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Live Reviews

Slam Dunk Festival

Temple Newsam, Leeds

Sunday 28th May 2023

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL NORTH – LIVE REVIEW

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.

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Read our review of The Offspring live in London

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News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week!

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News Report

Paramore return with ‘This Is Why’

Paramore – ‘This Is Why’

Welcome one and all to another edition of our weekly music News Report!

This week we begin by rounding up the best new releases from the past week and where else could we start other than with the return of Paramore?

Yes, the iconic band returned this week with a brand new track, ‘This Is Why’, which you can listen to above.

The song acts as the title-track of their newly confirmed upcoming album, ‘This Is Why’, which is out February 10th.

Pre-order your copy here.

Listen to ‘This Is Why’ on our Spotify Hot List!

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.”

Order your copy here.

Read our review of ‘Senjutsu’ from Iron Maiden

Godsmack debut ‘Surrender’

Godsmack – ‘Surrender’

Our rundown of new music releases continues as our News Report looks now at Godsmack.

This week the band released new single, ‘Surrender’, which you can check out above.

More here.

Listen to our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist on Spotify

Gun reveal retooled version of ‘Inside Out’

Gun – ‘Inside Out’

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”.

Pre-order your copy here.

Read our review of ‘Patient Number 9’ from Ozzy Osbourne

VUKOVI share ‘QUENCH’

VUKOVI – ‘QUENCH’

VUKOVI will be releasing their new album, ‘NULA’, on October 7th. This week saw the band share the latest single, ‘QUENCH’, which you can listen to above.

Pre-order your copy here.

Read our review of VUKOVI live in Norwich

Willie J Healey debuts ‘Dreams’

Willie J Healey – ‘Dreams’

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.’”

Pre-order your copy here.

Read our review of Arkells live in Norwich

Asylums debut new single ‘Instant Coffee’

Asylums – ‘Instant Coffee’

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!”

Pre-order your copy here.

Watch Episode 17 of our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests BAIT

Nandi Bushell debuts ‘The Shadows’

Nandi Bushell – ‘The Shadows’

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.

YOU ARE LOVED. THERE IS HOPE.” – Nandi

More info here.

Read our review of ‘Viva Las Vengeance’ from Panic! At The Disco

Johnny Borrell debuts new band Jealous Nostril

Jealous Nostril – ‘Phase 6’

Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell this week debuted his new musical project, Jealous Nostril. The trio also includes Mystery Jets Jack Flanagan and drummer ELLiS D.

You can watch the video for their debut single, ‘Phase 6’, above.

The group also announced their first live dates in St. Albans and London, with tickets available here.

Read our review of ‘EBM’ from Editors

News Report

Slam Dunk Festival gets even bigger!

We move our News Report on now to the latest festival announcements, and we start with an already stacked Slam Dunk Festival!

Well, the dual event got even bigger this week with the additions of Yellowcard, Underoath, Trophy Eyes, Dragged Under and more.

They join the already announced The Offspring, Enter Shikari, Bowling For Soup, Billy Talent, Creeper, Holding Absence, Trash Boat and so many more.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Enter Shikari live in London

Firestorm reveal first wave of 2023 acts

After a successful debut event this year, Firestorm Festival will return to Manchester in August 2023 for a second edition.

The first waves of acts include Kris Barras Band, When Rivers Meet, Hollowstar, Jack J Hutchinson and former ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast guests Scruffy Bear.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Black Stone Cherry live in Cambridge

Desertfest 2023 line-up revealed

Desertfest returns to London in May and this week revealed the first acts for the festival including Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Graveyard, Kadavar and more.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Ghost live in Birmingham

News Report

Tom Grennan announces Arena Tour

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!”

Pre-orders and tickets here.

Read our review of Hard-Fi live in Milton Keynes

Dayglow reveals UK Tour dates

News Report

Dayglow has revealed a run of UK tour dates for early next year, which finish up at the O2 Forum Kentish Town.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Reading Festival

Circa Waves set UK Tour

News Report

Plenty of tour announcements in our News Report this week, including the above from Circa Waves.

The news comes ahead of new album, ‘Never Going Under’, which is out January 13th.

Pre-orders and tickets here.

Read our review of ‘Lonedon’ from The Skinner Brothers

We Are Scientists announce UK Tour

News Report

We Are Scientists have revealed a new UK Tour for early next year including a date at KOKO in London.

The band also have a new album on the way with, ‘LOBES’, out January 20th.

Pre-orders and tickets are here.

Read our review of Y Not Festival

Pixies reveal UK Tour dates

The iconic Pixies will return to tour Europe and the UK in 2023 following the release of new album, ‘Doggerel’.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Pearl Jam live at BST Hyde Park

Joe Bonamassa announces new UK Tour dates

Legendary guitar maestro Joe Bonamassa has revealed five new UK tour dates for May 2023.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of ‘SCP’ from Oakman

Elles Bailey adds 2023 tour dates

The tour announcements keep coming in our News Report this week, and next up is Elles Bailey. Bailey will be playing a lengthy run of dates early next year including a date at Lafayette in London.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Frank Turner live in Cambridge

Von Hertzen Brothers add UK headline shows

Von Hertzen Brothers are in the UK for Planet Rock Winter’s End Festival in February. Fans will now have additional chances to catch the band with headline shows now added in Manchester and London.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of ‘Red Alert In The Blue Forest’ from Von Hertzen Brothers

Sleep Token announce huge UK shows

Our final tour announcement in our News Report this week comes from Sleep Token and it’s a massive tour for the band as they step into venues such as Brixton Academy.

Support comes from Northlane.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

News Report

As always we conclude our News Report with the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist!

Charlotte Sands – ‘Tantrum’

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.” 

Listen, Follow and Discover your new favourite act now with our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist

Then find our the stories behind the songs on our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast!

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Watch Episode 11 of The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guests Pet Needs