LIVE: Groezrock 2014 – Saturday [03/05/14]

By Ben Tipple

Head here to catch up with all of Friday’s shenanigans.

With Friday proving to be one hell of a punk rock party, Saturday has got a lot to live up to. Not quite as well rested and refreshed as we were the day before, first thing on the agenda: shake of the cobwebs. Food? It helps. Water? It certainly helps. A mid-morning Jagermeister? And we’re off!

Today it’s the turn of San Francisco based acoustic-non-acoustic gruff folk inspire punk upstarts Get Dead to kick things off.

Driven by melody and led by frontman Sam King’s whiskey soaked raspy vocals, the Fat Wreck Records signed five-piece are perfect for the sunny Saturday afternoon. As if emerging from a speakeasy, these guys sit surprisingly well on a stage this size.

Colorado’s Elway keep the atmosphere going with their own melodic punk, sitting well in the ever-increasing sunshine and early May heat. Sandwiched between Get Dead and The Smith Street Band on the main stage, there’s an upbeat focus to this afternoon’s goings-on, and one that provides a refreshing contrast to some of the heavier artists on the bill. The latter in particular bring their Australian storytelling to an unsuspecting crowd, and incite some early energetic dancing.


Over on the open air MacBeth Stage, Brighton based River Jumpers are delivering their pop infused home-grown punk to a wealth of punters soaking in the sunshine. The stage may not have the same impact as others around the site, but the competition winners prove that they more than deserve their place on the bill.

Apologies, I Have None draw in a comparably huge crowd into the Impericon Stage, playing songs from their recent EP ‘Black Everything’, and from their excellent 2012 full-length ‘London’. The more atmospheric tracks struggle to impact as much as their more immediate pop-punk style, but the band are largely on from. It’s a great preview of things to come with their impending Reading and Leeds main stage slots.

There’s a bit of a break for us as we (in no particular order) grab some food, drink some drink, interview some bands and record a wealth of exciting sessions which will appear over the site in the coming weeks.

We return just in time to catch Touche Amore rip the Etnies Stage a new one. Offering up one of the performances of the weekend, the crowd react to the emotionally charged hardcore through insatiable waves of stage dives and crowd surfing. Rivalling the now legendary H20 stage invasion of yesterday, it often becomes difficult to distinguish between band member and audience – with frontman Jeremy Bolm grinning from ear to ear as he takes in the moment. Despite throwing himself into the crowd and offering the microphone to particularly enthusiastic fans, Touche Amore deliver one of their best performances – the devastatingly beautiful tones echoing through the Back to Basics tent. It really is what this what made for.

Interview: The Wonder Years

Modern Life Is War keep the hardcore fans going, encouraging more of the crowd onto the stage with their more traditional, yet equally as ferocious compositions. While over at the main stage pop-punk fans gear up for, what is destined to be, one of the most fun bands of the festival, New Found Glory. Failing to disappoint, the likes of set opener ‘All Downhill From Here’, ‘Dressed To Kill’ and the obligatory ‘My Friends Over You’ keep the fun-o-meter maxed out, as Jodran Pundik keeps the crowd thoroughly entertained. New Found Glory sound just as tight as a four-piece, as smiles appear on faces across the packed out tent.


There isn’t as much metalcore on the bill as in previous years, but we still scratch a small itch by heading off to the Impericon Stage for the latter half of Caliban. Appearing low down on this year’s Slam Dunk Festival line-up, their main support slot on the second largest stage at Groezrock is a great indicator of the crucial difference between the UK and mainland Europe. Complete with a theatrical backdrop including lit up signs and a tree, Caliban are as musically solid as they are a spectacle. The transition from screams to clean melody is seamless, and largely note-perfect.

Interview: I Am The Avalanche

Far removed from the metalcore spectrum, The Hives bring their quirky rock and roll show to the festival’s main stage. Donning their mariachi uniforms, frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist struts across the stage with abundant confidence and a vocal delivery to match. It may not be the most typical band to fall between New Found Glory and festival headliners The Offspring, but it’s impossible to deny their crossover appeal and musical prowess. With track choices from across their back catalogue, it is setlist regulars ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ and ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ that whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Launching straight into album opener ‘Time To Relax’, The Offspring follow the more traditional take on an album show by playing their seminal 1994 album ‘Smash’ in sequence (other than moving ‘Self Esteem’ to the end of their main set, presumably as a more appropriate set closer). With their more commercially successful tracks saved for the encore, including ‘All I Want’, ‘Why Don’t You Get A Job?’ and ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’, the main set is largely an offering for the dedicated fan. For those with only a casual relationship with the record, it may prove difficult to engage with the set – particularly at the end of a lengthy (although awesome) weekend. However, The Offspring fans were privy to the first live plays of many of the tracks in 15 or 20 years, which is certainly something to write home about. As the end of ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ ring around Meerhout, and after a few celebratory beers are drank, we bid farewell to the dusty Belgian field for another year. In the words of Dexter Holland: