Tag: pop

SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL ’18 SURVIVAL GUIDE

The bank holiday weekend festival is set to launch once again in less than three days, hitting the North (LEEDS) on Saturday, South (HATFIELD) on Sunday and Midlands (BIRMINGHAM) on Monday. With the festival running from 1pm-11pm (With afterparties till 3am), these are the things you should keep in mind before and during the festival

Set up a schedule and check out new bands.

50+ bands across 7 stages, there WILL be clashes. Be sure to set a schedule of the times and bands you wish to see. This can easily be done via the Slam Dunk Festival App. Also, don’t be afraid to check out bands you’ve never seen before. If you have free time, why not go to the Breakout Stage to check out some of the latest upcoming bands? Festivals are an easy way to discover new music quickly and easily, so make use of it if you can!

TIP: For bigger bands, give plenty of time to get to the stage before the act starts. Often, if a stage reaches full capacity there will be queues to get in, meaning you may not be let in when the band starts.

Only bring the essentials.

Security on all three venues this year is tight, meaning only one strap bags no bigger than an A4 sheet of paper are permitted into the venue. As this rule excludes backpacks, ensure to bring only the essential items for the day: Suncream, portable charger, money, ID and other essentials you may need for the day.

TIP: If you’re going to buy merch (honestly, who doesn’t) fold up a small cloth tote bag into your regular bag for later in the day

Bring enough money.

While some bars do take card payments, many merch stands and food stalls may only take cash. There are cash machines, however these often have long queues to save time, try and bring cash with you beforehand. Be sure to take enough money to suffice for the day and for travel to and from the festival grounds.

TIP: Bring coins along for quick drinks at the vending machines (venue dependant)

Keep hydrated.

Yes, water or drinks may be a bit more expensive at the festival itself, but it’s important to keep hydrated through the festival to avoid dehydration and other illness. Festivals aren’t as much fun in the medical tents. Also, food is expensive, eat before entering the festival to cut down on hunger in the grounds. Food does accommodate for vegans and non-vegans and while you can leave the festival, food areas outside the grounds (Specifically referring to MIDLANDS) may be just as expensive as inside.

TIP: If you’re desperate for water, some of the inside bars may give you glasses of tap water for free. However, this will vary from venue to venue.

Know your travel arrangements.

Over the bank holiday weekend, there are a few travel disruptions across the three dates which you can find below.

NORTH: Industrial action planned with a strike by Northern Rail train drivers. This will affect some lines in the Yorkshire Region

SOUTH: There will be limited trains leaving Hatfield station after the main festival ends (11pm) so ensure to leave promptly to fill the earlier trains. A queueing system will also be in place to avoid any overcrowding.

MIDLANDS: There will be no train service between Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street. Services between the two will be replaced by a bus service.

TIP: Plan your travel arrangements beforehand and make sure you have a backup in case you miss trains.

Maps for all three dates can also be found below:

Have fun and be safe!

Most importantly have fun and be safe. Crowdsurfing/stage diving and moshing are permitted but at the participants risk. “Slam Dunk as an organisation does not condone any of these activities and will not be held accountable for injury/loss of possessions as a direct result of such activities’. If you take part in these activities and are deemed to be causing potential harm to yourself or others, you may face eviction from the festival site.

Be aware that you are banned form bringing these items into the festival and they will be confiscated upon entry.

  • Glass bottles
  • Cans
  • Flasks
  • Cool boxes and hampers
  • Flags and banners
  • Helium balloons
  • Studded belts
  • Spiked bracelets/belts/neck collars/boots or jackets
  • Trouser chains
  • Sharp/large rings
  • Flares and fireworks
  • Smoke grenades
  • Airhorns
  • Large bags
  • Laser pointers/Pens and glow Sticks
  • Sharp objects, any items that could potentially be used as weapon
  • Audio or Video recording devices such as iPads and tablets
  • Selfie sticks
  • Large umbrellas
  • Parasols
  • Tents
  • Gazebos
  • Any chairs including collapsible or any other item of furniture
  • Skate board, roller skates, bicycles, hover boards
  • Balls
  • Frisbees
  • Kites
  • Barbecues
  • Lanterns or anything that can be lit with a naked flame
  • Drones

If you see anything suspicious or need help during the festival, talk to a steward, security or official found around the site.

