You Me At 6 – Leeds Met Uni

By paul


Slam Dunk 2009. Pretty much the only place to be on Bank Holiday Sunday – anyone who is anyone was there, from bands to promoters to internet celebrities, as well as members of the cast of Hollyoaks. It seemed like half of Punktastic was there too, although I didn’t see too many people personally. But fun was had and if it didn’t cement a reputation as being one of the most fun festivals ever then, well, you lose I guess.

PT was represented by myself (Paul), Spud, Alex and Andy. We spread out and this is what we saw. So you know who saw what, I am PS, Spud is PT, Alex is AH and Andy is AR. The lovely Katt took the photos (more to come) and Andy shot the video (more to come).


CASH CASH are playing their last song as I walk in. It’s a full on disco-esque pop-synth mess and I don’t particularly like it. A lot of kids down the front do though – expect a lot more from them in the year to come. (PS)

The first HEY MONDAY song is dire. Cassadee tells us it’s because she couldn’t hear on stage and she promises to rectify things. That she does, but I can’t help but feel the band are several songs short of being at the standard required to be on a bill like this, let alone signed to Decaydance. It’s all a bit choreographed and all a bit generic. Cassadee can certainly sing and she has all the moves, but it’s a bit Paramore-lite for me, even if the band are likeable for their energy. Not that it influences my review, but she’s super cute too… (PS)

I really enjoyed THE AUDITION‘s set. I saw them at GIAN last year and thought they were really average, but at Slam Dunk they’re on form and the crowd loves it. There’s crowdsurfers piling over the barrier and the band blast through a greatest hits set to work the room into a sweaty mess. The new songs go down especially well. The set is marred as Josh from You Me At 6 joins the stage and Danny Stevens makes his way to the balcony, jumping 20-foot below on top of a young fan. She apparently broke her collarbone in the incident. For those who haven’t yet seen it, CLICK HERE It’s a great shame as I really enjoyed the set and the jump marred it. (PS) PHOTO

WE THE KINGS have improved hugely over the last 12 months. I thought they were a lot of fun when I saw them at Slam Dunk last year, but this time round they’ve got huge stage presence and they’re now a lot tighter than they were previously. A cover of Jimmy Eat World‘s ‘The Middle’ is probably a nod to the direction the band could easily go in if they crank up the rock. But in keeping with the theme Travis and co are on top form and a lot of fun. They could easily break the bigger leagues if album number 2 lives up to expectations. (PS) PHOTO

If there’s a better live band – neigh, a better UK band – around right now I’m yet to see them. KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES blew me away at Slam Dunk last year, but they’re even better this time round, turning the sauna of the main hall into a furnace. Aled is an incredible frontman and a bundle of energy. The band blast through the ‘hits’ with gusto and there are some massive singalongs. ‘Saturday’ and ‘Lovely Bones’ go down a treat, their cover of ‘You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon’ was missed by many who had no idea what the band were doing – not us, who bust our lungs by screaming along. I think I could watch KIGH every night and never get bored. Bring on album number 2. (PS) PHOTO

COBRA STARSHIP has a lot to live up to and, to be fair, I’m not a fan. I’m in the ‘he should reform Midtown‘ school and I find this disco-pop quintet to be a bit, well, naff. That said, the band are fun to watch and while the songs are pretty weak the kids love it. Gabe’s a fantastic frontman and while he talks way too much between songs – and what he says is really trite stuff – there’s no way you can deny he doesn’t have the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. ‘Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)’ , ‘Guilty Pleasure’ and ‘Kiss My Sass’ go down very well indeed. Like it or not, they’re a fun band. (PS) PHOTO

Since when did YOU ME AT 6 get so big? Crikey. There must be 2,000 people in the main room and the band play for nearly an hour. They’ve grown massively and are much, much tighter than they were a year ago. The band fill the stage well, Max especially has become a real livewire for a bigger stage and Josh’s voice holds real well throughout. There are a couple of dodgy moments, the acoustic track broke the flow and covering ’99 Problems’ and ‘Killing In the Name’ didn’t really work. But when the band bust out the singles they prove they’re as good as anyone in their genre right now and it’s no surprise Epitaph have taken a chance on them. The world is their oyster.


