Tramlines is massive in Sheffield, dozens of venues and literally hundreds of acts, outside the 5 main stages across 3 days. This free ‘fringe’ is thought by many to be the best part, where you discover new gems and meet lots of cool new people. As a big supporter of new music, I attended ‘Docstage’ over the weekend, where many of my mates and favourite bands were playing, and it’s family friendly in case I needed to take my son. Over the last couple of years, the festival is getting more family friendly and I think this is really important as parents don’t always get the chance to go. Bands on the fringe will include lots of local talent but also bands from far and wide across the UK.
Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire famous for steel, Joe Cocker and Def Leppard, and home to around 600,000 residents. This year was the tenth Tramlines and saw over 30,000 people attend the urban festival. Including the fringe events, I suspect that number will actually be much higher.
Highlights for me on Saturday included Crossfire Eagles, Stand Amongst Giants, The Lost Days, and Firegarden’s 500th gig, the headline for the evening being local legends Santiago Kings.
CROSSFIRE EAGLES are a brand new band, playing just a handful of gigs so far but already getting attention locally. Their set was full of Oasis, Feeder and Foo Fighters covers, and made a cracking piece of Saturday afternoon entertainment. They clearly love their job and do it very well, my only feedback being that I would have liked a couple of originals as this was the first time I’d seen them. Great musicians and a great singer.
Crossfire Eagles are: James Wilson, Tyler Savage, William Simister and Keaton Barker.
STAND AMONGST GIANTS blew me away with their heavy, bluesy set of growling vocal, deep rumbling bass and fantastic guitar with lots of lush solos. This 4-piece from Derbyshire did an impressive
set of originals, including ‘She Devil’, from their self-titled album and they covered Jimi Hendrix! Yes, and they did this very well.
A gorgeous blend of hard rock and bluesy, southern fried from a talented bunch of guys and my new vocal crush – so deep and soulful you just need to join in. I highly recommend you check these guys out.
Featured in the Down The Front Podcast top 50 tracks of the year 2017.
Stand Amongst Giants are: Rob Walker, Ben Boswell, George Sharpe and Stan Tomkinson.
THE LOST DAYS are another group of awesome musicians with a brilliant singer, delivering classics from GnR, Black Sabbath and AC/DC, as well as a little Black Stone Cherry, and plenty of original
This hard rock band from Worksop are gritty and raw but incredibly soulful and melodic, modern rock n roll with no frills that gets the job done. Lots of swagger and a sensual vibe was a great hit with the crowd. The Lost Days have been nominated for 3 awards at the Yorkshire Gig Guide Awards 2018 so get voting.
The Lost Days are: Adam Methven, David Scott Lees, Alex James Methven and Terry Emmerson.
FIREGARDEN performed their 500th show, and one of 5 for them over the event, before they take a break for the summer. Anyone who knows me knows I love these guys. Their talent and energy is
bottomless, and they put on a great show with tracks spanning the last decade of their career and a few covers, including ‘Burn’ by Deep Purple which always goes down a storm.
They will be back after a short break but in the meantime have this message for their friends and followers; “So Tramlines 2018 has come and gone in the blink of an eye and a rub of a sweaty forehead. It's been absolutely awesome this year. Not only have we been shown the most wonderful kindness but the talent on show across the city... my God it’s scary how good EVERYONE is. And I mean EVERYONE! Thank you to all the people who made the effort to follow us around this weekend.”
Firegarden are: Jake Mann, Ashley Tuck and Chris Tiberius Heald
I’m sorry to have missed SANTIAGO KINGS headline the evening; Sheffield’s “dirty rock scoundrels of the highest order", an eclectic 6-piece band who have been around Sheffield's scene for over 6
years. Their influences range from metal to classic rock to latin, I did say they were eclectic.
Fresh from Tramlines 2018 they have released their latest video for 'Heggae' https://youtu.be/KKNJ3bWdHwI
Santiago Kings are: Andy Dean, Luke Roberts, Niall Kingdom, Sam Burgum and Theo Milne-Picken
Saturday's full lineup: The Fever Club, Fallen Mafia, Crossfire Eagles, Stand Amongst Giants, Soul Shredder, The Lost Days, Firegarden, Santiago Kings
Fresh as a daisy(ish), I arrive Sunday making sure I'm in good time to catch Delirium. Other highlights include new-find Ash Palmer, Gretanova, Steal The City and Fear Lies.
