We went to Slam Dunk and it was the PERFECT day. Read our review, then write about your own perfect experience.

  • MUSIC FOCUS: Enter Shikari; Malevolence; PVRIS; Boston Manor; Charlotte Sands; Trophy Eyes; Holding Absence; Trash Boat; VUKOVI; Sincere Engineer.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: We’ve picked 15 words to help you create your own piece of descriptive/review writing.

Slam Dunk Festival, Leeds

Whether you love polished pop-punk, bruising metalcore or soaring post-hardcore, Slam Dunk is the land of dreams. Sincere Engineer are the perfect band to open the 2023 edition of this one-day festival. As raw as the wide open Yorkshire skies, the Chicago outfit are absolutely REAL. Which means they set precisely the right tone. No matter what guitar scene the different acts gathered in Leeds emanate from, they’re all linked by their authentic nature. For everyone here – performers and punters – music is EVERYTHING. By the time Sincere Engineer finish their set with the flailing ‘Trust Me’, they’ve won our hearts.

VUKOVI are already in possession of those same hearts thanks to an incendiary performance right here in 2021. The frail sound set-up might not help them today – the Scots’ songs are too big for a main stage system that’s only just waking up – but singer Janine Shilstone is clearly ready to realise VUKOVI’s destiny as future headliners. Make sure you’re at the front when that moment arrives; songs like ‘I EXIST’ will DETONATE. Trash Boat are another band ready to pummel their way to the top of this festival bill. They play a crowd-pleasing set this afternoon, and the mix of old classics like ‘Strangers’, monolithic new monsters such as ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ – plus a cover of Linkin Park’s ‘Given Up’ – thrills us all. As does Holding Absence‘s set. Lucas Woodland and co. have never been this sharp, never been this stylish, never been this ready for world domination. Which, given the insanely high standards the Welsh quartet have previously set, is really saying something. Woodland high kicks his way through the cinereal ‘Like A Shadow’, the lush ‘A Crooked Melody’ and the spiralling ‘Afterlife’ – and we know this is a moment we’ll NEVER forget.

From the UK’s best to Australia’s finest: Trophy Eyes. The four-piece are simultaneously a crushing and fragile proposition. Fragmenting melodies are paired with furious self-hatred and the effect is ineffable. Singer John Floreani is Kurt Cobain and Chester Bennington rolled into one. We worry for him as much as we love him. Hopefully, Trophy Eyes’ new ‘Suicide and Sunshine’ record will be received with as much excitement as Charlotte Sands‘ HMA Best Breakthrough Album, ‘Love and Other Lies’. The blue-haired singer sets the afternoon alight with the calescent ‘Tantrum’ and the audience respond with smiles as bright as the afternoon sunshine. Sands’ infectious energy – not to mention her scintillating vocals – will surely propel anthems like ‘Dress’ onto your favourite radio station’s playlist soon. Boston Manor should definitely be a permanent fixture on every public broadcasting service. Their social commentary is as fiercely important as their music, and the crowd’s frenzied response to ‘Carbon Mono’, and ‘Halo’ underlines the Seasiders’ significance.

No one could argue with the magnitude of PVRIS‘ own influence on the Slam Dunk community. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen is 100% icon and this evening her music glitters in a way that secures her position as scene leader, voice of a generation and – perhaps most inspiringly – brilliant role model. Opener ‘Animal’ is a stomper of incalculable proportions, ‘You and I’ is swirlingly prismatic and closing track, ‘Hallucinations’, sends us off into the night with our arms in the air. Which is where they stay for Malevolence. The Sheffield metallers are in the face-melting form of their lives and – with a set that’s as heartfelt as it is heavy – prove absolutely worthy of their position as headliners on the Knotfest stage.

Which brings us to another group who have definitely earned their place at the top of the Slam Dunk bill. The glow sticks Rou Reynolds and gang used to throw out to the crowd may have transformed into breathtaking lasers, but Enter Shikari are still the same once-in-a-lifetime band they started off as. Their music is pure, unadulterated joy condensed into song-sized bursts, and simply being within earshot of it makes everyone present feel like a better human being. Just the right soundtrack to conclude a day in the land of dreams!


We had a perfect day at Slam Dunk! Write about your perfect day, or your perfect night, or your perfect experience. Maybe you’ll write about a gig, or a festival, or something else entirely! You can think of the final piece as a review or a description – it doesn’t matter.

Aim to use at least a few of the 15 purple words. Focus on incorporating the words that are new to you!

  • emanate
  • flailing
  • incendiary
  • frail
  • monolithic
  • cinereal
  • spiralling
  • fragmenting
  • ineffable
  • calescent
  • incalculable
  • swirlingly
  • prismatic
  • breathtaking
  • unadulterated

Please do send your own writing in. We want to publish the most exciting writing and offer advice.

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