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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Rock, punk and metal UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

Carrying on with the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 to continue through January each Tuesday, today we’re bringing you the UK bands slated to perform at this year’s SXSW that play rock, punk, metal and every combination in between. (Last week, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, which you can catch up on here.) Each part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 is a handy resource if you’re wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music.

What do all these acts in the rock / punk / metal genre list have in common besides being from Britain? Powerful guitars, punishing bass and drums and in most cases, vocals worthy of idolatry. How they achieve this differs from act to act, as you will read and see/hear below.

Belligerence (added 10/01/13) – heavy metal from Portsmouth. I’m finding it hard to find information on them, as there’s another band – also metal – from Prague with the same name…

File next to: Biohazard, Clutch, Pantera

The Blackout – Welsh post-hardcore band who have been soldiering on since their formation in 2003. Right, that means they’ve been around a decade. How many other bands, no matter what the genre, still exist after 10 years? They must be doing something right. Their next album, ‘Start the Party’, is scheduled to be out on the 21st of January 2013. We won’t post the name of their sweary big hit, but John mentions it in his day 2 roundup of Leeds Fest 2011.

Brutality Will Prevail – This Cardiff hardcore band had been signed previously to Alex Fitzgerald’s Holy Roar label and are now with Purgatory Records (sensing a theme here?), who this year released their latest album, ‘Scatter the Ashes’. Expect something punishing.

Touring with: Cancer Bats and Empress in March 2013 (maybe now they won’t appear at some of the dates on this previous organised tour, since the middle of it is smack dab during SXSW).

China Rats – Leeds lad rock. Legend has it that thanks to the tour bus of Bat for Lashes breaking down on the way to this year’s Benicassim, the band found themselves headlining the Valencia festival. Is ‘(At Least Those) Kids are Getting Fed’ a commentary on the North East, or a wider problem across Britain?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52bv0BorhFM[/youtube]

The Crookes – The Crookes made their SXSW debut in 2011 and when I finally met them in Brighton in May 2012, they were eager to return, so I’m really pleased for them getting another SXSW nod. This time, they’ll have the good time sounds of ‘Hold Fast’ (my top album of 2012) under their belts and I’m sure there will be a gaggle of new American fans of theirs (mostly female?) following their every move. I’ll be catching them as many times as I can, so do come and say hello.

Seeing that I’ve been a fan of theirs since the ‘Dreams of Another Day’ EP in 2010, there is a boatload of Crookes coverage you can read on TGTF, starting here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TppUoY4zpFQ[/youtube]

Crowns – Coming off of their December tour raising awareness of UK homelessness, Cornwall’s Crowns will bring their fun rock ‘n’ roll sound to Austin. I missed their show at the Cornwall Pasty Company at last year’s Great Escape (really kicking myself over this…I mean, come on, that would have been the ultimate party conversation starter, right?) but I’m determined to catch them on American soil.

Read all of our previous Crowns coverage here.

The Enemy – my guess is that the Enemy are to be the younger equivalent of and will act like Kaiser Chiefs at last year’s SXSW: pulling in a good number of fans for their perfectly good but possibly unextraordinary sets in a post-Oasis breakup world. Since they’ve been around for a while (3 albums’ worth) in the UK, they’re not likely to be high on the average UK attendees’ must-see list, but I’ve never seen them before, so if they show up at Stubb’s, I might head on over.

Read our previous Enemy coverage here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lupg5BHzH34[/youtube]

Evans the Death – This band already has a Rolling Stone description (huh?): “This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing, whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power.” When you see they’ve been signed to Slumberland Records here in America (‘Allo Darlin’ and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s American home), it all seems to make sense…

Sounds like: the Libertines, if they had a female out in front

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX8VcqY8qts[/youtube]

Gallops – why do I feel the need to mention Mogwai every time I hear a proggy band? Wrexham group Gallops aren’t nearly hard enough to warrant the comparison, although with titles like ‘Astaroth’ and ‘Hongliday’ their Blood and Biscuits’ debut ‘ ‘Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore’, you’d not be putting experimental band in the pop box anyhow. (Something interesting I found on the band’s Tumblr: the linked to the Kitsune Maison 11 compilation – didn’t see that coming at all.)

Gallows – they’re punks. They deliver punishing sets at festivals, such as at 2000 Trees last year. And Frank Carter left them in 2011 to start Pure Love. That’s all you really need to know, right?

Hawk Eyes – punishing hard rock from Leeds. Their 2012 album ‘Ideas’ got top marks from Kerrang! and Artrocker so you know where this is going…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1szIsuhqcUc[/youtube]

Nik Turner’s Hawkwind – the current incarnation of history’s first space rock groups.

Heaven’s Basement (added 10/01/13) – a hard rock band who has been soldiering on for quite a while (since 2008) and are releasing their debut album, ‘Filthy Empires’, this year. They’ve supported big names like Bon Jovi and Papa Roach, so is this an indicator of their hard rock prowess? We’ll see at this year’s event.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP1u79wSdDY[/youtube]

The Joy Formidable – what can we say about Welsh rock band Joy Formidable that hasn’t already been said? When you’ve been hand-picked by Dave Grohl as the man’s own favourite band right now, calling them “a killer live band”, ’nuff said really, yeah? The other facts that they are truly some of the loveliest people we have met and are always so happy about our coverage of them? That’s just icing on the cake. I’ve seen them several times now but the only time I’ve seen them at SXSW was on a live stream in 2011, which doesn’t really count, so I’m making it a point to catch them this time around.

Read all our previous coverage of the Joy Formidable here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_t4s-HX3z0[/youtube]

Kassidy – some have called them the Scottish Kings of Leon, but that’s just lazy journalism. We’ve been following the folky rock hybrid band since their early EPs in 2010, and trust us, they’re way better than the Followills.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMiBIHqeoa4[/youtube]

Read our previous coverage of Kassidy here.

Kill It Kid – wow, I don’t have to write a piece on them, because they placed #10 on our 10 for 2013 list and Martin’s already done for me. Revivalist blues from Bath.

Klaxons – they’ve been around a while. They won a Mercury Prize in 2007 for ‘Myths of the New Future’. Their last album ‘Surfing the Void’ released in 2010 “>has a cat in an astronaut suit on the cover. Sorry, I’m having trouble sounding knowledgeable about Klaxons because I don’t really like them all that much.

Read our previous coverage on Klaxons here.

Little Barrie – ‘powerhouse’ is a word that seems to be following this Nottingham formed, London transplanted trio. But if you’re going to call Little Barrie a powerhouse trio, then surely you mean to compare to the greats of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sounds like: a more radio-polished Cream or at least a band that came out swinging in the Sixties, not in the Noughties

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/25333478[/vimeo]

LostAlone – Derby band who have been described as “breathtaking Queen-style harmonies and classic metal bite” and compared to Muse. How is it possible that we’ve never heard about them, then?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47rV458G-f4[/youtube]

New Ivory – according to MTV Iggy, these guys from London are the new knights of British indie rock. I am struggling to find a comparison, except maybe they sound like early Arctic Monkeys or Two Door Cinema Club, but not as catchy? (Yeah, I know. Damning with faint praise, aren’t I? Sorry.) Steve Aoki is a fan, having signed them to his Dim Mak Records. I dunno. Maybe they’ll actually sound better in person at SXSW.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEJaMTQJv8[/youtube]

Orange Goblin (added 10/01/13) – formerly known as Our Haunted Kingdom, on first glance you have to wonder if the new name was for a cuddlier image. So imagine my surprise that this is a heavy metal band! Having put out their first album in 1997, they’re definitely the granddaddies of the rock/metal/punk group, but having changed their sound from stoner/doom to their current more metal sound proves that they aren’t willing to stand in one place musically. A special live album for their devoted, ‘A Eulogy for the Fans’, will be released in March.

