Words & interview by Ed King / Live pic by Callum Lees
“I called it an EP of uplift angst – it’s in your face, but it’s got a nice positive message underneath it as well… fuck the negative, put a positive spin on it and write about the good stuff. The happy stuff, the stuff that makes you feel good.”
Described as ‘Silently observational’, ‘fearlessly immersed’, the ‘Queen of grunge’ and our personal favourite, ‘effortlessly cool’, MeMe Detroit crosses the boundaries from blues to indie rock.
Storming onto the Birmingham music scene with her debut album, Live to Love You’ll Love to Live, in 2016, MeMe Detroit has been a regular fixture on listings in the Midlands and beyond ever since. ‘Hard working’ could certainly be added to the list.
MeMe Detroit’s latest single, ‘Will You Be My Lie?’, was released in May 2019 – exploring the complications and computations when a wondering eye turns into a divisive secret. Hence the title. But narrative is strong across all MeMe Detroit’s portfolio, with tracks from her latest EP exploring themes of social restraint (and a healthy push the other way), identity, love, betrayal, and our obsession with social media. There’s even a happy homage to one of Birmingham’s prominent live music venues, but you’ll have to listen to Life in the Now and work that out for yourself.
Interview with MeMe Detroit – includes acoustic performance of ‘Will You Be My Lie?’ @ Cherry Reds 19.07.19
MeMe Detroit will be playing a full band set at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 25th July, alongside Hollows and Namsakē. For direct event details and online tickets, visit www.bit.ly/2y9gpd6
MeMe Detroit will be playing an acoustic set as part of the Female Voices Night at Tower of Song on Sunday 28th July – with Ellie Gowers & Chloe Mogg. For direct event details and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/events/711942659235581
As one of the most anticipated dates in the UK pop punk calendar, it’s safe to say Slam Dunk Festival are taking no prisoners with this year’s line up. With a bevy of bands and artists descending upon the NEC in just under a week’s time, I took it upon myself to comb through the roster and select a number that I personally love.
Holding Absence / Rock Sound Breakout Stage
Birmingham favourites, Holding Absence, are set to make their Slam Dunk debut this year on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. Having recently announced the departure of guitarist Feisal El-Khazragi, it will be one of their first performances without him in their line up. But with Holding Absence recently nominated for Best British Breakthrough Band at the 2018 Heavy Metal Awards, plus playing a string of dates supporting Being as an Ocean across Europe in June, they’re certainly not letting El-Khazragi’s departure slow them down.
Represented by Sharptone Records – who bought us the likes of Don Broco, Miss May I and We Came As Romans – the Cardiff based band also recently toured and released a co-EP with Loathe titled This Is As One, which earned them numerous positive reviews from critics for tracks such as ‘Saint Cecilia’.
Holding Absence perform at 3:30pm on the Rock Sound Breakout Stage. For more on Holding Absence, visit www.holdingabsence.com
‘Saint Cecilia’ – Holding Absence
PVRIS / Jägermeister Main Stage
Having recently performed at Coachella, PVRIS will be returning to Birmingham hot off the heels of the American leg of their All We Know of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell tour – promoting their latest album of the same name.
Lynn Gunn’s dreamy vocals, combined with the band’s heavy rock influences, have earned them a dedicated fanbase and won them Rock Sound’s Artist of the Year Award back in 2017. Here’s hoping PVRIS also perform some tracks from their debut album, White Noise, with songs such as ‘St. Patrick’ and ‘My House’ being on my personal wish list.
PVRIS perform at 8:15 pm on the Jägermeister Main Stage. For more on PVRIS, visit www.pvris.com
‘Anyone Else’ – PVRIS
Taking Back Sunday / Monster Energy Main Stage
Returning to Slam Dunk for the 3rd time, Taking Back Sunday were in the first wave of bands to be confirmed to at perform this year’s festival.
Having released their 7th album, Tidal Waves, in September 2016, and parting ways with their original guitarist Eddie Rayes last month, it will be interesting to see if we get to hear any new material from the group. Although I’m hoping to hear classic tracks such as ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and ‘MakeDamnSure’ as well as songs such as ‘You Can’t Look Back’ from their latest album live.
Taking Back Sunday perform at 8:05pm on the Monster Energy Main Stage. For more on Taking Back Sunday, visit www.takingbacksunday.com
‘You’re So Last Summer’ – Taking Back Sunday
Astroid Boys / Impericon Stage
The Impericon stage will be hosting hardcore grime band Astroid Boys, who have always delivered impressive shows in Birmingham. Growing steadily since their formation back in 2012, they were bought to my attention after being featured in BBC Radio 4’s documentary Operation Grime, which tailed them on a tour across the UK.
Astroid Boys‘ music is not for the faint hearted – expect brutal lyrics addressing issues such as racism, mashed with hardcore and grime influences to create a sound you probably have never heard before… but will just as probably want to listen to again.
Astroid Boys perform at 2:20 pm on the Impericon Stage. For more on Astroid Boys, visit www.astroid-boys.com
‘Foreigners’ – Astroid Boys
As It Is / Signature Brew Stage
Announcing the August release of their latest album, The Great Depression, only a few days ago, Brighton based As It Is will be headlining the Signature Brew stage this year.
A band who’ve amassed a dedicated fan base with tracks such as ‘Dial Tones’ and ‘Hey Rachel’, their material is catchy, easy to listen to and fun – however it’s unfair to assume they lack a more serious side. Their latest release, ‘The Wounded World’, delves into a much darker side of their ever-expanding noise, having been cited by the band as a ‘new era’ of their music which expands on ‘the societal romanticisation of depression’ and ‘the disrepair of present-day human connection’.
As ever with this band, though, As It Is approach their subject with the respect and sensitivity it warrants – referencing their new material as a means for them to work to create a positive change for mental health.
The Key Club Acoustic Stage is hosting a stellar line up of bands and artists, including Birmingham’s Luke Rainsford – combining upbeat guitar with gut wrenching vocals, making music that is hard hitting but a real treat to listen to.
Having toured the UK extensively since the release of I Feel At Home With You in February 2017, and having recently released his latest EP, I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved, in April 2018, Rainsford’s music deals with difficult issues such as loss, bereavement, low self esteem and mental health. Good, honest stuff.
Australian trio, Stand Atlantic, will also be making their Slam Dunk debut this year, having recently toured with other performers such as ROAM and Knuckle Puck. With their latest EP, Sidewinder, reaching an impressive #10 on Rock Sound’s Top 50 Albums of 2017, and having been cited by Kerrang! as one of the hottest bands of 2018, Stand Atlantic are proving they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Claiming influences from Blink-182 to The 1975, they’re certainly considered a mixed bag musically too – but in the best possible way. Trust me. Go and listen to ‘Coffee at Midnight’. You can thank me later.
Slam Dunk Festival 2018 (Midlands) comes to the NEC in Birmingham on 28th May. For direct information on Slam Dunk Festival 2018, including details on all the events happening across the UK, visit www.slamdunkmusic.com