INTERVIEW – SUE – THE HELLFREAKS

Can you please introduce yourself, your role in the band and your favourite album to this date?

Hello there, here is Sue – singer & only former band member of The Hellfreaks. Music and especially underground punk, hardcore, psycho – scene life has always been big part of my life, so it’s hard to pick out one album. So my choice might surprise you even more as I pick a hardrock band & hardrock is by far not my favorite genre – but this piece just packed me in so unexpectedly.  I guess the album that I have listened to more than anything else is Going To Hell from The Pretty Reckless. Despite that I could mention any Distillers album.

The new generation of The Hellfreaks came to life in 2015 after the band split in 2014. What was the decision behind the comeback?

I moved away from my hometown Budapest to Germany, Berlin at that time of the split up, and was struggling really hard with accepting my new situation without music, with building up a new life without having a band. It was more or less like a very heavy break up, that dragged me shockingly deep down.  It was a heavy period for me and right when I started to accept the situation we got the invitation to the Ink ‘n’ Iron Festival, a legendary festival in Long Beach, California. It literally brought the band back to life: but we had to leave the old weights behind. That’s why we came back with new members, a new spirit and new energy – I think this email changed my life more than any other lines so far. This invitation meant the rebirth of The Hellfreaks. When we saw this invitation, me & our old drummer Rico knew that we just have to figure out a way to make it back with The Hellfreaks on stage, as it is really rare to face this possibility as a group from Hungary.

Your latest album Astoria was released at the beginning of 2016. Are there any plans for a new album?

Plans are not enough to write a new longplayer!
We are already working on it. Honestly, we have been working on it for a pretty long time now; we’ve been in the songwriting process for quite a year. It takes us much longer than ever before, but not because of lack of inspiration, way more because we’ve changed the whole concept of our songwriting. The new songs are not born in the rehearsal room anymore.
It had been a long way till we were able to manage possibilities at home to work and record on demos – so now we’re going much more into details, concepts and selecting with an ice cold heart to put the right pieces, ideas and songs together for the upcoming album.
Our fans are used to getting a different sound with each album, and we’re still far from the end, but it is out of question that this album will for sure be the next step in the right direction for us. Or at least “right” in our point of view, but we are happy to see the development of our work. Everyone who liked Astoria, will for sure LOVE the upcoming one.

You’ve also had the chance to tour across parts of Europe and America, do you prefer to tour in the US or Europe?

There are no preferences. US & Europe are two totally different worlds for us, however, they have the same feeling on the stage. Of course there are pros and cons on both sides. We’ve toured way more in Europe, so there are clubs all across the continent we play regularly at, and where we feel like home after all these years. Compared to the US, it’s small, so the distances are manageable.
US is still a new world for us. It gave us way much more stories to tell and there is so much we still haven’t seen. So we really hope that we will make it back soon. But there are also other places on our bucket lists, like Japan or Australia, that we really want to, but couldn’t make it so far.

What was one of your favourite shows and why?

After hundreds and hundreds of shows its impossible to answer.
There are some special shows that left some bigger footprints in my mind. For example our gig at the Wave Gothik Treffen, where we played in front of a couple of thousands of people for the first time. Or our gig at Force Attack, where the organizer of the festival just left with all the money in his pocket, and literally left anarchy behind. I’d never seen a festival so much out of control, but we didn’t hesitate to do the concert anyway. Or the gig at Ink’n Iron – maybe not because it was as special a gig, but it was a special feeling. A feeling of “I’m back again.”.

You describe your genre as modern punk-rock- riot, what influences your genre style?