Palma Violets – I’ve refrained about writing about Palma Violets from Lambeth, South London, as what I’ve heard from them makes me think of The Vaccines, who came out of an NME promotional campaign firestorm and their #3 placing on the BBC Sound of 2011 poll with loads of fans clamouring to see them at major festivals. It’s 2013 now and look what’s happened: Palma Violets are on the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist. Overhyped band leads to foregone conclusion…appearing as a support act to headliners Django Django on the 2013 NME Awards tour next month sounds like an NME mistake then…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poFXWUTEs1k[/youtube]

PAWS – Scottish three-piece banging out tunes in a garage-y, lo-fi style. It should come as no surprise that they have a strong DIY aesthetic, as they’re great fans of bands like Dinosaur Jr and the Pixies, even having a song called ‘Kim Deal’ in their arsenal.

Sounds like: the Cribs or Peace, if they were from far north of the border.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiDEkoPKCkk[/youtube]

Peace – We won’t waste your time here, since the band have already been tipped on the BBC Sound of 2013 poll. Read our previous Peace coverage, including their 10 for 2013 profile (they placed #5 on this last readers’ poll), here.

Peers – 6music’s Tom Robinson was an early supporter of this Reading band in 2010, the year the young band, then all under the age of 18, played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. The unsigned band cite Bombay Bicycle Club as a major influence, and if you squeeze your eyes real tight, you can hear Jack Steadman’s impact on singer Matt Thompson’s vocals.

Savages – dissonant post-punk via an unusual package – four women from London. Is it their anti-establishment stance that attracted the BBC Sound of 2013 tipsters? We’ll never know for sure but I guess imitating Patti Smith and looking sullen are the highest form of flattery? They could have at least smiled for the photos on their Facebook…

Sounds like: trying too hard to be a 21st century Siouxsie and the Banshees

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y-cVzbBBQ8[/youtube]

Sharks – usually punk is associated with a lo-fi, scuzzy sound, but this band from Leamington Spa sound remarkably polished, with hybrid punk/pop songs that could have easily slotted in with the music I listened here in America in high school.

Sound like: a grown up Blink-182, or Green Day when they weren’t so political and were still fun

Tall Ships – math rock meets indie rock in an epic way via three high-spirited lads from Brighton. John adored their 2012 opus ‘Everything Touching’ and for a Foals loving nation, it’s a wonder they aren’t bigger in the UK. Foals? Who are they?

Read our previous coverage on Tall Ships here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JYt3eYDQY0[/youtube]

Tango in the Attic – Scottish band from Glenrothes having Two Door Cinema Club-type guitars with reverb.

File next to: Smith Westerns

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke9eHi6Ze_A[/youtube]

Throne – there’s not a lot known about this London band, except that they’re known to ‘level rooms’ with their bad boy riffage when they appear in the Capital. You have been warned.

TOY (added 10/01/13) – psychedelic rock from a band made up of some members for the group Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong. I don’t feel like it’s really necessary to write about them, considering nearly every friend of mine rates them quite highly. Not really my thing, but I’m pretty sure they will do well in Austin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcQ2nXDvWDY[/youtube]

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls (added 10/01/13) – I nearly put Frank Turner’s band in the singer/songwriter category, but since his appearances at this year’s SXSW will be louder and more raucous than his solo turn last year at the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase, in the end there was no contest.

We’ve written quite about the man on TGTF, and you can read all of that through here.

Virals – vehicle for Worcester’s Shaun Hencher, who with his live band have most recently supported #5 10 for 2013 band Peace in the UK. Now Hencher’s looking to make a big splash at their American live debut at SXSW.

Sounds like: a cross between Male Bonding, Two Wounded Birds (RIP) and the Vaccines. Get yer sunnies out!

The Virginmarys – Macclesfield will soon be known for more than Ian Curtis, if this trio have anything to say about it. Their sound? Hard rocking, arse-kicking tunes.

File next to: Kasabian, Biffy Clyro

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ehThdbXJs[/youtube]

Wet Nuns – even with quite possibly one of the silliest names for a band ever, Sheffield duo Wet Nuns had a spectacular 2012, getting attention not only for their silly name but their punk crossed with blues schizophrenic sound.

Sounds like: the evil child borne from Band of Skulls and the Black Keys

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAe5OFCuLxY[/youtube]

While She Sleeps – is heavy metal more your thing? Then I suppose you should look to Sheffield and a band like While She Sleeps for your jollies. Luke caught them last summer at day 2 of Slam Dunk South.

