Thursday, 4 August 2016

Tramlines 2016 - Part Two: What you wearing under that?

Saturday 23rd July (cont.)

As you will recall we are in the Crystal sweatbox awaiting October Drift. I was chatting with John and Scott from Gingerbeard Promotions and we all agreed that with the energy these boys put into their live sets combined with the heat they may well finish their set as a three piece or worse. Walls of noise were mentioned in part one of the blog. That's what October Drift are but with melodies and licks diving in and out. It's a beautiful cacophony delivered with relentless, breakneck ferocity. 

After some very sweaty hugs it was time to make a move, Bang Bang Romeo 'secret' set at Rocking Chair. I got there and immediately apologised to Paves for missing their set and then promptly got all their names wrong. Professional to the end. I don't usually plug via the blog but Paves are at Social in Donny on Sept. 30th. Be there. I'll be there calling Perry, Tom and vice versa. 

Caught up with Holly and Charlotte from TeamBBR. (Yes, that's what we're calling ourselves now). 

Chatting with guitar hero Ross outside and two young ladies coveted our hats. It was a worrying moment. I feared spending the rest of Tramlines with hat hair as oppose to having a ludicrous orange beacon on my head. Wandered inside and found one of Section 60. I apologised for missing their set too but the set never happened so I didn't have to feel guilty for too long. Crystal was an icebox compared to Rocking Chair. The place was filling up, the ceiling dripping, BBR setting up and drummer Rich already having to towel himself off. 

Went to the bar to find Section 60 cohort and good mate Mark Howe in charge. Now there's a guy who can run a piss up in a brewery. The place is rammed as Bang Bang Romeo take to the stage. Rocking Chair were hosting the This Feeling stage. I've waxed lyrical about This Feeling before. Not only are This Feeling pushing some serious quality it's also like one big talented family. The bands all support each other. It's a beautiful thing. It's also why I ended up with various members of Paves and Jackals Rose on my shoulders at various points. 

This was an iconic gig. The whole place bouncing and word perfect. Bang Bang Romeo will have a career playing massive stages but I hope every now and then they still do intimate gigs like this. Shameless name dropping moment: Strangers wasn't initially in the set for tonight but they played it 'cos I love it so much. It is my favourite song. Ever. The slow build of Ross' achingly gorgeous guitar and Starsie's imploring vocals make me weep every time. As the song takes off the place erupts. First time I've seen crowd surfing at a BBR gig. We're straight into set closer Invitation. It's a blistering assault. It's magnificent. As it pumps to a climax Stars wanders into the crowd. 'A little more now' she demands. I'm nudging Tiks from Paves into a stage invasion and suddenly the stage is full, the room like a writhing mass of snakes as sweaty bodies fly everywhere. 

Photo credit: Jenny Betts

When the book is written of the history of Bang Bang Romeo this will be seen as something not only special but vital in their onward trajectory. 

Outside to cool down and reflect on what had just happened. I realised I had to find Sam. Thankfully Sam found me, a sweaty, emotional mess outside Rocking Chair. Milburn were doing a secret set at Leadmill but I was done. I remember little about getting home apart from Sam saying mind the steps. I failed in this one simple task, fell through his door and mangled my knee. I really shouldn't be allowed out. 

Sunday 24th July

Today's priority was BBR on Tramlines Main Stage. It was when I laughingly did some what I call work again. First stop was Foundry Studio. It's where Sam works and where BBR rehearse and record. It's where their gear was. Cars loaded up and off to Ponderosa. I lifted a few cases, eyed the beer in the dressing room warily and opted for more coffee. Whilst all this was happening Catfish And The Bottlemen were sound checking. More shameless name dropping: They came off stage and Van recognised me from a Leopard gig at least 3 years ago. We had a good chat about music in general then I got all fanboy.

BBR sound check complete. We had a bit of a flap about a missing bottle of tequila and red wine from Hinds rider. It never did get resolved. Wasn't me. I fell out with tequila 8 years ago in York. Stage front with Holly and TV's Chris Walker.

Just before we started crying

Met up with fellow Sine FM presenter Stevie P and watched Bang Bang Romeo be magnificent once again. Strangers, as per, made us all cry. (Ross' Mum in particular). As Holly and myself sobbed Rich kindly laughed at us from behind his kit. New song You And I was a drum fuelled joy, Chemical, easily the oldest tune in the set sounded as fresh as the first time I heard it, Invitation got the singalong it merits. They can do no wrong.





Show over, I helped carry stuff again, I've definitely found my role in the BBR set up, and then chilling back stage. I somewhat rudely left Stevie to his own devices. I did apologise later but I'll do it again now. Sorry Steve. But I was back stage with a bar. Hinds were on the main stage but we didn't hear anything that tempted us away. Plus the band were being interviewed in a toilet by Christian Carlisle.

Having known Christian a few years now I'd say this was standard.

Jurassic 5 next. Had a skank with Sine FM boss Steve Mundin as the band showed why they've pretty much owned hip hop for getting on 25 years now. It will never be a genre I truly love but when it's done this well it's infectious.

Public Service Broadcasting were on stage next. If you read back through old blogs you will know how much I love this band. If you've ever listened to my radio show you will know how much I love this band. I love this band. They struggled a bit today. Ponderosa was packed with Catfish fans and I'm guessing the Venn Diagram for PSB/Catfish is a tad sparse in the middle. They're also a band who are at their best indoors or after dark. The visuals are an integral part of a PSB gig. I still loved them though. No one does what PSB do and that alone should be celebrated. 

J. Willgoose Esq.


I met up with the band afterwards and J.Willgoose Esq. talked about looking out on a sea of Catfish fans. He called the gig a shocker. They do set their standards very high. I love them. Have I mentioned that? I did the fanboy photo thing as Wrigglesworth bravely nicked my hat. I didn't mind. He's a legend.

Dilemma time. I really wanted to see Catfish And The Bottlemen on the Main Stage. I really wanted to see Hello Operator at Rocking Chair. I do love Catfish. (In the PSB/Catfish Venn Diagram I'm firmly planted in the middle). The timings made both possible but it's quite a yomp from Ponderosa to Furnival Gate. We decided on a taxi into the City. I've seen Catfish many a time and will do again. Bumped into Christian Carlisle again who fancied the Hello Operator plan so as Sam, Holly and Rich dived into one taxi I ended up in the back of a black cab with a man in a kilt thrusting a microphone in my face. We managed to make it very seedy indeed with talk of traditional kilt wearing and fake taxi porn. It's credit to Christian that he managed to edit it into something that he could broadcast on his BBC Introducing Tramlines special. We got to Rocking Chair to find things running a tad behind schedule. 

I have no idea who she is but she really wanted in on the pic. Bumped into Stevie P inside and again apologised for abandoning him. Found my favourite DJ Ross Micklethwaite and before Hello Operator came on stage the rest of TeamBBR turned up who had stayed to watch Catfish. D'oh! 

Hello Operator are another of the This Feeling bands destined for great things. It's a beautiful noise. There is a wealth of bands out there that you have to check out. Hello Operator are high up that list. Another sweat box of a gig that again ended up with a mass stage invasion. 

And that was it. Another taxi journey home that I don't recall. My initial plan had been to get up early enough on the Monday to get back to Doncaster in time to open the shop. Those that know me will not be surprised to hear I got back to Donny at about 4.30pm.

Tramlines. It breaks you but it's truly wonderful. Let's do it all again next year. 

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