Sunday, 30 May 2010

Slam Dunk Festival 2010

-The Forum, University Of Hertfordshire, May 29th 2010

Last. Night. Was. Immense. It was so awesome. It was so much fun. And it was so loud. My ears are still ringing now. I'd been excited for this concert since I heard it was announced, and it was really brilliant. I went up there with Jake, and we had such a great time. There were so many bands I wanted to see, but the stage times overlapped, so I couldn't see them all. But I saw the bands I wanted to, and had such an incredible time.

We joined the epic long queue to get in after Dad dropped us at the University, and made our way slowly to the wristband stall. We got inside, and it was packed. There were people everywhere, making their way along the merch stands and towards stages. We had no idea where to go, or where the stages were. And we had a backpack with us, because there wasn't a cloakroom, so we took turns carrying it. We looked around at the merchandise, and then headed upstairs, where we found the Glamour Kills, Kerrang! Introduces, and Relentless Stages. We were in the right place. We went into the Glamour Kills Stage, and found a good spot. Every Avenue were on next. They came on stage and began their set. They were pretty good. A circle pit opened up in front of us, although it was pretty pathetic. Jake and I just walked into it, and made our way further forward towards the stage. The band were pretty good. At one point, the main guy decided to jump into the crowd from the barrier to crowdsurf, but as he jumped, he managed to land on a single girl, and they both just crumbled. It was so funny! We all helped them both up, and the guy jumped back up on stage.

We got some drinks, looked at some more merch, and then made our way back to the Glamour Kills Stage for Hit The Lights. Jake was excited for their set, so I took the backpack while he went into the mosh pit. I only knew 'Breathe In' and 'Drop The Girl', but they played with such energy, I actually thought they were brilliant. It was really great.

Set Your Goals were up next. I was so stoked for their set. Jake took the backpack, and I got ready to mosh. The lights went down. The band came onstage. Here's a video that I took of their opening song 'Summer Jam':

The pits were crazy now. I jumped in for a couple of songs, and it was rough. They played some of my favourite songs, including 'This Will Be The Death Of Us', 'Gaia Bleeds', 'Look Closer', 'The Fallen...', 'Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On', and some I didn't know from their debut album. One of the things I've always wanted to do was to crowdsurf. I thought that during this set was the perfect opportunity. There were kids crowdsurfing all the time, and as 'Our Ethos...' came on, I thought, 'Yeah, I wanna do it now.' I was actually so nervous. I've got pulled out of a pit before, but never just crowdsurfed. I said a quick prayer, and then asked one of the big kids next to me to lift me up. It was brilliant. I was on top of the crowd on my front. Then, as they pushed my legs forward, I managed to twist around and stay on the crowd, before the security guys pulled me off. It was only about five feet, but it was so much fun, and I'm glad I did it. I thought, like at Brixton Academy, that I'd just go around the barrier and back into the crowd, but I actually had to go out of the auditorium, and back inside through the entrance. The guys this side weren't letting anyone in because it was "too full". I tried to explain that I had just got pulled out, so there was obviously space for me. But then they let me and a few others in when some other kids came out. I managed to weave my way through the crowd and the mosh pit, back towards the front where Jake was standing. In that time, I'd missed all of Chad Gilbert's vocals on 'Our Ethos...', but it was worth it. It was so much fun.

We were sweating ridiculously by now. And we were hungry and thirsty. So we got drinks, and were going to go downstairs to get some food. But just as we were about to leave, we saw that the security guys weren't letting anyone back in, so we stayed inside and waited.