We started as a psychobilly influenced band, which is a very strict genre. Music & lyrics-wise it has its magical world, but is also has its boundaries. So after the rebirth of The Hellfreaks, the biggest issue was to leave all these boundaries behind. But there wasn’t really a fixed concept. We all come from different  genres – all kids of rock music, but I guess I don’t have to describe how wide this genre still is. So it was much more like that: we put all together what we had and just let ourselves be surprised by the outcome.
Our very first song of the new line up was “Back To My Planet” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr7CvojaliA) Personally, I think that this is the only new generation song where you can still hear some of the old rock’n roll feeling. After that we dared to make the second step of finding our own new sound and that was the flow how Astoria came alive.
We learned a lot during the recording process – we learned the strengths and weaknesses of each other and based on that, we are just trying to do and create everything in a way where each of us can shine with their best side.

What is next on the list for The Hellfreaks?

Writing and recording the best album ever in our history. We already have a videorecording planned for this summer and of course we’re having a couple a of clubshows and also some major festivals around Europe this summer. Come and join us!
05.05 – Hungary, Székesfehér at Nyolcas Műhely
01.06 – Romania, Revolution Festival 13.07 – Serbia, EXIT Festival 16.08 – Czech Republic, Pod Parou Festival 03.10 – Germany, München at Bürgerhaus Glockenbachwerkstatt04.10 – Germany, Ludwigsburg at Rocknrollbar Ludwigsburg05.10 – Switzerland, Meyrin at Undertown06.10 – Italy, Treviso at Nasty Boys01.11 – Germany, Hannover at SubKultur 02.11 – Germany, Erfurt at Ilvers Musikbar03.11 – Germany, Berlin at Wild At Heart16.11 – Hungary, Budapest at Robot

Which of your tracks describes The Hellfreaks the best?

“I’m Away” is pretty much the best to summarize The Hellfreaks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guaEK62mxno

INTERVIEW – CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS

London electro-punk three-piece Calling All Astronauts have a lot to say, but what are the true A-Z factors about them that they want to tell their fans?

A Song Which Made You Want To Make Music:

My parents had loads on old 60s records when I was a kid, I used to play them all the time I had favourites, Bits And Pieces by The Dave Clark Five and Hippy Hippy Shake by The Swinging Blue Jeans, I was hooked on music from age 4

Best Experience While On Tour:

We haven’t actually toured as Calling All Astronauts, yes I know we’ve had 2 albums and 12 singles out, but we have very young children, so it hasn’t been possible so far, we’ve kinda stuck to playing high profile one off shows and festivals

Cover you would really like to do?

Strangely enough, we have just released our “Influences EP”, a quadruple A-side single. Four tracks that have influenced our love of music, we did a Pendulumesque version of Gary Numan’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and followed that with a stripped back, dark, atmospheric version of T-Rex’s “Metal Guru”, we then took on on the legend that is David Bowie’s classic, “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)”, and rounded it off with a Post Punk version of Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” we hope we have made them our own.

Deepest Lyrics One Of Your Songs Features:

That’s a tricky one as I’m so shallow, hahahah, I do like the chorus of our song Divisive, “Greed equals power, equals war, equals death”

Easiest Song You Wrote:

None of our songs have been easy or hard, we take a long time writing, our last album took us 2,000 hours, it’s just a process we go through, all our songs develop over a period of time in the studio, I don’t think we’ve ever written one in a short space of time.

Favourite album/single/EP you have released:

Our “Anti Social Network” album is my favourite, we could have easily released every track as a single, it also marked a vast improvement in my production skills, I believe that album sounds like we recorded in a major studio rather than in my lounge, though we did actually record it in my lounge

Greatest Show/Festival You Have Played:

We’ve had quite a few good shows, I think my favourite was when we played “Death To Dicso” at Notting Hill Arts Club, it was a night run by Alan Magee, but the crowd was all Made In Chelsea type people, it was totally sold out, we thought we were going to stiff, but within 2 songs, we had a pit and crowd surfing, a really awesome night

Happiest Moment You’ve Experienced In The Band:

When we hit #1 at 2 minutes to midnight on December 24th on the Hype Machine Chart, knocking Adele off the top spot and getting the Christmas Number One!!

