as an album was and how tight Mallory Knox are as a band. Mikey’s voice is rich, passionate and flawless in every way imaginable and if new track ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ is anything to go by impending album number two will be just as much of a hit. Next years headliners in the making?! It wouldn’t surprise us! 5/5 RW

Credit: Chris Hines

The All American Rejects- Hatfield

As the evening kicked in at Slamdunk Hatfield, The All American Rejects took to the Main Stage to finish off the day with a set of pure pop-punk belters. From the opening riff of their huge hit ‘Dirty Little Secret’ it was clear why AAR were chosen to headline as you heard the crowd scream along to every word. And let’s face it; with a tune this good it’s kind of hard not to sing along. AAR have always been consistent album after album, so with a setlist spanning their whole discography, including ‘My Paper Heart’ from their debut all the way to the more recent ‘Beekeeper’s Daughter’ from their latest release ‘Kids In The Street’, it was always going to be a fan pleasing set. Another weapon in the bands arsenal is their charismatic front man Tyson Ritter. Being such a character, and one funny guy, even newcomers to the band couldn’t help be entertained as he commanded the stage and kept things interesting between tracks with his witty onstage banter. Huge tracks such as ‘Swing Swing’, ‘It Ends Tonight’ and ‘Gives You Hell’ definitely shone through tonight and finishing on the unexpected ‘Move Along’ bought the set to an epic finale. I only say unexpected due to the fact they normally finish on the appropriately named ‘The Last Song’. AAR came and gave Slamdunk one kick ass show and let’s hope they hurry up and get their asses back to U.K shores soon. And for any hardcore fans out there, I had words with Tyson and he’s promised me they will play ‘Dance Inside’ next time. Let’s hope he keeps his promise or Gives You Hell mite take a whole new meaning. Tyson, you have been warned! 4/5 CH

Reviews by: Emma Matthews, Rhian Westbury, Chris Hines, Madison Convey and Callum Thomson

Photos by: Jemma Dodd, Ellie Mitchell, Chris Hines and Jade Till

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