Another half an hour passed, and finally it was time for Four Year Strong, one of my all time favourite bands. They were so immense. They were brilliant. Here's a vid of their opener, 'It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now':

We were right up near the front for their set, and had a fantastic view of the band. We were literally just a couple of people away from the barrier. I had the backpack for their set, but we were so close to the front that it was actually good; everyone was so squashed, that it was good to not have anyone right behind me. They played some of my favourite songs, including 'Bada Bing! Wit' A Pipe!', 'On A Saturday', 'Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated', 'Nineteen With Neck Tatz', 'Maniac (R.O.D)', 'What The Hell Is A Gigawatt', and some more I can't remember right now. Then they finished with 'Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)' and 'Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die'. The crowd was crazy, and it was seriously so much fun. I loved every second of it. There were kids going over our heads every couple of minutes. And one of the highlights of the night, during a couple of their songs, Josh on the keyboard was singing, and came onto the barrier right in front of us. He was actually on top of us, and pointed the mic in my face - I've literally sung with Four Year Strong! Sooo good. And when Jake ruffled his hair, he ruffled Jake's. Check it out in this vid - here's 'Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated':

Their set was one of the best I've ever seen. It was so much fun. They're one of my all time favourite bands. Here's some pics:

New Found Glory were up next on the Glamour Kills Stage, but The Rocket Summer was playing at the same time, and we both wanted to see them play. So, we left the Glamour Kills Stage, passing the queue to get into that stage, and then went downstairs to finally get something to eat. We got a sandwhich, and then had to queue to get back upstairs - security was saying it was full upstairs, even though there was a stream of people coming down. We waited patiently, and was soon allowed up. We went up to the Relentless Stage, got a drink, finished our food, and waited for The Rocket Summer to come on. Breathe Carolina were playing while we stood at the bar by the stage, and I actually felt pretty bad for them; there was hardly any kids come to see them, and there was one guy at the back yelling "You suck! You suck!" as loud as he could. Yeah, it wasn't the best music, but that was a bit rude. Anyway, as soon as they left the stage, Jake and I moved forward and got a spot just a couple back from the barrier. After half hour wait, and The Rocket Summer came onstage.

That guy is seriously cool. He's so talented, and just awesome. He opened with 'Hills And Valleys'. Here's the video:

I knew some of the songs off of the new album, but it was great that he played some off of Do You Feel - that's the album I've got. His set included 'Hills And Valleys', 'Roses', 'You Gotta Believe', 'Walls', 'I Need A Break... But I'd Rather Have A Breakthrough', 'Break It Out', 'Do You Feel', 'Save', and a couple of others that I didn't know. Just half hour into his set, he came off stage, and I wondered if he was done, but then I saw him walk through the crowd, and appear on a tiny stage in the middle of the crowd! He had a mic and a guitar, and played in the middle of the crowd. It was great. Then he crowdsurfed back to the stage... So cool. And during the set, he literally made up a song on the spot, playing and recording the drums, keys, bass, and guitar, before going straight into 'Break It Out'. Like I said, he's so talented. We were so close to the front, he was just talking to us, and we could answer. He asked us who his favourite band was that we had seen all day, and almost everyone shouted "The Rocket Summer!" or "You!" y'know, but there was couple of drunk guys - one with a beard, and one with a moustache - in front of us, and moustache guy shouted "Fireworks! Fireworks! Then maybe you second... Maybe..." Bryce was like, "Well, this guy liked Fireworks..." They were really kinda annoying. And their breathe stunk bad too. But anyway, The Rocket Summer was brilliant. I got loads of photos, and had a good time singing along to the songs I knew. Even this set was so loud, and I had to give in, so for the last 20 minutes or so, I used cotton wool, and felt much better. Bryce and his band finished with 'So, In This Hour...', which I love so much, and then finally 'So Much Love', one of their biggest hits. Check out some of the photos I got:

After an hour long set, The Rocket Summer finished up, and we headed downstairs with the crowd. We took another look around the merch stands - I couldn't decide if I wanted a FYS hoodie or not - and Jake bought a Baby Cakes tee. And we saw the singer from Skindred at the Skindred merch stand, but at the time, we weren't sure if it was him or not. I didn't want to go up to a merch guy and ask for a picture. Then, just as we were about to walk out the door and back to the car, I saw Dan from Four Year Strong having pictures with fans. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited. We went up to him, and I got to meet him and talk with him, and get a couple of pictures. He's so awesome, and it was a fantastic end to the night.

The show was just phenomenal, and one of the best I've ever been to. It was one of the best crowds I've ever been in, and the whole thing was just so much fun. Slam Dunk Fest FTW.

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