Concert Review

Slam Dunk Winter Jam braved the storm in Glasgow only to tear the roof off it!

Slam Dunk Winter Jam battled their way to Glasgow to bring Zebrahead, Teenage Bottlerocket, [spunge] and Millie Manders and the Shutup to The Garage.

A storm was brewing as the bands battled to get to Glasgow. Mother nature can be fraught with danger and almost exhilarating, but the bands turned that nervous energy into pure exaltation to project onto their audience. The Slam Dunk Winter Jam kicked off with a sold out gig in Manchester then another sold out night in Leeds. Suitably warmed up, the tour reached Glasgow on a wild Sunday night much to the delight of the busy crowd. The weather had an impact on numbers with trains being cancelled but the near sell out crowd left their worries outside to work up a sweat as they skanked and moshed for nearly 4 hours.

Millie Manders and The Shutup may only have had six songs to get their message across, but they used every ounce of their being to do so. The guitar driven “Broken Record” set the tone for the night. You could feel the energy from the band reverberate right to the back of the room. No saxophone for Millie as it was a slightly stripped back no-nonsense show full of fun. The band bounced all the way through their set as they ran through a “best of” selection of songs. Millie know’s her audience and they love to engage. The songs hit home and the crowd mouthed the words back to Millie song by song. With “Rebound”, “Your Story” and the set ending “Bitter” all being played, the empathic energy gave the band validation for braving the storm. Short and “Bitter” sweet, but worth the early turn out!

[spunge] had their tongue in cheek banter in full flow in The Garage. Right from the off, Chris, the bass player, took some serious shit from the rest of his band mates as he struggled to get a sound from his amp. “Jump on demand” kicked off the set and the crowd got the memo to join in. With 25 years of a back catalogue to fall back on, the band spread the set content to span the quarter century. Still looking fresh, the band skanked their punchy brand of ska. The songs from “The story so far” drew the biggest reactions from the crowd throughout the night. Alex Copeland also had the crowd screaming when he asked them to cheer if the headline band were to be pronounced “Zeb-ra” or “Zeeebra” head. You can guess the response! Yes, Zebra-head came out on top, but the alternative would be proclaimed later on. As the night came to an end, the classic Toots and the Maytals “Monkey Man” went down a storm before the set ending “Kicking Pigeons.” The feel good factor in the crowd was evident as they gave the band a resounding cheer as they left the stage.

No strangers to Glasgow, Singer Ray Carlisle reckons he’s a “local” based on the fact that Teenage Bottlerocket do gig regularly in Glasgow. They’ve probably visited more regularly than the other bands on the bill but Millie Manders and the Shutup have been playing catch up. After a quick “sound check,” due to the nature of gear changes on stage, TBR kicked off with one of their new tunes, “Semi Truck” from their “Sick Sesh” release in 2021. The TBR fans were treated to a great selection of set favourites right after the new opener with “Don’t want to go” which of course is a bit of a giveaway to anyone new to the band where they draw their influence. The Ramones-esque banger had the crowd moshing in numbers and they kept them going with “Bigger than Kiss.” It wasn’t long before the mosh turned into a circle pit for the more frantic numbers, but the highlights were just as prevalent with “Skate or die” and “They call me Steve.” There’s never a dull moment at a TBR gig and Ray provided some jaw dropping moments when he jumped off the drum riser. “Crashing” always gets me going and it was a mental minute for everyone to headbang along to. It was a classic performance from TBR with Miguel pulling his usual manic poses and Kody’s killer guitar breaks all underpinned by Darren’s hard hitting powerful punk rock drumming. They’re a hard act to follow but Zebrahead would pull out all the stops.

Zebrahead had their work cut out to follow on from three great bands. All three had their own take on ska, power pop, metal and punk but the headliners mastered all facets of those genres. “We are mother fucking Zeebrahead bitch” left the crowd in no doubt how the band pronounce themselves! The carnage started with a circle pit and some full on crowd engagement. There would be further circle pit requests throughout the night and a challenge to send more than 52 punters surfing over the barrier since that had been the record in Leeds. Glasgow certainly gave a good account of themselves during the first two numbers “When both sides suck” and “No tomorrow.” There was a slight drop in tempo for “Hello Tomorrow,” but the crowd were very vocal for the chorus and hands were held high to clap along. It had been 5 years since the band had played Glasgow and they gave [spunge] a shout out before playing “Worse than this”, almost a nod to their style of playing. “Dylan” from the backing crew got the full birthday treatment as he celebrated his 19th birthday by chugging a beer legally on stage. The crowd chanted as he drank then they granted his wish by crowd surfing over the barrier to beat the pervious nights numbers. “Mike Dexter is an asshole” provided the soundtrack to the surfing. Big thanks went to the security as the band thanked them for the load in then broke into “Hell Yeah!” Ali Tabatabaee and Adrian Estrella’s vocals complimented each other all night with Adrian doing his best to steal the show. The hard core fans in the crowd were thanked for coming back in numbers as the band ramped it up with “Rescue Me.” Dan Palmer’s lead guitar was almost as impressive as his well-manicured moustache as the band saved the best til last with a main set ending “Anthem.”

There was always going to be an encore and Dylan had the pleasure of being carried above the mosh pit on an inflatable watermelon during “All my friends are nobodies.” One final flurry for “Falling Apart” and the energised audience were full charged to go out and brave the elements again.

The storm was at its greatest inside The Garage with Slam Dunk Winter Jam tearing the roof off the iconic Glasgow venue. The happy punters made their way out of the venue to the dulcet tones of Whitney Houston ringing in their ears from the PA as it belted out “I will always love you”. A message from Zebrahead to their adoring crowd. Based on the reaction, they need to come more regularly and become “locals!”

SLAM DUNK Winter Jam continues

About The Author

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Raymond Thomson - Deputy Editor

I am a photographer/musician/engineer living in Scotland. My passion is music and motocross and I share my work on facebook/punk4RT and facebook/madmaxmedia. I do like a bit of throw back to the heydays of the 60’s/70’s/80’s when it comes to taking shots of bands. I grew up on the music papers (NME/Sounds/Melody Maker) and drew influence from Pennie Smith/Jill Furmanovsky/Anton Corbijn/Bob Gruen/Adrian Boot/Charles Peterson.
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