Festival Preview: SLAM DUNK NORTH delivers tear inducing FOMO with its Stage Splits and Clashfinder announcement!

By John Hayhurst
By May 11, 2023 Leeds, Live, News, Reviews

At first when you look at the poster you think ok, they have split the South and North up and are doing 2 festivals with different line ups, but NO!! It dawns on you that the whole thing is the line up for both sites, and you now have to decide which stage to go to to see these bands.

How do you choose between them? – hopefully this might help you knife and fork through it, or give you FOMO for the next 2 weeks!!


Preview from John Hayhurst and Dan Barnes


A Clashfinder of tear inducing proportions (see a bigger version here)

First of all you are going to have to decide between the Dickies Stage and the Rock Scene Stage because all of them clash, an alternative choice would be to park yourself in either the Kerrang Tent or Key Club Stage and watch the left/right stages all day, then choose your headliner, you will see a massive 15 bands with that option, and it will be non stop from 11:30am to 10:30pm, or perhaps you just want to get in a moshpit all day for the likes of Malevolence at the Knotfest stage – the choice is yours!!

At Soundsphere though, we are more likely to run around like idiots trying to see everything, or at least as much as we can, here are just some of our choices:

The Offspring:

Having been functioning as a band since back in 1984 – when they were known as Manic Subsidal – the core duo of Dexter and Noodles have been flying the flag and have been one of the primary standard bearers for the nineties wave of bands responsible for reigniting interest in the supposedly dead Punk genre. Having issued a steady stream of records since their self-titled 1989 debut, The Offspring are no strangers to the big occasion, with festival headlining slots and prestigious Special Guest appearances building their reputation as a killer live act. Scheduled for seventy-five minutes, expect The Kids Aren’t Alright, Self Esteem and all those genre-defining – and in many cases, era-defining – earworms to jump around to as The Offspring add another layer to their reputation.

Enter Shikari:

Yes I know you can’t watch both but….. if the prospect of a Pop Punk masterclass isn’t your thing, and you’re after something with a bit more bite, then you can always pay a visit to Amazon’s Rock Scene Stage for St Albans’ favourite sons. April saw the release of the band’s seventh album, A Kiss for the Whole World, which has them once again blending a myriad of sources and influences in their own, inimitable manner as they rage against the state of the world. Another band familiar with the big event, Enter Shikari have a proven track record of bringing it and slaying all who witness, whether that be at Download, Reading/ Leeds or Glastonbury Festivals, not to mention previous Slam Dunk shows. Those hardy souls picking the Shikari option over The Offspring can expect a full-on feast of post-hardcore alt rock, spiced with electronics, techno and even some dub and drum and bass; a challenge for the mind as well as the body, Enter Shikari will be taking no prisoners.

Bowling for Soup:

They are approaching their thirtieth year together and have recently issued Don’t Mind If We Do, their twelfth studio record. Expect the Texans to attempt a smash and grab of the headliner’s party punk credentials; when you have songs like Girl All the Bad Guys Want and 1985 locked and loaded, then there’s a fair chance these boys could pull of such an audacious coup d’etat.

Less Than Jake:

As proven by The Interrupters last year, if you want to get a party started – or, indeed, keep it going – you need some Ska. And, who better than Slam Dunk veterans, Less Than Jake to take that role? Celebrating a quarter of a century (yep, twenty-five years!) since the release of the seminal third album, Hello Rockview. Those of us of a certain age need to start on a fitness regime right now to negate the possible injuries from the inevitable skanking during All My Best Friends are Metalheads.

Flogging Molly:

After releasing the cracking new record, Anthem, last year and a few summer dates in support, Dave King brings his love-letter to his Irish roots to Slam Dunk. Flogging Molly have been stomping stages across the world for the past twenty-years or so and are always guaranteed to have you singing your throat raw and swigging copious ales in equal measure. Although Molly’s music is filled with pathos it’s delivered with the inimitable Irish quest for joy. Let the Craic begin and let Dave and co’s drunken lullabies be the soundtrack of the day.

Gogol Bordello:

Bringing all manner of cultural influences will be Gogol Bordello, who have been blending Punk with Polka, Romany, Folk and even a bit of Dub to ensure their set will be one of joy. They are Ukranian so you have to show them your full support right?


Their appearance will coincide with the band gearing up for the July release of the new album, Evergreen, and will see the combo mixing electropop, sythnwave and pop-rock in an irresistible melee of big beats and killer guitar riffing.


The British duo of Sam Matlock and Milkie Way, collectively known as Wargasm have been making waves with their unique brand of electropop-infused nu-metal for the past couple of years, with lauded festival appearances at Download, Bloodstock and Slam Dunk. Last year saw the release of the debut full-length Explicit: The Mixxxtape, making their achievements prior to that all the more impressive.

Trash Boat:

Their sound being heavily influenced by the likes of the Sex Pistols and Rise Against, with literary heavyweights Emily Bronte and WB Yeats acting as Muses to Tobi Duncan’s lyric writing.


Coming over the border from Scotland is Vukovi who’ll be packing some discordant beats and harsh noise that will be setting the day’s benchmark for brutality.


Since signing to Nuclear Blast the Sheffield five-piece have been wrecking stages wherever they set up camp; and with good reason. Debut album, Reign of Suffering saw the light of day a decade ago and was built around Crowbar-style sludgy riffs; come 2017, when Self Supremacy was released the band had added a heavy hardcore vibe to their sound and with the EP The Other Side showing they had a softer side and the latest full-length, Malicious Intent, elevating them into the big leagues, the sky is the limit for Malevolence. Appearances at Download, Bloodstock and a surprise slot at Outbreak last year prove they are grizzled road-dogs up for the big occasion and the recent three-way split with Fit For an Autopsy and Thy Art Is Murder, The Aggression Sessions, suggest there is no immediate intention to slow things down.


This is just a handful of whats in store for you at Slam Dunk North this year, I hope you managed to snag a ticket, there were a few returns left on See Tickets this morning (11th May), but thats your lot I’m afraid, you snooze you lose !!

Make a note in your diary to get an early bird ticket for next year, and look out on Soundsphere in a couple of weeks for coverage of the festival.

More details here on the official site – https://www.slamdunkfestival.com/