Young Guns – this band has been around for quite a while, but it wasn’t until summer 2012 that they had an American record deal. Radio-friendly, not too hard rock sound made by youngish, good-looking boys in leather: in short, an American label signing coup.

Read all our previous coverage of Young Guns here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk3vjIDuy9w[/youtube]

The Zombies – “What’s your name? / Who’s your daddy? / Is he rich like me?” All kidding aside, the Zombies have been around for over 50 years. Fifty effin’ years. They called themselves the Zombies before it was hip to like zombies. Though they’re down to only two original members – Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent – contrary to popular belief, it was they, not Friendly Fires, who put St. Albans on the musical map.

Read Braden’s interview with Colin and Rod from 2 years ago here.

Electronic bands and DJs are up next week. So catch us next Tuesday for the third chapter of the genre section of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013!

 

MP3 of the Day (and more!) #719: Empress

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd January 2013 at 10:00 am
 

Reading’s Empress have been announced as support for Toronto band Cancer Bats‘ March 2013 UK tour. And in celebration of that, the band want you to have their cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Breathe’ on their Facebook page here. And one better, their mate Ross Leppard put together a nice video for the song as well, which you can watch below. Below the video are all the dates for their support slot on Cancer Bats’ tour. (I’m too lazy to type out all the dates.) Tickets are on sale now.

John profiled Empress for a Bands to Watch feature last summer, which you can read here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lym0y3Bl7u4[/youtube]

 

Enter Shikari / December 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 28th August 2012 at 8:30 am
 

Enter Shikari have announced their ‘A Flash of Flood of Christmas’ tour for December. Tickets go on sale Friday (31 August) at 9 AM. Support will come from Toronto, Canada’s Cancer Bats and Brighton’s Engine-Earz Experiment.

Thursday 6th December 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Friday 7th December 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Sunday 9th December 2012 – Newcastle Academy
Monday 10th December 2012 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Tuesday 11th December 2012 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Friday 14th December 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Saturday 15th December 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Sunday 16th December 2012 – London Roundhouse
Monday 17th December 2012 – London Roundhouse
Wednesday 19th December 2012 – Norwich UEA
Thursday 20th December 2012 – Norwich UEA

 

16 Things You Learn at Download Festival

 
By on Wednesday, 20th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Last weekend was the all-out metal mudfest known as Download Festival. A hundred thousand rock and rollers invaded the hallowed ground of Donington Park for 3 days of the best hard rock and metal bands in the world. TGTF was there in full waterproof regalia to throw horns and throw down with the masses, but what did we actually learn from this experience?

Mud sucks
On Wednesday it rained. On Thursday it rained even more. This meant come Friday afternoon when the gates for the arena were due to be open tens of thousands of cold and pissed off metallers were left queuing for hours because areas of the arena simply weren’t safe. This led to the cancellation of Rise to Remain and Cancer Bats from main stage.

Billy Talent are gents
In a true act of bromanship, Billy Talent helped out fellow Canadians Cancer Bats by letting them play ‘Hail Destroyer’ to a crowd who were still annoyed at the cancellation of the noisemongers. Luckily in the evening Cancer Bats were given a slot in one of the tents which apparently kicked major arse.

Machine Head rule the circle pits
Not only are Machine Head one of the best metal bands touring today, they managed to start a total of 29 circle pits at one point – which is a record for Download Festival.

The Prodigy are metal
Not in their sound, obviously, but the pits were still opening and the crowd going berserk for the almost 2-hour set. And what’s more metal than flares and smoke bombs going off in a mosh pit surrounded by 70,000 people?

A Game of Thrones is cool
As is the same every year, you can text in messages to the big screen for everyone to see. One of the most popular this year was “Winter is coming”, which (for those who don’t know) is the motto of the Stark family in A Game Of Thrones.

Skyrim is cool
Another favourite for the big screen was ‘I used to [insert random task here], until I took an arrow to the knee’. A parody of one of the stock lines used in conversation in Skyrim.

People still love 300
It’s a chant that’s been following festivals around for years. Someone shouts “Spartans! What is your profession?” and everyone in a 10 metre radius responds with “Aaaooh! Aaaooh! Aaaooh!” Clever, right?

