Reviewed by Jade Daly
Each year nearing the end of April, Nottingham sees Hit The Deck open up the festival season with a bang, and 2013 was no exception. With over 50 bands spanning seven stages, there is definitely something for everyone. With four different venues spaced within easy walking distance, this unique festival gives people the chance to experience everything and anything.
Despite their early set time, The Front Bottoms managed to fill the Rescue Rooms, making their way through a fast paced set of dance pop punk. Having already developed a small fan base in the UK they really managed to get the crowd going, their easy-going attitude coupled with multiple wrestling jokes made for a fun show and a perfect opening for the day.
Sonic Boom Six had the crowd bouncing off the walls as they blasted their way through a fun-filled set of ska punk. Known for their explosive energy they stayed true to their name; mirroring the crowds liveliness and making the most of their smaller time slot. The Manchester five-piece proved Hit The Deck boasts musical diversity as well as an ever-changing line up each year.
Gnarwolves took to the stage tearing through their set, barely stopping for air. The three-piece punk band from Brighton are currently touring the UK with the ever-growing pop punk quintet The Story So Far. The similarities between the two are clear as the whole crowd gets involved, something the band openly encourage on stage. The night sees a human pyramid form in the middle of the pit as they race their way into another song.
The small acoustic stage fills out for Vinnie Caruana’s acoustic side project, creating the perfect atmosphere for a slightly more intimate sound. Fans of both The Movie Life and I Am The Avalanche found themselves pleasantly surprised by the mixture of songs from each of Caruana’s projects, something that kept everyone on their toes. Taking requests and closing the set with the fan favourite ‘Brooklyn Dodgers‘ meant a much-needed sing along for all involved.
Army Of Freshmen made a much-needed return to the UK purely for Hit The Deck and it was well worth the wait. Despite the fact over a year has passed since their UK tour with Zebrahead, their fans came out in full. Bouncing around on stage, lead vocalist, Chris Jay had the crowd dancing within seconds of the first song. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s impossible to stand still while the Californian pop punks light up the stage, and if the music alone isn’t enough, then the Army Of Freshmen dollar bills that rain down on the crowd make all the difference.
Kingston four-piece Title Fight headlined Rock City basement, and rightly so. The smallest room in the house was jam-packed, giving 2012’s headliners, The Wonder Years a run for their money. Within seconds of their hour-long set and despite the signs, crowd surfers sailed their way to the front, carried voluntarily by the fans beneath. Ripping their way through a diverse set the crowd raged to well-known favourites as well a number of songs from the band’s latest album, Floral Green. The band’s closing set was the perfect way to end the night for the basement and it was definitely reflected in the atmosphere both the band and the fans created.
Don Bronco closed the festival, the perfect timing enabled everyone to catch the much-anticipated set. Overall Hit The Deck 2013 was a success. The contribution of a second day in Bristol thinned the crowd slightly, yet this didn’t seem to affect the atmosphere at all. Every band and solo artist gave it their all and this was definitely reflected within each crowd.