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Live Review: Slam Dunk North - Leeds University - 30.5.2010

After the apparent poor organizing of Slam Dunk South the day before, the festival returned to its natural home on Sunday, as the Slam Dunk Festival once again to proved to be one of the best up and coming festivals in the UK. Before you read any further I must warn you that I spent most of my time going in between stages and therefore didn't see many full sets.

Nevertheless Save Your Breath opened the Atticus/Jagermeister stage with their brand of pop-punk that set the tone perfectly for the rest of the day; a set filled wall to wall with upbeat numbers such as 'Sink and Swim' and with guest appearances by Sean Smith from The Blackout and Soupy from The Wonder Years, Save Your Breath left a very good impression on the SD crowd.

Next a quick walk over the Relentless stage to see All or Nothing', whose set didn't quite manage to get the audience going but my brief viewing was pleasing enough and was enough to fill my need for edgy, fiery pop-punk that the band have honed so well. Back in the Atticus/Jagermeister area, Canada's Moneen was as energetic as ever with 'Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do' being the standard opener. Admittedly I didn't see all of their set, but Kenny Bridges post-set injured shoulder, gives the impression the band gave it their all.

On the Macbeth Acoustic stage, Sam Little was rounding off his set with his charming brand of acoustic pop, that at times left the audience mesmerized and was overall enjoyable to see. Whilst Lost On Campus followed with a pitch-perfect set that surely won over those who aren't familiar with Rob Lynch's upbeat, confident and stripped down style. The highlight being Little and Lynch's N-Dubz' 'I Need You' cover, which is light hearted and you can't help but enjoy it.

Over on the Glamour Kills stage, Hit The Lights made their mark as one of the most underrated US pop-punk bands, as massive hooks and sing-alongs is what was delivered in abundance and pleased most of their packed crowd. Whilst a quick turn round to the Kerrang! UK Now stage saw Not Advised live up to expectations of their 'After The Fight' EP, with a set that saw the band storm through the record in full and despite a few early technical issues, won over the crowd instantly and overall saw the band take the next step towards bigger things.

Back on the Glamour Kills stage, a chaotic set from Set Your Goals saw circle pits and moshing taking place from wall to wall, as the five piece flew through a set highlighting the best parts from both 'Mutiny!' and 'This Will Be The Death of Us', with 'Gaia Bleeds' being the stand out moment.

After a bit of a break Four Year Strong gave their buddies in Set Your Goals a run for their money, with a set equally as energetic that saw the Refectory part of the Univeristy literally shaking, as the SD crowd couldn't get enough of FYS's fast-paced, pop-punk with old favourites 'Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die' and 'Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated' getting the best response, as did 'Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)' from the bands recent 'Enemy of the World' album.

Futures showed exactly why they're one of the best new UK bands right now, with a headline set on the Kerrang! UK Now stage, as their set covered their recent 'the Holiday' release, with tracks such as '16' and 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' being the highlights and got the SD crowd bouncing.

For many New Found Glory are the perfect band for this festival and as always they were flawless, with a set packed with "hits" and with sing-alongs from the front to the back of the Glamour Kills stage, NFG once again showed why they're one of the best and most consistent bands around.

One last trip to the Atticus/Jagermeister saw Against Me! start late but from what I saw in my brief viewing, the band previewed new material from 'White Crosses' is a good light and sounded good and on form. Whilst Alkaline Tio closed the stage with a somewhat underwhelming set. For a band I've wanted to see for years but not had the chance to, their set didn't quite live up to expectations despite a set filled covering their back catalogue well.

On the whole Slam Dunk North was an all-round success, although some may complain it has too many stages or the layout can be slightly confusing but it's ever-growing appeal makes its possible to cover so much good music, from both home and abroad and its community-like feel can be credited to the organisers and all those who are willing to give it their all. For many the countdown for Slam Dunk 2011 has already begun but others are questioning "how the hell do you top this year?" For now lets just enjoy and Slam Dunk and all its glory.

Bravo Slam Dunk Festival!


Sean Reid

Alter The Press!