Rock fans know that festival season is upon us when we get to the late May Bank Holiday weekend and Slam Dunk Festival brings rock and punk fans to Hatfield and Leeds.
This year that journey takes a little longer for some due to traffic issues, probably borne out of the fact that both events are sold out. Leeds in particular feels like the Temple Newsam is bursting at the seams today.
Queues are unimaginably long for merch, toilets, food or anything else, but thankfully the music (and weather) is very much on point!
We start the day in the ‘Knotfest’ tent for rising metallers Heriot, who attract a decent sized early crowd. That crowd is treated to a blistering set of gloriously heavy goodness and a spirited performance from a band on the cusp of bigger things.
It’s then a short walk over to one of two outdoor main stages, the ‘Amazon Rock Scene’ stage, where we will spend most of our day today. Taking this stage next are VUKOVI who absolutely own the stage and showcase their superb new album, ‘NULA’. Singer Janine is able to hold the audience in the palm of her hand and orchestrate the first truly great set of the band.
Logistically the event may be remembered for the wrong reasons, but musically today is fantastic, with that set from VUKOVI one of many that will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.
Thinking, we’ll go for a quick wonder around, it’s clear that nothing will be quick today, but we do catch a glimpse of girlfriends who are very impressive for the time we can stay. Soon though we must head back down the hill to catch Trash Boat.
This is a band that has grown significantly in almost every sense of the word over the past few years. Their latest album, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, was one of the most surprising of 2021 as the band took their sound to new heights. Today they use the stage to bring many of these tracks to life and the crowd are clearly appreciative of another excellent performance.
Trash Boat are followed on stage by Holding Absence who have just announced that their third album, ‘The Noble Art of Self Destruction’, will be out later this year. Their set today is a good mix of old and new including brand new single, ‘False Dawn’ and fan favourite ‘Afterlife’, which gets a monumental response from the passionate crowd.
Soon enough it’s over to Wargasm who are becoming one of those marmite bands where it’s almost cool to hate them. The energy and ferocity that they put into their show however can’t be denied and whilst the energy levels for some of the crowd starts to sap, the band push through with tracks such as ‘Backyard Bastards’ and ‘Spit.’ getting everyone back moving.
We then head over to the other end of the festival site (very slowly) to the ‘Kerrang’ stage where the tent is overspilling already ahead of Boston Manor. The band are on top form right now and have every person singing along to their gargantuan anthems. As they conclude their time on stage with ‘Halo’ you can’t help but think that Boston Manor deserve to be absolutely huge.
It’s a blast from the past next as Slam Dunk keep up their track record of reformations with Kids In Glass Houses. Playing their first shows in almost a decade the band focus their set on ‘Smart Casual’, which will be getting a re-release later this year. Songs like ‘Saturday’ and ‘Give Me What I Want’ still have it and so do the band who fly through the set like they’ve never been away.
Sticking to the same stage we are soon graced by PVRIS who deliver another really good performance which features a well structured setlist. Lynn Gunn leads the trio through a selection of their popular tracks with ‘You and I’ and ‘My House’ both getting big audience responses. The band will return with their fourth album in July, and new track ‘Goddess’ goes down very well today complete with guest spot from Charlotte Sands.
We are at the business end of the day now and up next on stage are Billy Talent who are able to deliver a pure masterclass in how to make the most of a shortened festival set. Banger, after banger, after banger as the band deliver suckerpunch after suckerpunch. The crowd reciprocate the bands energy and by the time the set finishes with ‘Red Flag’, the band have done enough to claim the band of the day moniker!
In the clash of the headliners, we opt to head to the ‘Dickies’ stage for punk icons The Offspring. The band have an endless stream of hit songs, and tonight the band focus more on their back catalogue then they did at Hatfield yesterday.
Their covers section in the middle feels a little too much considering their short time on stage but nobody can deny the final run of tracks which provides a great end to a packed day both musically and in terms of the volume of people on site!
Slam Dunk is a trusted brand these days and musically they’ve delivered once again, but there are undoubtedly some logistical issues that need to be fixed. Perhaps they’ve once again outgrown their homes and need to find bigger accommodation, one thing is for sure though and next May will again see a packed line-up heralding the dawning of a new festival season.
Iron Maiden announce new Triple Vinyl to commemorate 40th Anniversary of ‘The Number of the Beast’
The legendary Iron Maiden have announced the release of a commemorative triple black vinyl album in honour of the 40th Anniversary of seminal third album, ‘The Number Of The Beast’, which was also the first to feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals and was to become the record which catapulted the band to international stardom.
Included in the new vinyl package is ‘Beast Over Hammersmith’ – available now officially for the very first time on vinyl – featuring the live concert from March 1982’s now legendary Hammersmith Odeon London show from the ‘Beast On The Road’ World Tour.
Recorded only days before the release of ‘The Number Of The Beast’ album, it’s remarkable to think these now classic songs at that time were still brand new, unfamiliar and being heard live by fans for the very first time. A real piece of history in the making.
Steve Harris comments, “On this vinyl release we get the chance to put ‘Total Eclipse’ in its rightful spot on the album for the first time. The reason it didn’t make it in the first place was that it was all a mad rush when we were finishing the record and we had to get the ‘Run To The Hills’ single out before the tour and we basically had to pick a B-side and it was between ‘Gangland’ and ‘Total Eclipse’ and we just picked the wrong one, really! I think ‘Total Eclipse’ is a stronger song and the album would have been stronger if it had been on there.”
With new album, ‘The Calton Songs’, out soon on October 14th, Gun have shared the new reinvigorated version of firm fan favourite ‘Inside Out’, which you can listen to above.
As Jools Gizzi says: “When the pandemic hit we realised that it was the perfect time to try and counteract the bleakness that was all around. It felt like we couldn’t write anything, or of course tour. Out of that darkness came a desire to completely rework these songs that we know the fans love, and bring a different, stripped down vibe”.
Dante Gizzi added: “It’s ironic that those feelings of negativity led to something so positive, a celebration of our career up to now”.
Willie J Healey has announced that his new album, ‘Bunny’, will be out March 24th. Healey, who support Florance + The Machine on tour this November, also debuted new track, ‘Dreams’ which you can listen to above.
Willie says, “‘Dreams’ is a song I wrote when thinking about the cost of an ambition. The idea behind the video is, what would life be like if you had to carry all of the money you made on your back, and that if you did have to carry it you probably wouldn’t want as much.’”
Asylums have this week debuted their new single, ‘Instant Coffee’, which you can check out above.
The track comes from upcoming album, ‘Signs of Life’, which is out on October 28th.
Producer Dave Eringa says of “Instant Coffee”:“It’s like all of Luke’s songwriting to date has been leading up to Instant Coffee, a beautifully melancholic perfect pop song with real depth! Late 90’s Albarn meets the great bits of American indie at a classical concert & they all get together for a party!”
Incredibly talented youngster Nandi Bushell took the next step in her musical evolution this week but debuted her first single, ‘The Shadows’, which you can listen to above.
“Early in 2022 my Dad fell into a depression as his autoimmune disease worsened. It was a difficult time for our family. I wanted to help cheer my Dad up by writing a song for him. He would describe his feelings to me and I would put them into lyrics letting him know, I would be there for him.
My Dad is now doing much better, he is on medication that is helping with his autoimmune disease and has recovered from his depression.
If you are suffering from mental health issues, please reach out for help. If you know of any good charities, groups or organisation in your area please share them in the comments for others.
We bring our News Report towards a close now with the best tour announcements from the past week and start with Tom Grennan.
Grennan revealed an Arena Tour set for March next year which concludes at the O2 Arena in London.
The news follows new single, ‘All These Nights’ and comes ahead of new album ‘What Ifs and Maybes’.
Speaking about the new album, Tom said: “I’ve called my new album What Ifs & Maybes. It’s about going with your gut, not your head, because you never know what’s going to happen. I’m not afraid to jump into the unknown – because it’s exciting! It’s about rolling the dice and living your best life with nothing to lose. I’m in a new creative space, and I know I’m finally the artist I want to be. I’m so buzzing for these shows, my biggest gigs to date. I can’t wait to get out and play these new songs to everyone. Let’s go!”
TikTok star and queen of angsty pop/rock, Charlotte Sands, has released her hard-hitting, fan favourite single ‘Tantrum’.
On the track, she said, “‘Tantrum’ is so special to me because since the first time I played it live, people immediately latched onto it and have been fighting for its release ever since. This song not only represents experiences of anxiety, panic, and rebellion throughout my life and career but also the journey and relationship between me and the people who have made my career possible. I’ve been playing it live for over a year now and I’m thankful for the people who have pushed me out of my comfort zone to release a song that without them would still be sitting in a folder somewhere on my phone. I am overwhelmed with excitement for this song to finally be out in the world, it’s been a year in the making (almost to the exact day) and I can’t wait to finally be able to throw a tantrum together.”
As Sirens Fall – ‘heaven (spat us back out)’
As Sirens Fall share their new single, ‘heaven (spat us back out)’.
‘i started writing heaven (spat us back out) just as our last ep ‘l’appel du vide (part 1)’ was releasing. that ep was a project about grief, and ‘heaven’ very much comes from that same place. it’s about giving up on the hopeful delusions that often come packaged with grief. it’s about realising you’re coming of age in a dark world and choosing to face it all and grow up anyway – choosing to live.’ Mikey Lord, Vocals
Arliston – ‘Hold My Wine’
Arliston return with the stirring and spirited new single, ‘Hold My Wine’, taken from forthcoming EP ‘Even In The Shade’.
Vocalist Jack Ratcliffe says, “We’ve been wanting to make something a bit more playful for a while, so when we first hit on that chorus idea and made a silly middle-class pun on ‘hold my beer’, everything just fell into place around it. This one was a lot of fun to make.”
Jack adds,“The song is about that occasional moment of recognition when you look up from the narrow corridor of your own thoughts and are seized by the idea that everyone else has progressed and developed, while you are stuck in an unchanged rut. The protagonist attempts to do something about it in the chorus — but inevitably, he gets it wrong.”