The day started with both me and Julie feeling slightly groggy but no real idea why. A brief resumption of last night's Scrabble before Julie headed off to work. It remains unfinished but I still have that healthy lead.
Bit of an interruption here to tell you that it's now Monday 28th and I've just got back from Tramlines weekend so the rest of this will be very hazy indeed.
Scrabble was completed Monday night with a resounding victory by 74 points, 45-18.
This is where it's gonna start getting sketchy. Met a shopfitter, talked ceilings etc. Er, went home, went to see Starsie play at Cask. Went home.
Did a prerecord for Sunday's show today. The upstairs studios at Sine were like a sweatbox. No aircon and couldn't open the window due to the noise. Julie joined me and lasted 5 minutes before she had to leave, the heat was that intolerable. For those that listened you may be intrigued to know I was practically naked recording it. Home for a cold shower then back to Cask for open mic.
Scrabble happened today. I remember that much. Winning all the way til Julie used all her tiles with pretty much her final go on a triple word score. Lost by 33. 46-18. Gutted. I did actually sulk for a bit. I can remember bugger all about the rest of the day.
Friday 25/07/14 - Tramlines Day One
Lunchtime drink with my daughters then over to Sheffield. Found my hotel, got my wristband then realised I didn't have a clue where I was going and I'd not got a map. The planned schedule was:
Mynas @ The Cremorne
Smoking Beagles @ Delaneys
Fallen Trees @ The Royal Standard
The Wedding Present @ The Leadmill
Bang Bang Romeo @ The Frog and Parrot
Headed for the Royal Standard 'cos I know where that is and to have a catch up with The Velcro Teddy Bears (it's their pub). Cremorne wasn't too far away so I managed that one. Mynas are always good fun. Got a text from my mate Mark Loriane, he was in The Great Gatsby. Too hot to walk so jumped in a taxi. Couple of beers with Mark then nipped to The Leadmill to check on a rumour that The Weddoes were going on early. Bumped into Dave Gedge who didn't recognise me without my hair but did confirm the half 9 start time. Popped over to The Royal Standard where things were running very late so I got to chat with Fallen Trees but didn't catch their set. 4 hours in and I'd only seen one band!
Back to The Leadmill just as The Wedding Present came on stage. Best I've ever seen them. The place was rammed and dripping. And they finished with Brassneck straight into Kennedy. Brilliant. Back out into the Sheffield heat and a yomp up to the Frog and Parrot and again walked in just as Bang Bang Romeo started their set. They owned it. Another packed venue eating out of Starsie's hand.
I resisted the urge to party on and headed back to my hotel, a very sweaty mess.
Saturday 26/07/14 Tramlines Day Two
Jim Taplin and Mick Holmes @ Maida Vale
The 48ks @ Crystal
Polkadodge @ Leadmill
Section 60 @ Rocking Chair
Deap Vally @ Leadmill
Velcro Teddy Bears @ The Royal Standard
The day started with a tweet from Joel Phillips hinting at a secret set from Dexters that night so (shameless name dropping moment) a quick twitter chat with the Dexters boys confirmed it. Schedule already out the window.
Got to Maida Vale to find that they were having a few technical issues and the guy with the key to the room holding all the equipment wasn't coming in. Nipped over to Crystal for a chat with The 48ks then back to Maida Vale where things were finally up and running where I sat on a very comfy sofa and watched Jim and Mick do their thing.
Back to Crystal for the first discovery of the weekend, Where Fires Are. Great band and really nice lads. Hopefully be on next week's play list. 48ks next showing just how brilliant they can be. A set littered with new songs that bodes well for the forth coming EP.
Crystal probably had the best line up over the whole city, so many quality bands that you'll be lucky to see for free again. Caught The SSS, Smiler and Dirty Sterling before we jumped in a taxi to catch Polkadodge at The Leadmill. Love those boys so much. I then decided that the heat was too much and I needed a shower. The massive drink Mark bought me didn't help either.
Back to the hotel where I managed to fall asleep and wake up 5 hours later having missed so much.
Got myself together just in time to catch Deap Vally at Leadmill. The place was even busier than Friday night, unbearably hot. I made my excuses after half hour and headed for The Frog and Parrot. Had the traditional pre gig sambuca, Dexters singer Tom actually had three. They agreed to come and play at my shop in November and then went and blew the roof of Frog and Parrot. The venue shut straight after their set but Tom blagged me back in saying I was the keyboard player, bless him.