Interesting Fact About One Of Your Members:

Paul used to be a tree surgeon

Jokes You Have In The Band

We have so many, they are always “in jokes” that we find hilarious, but would never made anyone else laugh, if you ever meet Paul ask him “would you like some pork?”:

Kicking Off Your Set Is Best With Which Song:

We change our intro regularly, but always seem to kick of the set with “Someone Like You”, it was our frist single and got us BBC radio play within a week of release, so it’s a very special tune for us

Longest Distance You’ve Travelled To Play A Show:

J has toured America, I think just travelling there is further than the whole size on the UK and sadly we’ve never played outside England so far

Movie That Best Represents The Band:

It’s very cliched, but I’d have to say Spinal Tap, especially when we all want everything to be on 11

New Band You’d Recommend:

I really like Ded, they have a song called “Anti-Everything” which I just love, I must have watched the video about 100 times

Opening For This Band Would Be Ideal:

For the right Target audience, any of NIN, Ministry, Killing Joke, Marilyn Manson, we’d be stoked to play with any of them, from a personal point of view, I’d love to tour with The Offspring or Editors

Place You’d Most Like To Tour:

America, I’ve been there many times, but have never played there, it would be awesome to see more of the country

Quote That You’d Like To Pass On To Readers:

One Man’s plagiarism is another man’s art

Reason For The Title Of Your Recent/Forthcoming Release:

As I’ve mentioned our latest EP is called “Influences EP” because we recorded covers of songs that have influenced us, the working title for the new album is “Divided States Of America” because that is exacly what Trump has done

See Us Live At:

The First Song You Ever Played Together As A Band:

I really have no recollection, I would guess it would be either “Someone Like You” or “What’s So Good About?”

Unusual Merchandise:

We have zero mechandise, which I suppose is quite unusual in itself

Variations You’d Like To Do On Any Of Your Songs:

Worst Experience On Tour:

Because we use a lot of programming, we have clicks coming to the stage monitors, so we can hear where the songs start, at one festival, the clicks went to the field, and we didn’t have a clue when any of our songs were going to start #nightmare

X-rays Or Any Other Treatments For Band Related Injuries:

I have broken loads of bones, my leg, ankle, wrist twice, Paul has had several operations on his back, I don’t think J has ever broken anything

Your Favourite Show You’ve Ever Played:

When we were in US:UK, we sold out The Marquee and got as many of the audience on stage for the encore as was humanly possible, that was an amazing night

Zoo Animal That Best Describes The Band:

The chimps as we love a good tea party

Our aformentioned Influences EP is available here

www.smarturl.it/influences-ep

GIG REVIEW – WATERPARKS – BIRMINGHAM 01/03/18

First night of ‘The Entertainment Show’ took place in Birmingham’s The Institute and with the looming threat of a cancellation due to snow, the atmosphere of the evening was far from cold.

Dead! were the nights first openers, kicking off a pretty good set with their melancholic style and energetic stage performance. Interestingly, the aesthetic of the band never ceased either, with darker clothing and table lamps/radios adorning the set behind them, creatively bringing a different visual style to their performance. Also, despite a large portion of the crowd not knowing the band, by the end of their quick-fire set, Dead! Almost had the entire venue moving before their departure. A good performance that will surely gain them some new followers.

Patent Pending truly warmed the atmosphere of the night with not only a great set but brilliant comedic aspects through their set. With a set, determined goal to put on a memorable performance, everything from being the ‘worlds worst boyband’ to playing a pretty awesome rock cover of ‘Every time We Touch’, it’s obvious that the band certainly succeeded. Comedic, commentary complaints of Primark’s lack of gloves and scarfs and the anecdotal stories of 6 hour airport waits perfectly balanced out well with the bands both serious and spoof tracks. The band reached a new high for their set in Birmingham, literally climbing along the edge of the Institute’s balcony, Patent Pending definitely drew out some more interesting tricks and never left a dull moment. Whether it be ‘Hey Mario’ or ‘Douchebag’, Patent Pending put on an excellent memorable set for the evening!

