Slam Dunk, you beautiful beautiful devil. How dare you?

One cursory glance over the Slam Dunk 2023 lineup reveals nothing but pain. Because HOW are we supposed to even think about choosing who we’re going to go and see, from this juicy offering? Back with, we believe, its best lineup ever, the UK’s premier pop-punk party continues to wow us. Ahead of the big day, we’re rounding up the most difficult decisions so you don’t have to.

(But we can’t possibly give you the answers… yet)

Zand @ The Rock Scene Stage, 11.25 – 11.55 vs Heriot @ The Knotfest Stage, 11.40 – 12.10

Two breakthrough artists at the forefront of their respective subsections of the scene? Opening their respective stages at Slam Dunk? Say no more… The choice between getting into the party mood with Zand’s sexy gremlin anthems and sizzling electro-punk, or barrelling into Slam Dunk kicking and screaming with Heriot’s red-hot metal offerings is a near-impossible one. Either way – go gentle at the opening party. Because you’ll need to be up bright and early.

Holding Absence @ The Rock Scene Stage, 14.10 – 14.45 vs Scene Queen @ The Key Club Stage, 14.20 – 14.55

In such different ways, these two may well be two of the most rousing acts that Slammy D has to offer us this year. At one end of the spectrum, we’ve got Scene Queen’s sorority visionary in hot-pink, bringing Barbie and beats and breakdowns for a truly feral half hour of hot girl shit. And down the other end, we’ve got the new guard of emo at their peak in Holding Absence, with their careening, soaring choruses and dark poetics. Both are best in class… so who do you go for?

Creeper @ The Kerrang! Tent, 19.15 – 20.00 vs Bowling for Soup @ The Dickies Stage, 19.40 – 20.30

As the day edges towards headline territory, it’s time to start weighing up what you’re in the mood for, because horror-punks turned theatrical Gods Creeper, and pop-punk icons Bowling for Soup are each going to deliver an immense performance, but they’ll be ticking a different set of boxes. What they will have in common, though, is a packed out crowd belting along the words that have soundtracked their youth right through to their present day – it just depends which album you rinsed to death when you were 17.

Vukovi @ The Rock Scene Stage, 12.15 – 12.50 vs Higher Power @ The Knotfest Stage 12.30 – 1.00

Putting anyone on when Vukovi are on is a crime according to BSP Law, sorry – as is how early Vukovi are on, when in our hearts they’re headliners. But, to be fair, there’s absolutely no band who can get a Slam Dunk crowd as psyched up for a stunner of a day like them… except, of course, Higher Power. Their rousing hardcore (in their hometown, Leeds, no less!) is, indeed, a match for Vukovi’s stratospheric sound – but with a few mins overlap, this might have to be a double date to the prom.

Charlotte Sands @ The Key Club Stage, 15.40 – 16.15 vs Real Friends @ The Kerrang! Tent, 15.35 – 16.15

This year’s Slam Dunk has brought us the absolute best of both the classics and the cutting edge – and they’re putting our loyalty to each to the test, with clashes like this one. Real Friends, the ever-comforting presence who’ve been making songs to cry to as long as you can remember, growing through lineup interactions and always keeping that same heart… or Charlotte Sands, a fizzing new face of pop-punk who leans into the polished, hooky magic of pop as much as she does the dark side.

Check out the full lineup for Slam Dunk 2023 here, and stay tuned for more from BSP.