Slam Dunk 2017 – Review

With a line-up as strong as that of this year’s Slam Dunk festival, we already knew that we were in for a breakneck day of pop-punk/hard-core fun.

WaveByte employed some friends to give you the run down on the sets that we managed to attend.

Like Pacific

Like Pacific

Like Pacific verify that they are more than capable of opening Slam Dunk 2017.

After coming to the UK for the first time at the end of 2016, Like Pacific’s opening slot at Slam Dunk Festival was surely their biggest achievement on UK soil. Despite being the first band on the Monster Energy stage, Jordan Black and co. seemed unfazed as they burst out and commanded the crowd to press forward.

Like Pacific have a lot to offer to the demographic of Slam Dunk, catchy hooks and powerful vocals caught the attention of hordes of people who were keen to hear some music after the laborious queue. As they rattled through the highlights of 2016’s Distant Like You Asked, the number of spectators grew impressively.

Songs such as 22a and Distant drew gaggles of shouting and aggressive finger pointing from the front portion of the crowd, which clearly pleasured the band. The opening track, Worthless Case, showcased their polished musical product as the punchy discourse of the song demanded attention. Black’s vocals danced between smouldering verses and incensed chorus’ which only made me jealous of those who were discovering the band for the first time. A special mention must go to his unique stage presence, throwing shapes that would not be uncommon at 4am on a Friday night. As a collective, Like Pacific’s impressive performance encapsulated the energy of the festival with Black, in particular, being a mesmerising feature.

I personally cannot wait to see what direction the band takes with their new music and will definitely make time to see them on their next visit to the UK.

4/5 Bytes.

Words from Callum Huthwaite
(Twitter: @CallumHuthwaite Insta: @chuthwaite)

Trophy Eyes

trophy eyes.png

Trophy Eyes encompass the festival atmosphere as they impress in front of hundreds of angst-riddled teens.

The crowd for Trophy Eyes impressively filled out the Monster Energy stage, seeing how far they have grown since coming to the UK with Neck Deep in 2015 is rather incredible. John Floreani’s stage presence held an air of confidence as the band fell from Chemical aggressively into Nose Bleed. The crowd responded accordingly and a bustle of bodies began to collide.

Trophy Eyes showcased a collection of tracks from their most recent output, Chemical Miracle. A personal highlight of the set was Suicide Pact, a song fuelled by incredibly evoking vocals. After jesting with many fans on Twitter that they would never play it live, it was rather enjoyable to hear it twice in the space of a couple of days. Chlorine and Heaven Sent in particular triggered the crowd into screaming lyrics back towards the stage as Floreani resumed his role as Orchestrator.

However, there was an absence of music from 2015’s Mend, Move On, a shame in my opinion as the energy of such tracks would have been received well by such a crowd. Nevertheless, their performance was driven by the responsiveness of the crowd and the excitable nature of the band members.

A vocal feature from Tobi Duncan of Trash Boat during Bandaid satisfied the thirst for angst for many in the crowd, albeit overly aggressive for those with a softer pallet.

Drawing their set to a close with Daydreamer, Trophy Eyes slowed down proceedings, appearing triumphant in their efforts. It was enjoyable to see another band enjoying performing their art on the other side of the globe.

3.5/5 Bytes.

Words from Callum Huthwaite
(Twitter: @CallumHuthwaite Insta: @chuthwaite)

Milk Teeth

Punk rockers Milk Teeth pack an afternoon punch.

One of the most promising bands in the UK scene right now, Milk Teeth, took to the Signature Brew Stage just after 3pm and delivered a raw blast of energy. Songs like Brickwork and Crows Feet from their acclaimed debut, Vile Child, went down well with the respectfully large crowd. Whilst the songs from their previous outputs were solid, the new track Owning Your Okayness from the upcoming Be Nice EP was a stand out with its simple chords and infectious melody illustrating that the best is yet to come from the band.

Milk Teeth sounded tight and full of life (especially in the ferocious climax of No Fun). The band, whilst not being the final product just yet, showcased why they have grabbed so much attention. It’s clear to see that the future is bright.

3.5/5 Bytes.

Words from Daniel Tumani
(Twitter: @Dan_Tumani Insta: @dan_tumani)

Boston Manor

Boston Manor

Boston Manor deliver a dynamic set in front of an impressively sized audience.

Blackpool’s Boston Manor have been through a rapid period of growth since their formation a mere 4 years ago and this was epitomised by the huge audience who hit up the Key Club Stage to watch their set. It was clear to see that the band were not daunted by the occasion; they came out all guns blazing, opening with the forceful Burn You Up from their debut full-length, Be Nothing, to which the crowd instantly got involved with.

