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Feature: Slam Dunk Festival 2010 Preview - Vans "Off The Wall" Stage

Vans “Off The Wall” Music Stage
Words by Liam McGarry

So we reach the headliners. And aren’t you a lucky bunch? Not only is Slam Dunk lucky enough to be hosting one of the best British punk bands around, they just happen to have re-formed exclusively for the occasion. Eclectic, seemingly the theme of the stage, the Milton Keynes quintet weld drum and bass, reggae, punk and ska seamlessly with their socio-political ideals. Since starting out in 1997, Capdown have been busy boys. Eight releases in nine years between 1999 and 2007, and relentless touring built the band a reputation for being grafters. Renowned for their live performance and having shared bills with punk supremos Pennywise, Lagwagon, Less Than Jake and Bad Religion, Capdown look sure come back with a bang.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 9:35
Leeds: 9:45

Recommended: 'Ska Wars'

One of the most anticipated bands on this year’s Slam Dunk line up, Welsh Ragga metallers Skindred look set to take Hatfield and Leeds by storm. A style entirely their own, they manage to fuse reggae, metal and punk rock perfectly, leaving just enough room for a little bit of synth and highly addictive hooks. Born from the ashes of front man Benji Webbe’s initial venture Dub War, Skindred, completed by Michael Fry, Daniel Pugsley and Arya Gogging have been blowing speakers with their brand of metal since 1998. Debut album ‘Babylon’ achieved the most success, charting at number 1 across the Atlantic on the Billboard Reggae charts. With no other UK dates scheduled, catch them while you can.

Stage Time:
Leeds: 8:30

Recommended: 'Stand For Something'

RX Bandits
RX Bandits come into Slam Dunk 2010 as veterans on the Vans Music Stage in this their 15th year together. Their self professed style of “groove tech” encompasses everything from progressive rock and reggae to punk and ska, and with the bands almost cult following, they’re sure to go down well with the more cultured Slam Dunker. Formed in 1995, the 4-piece have graced stages at Coachella, Warped Tour, Bamboozle and Soundwave festivals, but this is the bands first ever UK festival appearance which coincides with their first dates on these shores since 2006. With so much anticipation, expect RX Bandits to steal the show.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 7:05
Leeds: 7:15

Recommended: 'My Lonesome Only Friend'

Sonic Boom Six
An eclectic bunch, female fronted quintet Sonic Boom Six throw together rock, ska, punk, hip-hop and jungle with huge hooks, and pull it off with ever so slightly enviable ease. The quintet, made up of vocalist Laila K, Nick Horne on guitar, Neil McMinn on drums, and Paul Barnes and James Routh on bass and guitar respectively, formed in 2002. They come into Slam Dunk fresh off the back of their first headline US tour, having previously toured three continents, playing with acts such as Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, as well as gracing Reading, Leeds, and Glastonbury festivals. “The Boom” look set to have Slam Dunkers bouncing off the walls.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 6:05
Leeds: 6:15

Recommended: 'The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Inventions'

Bassist Barnes took the time to talk to Alter The Press about the bands slot at Slam Dunk 2010.

With so many big names playing Slam Dunk this year, how does it feel to be involved?
It feels glorious. We've been involved in Slam Dunk in one way or another over the last few years and every time has been fantastic. In fact, playing Slam Dunk in 2005 was one of the best gigs we've ever done so it definitely feels like something we're very much a part of. It's always good fun.

What can we expect from your set?
35 minutes of loud, fun and unpretentious music made for dancing, smiling and shouting out to. And maybe pushing each other about as long as you're
not hurting each other. A festival set shouldn't include album tracks and rarities in my mind, just the big guns for the great unwashed.

Random Hand
Random Hand describe themselves as a “ferocious in your face ska-punk-metal mashup”. With that in mind, Slam Dunk is unlikely to forget the 4-piece in a hurry. A less than subtle mix of trombone driven ska, vicious guitars, and brutal vocal power make for an interesting sound. Made up of front man Robin Leitch on Trombone, Joe Tilston on Bass, Matthew Crosher on Guitar and Sean Howe on drums, Random Hand formed in Keighley, West Yorkshire in 2004. Relentless touring alongside names such as The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six and Skindred has built the band a reputation for their explosive live shows. Slam Dunk beware.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 5:10
Leeds: 5:20

Recommended: I, Human

Me Vs Hero
The idea of a pop punk/hardcore band may not inspire too much confidence, but Blackpool mob Me Vs Hero seem to have a working formula. Jammed with gang vocals, sugary sweet melodies, and gritty, edgy guitars, the Vans Music Stage’s poppier offering are sure to go down a treat. The 5-piece, consisting of front man Sam Thompson, Daniel Pook and Ross Malpass on guitars, Mike Booth on bass and Oli Bradley behind the kit, formed in 2007 and have already shared the stage with pop punk high flyers You Me At Six, Four Years Strong and New Found Glory. Slam Dunk may be the foundation on which to build a heroic 2010.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 4:15
Leeds: 4:25

Recommended: 'The Days That Shape Our Lives'

Alter The Press spoke to front man Sam Thompson ahead of the festival.

With so many big names playing Slam Dunk this year, how does it feel to be involved?
We've been lucky enough to play Slam Dunk for the past two years, and it’s been awesome each time. Now that it’s spread across London and Leeds, it just makes the festival even better for us. This year suits us perfectly, with bands like New Found Glory, Four Year Strong & Hit The Lights, we'll be playing amongst guys who are at the top of their game and bands we really admire. I don't think I could begin to describe how good that feels!

What can we expect from your set?
We've recently finished recording our début album, so we've been really busy nailing down a brand new set list jam packed with new songs that no one's heard yet. We're definitely excited to finally be playing some new stuff.

The Skints
The Skints are set to bring a truly thunderous style to the stages of Hatfield and Leeds. Meshing the fabrics of reggae and punk, the quartet bring to the table a style not entirely their own, but far from unoriginal. Add to angst ridden guitars flute, saxophone, organ work and sprightly, heartfelt vocals and you have the blueprint to a vastly impressive sound. Made up of Marcia Richards, Josh Waters Rudge, Jamie Kyriakides and Jon Doyle, the penniless East Londoners thrive in a live setting, and have shared bills with names such as The King Blues and fellow Vans Music Stage punks Sonic Boom Six, making their second consecutive Slam Dunk appearance a much anticipated affair.

Stage Time:
Hatfield: 3:25
Leeds: 3:35

Recommended: 'Murderer'

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