Thursday, 2 June 2016

Slam Dunk Midlands

My attendance at Slam Dunk was plagued with bad luck. I turned in a holiday form for it at least a month in advance, but it got thrown out by mistake and I wasn't allowed the weekend off work. I had already booked a hostel for the whole weekend (which luckily I could cancel for free) and train tickets (which had a £10 fee for cancelling). This gave me two options - try to flog my ticket for peanuts, or just go for the day and leave before any of the big bands. I chose to go and re-booked my train. The day before I found out the main band I wanted to see, The Qemists, had pulled out. But I was already committed, so I went. But yeah, that whole thing SUCKED.

Got to the venue about 20 minutes after doors opened, and the queue was massive. Luckily I made a friend called Bex on the train so we just chatted the whole time we were waiting! It took just over an hour to get in so I missed Moose Blood and Trash Boat, but made it to Desperados stage with plenty of time before the first band I really wanted to see. I didn't realise the stage would be outside, so I regretted not taking sun cream and a cap as I caught the sun a fair bit! I'm very sensitive to the sun as my skin is very pale and my hair very dark!

First band of the day for me was [spunge], who I've wanted to see since I was in my first year of secondary school. So...12 years, maybe? I'm not sure why it took me so long because they were SO GOOD! I only own 2 of their albums so I only knew 2 songs really well, but I still knew a fair few others and they totally killed it! I also got to have a chat with the singer afterwards which was pretty cool, and near the end of the set I made it to the barrier as well. I really hope to see them again soon. Just getting to see them made the stress of the whole thing worth it.

Also because the stage was right by the rail line, we had a thing going where we had to turn to the track and flip the bird every time a train went past, which was pretty fun. I'm sure there were probably some people who kept that going all day.

I ended up staying at the stage to see Catch Twenty-Two, and was surprised to find that I knew a few of their songs. Glad I stayed for them as it was fun and nice to stay out in the sunshine too.

Afterwards I headed inside and met up with Bex again for Yellowcard. Unfortunately I couldn't get any photos that were worth keeping as the main stage was huge so we were quite near the back, but hearing Ocean Avenue in full was really awesome. After seeing them last year at Download I already knew I wanted to go see them again, so I'm glad I got that chance! I can't imagine how gutted the people at North were since technical difficulties cut their set short to about 20 minutes...that must have sucked a lot, as probably a lot of people were going purely to see them play the full album.

Afterwards I made a somewhat swift exit to go see Hacktivist, but I managed to get lost on the way and the person who I asked for directions from sent me the wrong direction entirely and I ended up missing the first 3 songs which was pretty gutting. Especially since one of them is a really good one! But fingers crossed I'll see them at Reading later in the year. I was also really disappointed that Rou Reynolds didn't join them for their second song, Taken, as I'd been really looking forward to seeing them perform together for it because that song really helped me keep going when my Gran was dying. However he did join them for Elevate again, so at least I got to see one member of Enter Shikari, even if it was only for a few seconds!

I wasn't sure what to do afterwards so I headed back to Desperados for a bit of Zebrahead, who I last saw almost a decade ago. I didn't know the couple of songs I stayed for, but I kind of wish I'd stayed for longer. Instead I thought I'd give Issues a try since I like a couple of their songs, but I didn't hear any I recognised and their main singer has an annoying voice, so I decided to head back to the train station instead.

So I ended up leaving at about half seven. Which sucked. But it meant I was able to catch an earlier train back to Bristol than I had intended which I feel was a good move as if I'd missed the next one I'd have had to call my dad to pick me up from the station as I'd have missed the last bus. I was exhausted anyway - my pedometer logged almost 25,000 steps!

All in all, I definitely had a brilliant time. However it wasn't worth the money I paid at all being that The Qemists were one of the main reasons I had decided to go. Obviously I had initially thought I'd have been able to see a headliner too, which is what you're paying for, really. I'd have liked to have seen Of Mice & Men as I've not seen them before, or Panic! At The Disco again as they're brilliant live, and then a bit of Shikari Sound System for a short spell of dancing and Rory C fangirling...but alas, it was not to be.

I'd probably do the festival again as Midlands seems to have been organised a lot better than the other two venues, but I wouldn't just go for the day ever again!

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