The annual Slam Dunk Festival, this year celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary, is ready and raring to go down inside Leeds city centre. This being only the 2nd year the festival has been held at Millennium Square and it’s surrounding grounds, it is still a working progress. The second stage last year was absolute mayhem to even get into let alone move around outside, so this year it has, to everyone’s excitement, been moved to an outdoor stage alongside a few other alterations it looked like this year might be the year everything goes fluently. With the weather in perfect condition, there was nothing to complain about as the doors opened and fans made their way to their desired stages.

Early starters Coldrain got warmest reception to match the warmest weather. The Japanese rockers had the earlier slot of the day as the festival gates opened only 20 minutes prior. Vocalist Masato Hayakawa’s interesting choice of microphone gives them an interesting vibe from the get go, their take on melodic metalcore, with Masato’s swooning highs and gravelly screams makes them one of Japan’s highest prospects in the scene. ‘The War Is On’ being the pinnacle of their abilities and rings out around Cookridge Street as an anthem pulling in the stranglers as they enter festival grounds. (6)

Moose Blood kick off the main stage as calm and collected as you would expect. ‘Swim Deep’ pulls the crowd out of their relaxed state and into a barrage of yelling and screaming. But this year’s rising stars do exactly what everyone expected and are fully deserved of the opening main stage slot.(7)

Young Guns looked slightly uninterested with playing, their absence from touring the UK has caused some backlash and thus only presents them with playing after the opening band. The well-known tracks like ‘Bones’ and ‘Winter Kiss’ are enough to get some fans on shoulders but the majority are just taking in the atmosphere of the festival. The band don’t do themselves any favours by showcasing new track ‘Bulletproof’ for the first time, no matter how the track went down with the pre-existing Young Guns fans, it’s not always what people want to hear, in the words of Fred Durst “festivals are a time to sing-a-long.” And you can’t sing-a-long to a song you’ve never heard. (5)

Arguably one of the heaviest bands on the bill are Miss May I, progressing from an average metalcore band into something entirely different. Starting their set a lot later than planned with ‘I.H.E’ (that’s I Hate Everything) is by any terms a bold statement. The once agitated crowd soon warm up when the band enter the stage. Levi Benton’s ever famous luscious locks are mesmerising as they never stay still, and the entire set is non-stop rampant metal. However some tracks fall short with the avid pit goers, and the space for a circle pit is left completely empty for moments. Maybe The Word Alive wore the crowd out or the band themselves just weren’t hitting the mark. (5)

Mayday Parade are a surprising breath of fresh air on the main stage that hasn’t seen the energy it deserves as of yet. Vocalist Derek Sanders came jumping into the set with more liveliness than a five year old. ‘Jamie All Over’ surprises the crowd as an early anthem. It is all over nostalgia and nobody could deny how gleeful just hearing Mayday play only a few tracks. Their bountiful energy certainly resonated for the rest of the day. (8)

Synchronised jumps, crowd standing and tracks you can mosh hard to is what We Came As Romans offered on the Atlas Stage. They made their tracks look and sound simultaneously fresher than ever. New releases like ‘Regenerate’ slid in seamlessly alongside their hits like ‘Hope’ and ‘Fade Away’ to create a full blown stampede of a festival set that just didn’t slow down. (7)

Northlane come bearing the upmost quality, from the futuristic sounds on tracks from the relatively new album ‘Node’, their new stage look is obscure to say the least. Guitarist Jonathon Deiley looks possessed with demonic black contact lenses, making it insanely uncomfortable to even glance over in his direction. However peculiar the atmosphere Northlane have seemed to create only adds to their dominance across the scene. ‘Rot’ is a punishing bombardment of their trademark innovative instrumentals, but it’s ‘Quantum Flux’ that expresses their true class and unleashes carnage across Cookridge Street. (9)

The Amity Affliction storm right into their set on the Atlas Stage, showcasing their new track ‘I Bring The Weather With Me’ to the biggest crowd of the day. There’s one thing you can expect from The Amity Affliction and that is massive chorus’. Much like many bands on this stage throughout the day, the one clean singer and one screamer is trend that is thriving in metalcore, it hardly makes you stand out from the crowd but these Aussie metalers make it work better than anyone. ‘Pittsburgh’ and ‘Don’t Lean On Me’ became two of their biggest hits from their last album and when played back to back it creates a surge of crowd surfers who all seem to know every word. This may not have been their best sounding performance ever but they did exactly what they needed to which is leave their mark on the festival, and they sure as hell did. (8)

Memphis May Fire, as you would expect come out all guns blazing to ‘Beneath The Skin’, a touching track yet still weighty enough to bound onto the stage to. Vocalist Matty Mullins is one of only a few singers in the genre that can sing just as well as he can scream, charismatic as ever he blissfully interacts with the crowd, signing a few love hearts to fans screaming along and smiling at the sheer loudness of everyone’s voices. They throw in a few surprises and put ‘Miles Away’ into the set, which has actually fallen off their setlists for the past few years. (7)

Pop-punk legends New Found Glory are all over the place in the best way as soon as ‘Understatement’ bellows out across Millennium Square. They are everything you’d expect from an older set pop-punk band, still pulling out all the nostalgic hits which makes some fans faces light up when they released they actually know this song as soon as it hits the chorus. Still with plenty of energy they attack the main stage head on but loose the crowd on some of the lesser known hits. (7)

Shoved in the smallest stage of the whole day, Kerrang! Fresh Blood stage headliners New Years Day had a tough act to follow in the form of Creeper who completely packed out the very small room, but they make the most of their very delayed appearance, hair whipping and flamboyantly whipping instruments around with more energy that they have space. As to be expected, their fanbase is out in plenty all across the barricade, hair dyed to mirror Ash Costello’s signature look. New bassist Frankie Sil (formerly of Vampires Everywhere) fits seamlessly like a glove and certainly has the look the New Years Day go for. New album Malevolence has had time to he absorbed amongst fans tracks like opener ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ bear just as much impact as arguably most popular ‘Angel Eyes’. It was a big feat to headline a stage at slam dunk, if they had been on any later their crowd may have depleted completely due to clashes, but they stood their own and their fans were out in full support. (7)

Pyro is the answer to all questions at the Atlas stage for headliners Of Mice & Men. Got a heavy breakdown coming up? Pyro. Want to blow all the fans away on the front row? Pyro. They seemed to have out grown stages of this size over the past few years but they’ve pulled out all the stops so make these headline slots their own. For a lot of people ‘Second and Sebring’ is what they showed their faces for and as soon as the track died down countless festival goers turned themselves in the opposite direction and headed for home or the end of Panic! At The Disco, much to the dismay of Of Mice & Men who called out “We’re not done yet.” Either way up until that point they definitely did show how capable they are of headlining a festival, and hopefully next time they get bigger stage.  (8)

Suave and sophisticated Panic! At The Disco earned themselves the main stage headlinging slot this year and it’s about time. The UK has been craving for chance to see Panic! have their own festival headlining slot and boy did they bring out the big guns, pyro, fire and enough lights to light up every nook and cranny of the stage. Everyone by now knows how bored with ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ Brendon Urie is but you can guarantee it’s the reason why a lot of people stayed this long into their set. However every era of Panic! At The Disco was represented in the set, from the old emo days of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and Pretty Odd, to the smart and classy look of Vices & Virtues, to the ‘solo Panic! At The Disco era’ with the only official member being Brendon Urie by the time Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die came out. Right up until the now with their latest release Death Of A Bachelor.  Some fans will have waited at the barricade all day just to see the band up close and there is not a chance they regret it one single bit. (9)