People love wrestling
WWE, not actual Olympic-style wrestling. Chants of “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!…” were rife throughout camp sites and the arena in relation of WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan. Similarly the odd chants of “Let’s go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” could be heard.

Saxon still rule
This is just a fact. It doesn’t matter how old they are or how long it’s been since they had any notable success, Saxon have been tearing it up for years and still drew a massive crowd at midday. Middle-aged men with long hair dressed in denim and leather is what Download is all about.

Everyone loves boobs
Another trait synonymous with Download is the ‘boobcam’. Whenever a girl climbs onto someone’s shoulders the crowd camera will pan to them and more often than not the girl will bear her breasts to the cheering of all men present. During Steel Panther the boob-o-meter was off the scale. Constant unveiling of chests throughout the entire 50-minute set until all the teenage boys were left dazed and confused. A lot of bands were formed that night because kids want to grow up to be Steel Panther.

Bands love balls
A tactic that both Metallica and Black Label Society adopted was to drop balls on the crowd emblazoned with the band name. Not the most metal thing over the weekend, but it did look cool.

Backwards is the new forwards
Metallica played their legendary Black Album in it’s entirety to close the Saturday of Download. But decided to play it backwards instead of the correct order, meaning fairweather fans had to endure the whole record before finally getting to ‘Enter Sandman’.

It’s not just metal fans
During the rock karaoke on Wednesday night there was a version of a Florence and the Machine song. Then that night a group of acoustic guitar-loving guys were singing Kings Of Leon. Not cool.

MegaDave is bigger than post-hardcore
One of the most exciting reunions in the past year has been the return of post-hardcore pioneers Refused. Unfortunately, despite the buzz around the reunion and their legions of fans, the clash with Megadeth meant they didn’t receive the crowd they deserved. Catch them on tour!

Some things never change
Along with the aforementioned ‘Spartans!’ chant, it’s ‘Buttscratcher!’ that is still the festival favourite. Heard shouted at random over the entire weekend, as well as being texted to the big screen, it’s outlasted previous spontaneous exclamations such as ‘Timmy!’ and ‘Loud noises!’ Hopefully there’ll be something new next year.

Black Sabbath are the best metal band ever
That’s all you need to know. They destroyed Donington on the final day to what could have been the biggest crowd of the weekend. Ozzy, Tony and Geezer still have it. A very metal and very emotional performance.

 

Slam Dunk South 2012 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

What started as a ska/punk club night in Leeds in 2007 has grown exponentially over the years into a staple part of the festival calendar. Held each year over the May Bank Holiday, Slam Dunk takes over Leeds and Hertfordshire universities on consecutive days to thousands of fans of hardcore, pop-rock, punk and metal. Eight stages of acts from across the world grace Hatfield on this sun-soaked Sunday to an army of baying fans who are queuing for hours in the dizzying heat to get to the front from the start.

In an exclusive performance to Slam Dunk South, the Orange County pop-punkers Zebrahead get the warmed up crowd bouncing with 45 minutes of positivity and smiles taken from their whopping nine-album back catalogue. Despite never reaching mainstream success, the California quintet have always had a strong following at festivals like Slam Dunk, and their set doesn’t disappoint the diehards. ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘Hello Tomorrow’ see the chanting and dancing escalate, accompanied by the traditional British lager chugging. The party has started.

Inside the maze that is Hertfordshire University, the marvellously mathy Marmozets are tearing apart the Vans Off the Wall stage to an audience of captivated onlookers. Having received praise from the likes of Kerrang! and Rock Sound in the past year or so, the Yorkshire yobs have lured in a few hundred revellers from the sunshine to bear witness to the deafening delights that frontwoman Becca Macintyre bellows and wretches for a stunning half hour of power. The confines of the stage are no match for these noisemongers, though, as the band throw themselves into the crowd for a round of spinning and thrashing to an audience that appear too petrified to move.

