Review: Slam Dunk 2017

lineupOne whole week ago… or longer depending on when you read this but shut up this is my blog and I make the rules, I mean really who are you to judge? You’re not my Mum. Back off dude.

Sorry that got away from me for a moment.

One whole week ago I was at Slam Dunk Festival in Birmingham having a great time watching some of my favourite bands. This was my fourth Slam Dunk festival and somehow, without even thinking about it I’ve now attended all three venues. Hatfield is by far the best one by the way and no not just because I went to university there. Although…yeah it’s pretty much just that reason.

I pretty much spent all of my time, when I wasn’t looking for food, at the Fireball stage. It had an excellent line up for ska and punk rock fans. Bowling for Soup, Reel Big Fish, Less than Jake alone are all excellent bands who I’ve seen many times. I would see them all again and again though, they’re just so much fun.

Zebrahead

We start on a bit of a bummer though as Zebrahead had sound issues throughout their set. They had to start 10 minutes late, a guitar didn’t work for half the set and the bassist microphone never worked. You could tell the technical issue threw the band off as well, but they tried their best to make do. I do wish that after they’d sorted most of the technical  issues that they’d focused on their ‘hits’ but that really depends on what you considered their best songs to be.

Goldfinger

It was great to see Goldfinger again, even if it’s effectively just John Feldmann and friends these days. 99 Red balloons is always a classic. As a band they must love touring with ska bands because it means they get to borrow their horn sections for a couple of songs. In this instance Reel Big Fish helped them out, which is pretty neat.

Goldfinger have got a new album coming out soon that sounds very similar to Blink 182’s California in production values. Which, after a little research, makes sense as it turns out John produced that album. the more you know! It’s the bands first album in 9 years and I am looking forward to it!

Reel Big Fish

Now we get to my favourite band, pretty much ever actually. I absolutely love Reel Big Fish and I’d forgotten how much bloody fun they are live. Their set was completely awesome from start to finish. In honesty I don’t really have that much more to say than they were bloody awesome and I love them.

Oh also Aaron Barrett is one of the most underrated guitarists and vocalists ever. He is a very talented man and I think a lot of people forget that because he’s in a ‘silly little ska band’.

In general they are just such a crisp and well executed live act. They sound excellent. As they should after all they’ve been doing this for years and while the line up has changed the band as a whole hasn’t lost a step.

Here’s a video I found from someone else at the show!

Less Than Jake

Up next were Less Than Jake who are another favourite of mine and I really enjoyed their set as well, as you’d expect. The crowd was excellent once again as well, as they were all day on the Fireball Stage.

They played the classics you’d expect them to ‘Look What Happened’, ‘Gainsville Rock City’ and ‘The Science of Selling Yourself Short’ for example. I kind of wish that they’d played a few more songs of their more recent records because they are excellent. I suppose you have to cater to the majority of the audience though, which is fine. Festivals don’t tend to be the places you play your newer songs and several of the bands made reference to that fact. Such as “we’re going to play a new song now, so here’s your perfect opportunity to take a bathroom break’ etc.

Bowling For Soup

Okay lets talk about the elephant (Haha, fat joke..I’m sorry that was mean) in the room. Bowling for Soup’s lead singer, Jarret Reddick, has put on a lot of weight. He’s about three times the size he used to be. He brushed it off with a few jokes about being on a steady diet of pizza and booze and not giving a fuck. Which is fine, but I just worry about his health. I want Jaret to be around for many years to come! However it didn’t affect his singing or his guitar playing though and he was as awesome as ever so… who am I to judge?

This was the fourth time I’d seen Bowling For Soup and once again they were excellent. They’re a band who don’t take themselves too seriously and just want to have a good time.

I’d forgotten how much quicker BFS play their songs live as well, they really blast through them! Which is probably a good thing because Jarret likes to talk, especially when he is a little bit drunk. I actually think a lot of their songs do sound better faster and it was weird listening to some of them the next day at the original tempo.

It was a this point in the day that I realise that apparently it was everyone’s birthday. Four of the bands I saw at Slam Dunk were celebrating a birthday although only Chris from Bowling for Soup got a cake, jokes on you everyone else!

Once again, a lot of fun and an excellent way to end the day. I look forward to seeing them when they return to the UK in 2018.

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