Slam Dunk 2016 @ Birmingham NEC, 29th May 2016 – Part 2

slam dunk Dave - possible header-1

It’s the late May bank holiday weekend, which means one thing – Slam Dunk festival! The Birmingham Live team headed to the NEC to help celebrate this fantastic festival’s tenth anniversary in style.

For this year’s curtain raiser to both summer and the festival season, we’re not making our trip to Wolverhampton, but instead we’re off to the NEC – the 2016 home of Slam Dunk Festival while the Wolves Civic is undergoing a facelift. Time to pack in as many bands in as possible with Brumlive’s Dave Musson (DM), Chris Bowley (CB), and Steve Kilmister (SK) covering the hard yards! Here is part two of our three part coverage:

Boston Manor

 slam dunk Dave 06 - boston manor-2 by Dave Musson

Back outside in the afternoon sunshine and Blackpool’s Boston Manor go down an absolute storm on the Fresh Blood stage. They have plenty of energy, particularly from their front man, who gets up close and personal with the front row right from the off and sets the tempo for a terrific set. Also, bonus points for the band and crew all having matching beanies – that’s commitment to the cause! DM

As It Is

20160529 - As It Is SDF2016 - 47 by Chris Bowley

The Brighton based pop punk 5 piece, formed in 2012, have a lot going for them. The crowd were lively the pit was crammed, and the surfing was wild.  Opening with two of their single releases Concrete and Cheap Shots & Setbacks, the Crowd were invited to sing along. Patty Walters (Vocals) was a barrel of fun to watch. The left a happy crowd with another single to finish their set: Dial Tones. CB


20160529 - Yellowcard SDF2016 - 51 by Chris Bowley

When you hear the band name, most people think immediately of their smash hit Ocean Avenue and very little thought is ever given to their other catalogue of tracks. Having formed almost 20 years ago they are pros at performing. Starting off we had initial sound problems and it was looking like they were going to lose it as they told the crowd they only played about 5 songs in Leeds due to sound problem there. They followed on saying they were playing their Ocean Avenue album in full ,which has never been done before.  Ignoring broken strings they opening with a lively Way Away and we were only part way into the second track Breathing and Sean Mackin (violin, vocals ) did his legendary backflip off the drum stand! The final title track was easily the best track of the day, and the crowd respond by singing back arms waving. CB

Heart of a Coward

HeartofaCoward-1 by Steve Kilmister

I’m not going to lie, I’m a Heart Of A Coward fan. While I’d be unlikely not to enjoy their set, judging by the crowd reaction, I wasn’t on my own in thinking that they absolutely killed it and delivered one of the highlight sets of Slam Dunk 2016. The lads from Milton Keynes just seem to go from strength to strength, their sets just getting tighter and more now more varied thanks to their growing back catalogue. Guitars were as on point as ever, but I couldn’t get over how great drums and bass sounded courtesy of Noddy and V. Breaking out Around A Girl In 80 Days just half way through their set sent the crowd insane, with pits and crowd surfers reaching their crescendo during the ever brutal last track Deadweight. SK

Real Friends

 slam dunk Dave 07 - real friends-1 by Dave Musson

Having released their newest album a matter of days ago, you’d expect Real Friends to be in a good mood and they certainly are, launching into their set with bags of gusto and plenty of smiles. This is a band who don’t always hit the mark on record, but add that missing flourish when they get on stage and they’re certainly a great watch. ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ is a particular stand out, while their new material also shows a step up in quality. There’s still plenty of potential in this band and today’s set clearly shows it for all to see. DM


 slam dunk Dave 08 - capdown-3 by Dave Musson

Back outside and it’s time for another slab of British ska punk, this time thanks to Capdown who, in keeping with the general vibe of this entire stage, bring energy, smiles and a plethora of good times. This festival is of particular importance for the Milton Keynes, as they reformed in 2010 especially to play Slam Dunk, so it’s great to see them here again, and the tones of Jake SIm-Fielding’s saxophone in the sunshine are undoubtedly a treat. DM

The Amity Affliction

20160529 - The Amity Affliction SDF2016 - 65 by Chris Bowley

Back to the Atlas stage we have Australian metalcore band The Amity Affliction. Slightly late into their set starting vocalist Joel Birch was perched on a box and hands up to the crowd roaring as they belted out their live debut  I Bring The Weather With Me, with and the crowd coming over the barrier in numbers. CB


Hacktivist-1 by Steve Kilmister

I’m not sure there have been many festivals (or maybe even appropriately themed tours!) over the past few years that hasn’t seen Hacktivist play a part. They seem to have become ever present on the metal scene, almost guaranteeing their inclusion through their high energy live performances. Their inclusion of rap as a key part of their sound seems to be a bit of a Marmite situation for most, but it seemed that everyone present agreed on one thing — they really can put on a show. Interactions and hand-offs between Hurley and Marvin on vocals were as slick as ever and were underpinned by some killer guitar work, expertly fronted by Timfy James. Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it seems that the Hacktivist brand isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I for one am looking forward to catching them live again, no doubt some time soon. SK

Mallory Knox

20160529 - Mallory Knox SDF2016 - 77 by Chris Bowley

The one I’ve been waiting for.  Having asked to cover them previously and missed out only created more suspense. So finally I’m here entering the room to two giant M’s, one either side of the stage ,and a K on its side. The crowd have a false start of roaring and then followed by another roar with an intro tune played and the launched straight into Shout At The Moon, That’s when we discover the MK signs are inf act lights, showing bright white then with a blue trim along the outline followed by green red etc. Was it worth the suspense?Yes. Would I see them again? Hell yeah! CB


20160529 - Greywind SDF2016 - 43 by Chris Bowley

My only visit to this stage is to see  the new and already popular Irish band Greywind, who drew in a sizeable crowd. Steph O’Sullivan (vocalist) has  some lungs on her, with a voice that sounds unique with a mixture of highs and lows.  If you want high energy throwing yourself around this is not the place to be, though it you want tight clean vocals it most certainly is.  The sound from this stage was immense and you would think you in a huge auditorium of sorts, rather than in front of a small stage st up in the waiting room of the Genting Arena! Greywind look fairly new but they give their all and with a performance like this it’s only a matter of time before they find success and it was  a big change from the rest of the scene today. CB


Ending part two of our coverage are US rockers Issues

 slam dunk Dave 09 - issues-2 by Dave Musson

Like Real Friends previously, Issues have also recently released a new album that shows plenty of promise, so it was unsurprising to see them in high spirits – indeed, not even one of their singers taking a tumble got dampen their enthusiasm. In the live environment, Issues are dynamic and engaging thanks not only to having two singers to keep you entertained but also having one of the most watchable bass players around in Skyler Acord. With their pounding rhythms and funk-infused basslines, they are a great festival band and certainly the highlight of the Atlas stage. They’ve also got some cracking songs in their back catalogue to pick from, with newer cuts COMA and The Realest sitting nicely alongside their more established songs like Life of a Nine and all sounding great.


Check out Part One  and Part Three of our Slam Dunk 2016 coverage!


Slam dunk 2016 words and photographs:

Dave Musson (DM), Chris Bowley (CB), and Steve Kilmister (SK)

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *