Singing in the rain- Tramlines 2017 Review

The famous inner-city festival, highly-anticipated by Sheffielders, was back for another July-weekend of incredible live music.

Topping off the first night of the weekend at the main stage over at Ponderosa park- The Libertines.

The atmosphere was soaring sky-high as the London-lads headlined the Friday night of this unforgettable weekend.

The indie-rock quartet was welcomed warmly by an ironically cold, wet audience of adoring faces. Pete Doherty and his fellow band-mates were so charming with their ocean of ecstatic fans, who had admirably united at Ponderosa this rainy evening.

They truly reached out to the crowd, warming the fans’ spirits despite the shivering cold that had soaked through their clothes, and even enthusiastically joined in with the crowd’s recurring ‘ohh Jeremy Corbyn’ chants to the tune of Seven Nation Army on bass guitar.

Their hour-long set brought non-stop moshing and grooving to the gigantic main stage park, but the mellow tune ‘What Katie Did’ was arguably the most well-received song of the night, with the entire crowd passionately reciting the banging lyrics back at the humbled Libertines.

Flares, sneaky political remarks and the inevitable top-hat all made for yet another iconic Libertines performance.

Saturday again brought more rain. Yay. But fortunately, it also brought even more live music.
Annoyingly, three bands I was excited to see on this day (Spring King, Cabbage and Blaenavon) all clashed, so I must admit that I, along with many other fans of this genre no doubt, feel somewhat disappointed with the organisation of this.

You’d expect the organisers to have an understanding of the types of bands which appeal to certain groups of people, and logically ensure these do not clash.

Anyway, after much deliberation, I went with the charismatic Spring King; and what a great choice this was.

Like the Libertines, the Macclesfield 4-piece were refreshingly humble and spoke to the soaking Devonshire Green crowd pretty often, thanking them for sticking it out in the rain and also praising the dedicated fans for the ‘biggest mosh-pits’ they’ve ever had.

The emerging indie-rock band faultlessly delivered their upbeat, energetic tunes from their debut album; Tell Me If You Like To.

Spring King are undoubtedly on their way up in the music world, with a unique set-up with the drummer as lead vocalist, and a strikingly exuberant bassist who has a tendency to jump into the air like a musical kangaroo.

Now, here’s a band to keep an eye on. And once you have got an eye on them, get your other eye on them and keep both eyes super-glued onto them like a hawk. You do not want to miss them; Red Rum Club.

This scouse sextet has everything you need for an undeniably cool rock band, and then some more! On Sunday, this unique Liverpool band clad in all black (like cast members of Reservoir Dogs) rocked the Rocking Chair with their Tarantino-esque trumpet licks and head-banging drum beats, not to mention the staggeringly impressive guitar riffs to add to the magic.

I’ve seen Red Rum Club several times, and they really do get better each time. It’s clear to see they are more than worthy of playing on a wider scale to a larger audience.

With slick hair, scouse accents and mysterious yet alluring vocals, Red Rum Club are ready for the big-time.

Sweet, sweet Magic Gang. These Brighton boys faultlessly impressed their glittery crowd of fans with their sun-kissed indie music, magically coated with sprinkles of melodic guitar-riffs and heavenly harmonies.

They were in the perfect location for their floaty music, at the picturesque Folk Forest stage which had wonderfully stunning aesthetics that ranged from cute little fairy lights to humongous towering flowers.

Being a dedicated, somewhat obsessive, Beatles fan, I felt obliged to go and give the Sheffield’s Sgt Pepper’s Project a listen. And what better time to do this than following the iconic album’s 50th anniversary?

What these fellow Sheffielders delivered on Sunday at Folk Forest was nothing short of mind-blowingly ingenious. I was absolutely astonished with what they managed to produce on that stage.

The 28-piece orchestra delivered each song of the classic album surprisingly and extraordinarily accurately. It was so accurate that you could even close your eyes and believe that you were listening to the original finished recordings. That’s how good it was.

It is a ridiculous amount of talent that this group have; to be able to perfectly perform those perplexing musical voyages live on stage – with no mistakes – deserves some sort of royal award, especially if you consider that the songs they’re mirroring took the Beatles, 4 of the highest-acclaimed musicians ever, many hours of studio recording and technical editing in order to achieve what eventually made the album.

From the psychedelic melodies of Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite to the famous orchestral climax of A Day in the Life, Sheffield’s Sgt Pepper’s project did this album proud with a magnificently impressive performance.

So, those were my highlights of this year’s memorable Tramlines Festival. It really did have everything; brutal mosh-pits, bin-bag coats and of course, lots of mud and rain. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

James Lawson X


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