Author: Ian Morgan
Read Time: 5-6 minutes, 699 words
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Last weekend I attended Slam Dunk (North) Festival in Leeds. Which, despite being the Northern most of the three one day events, was still several hours south of my home. The drive down was pretty horrible in bank holiday traffic and in sweltering heat for a Scot's man (about 20 degrees). However, the trip was definitely worth it and beers and the sun was enjoyed by my friends and I. For this week's top five I decided to let you all in on my top five favourite tracks from the festival.
To give you an idea of this rather unique festival, instead of it being in a field in the middle of nowhere, a section of Leeds city centre is fenced off and several stages are erected for bands to perform, alongside a pre existing gig venue; the O2 arena. Dispersed between the stages are food carts, bars, merch tables and porta-potties. Bands playing this year included, Every Time I Die, Good Charlotte, Reel Big Fish, Frank Carter, Goldfinger, Twin Atlantic, Paris amongst many others.
Alive in the Glory of Love - Say Anything
Max Bemis playing his first show since his latest baby must have been a big moment for him, leaving his wife and kids to travel so far to play in the Leeds afternoon sun. However, it wasn't nearly as big a moment for him as it was for my girlfriend who finally got to see one of her favourite bands and a guy she has a big crush on. Say Anything came out the traps with a high energy performance and played some of their hits in a short set, but it was the final song that had the whole crowd singing along. A perfect song, for a perfect sunny afternoon. Not often you can say that about a song about the holocaust.
The Disconnect - Counterparts
I hadn't seen Counterparts for a long time and was very impressed with how good they had gotten. Playing in the dingy O2 arena, they came out and delivered an impactful and powerful set in under a fog of red light. The killer set was rounded off by the first song I ever heard from them, The Disconnect. Itself played with passion and energy. Looking forward to when they are next in Scotland playing a headlining set.
GM Vincent & I - Comeback Kid
Comeback Kid immediately followed Counterparts on the same stage, and the bar had been set very high for them by the fellow Canadians. Comeback Kid came out swinging though. Opening with the excellent GM Vincent & I. In a set filled with hit after hit, including classics like Broadcasting and Wake The Dead, it was the opener that sealed it for me. By the end of their set, I felt my voice starting to go from screaming their lyrics so hard. What a band.
Sweetness - Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World were the closing band on the Main Stage and played an eclectic set from their extensive back catalogue. Opening with Bleed American from the album of the same title before going through recent songs from Integrity Blues and older stuff from the excellent Clarity album. I was delighted that they played my personal favourite, 23. However, witnessing thousands of people scream along to the Woahs on Sweetness was the highlight of their set. The first song of the encore had the crowd in raptures. 'Are you Listening?!'
Make Damn Sure - Taking Back Sunday
Before JEW took the stage, Taking Back Sunday played their way through the sun setting. An amazing set with hit after hit, was closed by the stunning, Make Damn Sure. Their entire set was note perfect with lead singer Adam Lazzara in excellent form, parading the stage and swinging his microphone around his head. When I was an embarrassing mess, drinking too much and feeling sorry for myself, I listened and watched a live version of this song on YouTube over and over again, every hung over morning. I wouldn't go as far as saying it got me through tough times, but it certainly gave me an awesome soundtrack to them.
Ian Morgan is on Twitter: @IanMorganFBC