But back outside the mood is not one of aggression but joy as the LA party-bringers Say Anything launch head-first into a set of crowd-pleasers. The afternoon sun is basking the 1000+ fans at the Jägermeister stage who have been waiting for the energetic six-piece to return to the UK for years, and they’re not left disappointed. ‘Hate Everyone’ and ‘Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too’ see pints and bottles thrust into the air as the sunburnt Brits show their appreciation but it’s closer ‘Alive with the Glory of Love’ that sees the crowd erupt with cheers, chants and poorly coordinated dance moves. But the smile on the faces of the band and floor says it all, there’s no doubt a British tour is in the works as Say Anything definitely have the fanbase.

Away from the sunlight, the metalheads are amassing in the darkened room of the Honour Over Glory stage for the fastest rising stars in heavy music today: While She Sleeps. Hailing from the land of industrial steelworks, this band are all-out pure metal. The second largest stage of the festival is full of pitters and partiers who are ready to throw down with the best heavy band to come out of Sheffield since Rolo Tomassi. Opener ‘Dead Behind the Eyes’ kickstarts the air grabbing and elbow throwing as the floor opens into the Sarlacc with bodies for teeth. New track ‘This is the Six’ – the title track of their upcoming album – lifts the spirits and adrenaline levels to new highs but ‘The North Stands for Nothing’ is the real highlight. The room swells with the sound of over a thousand pairs of lungs screaming the words until throats are raw and bloody.

The sweat on the walls hasn’t had a chance to dry before everyone’s favourite Canadians, Cancer Bats, catapult themselves into a set of crowd pleasers to a fit-to-burst pit of punk. As frontman Liam Cormier rushes on stage they break into Beastie Boys‘ ‘Sabotage’ to a baying audience who kick, punch and push their way through to the front and shout appreciation for the fallen comrade MCA. The Bats have arranged a mixed bag of old and new treats that are created for days like today. ‘Trust No-one’ and ‘Bricks and Mortar’ are bellowed with such gusto from the stage and floor alike your pint begins to shake. ‘Drunken Physics’ is a welcome addition for fans of new album ‘Dead Set On Living’, who shout and snarl their way through the brilliant lyrics relating to chaos theory and multiple dimensions. New set staple ‘Roadsick’ rears its furious head for a high octane flurry of limbs on the floor, but closer ‘R.A.T.S.’ moves the droves to a near riot as blind carnage ensues and the metal masses plough toward the stage or into each other for one last round of hardcore’s finest.

The pace changes outside at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage as Forever The Sickest Kids‘ brand of happy-go-lucky pop-punk packs the tent all the way to the back. It’s another long time coming for the Texan four-piece who rarely visit the British shores, despite their legions of fans who are out in force this evening. A crowd full of bright colours and neon provides the ideal surrounding for a band so full of bubblegum joy the air tastes of sugar. Dancing and whoa-ohing their way through a selection of favourites including ‘Hey Brittany’, ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Hip Hop Chick’. ‘She Likes’ sends the teenie boppers into a stupor of high-pitched wails and hand waving while ‘She’s a Lady’ ends the show with a round of wide-mouthed grins and before filing out for the headline sets of the night.

Shutting the doors on the Honour Over Glory stage today are the south coast screamers, Architects (pictured at top). With new album ‘Daybreaker’ going on sale the following day, these Brighton boys treat Hatfield to a handful of oldies and new ‘uns. Opening on the London riot-themed ‘Devil’s Island’, the rampant orgy of sweaty bodies in front of the stage resemble the chaotic nature to which the song concerns, but do so with such glee that there’s no animosity held in the recklessness. As front man Sam Carter peers into the darkness the battered bodies give more and more energy to the tune of ‘Learn To Live’ and new single ‘Alpha Omega’ that leaves the floor resembling the pandemonium usually reserved for a battle royale.

The band seem genuinely humbled to be headlining the stage today as Carter often repeats to the dazed crowd – it’s hard to believe the sudden rise in popularity in the last six months. ‘Hollow Crown’ and ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ are enough to finish off the most seasoned mosh master for the evening and it’s with the last note ringing out that Slam Dunk South comes to an end. Bruised, dizzy, and broken bodies fall out into the street and onto the shuttle bus to a baffled driver. It’s over for this year, but no doubt 2013 will bring another 12 hours of noise and nuisance to Hertfordshire ready to slam dunk it for the win.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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