May 27 and 28
Slam Dunk Festival, UK
Travel getting to the UK was a bit different for us this go round. Most of the time we leave in the early afternoon, and get to Heathrow Airport very early in the morning. This time, we flew out at 11pm and got in at 3pm or so. I am not sure which I like better. I for sure felt better rested when we arrived, but by the time we picked up our gear and got to the site for the first show, the day was gone.
Travel days seem to be a “thing” this trip…As I type this, we have just arrived at our hotel in Köln, Germany. It’s almost midnight and we arrived at our ferry to cross from the UK at 7am. Freakin long ass day!
Saturday, May 27, 2023: Slam Dunk South (Hatfield)
We have done this festival before. It has been a few years. In fact, the first thing that struck me when I stepped out of the bus, was how massive this festival is now. I have to hand it to the organizers. This festival is right up there with the other big ones in the UK now. It is MASSIVE!
I said this to the band and crew, but I miss the vibe of festivals. I feel like we used to do things like this more regularly. And with Warped Tour gone, we just don’t get the whole “summer camp” vibe much these days. There is something about waking up in a field next to tour buses filled with bands you know and some you will know by the end of the weekend.
Teenage Bottle Rocket and Zebrahead were awesome and it was great to see both of them after so many years. The highlight of my day, besides the show, was watching Flogging Molly side stage. They are just SO fun, and I have been a fan of Dave’s since the 80s. We also became friendly with the band and doing shows together was discussed. Which made me VERY HAPPY!
Mid-day, we did some fun press interviews that we will be sharing soon enough! Matt Stocks, the greatest interviewer of all time, kept the vibe going, DJing between bands and before I knew it, we were watching the band before us…Less Than Jake. I don’t feel like I need to tell you what these guys mean to us. They are the ultimate band for us to tour with. The shows are fun and energetic, and the backstage is a perfect blend of complaining old men and a party. Anyway, anytime we are around Less Than Jake, the mood is always better. And watching them just makes us all happy!
Our set was fun and energetic. We had some comedy bits that worked and some that didn’t…Which made them funnier. My favorite, was me saying that we weren’t cool enough for a “circle pit” and trying to organize a “square pit.” It failed miserably (both days). The show went fast. They always do. The crowd knew every word to every song. I will never get tired of that.
The Offspring had a closed stage, but were nice enough to let us up to watch the show. Noodles is so damn nice. They sounded great and it was cool to hear all those songs!
My only complaint with the entire day was NOT getting to see a few bands I would have liked to see, due to scheduling and logistics. I really would have liked to see Billy Talent, Real Friends, Destroy Boys, The Menzingers…Old friends Hawthorne Heights, The Maine and Yellowcard…Gary and Rob snuck away to see Four Years Strong…I was jealous. There are more I would have loved to watch…But there you go! That’s how nuts festivals can be!
Sunday, May 28, 2023: Slam Dunk North (Leeds)
I should point out that Leeds was the first place we ever played in the UK. 23 years ago. And it never fails to blow my mind. Second days of touring festivals are always better. Everyone is settled in, lost gear has been found, and overall, it is just a better vibe. It was a bit like ground hog day for me. Haha. I did pretty much the same thing I did the day before. Watched the same bands. Hung out with the same dudes.
Our show is up there with my favorite shows of our career. Sometimes I take a moment and bask in it. Just breathe it in. Next year is 30 years of Bowling for Soup; 20 years of Hangover You Don’t Deserve. It is mind blowing to think we are still at the top of our game. But we are.
I wanna say thank you to Slam Dunk and everyone on my team that got us there. Our UK crew (Edo, Ian, Adam, Dave KP, TM Dave, Wyatt, Daniel, and Riel) work tirelessly to make it possible to do what we do. It is amazing to watch sometimes! Also, Rage PR for rearranging the entire day so Rob could watch Millencolin! He really does appreciate it!
More later…Time for my first shower since Thursday morning…It is almost TUESDAY!!! Yes…It is a glamorous life indeed!