Being the largest venue Waterparks has headlined in Birmingham to this date, the brilliance of the shows opening definitely lacked. Starting off with ‘Entertainment’ opener ’11:11′, the bright exuberant performance we may have expected from the pop synth infused three piece did unfortunately fall flat. Yet, as the set moved through the country pop vibes of Peach (Lobotomy) to the echoic acoustic love song ‘Lucky People’, the spirit quickly amped up.

While the studio album and live performances will differ, the colourful synth aspects of ‘We Need To Talk’, ‘Not Warriors’ and ‘Take Her To The Moon’ beautifully created a whole surrounding atmosphere to the tracks, leading to not only high power energy, but a radiating background to their set. Yet, while Waterparks may not have sharp witty humour, their between-set talks still brought a fun sense of humour, with the ideas of a ‘Take Her To The Moon/ Not Warriors’ tour with just the two songs.

However, the encore was something completely different. While the set was rather short for some expectations, the band brought a condensed mixture of two of the most contrasting tracks on their new album. Bringing the hollow, melancholic ‘Crybaby’ alongside the fiery angst of ‘Tantrum’ to form a pretty explosive finale, it’s safe to say that both parties were pretty satisfied with the now finished performance of the night.

The snow may have caused a smaller turnout for the show, but what would have usually caused a downer on the shows atmosphere didn’t cause a ripple in the wave of music. For the opening night of the tour, this was certainly a success.

Rating: 4.5/5

INTERVIEW – GHOULS

Heya! Could you please introduce yourself, what you do in the band and one random fact about yourself?

Hello my name is Benedict and I sing and play guitar. Nice to meet ya.

You guys consider yourself an Alt-rock style band, where did the idea to incorporate a saxophone to your music come from and how did you do it?

Honestly, there was no plan behind it. The horns especially are something that just happened. We never set out to be a certain genre or join a “scene” so the music we make is just what comes out when the 5 of us come together. It’s fresh and organic to do it that way.

Your new track ‘Internet Famous’ is being released ahead of the tour, can you tell us a little but about the recording process?

The recording process for Internet was really productive. Writing to rehearsing to recording all happened in quick succession for this song. This meant it was a really exciting process as it wasn’t a song that we’d been playing/rehearsing for a while meaning it was really new for us. We recorded it in a studio that’s in an old converted biscuit factory in London too.

What exactly is ‘Internet Famous’ about for each of you personally?

I think across the board it’s about how the internet has consumed people’s perception of real life and also, for some some people, forgetting to live in the real world. Social media definitely has a place in the real world but it’s definitely getting a little out of hand.

Speaking of becoming ‘Internet Famous’, soon you’ll be Australia famous! How does it feel that you’re getting the chance to co-headline a tour in Australia?

Honestly, it’s something that was on the list but we never thought would be feasible. We’re so excited to come over. The feeling of going somewhere new and unexpected through the band is irreplaceable and hard to relate to anything else. I don’t think it will really have hit me until we’re sat on the plane.

Of course, for a UK band Australia is pretty far, how did this opportunity come to you?

To be honest it’s all down to some lovely people who run Inhale Music Promotions. They’ve put the whole thing together from a twitter post about us coming to Australia that’s needed up going way further than expected.

Are you afraid of any of the many ‘horrors’ Australia has to offer such as spiders etc?

Haha, for me personally I’m not scared of any of the animals or creatures. I know that some of the others absolutely hate spiders and snakes. Poor old Russ hates flying too so I’m looking forward to how he fairs on the 20 hour journey!

This will be your first time out of the UK/European circuit, do you feel you will begin touring further internationally after this tour?

