Alternative rock artists from across the globe arrive in the UK for this year’s Slam Dunk Festival.
26-May-2016: Tonight, a cadre of international artists make a planned pitstop in the North East of England for an Anglo-American gathering of epic proportions. British bands SHVPES and The One Hundred are on the road with US metalcore outfits, Miss May I and We Came As Romans, who co-headline the tour following their recent festival appearances back home at Rock On The Range and Rock ‘N Derby.
SHVPES kick off the proceedings and give us a taste of what is to come from their forthcoming debut album, which is expected to drop later this year. Obviously with four bands on the bill, their set is short and sweet at just 25 minutes. But, adrenaline-fueled tracks like their latest single, “God Warrior,” are more than enough to make an impact.
The band doesn’t shy away from the audience and likes to get in the mix with the fans. Guitarist Youssef Ashraf even manages to make his way into the middle of a circle pit whilst continuing to play and without dropping a note.
British touring counterparts, The One Hundred, brings something a bit different to the proceedings. Their high-octane blend of rapcore fused with synth and electronic elements turns the room into a swirling vortex of energy. The band gives us a taste of their upcoming album with tracks like “Retreat” and “Disengage” both featuring alongside tracks from their Subculture EP.
The band certainly connects with the fans. Frontman Jacob Field commands the audience to get down during “Unleashed” and, on his mark, they leap to their feet, the room erupts. The band closes their set with “Downfall” and full-blown carnage ensues.
There is no doubt who the crowd is here to see tonight. As the house lights go down, eager screams reverberate around the room. Detroit boys, We Come As Romans, take the stage, and launch into the explosive, “Regenerate.” The band’s sound is characterised by the vocal pairing of Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone, who compliment each other perfectly, adding harmonies, particularly on the likes of “We Will Pray.”
We Came As Romans’ set covers ground from all four of their studio albums. They take the fans back to their debut album with “To Plant A Seed” which Stephens dedicates to ‘all of the dreamers’ during which Ryan from Miss May I joins them on backing vocals.
The infectious groove and melody of “The World I Used To Know” has the crowd hanging on every word. The track most certainly has mainstream appeal and has the fans with their arms raised aloft, swaying from side to side. The band closes their set with “Hope” from their 2013 album, Tracing Back Roots, which lights the blue touch paper in the room.
Ohio’s own Miss May I rounds off the evening. The band has not played in the UK for a long time. Frontman Levi Benton states “This is where all the metal heads are.” The band opens their set with a pair of tracks from their latest offering, Deathless, in the shape of “I.H.E” and “Turn Back The Time.”
Due to their absence on our British shores, the band chose to mix up their setlist and play some of their older material that they don’t often play, such as “Forgive and Forget” and “A Dance With Aera Cura” which they execute at breakneck speed.
The band teases the crowd with the opening riff from “Walk” by Pantera, before launching into “Our Kings”. Miss May I whip the crowd into a frenzy, with almost half of the room forming a giant swirling circle pit.
Tonight, the O2 Academy Newcastle witnessed a veritable feast of metalcore talent, who kick-started the Slam Dunk Bank Holiday weekend with style.