Frontman Henry Cox seemed assured and controlled the crowd well, whilst the band conveyed their sound in a superb fashion. The thumping Lead Feet quite literally got everyone off them, whilst Shade and Trapped Nerve from their Saudade EP were equally well received; with each word being passionately sung back.

It was an impressive display from Boston Manor and a certain indicator that they will be moving on to bigger venues in the not so distant future.

4/5 Bytes.

Words from Daniel Tumani
(Twitter: @Dan_Tumani Insta: @dan_tumani)



Virginia Beach indie rock outfit Turnover delivered a musically solid performance on their Slam Dunk debut.

Nearly two years on from the release of their sophomoric album Peripheral Vision, a release which saw the band completely flip their sound for a third time. Turnover evolved from just another nasally pop-punk band to a more refined emo sound and then, finally, the dreamy indie rock band that we recognise them as today.

Launching their set with Cutting My Fingers Off, the opener from their most recent effort. It was apparent that that, even though this band may have been (slightly) musically anomalous at a festival like Slam Dunk, it was not about to stop them from performing one of the tightest live performances that I have seen from any band ever. As they glided their way through the set, it was clear that we would not be witnessing any appearances from their previous releases. In a sense, this may be considered an unwise move considering the audience they were playing to – an audience who were, assumedly, more accustomed to the aforementioned pop-punk vibe that Turnover exuded in the earlier stages of their career. That being said, the choice of songs didn’t alter the crowd’s response, they were shouting the words back to their authors in the same way you would expect at a predominantly pop-punk festival.

The only complaint I could possibly have about them was the complete absence of backing vocals which, I believe elevated their music to that next level and, without it, when certain songs approached their climax they felt somewhat hollow. Nonetheless, it was still an incredible performance and with a new album on the horizon, I expect big things from these guys.

4/5 Bytes.

Words from Spencer Henson
(Twitter: @spencerhenson99 Insta: @spencerhenson)



90’s alternative rock revivalists, Citizen, pull off an energetic performance to set the bar.

Coming off the back of a solid performance by Turnover just 30 minutes previous, Citizen had a lot to live up to. They wasted no time by diving straight into hits from their critically acclaimed debut LP, Youth. The likes of Sleep and The Summer received a roaring reception – the magnitude of which considerably surpassed the size of the crowd present. It became evident that these songs were written to be projected onto to crowds of the same calibre that one would situate at the Main Stage of a festival like Slam Dunk. There is no doubt in my mind that if they play their cards right, Citizen can be there in the near future.

Their set included their standalone single, Silo. This track is, in my opinion, the direction with which Citizen should’ve taken when producing their second album, Everybody Is Going To Heaven. There must have been some degree of a post-release change of attitude that satisfied this notion as the band eschewed much of the material from that album. In fact, they only decided to play Yellow Love, a melancholy song, placed in the centre of the set – seemingly to reward their fans’ throats some respite from what they had just endured. This did not deter the crowd from bellowing every single word alongside reserved frontman, Mat Kerekes, you could see the emotion in his eyes as he launched the lyrics out to his devoted audience.

Ending their set with the announcement of a 3rd album in the Fall and, what I believe to be, the definitive Citizen song, The Night I Drove Alone, I was honestly left wanting more and, therefore, I will certainly be looking to catch them live again whenever the chance should arise.

4.5/5 Bytes.

Words from Spencer Henson
(Twitter: @spencerhenson99 Insta: @spencerhenson)



New-era Canadian pop-punk hitting UK shores – A sprightly Seaway ride the wave.

Two years ago, Seaway (hailing from Ontario, Canada) emerged timidly onto the smallest stage at Slam Dunk South where some 200-people stood quizzically to watch a band who were relatively new to the pop-punk sphere. That set was filled with energy and vigour both from band and audience alike. But at that point, there were only a handful of fans who religiously knew of Seaway and their catchy tunes.

On Monday night at the last leg of 2017’s Slam Dunk Festival, the story was a little different. The room was five times as large with the cram just as evident. And in place of an aura of the unknown, there was a feeling of expectation. Their set comprised of the energetic singles from an acclaimed second album, Colour Blind, released in 2015, alongside some earlier hits including personal favourite Your Best Friend. The whole band exuded a confidence that wasn’t present two years prior and reflects the breakneck rise that they have enjoyed – this was also apparent through the fan’s engagement with their upbeat pop-punk vibe. With a third album in the works, Seaway just have that special something and I highly recommend seeing them live as soon as you can.

4/5 Bytes.

Words from Euan Dickson
(Twitter: @e_u_a_n Insta: @euan_dickson)

Don Broco

Don Broco.png

The biggest party of the whole day – Donny B’s set absolutely popped.

Beginning with a bang, Broco launched into the first of their two newest singles, Everybody in order to set the tone for the remainder of their set. In what was a mammoth crowd, there was a hell of a lot of movement – indeed, that’s the nature of Don Broco’s music, it’s simply impossible not to groove to. Whether it be thanks to the smooth-funk verses, the bouncy pop choruses or the monster riffs – one will always find an excuse to bust out some moves during a Broco show.

I may go as far to say that seeing this band live surpasses listening to their records. I mean this as a compliment of the highest degree as I highly vibe more or less every song that the Bedford boys have released throughout their careers. However, when sitting at home, it is hard to emulate the energy that was present in the circle pit at the end of the latter of the two most recent singles, Pretty. Credit to frontman Rob Damiani for tirelessly and ecstatically orchestrating his audience – as a crowd, we were utterly elated throughout the set.

4.5/5 Bytes.

Words from Aaron Jackson
(Twitter: @_a­_jackson_ Insta: @a_jackson57)

Neck Deep

Neck Deep.png

Neck Deep absolve their responsibility to put on a show as they make their first ever headline festival appearance.

As the iconic opening to My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade resonated through the speakers, a crowd who were eagerly awaiting the pop-punk quintet quickly ditched their baseball caps for their eyeliner as they unashamedly belted out the first verse. They continued to sing until the song was suddenly cut short as the boys bounced onto the stage, earning a monumental cheer. They wasted no time jumping into their set with Happy Judgement Day, keen to see the reaction of the crowd to their newest release.

Asking if the crowd was tired Barlow received a firm “fuck no” response before kicking back off with Gold Steps. As the band transitioned into Lime Street, another song from 2016’s Life’s Not Out to Get You, their addictive energy continued to force the crowd to leave their feet. Thanking the audience, Barlow dedicated Losing Teeth to the fans who had stuck around since the release of their debut full-length, Wishful Thinking.

The energy of their set is one of the truly remarkable elements of their live shows. They flew through the set as Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors fed into Serpents, refusing to let their enthusiasm dip.

Embracing their self-induced meme, the band agreed that yes, Neck Deep are shit, as the gritty guitar of Citizens of the Earth gave way to the steady bass drum of Threat Level Midnight. Feeding off the atmosphere the guys continued to jump and kick about the stage as Crushing Grief blended into Tables Turned. Their setlist showed the sheer plethora of songs they have in their arsenal, a testament to how far the band has grown in the past few years.

Unfortunately for me, that is where their set ended as the train station beckoned. With Neck Deep closing their set with songs that included Kali Ma, Where Do We Go When We Go and Can’t Kick Up The Roots you can’t say it would be anything less than incredible.

4/5 Bytes.

Words from Megan Foxen
(Twitter: @_MeganFoxen Insta: @_megaanf)

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari.png

The set to end all sets – Shikari topped the day off by making history.

 I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Enter Shikari live several times, and it has always been a riot – without fail. This time was different, I wasn’t just seeing an incredible band live, I was witness to an event that may never occur again. Celebrating ten years since the release of their characteristically unique debut, Take To The Skies, we were already aware that this wouldn’t be your typical Shikari show. Fans around me were visibly astounded at hearing songs that they probably thought they would never be able to hear live. Songs that made them fall in love with a new brand of music. Songs that conjured a nostalgia that can only be synonymous with devoted affiliation.

My mind was blown. Not by the older setlist as I must confess that I am a latecomer to the Shikari revolution and, while I am a fan of Take To The Skies, I can’t boast an infatuation). What captured my attention, in particular, was the awe-inspiring light show that accompanied the already phenomenal live renditions that we were being treated to. Lasers took to the skies, outshining the dull mist of precipitation that no UK music festival is complete without. I found myself glancing away from the stage just to bask in the alien colours that inhabited the sky above Hatfield.

A special end to a phenomenal day.

5/5 Bytes.

Words from Aaron Jackson
(Twitter: @_a­_jackson_ Insta: @a_jackson57)


WaveByte would like to give a huge thank you to all those who contributed to the production of this article. We all had such a great day so, thank you to Slam Dunk and all the bands who smashed it to make the day so memorable – we can’t wait to do it all again next year.


Our Overall Score: 4.5/5 Bytes.

Mathematical Average = 4.1/5 Bytes.

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