Actually that’s not true. We’ve been to the USA twice! Saying that Australia will definitely be the furthest we’ve ever been. Like I said before, I remember when we got on the plane to the US for the first tile and we all looked at each other like “WTF is going on?!” – it’s a feeling I’ve yet to have experienced since but I think going to Australia is gonna feel pretty damn similar.

Finally, if you were to define being ‘internet famous’, how would define it?

As a song, it’s a statement. Remember to live life in the real world and that the wonderful lives of the internet celebrities that fill your Instagram feeds and YouTube subs are not always who and what they appear to be!

GIG REVIEW – DREAM STATE – BIRMINGHAM 11/02/18

Local Birmingham openers Mindstep were first on the bill. Mindstep are your average openers as shown by most of their performance. Yes, their vibrancy was average (excluding their amazing energy filled drummer – shoutout to them for lifting the set) but otherwise it was a lacked any audience-band reciprocity and was overall a little…dull. That’s not to say all of it was. Faster dance style tracks such as Peach lifted the set from time to time, but unfortunately the performance was brought down by a lack of stage presence from their main vocalist. A good voice, no doubt, yet it almost seemed as if they were afraid on that stage, whether it was a bad night or a bout of stage fright, Mindstep had their time and took it to a reasonable extent.

Next on the local support roster was pop-rock band Layover. With a clear definition between their old and upcoming material, it’s a clear factor of which ones the band prefer. While older tracks such as ‘Stage Fright’ had their moment, it was their upcoming unreleased material that truly stole the stage for Layover. A true overflow of emotion brought some of these fluctuating newer songs to life, and it’s something we can hopefully look out for in their upcoming studio recordings too.

Yet, if somehow you didn’t notice the bands before, you certainly did now. As Chapter And Verse flew through their set, with impeccably impressive vocal harmonies, insane stage presence and exuberant tracks to match, it’s clearly portrayed as to why they were chosen to support the full length of the tour. It’s rare to see bands consistently perform with vivacious power while including three part harmonies side by side, but through every track, be it ‘Slaves’ or even newer track ‘Magazines’, Chapter and Verse were there to get your attention, and that they did excellently.

Headliners Dream State are rising through in the world of rock, maybe not enough to sell out massive rooms, but enough to have a great performance and fan base to match. Dream State do not have the largest catalogue of material to hand, with one EP (Consequences) and two singles, meaning their set was a little shorter than one may hope, however, perhaps it was their insane performance from their opener ‘Burden’ to their ending track ‘Rebuild, Recreate’ that made time fly within the venue.

Interestingly though, it wasn’t just an average band, barrier, audience show. In a true Dream State fashion, vocalist CJ took off from the stage to sing fan favourites such as ‘White Lies’ amongst the crowd and in the pit, with some of the other band members joining along from time to time. It’s one thing to perform and sing to a few on the front row, but when you get fully integrated, singing their finale Rebuild, Recreate’ on the shoulders of a friendly mosher, you know you have a band who are there for enjoyment. This radiated throughout their set, and even though the set was a little short, there were more than enough highlights to fulfil the crowd, and either way, this is definitely NOT the last we will be seeing of Dream State.

Gig rating: 4.5/5

MOVEMENTS ARE EMBARKING ON A US HEADLINER

American Emo/rock band Movements have just announced their headliner US tour in March!

The tour comes in support of their debut album (our no.1 album of 2017) ‘Feel Something’. Movements will also be taking Can’t Swim, Super Whatevr and Gleemer along on the 29 date tour run! Make sure to check out all the dates down below!

INTERVIEW – LESBIAN BED DEATH

We had the chance to chat to Lesbian Bed Death about their touring experiences in England and Spain, as well as their feature in an upcoming movie! Make sure to check it out below!

Alternatively, you can also check them out at the link below!

http://www.lesbianbeddeath.net

THREE BANDS ABOUT TO BREAK IN 2018

2017 has thrown out some talented bands who will be breaking out even further into the scene through 2018. So make sure to check out the bands on the list below as you will certainly hear them in 2018. Continue reading “THREE BANDS ABOUT TO BREAK IN 2018”