Slam Dunk: The Big Roundup - Finale


Touche Amore at Slam Dunk North, Leeds - Apertunes Photography

Touche Amore hit the Dickies stage as the penultimate act, a seemingly strange placement between The Get Up Kids and Plain White Ts on the adjoining Marshall stage, so somewhat unsurprisingly the start and end of the set were a bit marred by crowd migration in or out. That said, the band put on a confident performance to battle against the showers in the open-air stage. Opening with Flowers and You and New Halloween from latest album Stage Four and the energy was underway. The setlist choice was fantastic, with the inclusion of a lot of more recent material but also playing half of 2011 album Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me scattered throughout. Set highlights came unsurprisingly in performances of Home Away From Here and The Great Repetition with an atmosphere almost tangible with the audience clubbing together to take over chunks of vocal duties.


Despite their time coming to a close with ~, the crowd were not done with their time yet. Demands for another song were met, unexpectedly, with early track Honest Sleep as a nod to how good the country has been to them throughout their career. A welcome return to the UK for one of the best emotional hardcore bands ever, and just a reminder of how much we need this band at the front of the genre.


IDKHOW at Slam Dunk South, Hatfield - Apertunes Photography

I Don't Know How But They Found Me were possibly the most ambitious booking of the festival, not fitting in so much with the crowd. Both Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman have been members of alternative bands (namely Panic! At The Disco and Falling In Reverse respectively) but the 80s synth-blues feel to their music together isn't exactly made for the crowds of Kublai Khan and Knocked Loose that played before. From the moment they took to the stage, the somewhat-unknown quantity made it clear exactly why they were booked - they are possibly the best live act still performing.


They don't have the demon-unleashed vibe of The Fever 333, but the suave confidence of frontman Weekes bouncing off drummer Seaman proves to be an enigmatic partnership and it's hard to look away. Splitting the crowd for tuned harmonies is a bold move, but somehow they managed to made a Slam Dunk tent sound like Westminster Abbey. Choke and Do It All The Time have riffs that could headline the festival with thousands bouncing around, but it's their total respect for the audience that helps set these guys apart. Basing their entire mantra around enjoyment, they ask the audience to do things but always give the option to decline - "consent is fun" has become synonymous with the band. This duo are every bit as good as Muse and not sonically dissimilar in parts, and it is by no means unreasonable to expect them to get every ounce of success of the stadium band.


IDKHOW at Slam Dunk South, Hatfield - Apertunes Photography

Headliners All Time Low have been uncharacteristically silent for the whole of 2019 with the announcement of Alex Gaskarth's Simple Creatures side project seeming to take a high proportion of his attention of late. When asked to provide a 10th anniversary celebration of fan favourite album Nothing Personal however, the quartet were interested enough to book their only shows of the year. They opened with Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't) and played through an alternating pattern of songs from the album and newer songs for the first half of the set. A highlight of the alternating portion has to be the guest spot by Awsten Knight of Waterparks, who came on during Break Your Little Heart - a feature that resulted in an ear injury for Gaskarth after a collision onstage.


The first half of the set was a big, confident display of why they are so huge and wanted with some fantastic nostalgia and deeper cuts of a fantastic album, but the second half of the show was another step up entirely. Huge tracks like Somewhere In Neverland and Something's Gotta Give provided a huge energy boost for the crowd under the double rainbow, and new track Getaway Green excited all the onlookers for new material from the band. The performance sounded as if it could have been taken from Nothing Personal in style, and while the live version may be very different from the recorded, it sounds like more of a return to their best loved sound. A welcome return to the setlist for Time Bomb was brilliant, and ending in the same style as always with Lost In Stereo and Dear Maria, Count Me In. A blast of nostalgia combined with a tantalising look into the future proved a huge end to the day and the perfect close to the weekend.


All Time Low at Slam Dunk South, Hatfield - Apertunes Photography

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