DELIRIUM are a supersonic trio of hyperactive but very talented musicians, jokers with a hippy-vibe look who make a lot of noise. Jack Northward is one of my favourite local bass players, he
feels every note and has such a great time on stage that his energy is infectious. They tear through a set of their own material and a few covers, including Backstreet Boys and Salt ‘n’ Pepa's 'Push
They describe themselves as "Chaotic slabs of sweaty psych, injected with childish piquancy, drained of stagnant sludge" and that about sums it up, except to say they are fresh and exciting. Check them out. Still love these guys.
Delirium are: Marc Bernard, Matt Talbot and Jack Northward.
There are a couple of changes from the advertised bill but I'm happy because I got to see and meet with ASH PALMER, a talented indie singer from Manchester. Ash did some tracks from his EP 'The
Only Mod In Manchester', a collection of Britpop-influenced tracks with a cynical/realistic (depends on your viewpoint) view of love; "They told me not to fall for you…"
Ash is a talented songwriter and has a beautifully deep emotive voice, and when his band split he decided to carry on solo, TFFT. Covers included The Verve, Oasis and Stone Roses’ 'I Wanna Be Adored'. He looks like he should be in a Britpop band but he is so much more than that. Seek him out and let me know what you think.
GRETANOVA are a Sheffield-based rock band who mix up melodic and grunge to create a distinctive and highly enjoyable indie-rock sound that many liken to the style of Muse. I saw these guys a while
ago before a couple of lineup changes and they have completely changed (for the better) and gave an electrifying, interactive show including 'Sky Rocket' and 'Get Away'.
They are currently recording their next EP at Ironworks Studio and I for one can't wait to hear it. Ben Moorhouse has a gorgeous voice, and plays a few instruments including trumpet and keyboard, and the musicianship in the band is impressive. Check them out on social media. They give a great performance live and sound awesome.
Gretanova are: Mark Chadwick, Ben Moorhouse, Mark Vincent and Ryan Jones.
Some may remember that I reviewed the debut EP for STEAL THE CITY, but until today, I hadn't seen them perform live. Man, I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was stunned by how professional they
are, how good they sound live, and the tightness of the band dynamic. The band were joking amongst themselves and involving the audience, many obviously were not new to the band, and it was a real
party atmosphere on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
They tore a new one in the makeshift stage, rocking it like the proverbial caravan, delighting us with not only their incredibly catchy songs but also their high-octane performance and contagious humour. I will attend any show I can with these guys in, they were immense. 'Beating Heart' is a real ear-worm for me!
STC are: Sam Bantock, Tom Smith, Joe Hanson and Ellis Bullement.
FEAR LIES, where do I start… I first found these guys a couple or three years ago and loved them from the first verse. Their album 'Elements' is one of the few that actually make it into my car
(and get me to remove Stone Broken now and again) and they have a thunderous and near-iconic sound to get lost in. Fear Lies have a big following in the area and are a slick and talented band who
need more exposure to let people know just how good they are - a support slot on a major UK Tour would be awesome!
They are on fire tonight, their sound filling the humid night air and creeping through the streets seeking new ears. They are slick and professional, highly respected by both fans and fellow musicians and the love is always evident, as it is tonight, as they belt out some old favourites and some new tracks, 'Free Fall', 'Night and Day', 'Showers' (working title) and next single 'Heist', as well as a cover of 'Fortunate Son'. Their signature sound is loud and heavy with a pounding rhythm section, both Ben and Tim on guitars, and the vocals are deliciously deep and throaty. I'm a proud #Fearleader - LOVE these guys and cant wait for more new stuff.
Fear Lies are: Ben Orrah, Dan Eades, Tim McNeill and Jim Hockney.
LIGHT BURNS BLACK are Sunday's headline act, a new hard rock band formed just this year who have been "locked away in the studio since their inception writing and recording". Their debut EP is scheduled to be released in November 2018 with the first single, 'One for Sorrow', out August 2018. Influences include Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. See them at Winter Rocks in Sheffield alongside Steal The City, Stone Broken, Wayward Sons and Skindred.
Light Burns Black are: Connor McGovern, Phil Hackett and Ryan Everton.
Sunday's lineup: Delirium, Green Dolphin, Ash Palmer, Tom Jackson, Gretanova, Steal The City, Fear Lies, Into The Red, and Light Burns Black.