We’re sorry. We neglected this stage. We tried to go see The Blackout but we couldn’t get in as it was full. Alex did see one band…

Just when these corridors seem to be manageable an askew turn finds us standing in a ?wrong place?. Apparently the loading bay of the Fishing For Eskimo stage is off limits. Before being shooed away by a not quite overzealous (read thoroughly bored) event staffer there?s enough time to see how sardined the room is as WE ARE THE OCEAN burst out of the starting blocks. So continues the rise of the band. Less shoulder room is directly proportional to success ratio: there?s no shoulder room here whatsoever. (AH) PHOTO


Even from the foyer THE SKINTS prove to be a quality listen. Sure there?s the buzzing of chatter, discern and general bewilderment, but this punky reggae party is boss. Inside the room that houses the Vans ?Off the Wall? stage there?s quite the gathering of early birds to check out the London contingent. It?s a big stage that could drown out a young band but this crew is getting tighter and more professional with every outing. The set focuses on new material (an album will be recorded next month) before closing with the triple-threat offering of ?Murderer?, ?Sociopath? and ?N55?. Top drawer stuff. (AH)

?No offence to the other bands but this is the place to be.? RANDOM HAND frontman Robin Leitch?s proclamation rings true. There?s very much a festival-in-a-festival feel to the Vans stage (or this year?s ska stage). The bands seam effortlessly, and Leitch?s description ?reunion? is more than adequate. 30 minutes of the Yorkshire quartet (this is nearly a hometown show) is enough to blast away any residual ill-feeling to the organisation staff. It?s an unruly, not to mention smelly, mob in front of the band, moshing away to ?British? and ?Anger Management? from the latest album before skanking to the likes of ?Play Some Ska?. This is a perfectly honed festival set and should eclipse any frustrations of last year?s opening slot. (AH)

The hunt for the Drop Dead stage comes up cold so it?s back to the ?dry? Vans stage (rumours are rife as to why there are no drinks allowed: answers on a web post please). FARSE played a reunion show in Birmingham earlier this month which by all accounts was a triumph. This afternoon there?s a lot of interest following the layoff but it?s mainly motionless and fleeting. Whilst the band still ticks all the right boxes, hits the right notes, has good audience rapport and a furious energy you can?t help but think it?s merely a nostalgic trip. Sure there?s a rampant bunch front-centre that would disagree, but doesn?t that bare witness to this very idea? (AH)

Another year, another Slam Dunk appearance for SONIC BOOM SIX. That?s three years in a row now (good work if you can get it) but rather than treating it in a ?been there, done that? manner Manchester?s finest comes out firing on a ?Bigger Than Punk Rock? cylinder that ignites an expectant crowd. What follows is a set heavy on brand new five-star rated album, ?City of Thieves?. The crowd response to songs that have in essence only been available in physical form this week is quite phenomenal. This afternoon though something seems lacking, but that something just evades the finger. Maybe it?s the early time slot (bassist Barney is later heard to say he felt like he should have been sat at the dinner table), maybe it?s the quantity of new material (although such is the quality, I suspect not). Whatever it is, it?s not going too far to say that SB6 on an off day is better than 95% of everything else out there. Nevertheless, the crowd laps it up, exercising a right to mosh/skank/pogo/dance-like-Thriller [delete as applicable]. One thing?s for sure, ?People Acklike They Don?t Know? sounds as fresh today as it did five years ago. Now, if you didn?t catch that subtle announcement, the band will open the main stage at Reading/Leeds this summer. That?s right, the MAIN stage! Chalk one up for the UK underground punk scene. So deserving too. (AH)

Thanks to the sheer impressiveness of Hexes, THE SLACKERS are closing with a cover of Sam Cooke?s ?Cupid? by the time the maze has been tackled. The NYC sextet has already played across town opening for The Specials, and riding high on that particular cloud I?m assured this set has been vintage Slackers. If you?ve seen the band on this tour you?ll know just how fine that vintage is. (AH)