They don't have a keyboard. Thankfully the doorman was clueless.
Sunday 27/07/14 Tramlines Day Three
Today was all about Crystal. The plan:
Puppet Rebellion, Slow Readers Club, The Darlingtons, The Struts all @ Crystal
The Rifles and The Cribs @ Devonshire Green
Slow Club @ The Leadmill
My very good friend Alistair Pearson came over to join me for the day. We dined. Who warms up an egg mayo muffin? Cafe Nerd that's who. Thankfully Alistair spilt tea on it which made it slightly more edible. Over to Crystal where we met up with Mark Loraine again. Puppet Rebellion came on stage and shocked us by looking nothing like we imagined.
They put on a stunning performance. So tight. The best discovery of the weekend. I've liked their tunes for some time now but live they really cut it.
The quality continued with Slow Readers Club and then the most energetic band on the planet, The Darlingtons.
To put on a performance like they do in such blistering heat was staggering. These boys will never get fat.
We nipped outside to cool off and try not to be too gushing when we spoke to the bands. We failed.
Then it was time for The Struts. I've waxed lyrical about these guys before. We all agreed there simply aren't enough superlatives. They rock. Spectacularly. And in Luke Spiller have THE most charismatic front man in this country currently on the circuit. It was unanimously agreed to be the set of the weekend and a definite 'I was there when' moment. They are gonna be massive. They've already supported The Stones for f***'s sake.
And really nice, surprising humble lads when we chatted (gushingly) with them after their set.
They had broke tramlines for us though. We all said if you were next band on and had seen The Struts set you'd just pick up your guitar case and go and open a shoe shop or something. It's testament to the bands that followed, particularly The Front who were on next that they still by all accounts put on incredible shows.
For us though we had to have a break. We needed to come down from The Struts euphoria. I was so oblivious I walked straight past Neville Staple doing a DJ set. We ate, had tea and regrouped. All thoughts of The Rifles and The Cribs on the main stage had gone out of my head. We braved Crystal again where we bumped into the legend that is Mr. Christian Carlisle.
And we were just in time for The Dunwells. So glad we did get back on it. They make epic big music. If Jim Kerr ever hears them he'll realise that's what Simple Minds should have sounded like. They were the perfect band to lift us out of our Struts come down.
Mark then headed home while me and Alistair watched a very disappointing sound check at Maida Vale. I'd heard by now that The Velcro Teddy Bears were rounding things off at the Green Rooms so we headed that way. Sadly Alistair had to get his train before the band came on. He also missed the man with no legs in a wheelchair trying to fight anyone who wanted some.
The Teddy Bears were the perfect end to the perfect weekend.
I'd like to thank Mark for great company and the photographs and Alistair for the great company and the quote of the weekend:
Me: I'm going toilet and then the bar.
Alistair: I'll help you carry it.
Oh and a quick footnote. I got back today and this was waiting for me:
The Other Way Play List Sunday 27/07/14
The Other Way - Polkadodge
Put Your Money On Me - The Struts
Little Pain - Fallen Trees
Fatback Mama - Orchestre Ruffanti
Bible John - The Sea Kings
Clash City Rockers - The Clash
Cloudfest - Dexters
Carnival - Bang Bang Romeo
Tangled Up In Love - The Rifles
Pictures Of You - The Cure
Tainted Love - Orchestre Ruffanti
Hey There Delilah - Plain White Ts
Closer - Polkadodge
The Music - Alistair Pearson (Music Bomb)
Your Colour - The Away Days
Land Of Hope And Dreams - Bruce Springsteen
E = MC2 - Big Audio Dynamite
Lady Off London Road - The Velcro Teddy Bears
Latin Quarter - Orchestre Ruffanti
Men's Needs - The Cribs
Rotations - The Darlingtons
Hymn From A Village - James
This Charming Man - The Smiths
Freestyle - Unicorn Hunters
Suffering You Suffering Me - Slow Club
These Moods - Orchestre Ruffanti
Break On Through (To The Other Side) - The Doors
Egyptian Reggae - Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers