Following the Of Mice & Men gig – travelled to Leeds for Slam Dunk Festival.
When I arrived, I was guided to my hotel by a number of Greggs (thank you almighty Gregg!) so it was a very easy (and delicious) city to navigate.
Because I don’t entirely trust National Express, I arrived a day earlier to get in around door time for SDF and get a proper look around the city this time.
Friday 27th May 2016 – finally saw Captain America: Civil War. I really enjoyed Giant Ant-Man / Paul Rudd and Iron Man’s ability to kick the asses of two super soldiers at once. If they were on the same team, there would be no contest.
Saturday 28th May 2016 – Slam Dunk Leeds. I started the day with THE WORD ALIVE on the Atlas stage outside.
Got distracted by a drone hovering above the stage, nearly got flattened by an impulsive wall of death. Wandered over to the Millennium stage and caught the last five minutes of YOUNG GUNS. Took a breather, then back for MISS MAY I on the Atlas stage.
While dying of thirst, I stumbled around SDF in search of booze only to discover a ‘secret underground tunnel’ that lead to a neon-glowing, car park DJ set. At first there was barely anyone in there but that didn’t bother me because there was a fully functioning bar with ZERO LINES (hot diggity). I queued up so fast, I caught the ghost replay of myself ordering a drink just moments before.
Unfortunately, I sent out a tweet bragging about how sweet it was that I had both signal and Wifi in an underground car park, Beckett University retweeted me to inform the masses – more people arrived which meant it was time to leave.
After asking a few officials, I finally found the venue with the Impericon stage. Opened the door to be overwhelmed by the smell of fish ‘n chips so I had dinner and a drink by the bar. At the end of the bar was the Kerrang! Fresh Blood stage so I watched HELLIONS perform to a smallish crowd and were pretty good.
Couple of hours later, down to the basement for NORMA JEAN. So many abandoned plastic cups and spilled drinks that the floor had developed some kind of adhesive causing my feet to become pinned down – not good. Flying bodies, grown men screaming as Memphises were Laid to Waste.
Then came CANCER BATS who ripped Leeds a new one after obliging the crowd with the ‘Yorkshire chant’ and bringing out the guy from WHILE SHE SLEEPS to sing Pneumonia Hawk together.
Finally, the dudes who got me in for free – EVERY TIME I DIE. In the gap of people dispersing for drinks and flooded toilets, I crept into the middle of the barrier. This was their first show of 2016 because they were recording a new album.
ETID tore into a new song called Glitches and chaos ensued. Even more bodies went flying, repeatedly, I carried too many heavyset people and took one too many crowd-surfed kicks to the back of the head to keep going so I dodged the rest of the crowd surfers.
The best thing about no barrier shows is that you don’t get your torso pushed through the grates like a delicate piece of cheese, leaving you to walk out with a collapsed lung – but it wasn’t one of those shows. I limped out of the venue.
Sunday 29th May 2016 – Slam Dunk Birmingham. With little sleep and aching bones, I sat this one out for a bit and went through the doors around 7pm.
Had no idea what time they were on but luckily strolled past Atlas stage and caught MEMPHIS MAY FIRE. This time, the Atlas stage was indoors so there were no drone-related incidents. I was going to watch NORMA JEAN or CANCER BATS again but I couldn’t find the Impericon stage in NEC.
After MEMPHIS, I bought a fajita inside NEC while FOUR YEAR STRONG played on stage in the distance. The NEC arena is a pretty nice place but it’s so unbelievably difficult to access on foot. From what I’ve seen, Birmingham is one constant road with a tiny amount of pavement around The Bull Ring.
Slowly rebuilding the strength in my legs, I went to the main stage to witness PANIC! AT THE DISCO. Brendon Urie wasn’t joking when he said they were gonna turn up the crazy. Pyrotechnics, frequent pitch-changes and backflips?!
One Hell of a performance…