In the reshuffle that allowed The Slackers to play at Millennium Square THE KING BLUES has jumped up a slot, but in all honesty on this showing the band could be headlining. For the first, and only, time today the Vans stage has reached capacity. Try telling the band that national radio coverage, magazine covers, and a major label aren?t good things. For a lot of people this is the first venture into the room, with the likes of ?My Boulder? and ?I Got Love? going down a treat. For the horde at the front of the room (those that set up camp at the beginning of the day) the smidgen of older tunes makes for a highlight. For pretty much all it?s a damn fine performance. (AH)

Shh! Don?t tell anyone but the unofficial headliner of the ?ska? stage is The Specials. There?s a contingent that?s made a bolt for central Leeds leaving Slam Dunk to its own devices. The official headliner ANTI-FLAG doesn?t fair too bad in the crowd stakes though, and onstage plays one of its better shows. Internet baiting aside, Anti-Flag is a very good punk rock band. Two covers of The Clash tonight (?I Fought the Law?, ?Should I Stay or Should I Go?? go a long way to highlighting motives. In all it?s a strong showing, at least on this second half viewing that leaves many exiting with a smile and a positive outlook. There?s also some leaving with a few bruises following some seriously suspect stage diving. All in the name of punk rock of course. (AH)


ME vs HERO were the same as always, to be quite honest. They’re virtual aural ecstasy for anyone between the ages of 16 and 19 who has every one of the 287 coloured versions of Set Your Goals vinyl who swallows up gang shouts, metal screams and human pyramids for breakfast. A light fitting was the only major casualty of a pretty raucous set, but personally I think that I’ve seen the same show 3 or 4 times now. It’s decent enough, but becoming a little steady. Time to liven things up to keep progressing, I feel. (PT)

SING IT LOUD has been advertising its whereabouts (or at least its 17:25 appearance on Punktastic?s very own stage) by the always popular method of biro and cardboard stuck to the wall. With such prolific marketing skills it?d be rude not to check out proceedings. In all honesty the band sounds like about a dozen others on the festival bill and doesn?t really have much to mark itself out. Still there?s more than a few lapping this up, and like Out Of Sight earlier, the day should prove a success. (AH)

I managed to catch POLAR BEAR CLUB‘s set and, despite my comments yesterday which alluded to the relatively slight turnout, the people who were there – a large PT contingent included – were clearly loving everything on show. Personally, I still retain my view of a year or two back when I reviewed their album – it’s significantly outshone by their EP, and seeing them live confirmed this. In terms of songs, ‘Our Ballads’ was phenomenal and ‘Election Day’ was pretty smart too. The album stuff was performed with aplomb in the main, and their singer has a sort of semi-jittery style to his mannerisms which perfectly reflect the shift in style with their newer material. There was more than one moment where things felt a little At The Drive-In ish. Never a bad thing, though, as I’m sure most people will agree. (PT)

Over in the absolute depths of The Mine, ATTACK! ATTACK! puts the finishing touches to a PT stage set that has drawn quite the crowd. As far as pop-rock goes this is upper echelon stuff. (AH)

Now, just to explain, I haven’t seen HUNDRED REASONS live since the first ‘proper’ gig I ever attended, about 8 or 9 years ago now. And since then it appears that Colin Doran has become pregnant. The rest of the band seem to have similarly embraced their 30s rather enthusiastically, but what hasn’t dimmed is their ability to do their own brand of poppy post-hardcore to a level that few in the UK can emulate. A relic of a bygone era, it was slightly disheartening to see them playing to ~250 people. But they can take heart that they witnessed a greatest hits set delivered by a band that’s seen it and done it all before. (PT)


Following a wrong turn here, a right turn there, some ignored instructions from security, organisers and randomers, and a brief encounter with the Minotaur himself, the subterranean labyrinth of Leeds University finally wields the Drop Dead stage. Talk about Columbus chancing upon America. RUINER recognises this bleak location. ?Thanks for making the effort to check us out. We have to be the absolute furthest point from anything.? The reward is a gritty and gruelling dose of hardcore heaviness that has your feet coming out of shoes that are rather disgustingly stuck to the floor. It?s dark and dingy; the room and the band. (AH)

he Drop Dead stage is host to about 50 people, which means plenty miss out on what proves to be the set of the festival. HEXES adopt the small gig mentality of the Pulse room and tear it a new one. It?s noisy and gnarly, menacing and intense. An aural assault that rampages through eardrums and beer glasses alike. Think metal, punk, hardcore, noise! Brutally brilliant, criminally under-attended. (AH)

A quick nosey suggests that DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL is sounding as heavy as ever but with a stripped down stage show it?s not quite as atmospheric. Sill, it?s bone-crunching stuff. (AH)

Thankfully, Brighton?s THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND actually gets to play a headline set to more than a few people. ?It?s been pretty horrible in this venue [Drop Dead stage] today,? admits vocalist Tom Lacey, before throwing his gangly frame around, hanging from the ceiling and speaker stacks. The band?s brutal metal-cum-hardcore is matched in ferocity by the crowd at front. Hearty to see. (AH)

UK NOW Stage

WINCH HOUSE were the winners of the contest to play Slam Dunk and they open up with a brand of pop-punk that’s a bit rougher than their US contemporaries on the main stage. Decent stage presence and catchy songs, they need to sharpen up the music and improve the vocals if they’re to be higher up next year. That said, talent is clearly there. (PS)

Liverpool’s MY EMERGENCY! are up next and fare much better. They’re slightly more polished but again play poppy-punk that’s not quite as slick as their US influences. Pretty tight and with the ability to work a crowd, if the band can hone their songwriting skills they could also be back next year. (PS)

In search of (a) a toilet, (b) a bar, and (c) the Drop Dead stage it becomes apparent just how many people are hustling and bustling about. A snake of people weaves this way and that as we almost stumble over the Relentless UK Now! stage. You know when you were sent to the corner as a child? Well that particular ?naughty? corner is housing OUT OF SIGHT playing a fairly inauspicious and inoffensive brand of pop-punk. The band seems fairly proficient and has attracted the attention of a fair few whippersnappers. That?s the aim of the game today, right? (AH)

Last year it was Tonight Is Goodbye, this time THE AUTEUR step forward as the surprise of the day. The band have popped out of nowhere and are easily one of the best exponents of the genre in the UK. They’re as tight as a nun and more exciteable than a kid who has forgotten his ritalin. They have everything you need from a pop-punk band and it’s inevitable they’re going to push on. Download Fest is up next – and richly deserved too. (PS)

I only watched PAIGE to see if anyone would do any comedy dancing. I was disappointed – and we caught it on video so stay tuned! I’ve heard many stories about paige and most have not been nice, so I didn’t want to like them. But they do what they do pretty well and they know how to work a crowd. The singer is the most unlikely rock star though and looks totally out of place, it’s weird. Still, I wasn’t exactly won over but they were better than I thought they’d be. Shame on me. (PS)

CANTERBURY are heading to much bigger things. They sound massive, but by the time they’d come on I was suffering from gig fatigue and sat down to watch. They’re really, really good live and while I don’t knpw many of the songs it’s safe to say they can, and will, only get better. (PS)

So what could be improved on? Only minor quibbles. The queues outside were confusing and no-one really seemed to know what to do or where to go. Once inside the venue the signing and directions to the stages was pretty much non-existant. Combined with useless outside security staff who refused to help anyone who asked even nicely, the stages furthest away from the doors could only be negotiated with a Sat-Nav system. The toilets were absolutely foul – I’m sure someone had shit on the floor in the gents, but that’s not a fault of anyone but those who used it. It was so, so hot – almost a sauna at times – but again nobodies fault. But my biggest complaint, I suppose, was just the sheer volume of people. Testament to how great the festival is, but walking between stages was a nightmare as people emptied out from all angles and it took forever to get where you wanted to go.

Minor moans aside and SDF09 was a rip-roaring success. For me it’s the UK’s premier festival of it’s type. The feel of the festival is one of fun, one of people wanting to have a good time. It doesn’t have the corporate feel of the bigger festivals, nor the ‘scene’ hangouts of others (even though there are clearly a lot of kids there). It just feels like family. And as long as that keeps going long may Slam Dunk Fest continue.