LIVE: Slam Dunk South 2013

By Tom Aylott

Not bad for first band of the day, eh Gnarwolves?

Slam Dunk South once again took place the Univerty of Hertofrdhsire’s Hatfield campus this year, and we were ready for yet another full on day of rock.

The American Scene
First up today, The American scene had the tall order of opening up Slam Dunk South on the Macbeth Stage, and it didn’t really end up being anything worth writing home about. The crowd reaction was a little flat today, and the band themselves didn’t seem that into it. It felt a lot like the band would have suited a later slot on a smaller stage today, and the set dragged on a little in the end. [TA]

Second band of the day for Punktastic today was the swiftly rising Gnarwolves. As expected they didn’t disappoint, and from where we were standing, the crowd looked absolutely insane. The one thing we’d probably have left at home was the ‘Basket Case’ cover (still too soon), but it did go down well and it was a huge moment for the Brighton based trio. [TA]

‘Young New England’ is a firm PT favourite of 2013 already, and Transit played choice slabs out to the Macbeth Stage’s eager crowd. Transit being nothing short of top notch was just what the doctor ordered, and the dregs of yesterday’s festivities were swiftly being swept away by their excellent performance. [JA]

Chas Palmer Williams
Yet another highly entertaining Chas Palmer Williams set was awaiting us now in the outside Marquee, and though it was a slightly less well attended set than up North, it was plenty of fun. When you consider the company around him on the bill, Chas does stick out like a sore thumb, but it’s one of the least pretentious sets you could possibly hope to see. We’re back playing air instruments again by the end of the set, and it’s a great way to round off our afternoon. [TA]

It was difficult to move for people banging on about Fireworks running up to their, but today they fell short of the hype and barely scraped together a set that could be called the better side of average. It could have been a less than amazing sound or lack of enthusiastic attendees, but either way the overtly poppy hooks just didn’t quite manage to impress today. [JA]

Me vs Hero
Sporting another new line up, Me Vs. Hero, were as tight as ever today and brought out their regular arsenal of popcore hits. Showing off new tunes like ‘Heisenberg’, it seems the reach of Vans Stage openers Gnarwolves is hitting hard up north too, and the band are treading toward the line more garage and skate punk than pop punk going forward. [JA]

The Wonder Years
Not content with dismantling summer (see what we did there?), The Wonder Years took on the Macbeth stage today with similar reception to the day previous. Today, things ended up being a little hazier than their set at Leeds soundwise, but the big tunes and fist pumps aplenty meant all in attendance had a lovely time losing our voices in the best possible way. They really were the band of the weekend this year, and you can see The Wonder Years getting higher and higher up the bill in the future. [JA]

Deaf Havana
Yesterday, Deaf Havana’s Robbie Williams cover was a good old laugh, but today (during a wolfed down burger outside), it isn’t quite what it could have been. There’s just something about the Refectory in Leeds that has such an advantage over the Jager Truck in Hatfield, and the Deaf Havana set didn’t quite hit the mark like it did the day before. The fan favourites were all still there though, and they fully deserve to be where they are on this bill – the singalongs are big and the crowd and absolutely loving it. [TA]

Four Year Strong
To close down the evening, we chose to settle with our old favourites in Four Year Strong rather than venture outside for All Time Low. Despite being an energetic set from the band, and having all the elements you’d expect, the band still don’t quite feel like they’ve moved on performance wise since Josh left the band. When they have a new album to bring with them and a slightly more enthusiast crowd to greet them, we’ll be sure to be there to check them out again. It’s just not quite everything you’d want to close down the day, but the classics are still there and plenty of fun. [TA]

Overall, Slam Dunk South was a huge success again this year. The crowd problems of the past are long forgotten and we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Whether you like North or South (or even Midlands!), it’s become the official start of Summer over the last decade. An amazing day out, and another one to sort of add to the memory banks.