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.
Scotland’s TRNSMT will return to Glasgow Green in July with the reformed Pulp also topping their bill. Also at the top of the line-up will be Sam Fender, The 1975, George Ezra, Kasabian and Royal Blood.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott and The Kooks are on this one too, as are Inhaler and others, with many more to come.
Following a successful debut this year, Live At Leeds will once again hold an ‘In The Park’ event at Temple Newsam Park in May.
The line-up includes headliners Two Door Cinema Club plus The Lathums, Everything Everything, The Big Moon, Black Honey, The Beths, Low Hummer and many more.
Speaking about their headline show at Live At Leeds: In The Park, Two Door Cinema Club said: “Excited to say we’ll be coming to Live At Leeds in the park next year for the first time! Yoooooooooooorkshire!”
Everything Everything said: “Always a pleasure to play in Yorkshire, always special to play Leeds, and where better than at this stalwart event? Come and see us Live At Leeds: In The Park!”
Brooke Combe said: “Can’t wait for next year to be a part of Live at Leeds. See you all there for a boogie and a sing song 🥰”
Panic Shack said: “We can’t wait to play Live at Leeds in The Park!! Leeds has a special place in our hearts, we spent a few late nights here on our first ever tour with The Wytches. We’re excited to bring back our new and improved dance routine and to just have a bit of a laugh with everyone really!”
Hannah Wilson from Dolores Forever said: “We can’t wait to play Leeds. It’s my home town, so it will be mega special. It will be our first time playing Leeds in 2023 and we want to bring big energy vibes!”
Dan Mawer from Low Hummer said: “We’re chuffed to be a part of Live at Leeds: In The Park! The festival has a brilliant mix of well established names alongside exciting new artists, all taking place in a truly beautiful setting.
We loved attending last year’s event so we’re honoured to get the chance to play it in 2023. It’ll be really rewarding to take part in an event that will emulate the lovely sense of community we witnessed at this year’s festival.”
Speaking about Live At Leeds: In The Park 2023, Festival Promoter Joe Hubbard said:
“After such an incredible first year in 2022, we’re delighted to be returning to Temple Newsam for Live At Leeds: In The Park 2023! Bringing together bonafide festival headliners such as Two Door Cinema Club alongside some of the best in modern indie/alternative music – it’s going to be an unforgettable day and the perfect summer party not only full of singalongs left, right and centre but also loads of opportunities to discover your next favourite artist.
It’s what we do best at Live At Leeds and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back for an even bigger and even better Live At Leeds: In The Park in May. Catch ya down the front!”
Following a successful inaugural event this year, Firestorm Festival is back in Manchester next year with a line-up including Royal Republic, Kris Barras Band, Black Spiders, The Virginmarys, Hollowstar, Scruffy Bear and many more!
Hundred Reasons return with new single ‘Glorious Sunset’
We move our News Report on now to the best new releases from the past week and we start off with the spectacular return of Hundred Reasons.
The band this week announced their first new album in 15 years! ‘Glorious Sunset’ will be released on February 24th, and you can check out the title track above.
Lead singer Colin Doran says of the first writing session; “I came away from that session not just feeling closer to the other guys, having not seen them for some time, but thinking the music was f****** awesome. We all looked at each other and knew it was a go.”
He continues about the single: “When we started writing again it was really important that we did not go back to any material that had been cut previously. It all had to be completely new. We started writing just before Covid and got together sporadically as and when we could to write and demo which was not our usual way. We would normally be in a room together for the most part but this time it was not always possible. Larry and I would write, The Andy and Larry would write and then I would join the session later in the day (I have a day job) but we were all super happy with what was coming out. This was a deal breaker for all as if we were putting out new material it had to be amazing.
Glorious Sunset came about from an instrumental idea from The Andy which was nearly complete minus any vocal ideas. The lyrics for the song completely changed from the demo version to the recorded version as within that space of time my mother passed away after a 4-year battle with cancer. She had gone into remission twice previously and it come back again but this time it would be terminal. The title of the song took on a new meaning as the song talks about being relieved that someone you love is no longer suffering. The sunset refers to the light that many people say they see when they die.
During recording, Larry started playing around with synths and effects that added more to the song but by the time all of the music was recorded, no one in the band knew that the lyrics had changed so it ended up being an emotionally draining session in the studio that day. In all lots of lyrics changed during that time period as it brought on a new perspective which shaped the narrative of the material.”
“This album isn’t something we felt we had to do. We simply arrived at a position where the music was so good that it was something we needed to do.”
Following the release of their latest album, ‘I Don’t Belong Anywhere’, October Drift this week shared the video for ‘Lost Without You’, which you can of course check out above.
Regarding ‘Lost Without You’ frontman Kiran Roy says, “It’s a song about heartbreak and helplessness. Inspired by a long-distance relationship, with my girlfriend living over 400 miles away in Scotland. It’s about missing loved ones and the struggle of being apart.”
Book news closes out our News Report this week as Idlewild have announced details of a new limited edition publication entitled ‘Passing Places’.
Roddy Woomble says:
“Initially, we had an idea of putting something together to commemorate The Remote Part tour dates – a programme or a journal, something fans of the band would love to read and have. It would be made in a similar style to Tom’s beautifully designed journal Gold Flake Paint, somewhere between a magazine, a journal, a novella and a photo book. Something different and personal.
The journal acts almost like a souvenir programme for the 20th Anniversary Remote Part shows, particularly for those who travelled up to Ullapool in September, as primarily that is where the journal is set.
This idea appealed to me enormously, so Tom accompanied the band up to the Highlands for our The Remote Part show in Ullapool, close to where the album was written. As we got chatting on the journey, at the gig and the following day driving around the Highlands, it became clear to both of us that this writing collaboration could be explored in many different ways, not necessarily just about one album.
This is a great writing project for me, working with an experienced writer like Tom, making something special for Idlewild fans all about an album that means a great deal to me, but also to Tom – a journey from two different perspectives.”
Ahead of their tour supporting Pussy Riot, Brighton’s ĠENN have shared their new single, ‘Rohmeresse’.
On the song, vocalist Leona Farrugia said, “I’ve often felt a pressure running through everyday life: a pressure to be productive whilst being true to oneself. Modern life can be very dissociative and small tasks become a real burden to uphold. I wanted to capture these thoughts through the track, whereby these emotions gradually build to a point of ecstasy.”
MOSKITO – ‘Sweet Fruit’
Following the breath-taking launch of MOSKITO towards the end of 2021, they now return with their brand-new single ‘Sweet Fruit’.
“Sweet Fruits lyrics portray how easy it is to play away in a relationship, with all the distractions in today’s society. It’s unwieldy temptation at the push of a button. Is it too sweet? What a waste it is.” – Front man Jake Rudd.
Pollyanna Blue – ‘Haunted’
Bristol-based alt-rock two-piece Pollyanna Blue reveal their latest single ‘Haunted’.
Speaking of the inspiration for the song, lyricist and vocalist Zoe Collins says, “In this song trauma is depicted as an unforgiving evil spirit that will come at you at night and relentlessly try to tear you down. The impactful delivery of the lyrics harnesses the real range of emotions of someone experiencing immense feelings of emptiness, sadness and anger.
The lyric ‘like a headache’ depicts the side effects of dealing with large and repetitive amounts of trauma and stress to the brain, painting an unpleasant experience for the person being Haunted by their own predicament.”