Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tramlines 2016 - Part One. Flat Caps And Festival Hats Reunited.

Well this is a brave move. Starting a Tramlines blog over a week after the festival finished. I was too busy/fragile to do one last week so let's just see how the memory holds up.

Friday 22nd July

I love Tramlines. So vibrant, so much going on. so many bands, so many that I always end up missing someone I really wanted to see. To really do it justice you have to stay over. I've tried doing the commuting thing and usually end up missing something. Usually the last train home.

I landed about 3pm and met up with Sam who had very kindly offered to put me up for the weekend. First port of call was Sheffield Uni to pick up my press pass. We got a taxi to the wrong place, realised we weren't too far from where we were meant to be, started walking in the wrong direction, stopped, re-evaluated, walked in the right direction, nearly graduated, found my press pass. Sam had to drive down to Coventry that night so we had time for a quick jar before he had to dash. 

As you can see the meeting point hat had made the journey. Very popular it turned out to be too. Ah, flat caps and festival hats reunited.

I was so organised this year with a print out of my proposed schedule and a map. In a staggering turn of events it took till Saturday afternoon for the schedule to go out the window. I blame the beer and the sun. 

First port of call was Crystal to catch up with the legendary Neil Hargreaves and his much better half Rebecca Fearnley and to deliver some headphones, as you do. Next up over to West Street Ale House to see my good friends Murder At The Seaside. Was a bit surprised to see Sam Chadwick (Velcro Teddy Bears) outside but this is his new venture. Teddy Bears were on my list. That didn't happen.

There's a trend already starting. I managed to drown my camera in beer at the IOW festival and now the zoom doesn't work. It's either full on or nothing at all so most pics are just me and mates or me being proper fanboyish. Sorry.

See what I mean. I love Murder At The Seaside. Supremely talented musicians (apart from Lil Dave the drum machine - temperamental bugger) and Phil, Sally and Heather are just some of my favourite people ever. The sound wasn't great which seemed to a common occurrence Friday night but they battled through and delivered as always. A very pleasant start to the weekend's music.

Back over to Crystal to see my mates The 48ks. The sound was poor here too. Ryan had his first ever diva strop on stage but given he couldn't hear a thing up there it's forgivable. I'm sure it's no comfort to the band that the sound Saturday and Sunday was spot on.  I did manage an actual live shot though.

Christian Carlisle briefly thrust a microphone in my face but I can't remember a thing we said and thankfully Christian lost all his Friday night interviews. 

No time to chat to the lads sadly as I had to hot foot it to the Leadmill for The Enemy. As is well documented this is The Enemy's final hurrah and I wanted to catch them one last time having seen them twice before and been disappointed. They didn't let me down and disappointed again. The sound was atrocious but I'm certain it's down to the band this time. It sounded just like my previous Enemy gigs. Admittedly I was in a strop as the Leadmill was a heaving sweatbox, I was a tad drunk and a lass stood at my side moaned I was in her way. Now I appreciate at 6'5" I'm a nightmare at gigs but I can't help it and have as much right to stand where I want as anyone. I always try to be considerate and try not to stand in front of people who's view I will obviously spoil. But she was stood at my side. The only view I was obscuring for her was of the cloakroom. I pointed this out and she insulted my hat. Out of order. Anyway, I moved. It was the easiest way. 

Someone told me on Saturday that I'd missed the point of The Enemy and they make a wall of noise. A wall of noise can be tuneful though. Still, I did seem to be the only person in there not enjoying it. I nipped outside for some fresh air (cigarette) but went out the exit as oppose to into the smoking area. I couldn't face wading through the throng as my ears bled so I called it a night just as Sam got back from Coventry. That worked out nicely. 

I still love albums 1 & 3 though.

Saturday 23rd July

I awoke feeling a little fragile but Sam's coffee, an insanely good shower and view's like this

were bringing me round. Sam had a day in Birmingham (I think) today. I'd been invited for breakfast by my good friend Zoe so got dropped off in Hillsborough and went for more coffee with Zoe and her lovely daughter Holly. (Holly think's I'm cool. She's wrong but I'm not gonna tell her that). They took me out for breakfast (thank you) and then dropped me off at Ponderosa, Main Stage. I'm so spoilt. Still on schedule, Ginger Tom and Little Comets to start the day. 

Found my Tramlines 2014 cohort Mark Loraine and wife Gail who is so losing at the forehead slapping competition. (I spent Tramlines 2015 with a brilliant Italian surgeon saving my life. Bloody immigrants). 

Mark Loraine, not an Italian surgeon

Ginger Tom have something and I'm not quite sure what it is. Certainly Dan and Tom's harmonising is a thing of beauty and they write the most alarmingly gorgeous indie-pop but there's something else there that I'm buggered I can put my finger on. The addition of Luke on bass and A.B.C. on drums has given the band some meat. I should point out that A.B.C. is Alex Byard-Cooke. They don't have an 80s new wave band in gold lame suits playing drums. (No accent for the e there but lame works just as well). 

They are the perfect opening act for Little Comets.  Little Comets have cornered the market in upbeat summery indie anthems and were playing to an already sizeable crowd at Ponderosa. Much has been made of moving the Main Stage further out the city centre. I get it. Ponderosa is bigger than Devonshire Green and it feels like the organisers are in effect trying to make two Tramlines festivals. I personally preferred having the majority of stages more localised. Mostly 'cos my legs aren't what they used to be. This was the cause of the schedule now going to pot. 

The plan was Uni Arms for Steel Trees then on to Crystal but it was very hot and involved more walking than I dared. Taxi to Crystal it was. Crystal was rammed. Absolutely sweltering. I had to listen to Jackals Rose and Sabella from the beer garden. Bumped into the gorgeous Jenny Betts from Sine FM's Unsigned and Rewind and we decided we had to brave the sweat box for the next three acts, Puppet Rebellion, The Slow Readers Club and October Drift. I had wanted to nip out to catch Paves at The Rocking Chair but again heat, alcohol and crap legs put paid to that. 

I first saw Puppet Rebellion at Tramlines 2014. They were my find of that weekend. Since then they have a new singer in Oliver Davies and are stronger than ever. Gloriously tight and stomping with riffs to die for, they are the perfect foil for fellow Manc lads The Slow Readers Club. 

Puppet Rebellion

Billed as dark and brooding indie electro they are destined for huge things, Cavalcade is a flawless album and they have the live chops to back it up. This is their third consecutive year on Tramlines Crystal stage. It's not big enough for them now. You just can't move. Despite the heat no-one is going anywhere. Chants of 'Readers' follow every track. All this on the back of supporting James on tour. Join the club as soon as you can.

The Slow Readers Club

I didn't realise how packed the weekend was. We shall do a two part blog. Tune in tomorrow for more sweat, stage invasions, a flying Saynor and loads more live music!! 

1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of Slow Readers Club. Great read as always. If you haven't already: