Slam Dunk North 2015

Leeds City Centre, Leeds, UK

It’s that time of year again, the sun is out, and for the first time ever we’re out too - as the Leeds Slam Dunk venues have moved out into the glorious sunshine of Leeds City Centre. The main stage being set in the spectacle that is Millenium Square is a fantastic decision made by the organisers, as the crowds gather and we prepare ourselves for a long day full of damn good music, the change of setting puts an even more positive spin on things. It’s going to be a fantastic day.

Firstly we catch Set It Off on the mainstage. Following the recent controversy of bassist Austin Kerr’s departure surrounding certain accusations only a handful of days prior to Slam Dunk, it’s good to see that the band don’t seem to let this affect their show. The vocals are strong, the riffs are punchy, the crowd are loving it, and they seem to be a solid start to the day.

Secondly we head inside to the Monster Stage to catch The Color Morale, who have been touring over here with Beartooth recently. Unfortunately, after the quality we’ve come to expect from the band on record, this just didn’t translate as well live, and we left a little disappointed.

After a nice sit down and a chat with the Don Broco boys, which you’ll be able to see on the site soon, we trotted off back to the Monster stage to check out Crossfaith. Oh my word, Crossfaith. If you’ve experienced them live before you’ll understand just from the mere mention of their name, but if you’ve not been blessed with the honour yet, just imagine putting your brain in a dishwasher, your eyes at the greatest light show of your life, your heart pounding and your body refusing to remain still for more than a fraction of a second. Their infectious, catchy live show has the entire venue jumping, and it looks like they’re finally enjoying the success they deserve.

Deez Nuts on the Impericon Stage have the charisma and energy to get even the most docile nodding along today. JJ Peters pings from side to side of the stage, spitting his lyrics at the crowd with an almost venomous determination, and the crowd repay him by yelling every single one back at him. The only disappointment being that Sam Carter of Architects, being at the same festival, hasn’t come out to do Band of Brothers at the end.

Back out into the sunshine of the Kerrang! Main Stage sees the Don Broco lads take to the stage. Their inheriantly cheeky personalities really shine on a stage of this scale, and their music certainly suits it too. Showcasing material spanning from Thug Workout right the way through to newest single Automatic shows that even though the boys may have changed their sound, they’ve certainly not lost the ability to make those old songs really shine.

Taking Back Sunday, unfortunately, leave a lot to be desired. Yes, the nostalgia value is fantastic, and when the classics get played it makes for a great time, but unfortunately they just seem like they’re into a routine now. This is nothing special for them and in turn, they ensure it’s nothing special for us in the crowd either.

Finally, Architects take to the Monster stage, and the place is a-buzz with excitement. It’s been a tough choice choosing a headline act to review today, with such a solid line-up, but Architects just take the pinch over You Me At Six….and oh, man are we glad we made this decision. Sam Carter’s live vocals are absolutely flawless, with the experienced front-man switching from cleans to the dirtiest, deepest “bleuurgh” you could imagine (we counted nine of them throughout the set, by the way). The band surrounding him clearly place so much trust in one another that they can pull this off flawlessly and it shows. This is a band who’ll never stay in the same place for too long, moving not only around the stage, but progressing with their sound from album to album in an unprecedented way. Guest vocals from Dani Winter-Bates of Bury Tomorrow during Early Grave and an appearance from Murray Macleod of The Xcerts really add that extra special sheen to Architects’ performance, and just to top it off, they play Follow The Water. What. A. Set. Are Architects the best live band in the world at the moment? We certainly think so.