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Slam Dunk North Festival Diaries: Puppy


Stupidly early alarm which for the first time ever makes you leap out of bed because you KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS? Check. The mad two hours of running around trying to find your favourite band shirt, ticket, money and a million other things that you don’t remember you need until you’re out the door? Check. The long car ride packed into the back seat with your best friends, singing along to Basket Case by Green Day with the windows down? Check. The constant flow of people who you didn’t realise would be there, and all the hugs and excited squeals that follow? Check. Wristbands, pre gig McDonalds, peering into the windows of parked tour buses, crying when you hear the first notes of your favourite band’s soundcheck, sitting on a hot pavement in a huge queue with adrenaline coursing through your veins? Check, check and check. Slam Dunk Festival is alive and kicking, and it’s time to dive headfirst into seeing some awesome bands and jumping around to some great live music!
​Kicking off the festival were the very first band of the day to start their set, London-based rockers Puppy, whose sound still carried its distinctive dark, grunge-like undertones, but was given a more punchy, elevated rock atmosphere by the blazing sun that had already begun to beat down onto the impressively large crowd clustered around the small stage, which for me only added to the impact of their grinding riffs and made the whole experience even more enjoyable than my first experience of them, as the opening band on Creeper’s recent UK headline tour. They ground the festival into life in the perfect way, opening with a relatively sedate few tracks featuring the likes of dark, slumbering bruiser ‘My Tree’ and the grungy melodic twist of ‘The Great Beyond’. With the opening of the darkly glittering star in this band’s musical crown, ‘Arabella’, the atmosphere cranked up a notch, as the crowd began to sway, entranced by the dense, meaty guitars and a falsely tranquil melody, and by the time the band reached their darkly bubbling closer ‘Entombed’, which showcased the unique blend of frontman Jock’s distinctive high-pitched vocals with bassist Will’s crunching bassline and a powerful downforce from drummer Danny‘s impassioned percussion, the crowd around the small stage appeared completely absorbed into the veiled world of Puppy’s grumbling, moody basslines and intricate runs and riffs.
​Despite being the first band of the day, Puppy’s set was a brilliant showcase of the potential this relatively newly formed trio have to bring their sound, so incongruous with their name, into the line of sight of the mainstream rock world and, one day, onto huge stages. In some strange way though, there is something raw, unpolished and utterly fitting about seeing this band in small, grungy venues that already seem to have their wonderfully murky sound ingrained within the walls that is not to be missed, so before this band burst out into the light of the alt rock world, get yourself down to see them in a more intimate setting- you won’t regret it!
Puppy’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/puppyvybes/
​Puppy’s Twitter: @puppyvybes
​Puppy are scheduled to play at this year’s 2000 Trees Festival on July 6th, and the band also have a slot on the Pit Stage at Reading and Leeds Festival in August. The band have also just announced that they have been added to the line-up for this year’s Bloodstock Festival on their Twitter:

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Glenn van den Bosch