Tramlines 2011: Day 3 Roundup

By on Tuesday, 16th August 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Fortunately, the weather once again holds out on Sunday as thousands of music fans flood into the centre of Sheffield for the last day of Tramlines 2011. By early afternoon, venue capacities become how many people will fit and still be able to get to the bar and the main stage has a steady moving queue. For this reason, I return to the New Music Stage, which today is curated by local screamo/hardcore group Rolo Tomassi. The band have great taste, as the first band I see are Brontide, proper post-rock that appears to convert those present who weren’t already fans. 65daysofstatic are amongst a group of local bands to really bring this genre to the forefront of new rock music so it’s great to see Brontide get such a good billing in the city centre.

Later, London group Three Trapped Tigers also grace this stage but I decide to go for another Tramlines speciality in the form of the Busker Bus. Created and curated by local band Bromheads, the busker bus (crowd shown above) takes punters on a trip across Sheffield (and back) with the benefit of artists playing a gig at the same time. I arrive just in time for today’s special guests, the Everly Pregnant Brothers (photo below). Playing their third set in as many days, the Yorkshire band are comprised of about 10 ukulele and other small instrument-playing middle aged men. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Actually, it’s brilliant and quite refreshing to hear a band play a version of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ with all of their own words, whilst a hundred people crammed onto public transport all “fafafafaafa”-ing along. At the stop, everyone’s off and they manage to out-Sheffield Jarvis Cocker at his own song as the group play ‘Common People’ before going into the pub to play another set whilst the bus riders get back on and back to the centre. Next up on the bus are late additions and ever popular Johnny Foreigner. Playing some quieter tracks ahead of their main stage show later today, ‘I’ll Choose my Side’ is put alongside an as of yet, unnamed track to treat those present.

Upon being returned to the city, I head straight for the main stage. After featuring a selection of pop from Olly Murs and Pixie Lott yesterday, as well as Joshua Radin and Guillemots, today’s line-up is distinctly more electric guitar-friendly. I arrive in time to catch the Phantom Band’s sound make its mark on the city and with dedications to any single-malt drinkers in the crowd (sorry security, you missed my flask), the band bring a slightly synthesized and electric folk blended set of tracks to the main stage. The second and much larger set of Johnny Foreigner’s day comes in replacement of their fallen friends: “to anyone at the back who’s confused, we’re not Frankie and the Heartstrings,” explains front man Alexei. Playing to a crowd the size of “an entire tour” the band (pictured below) play tracks that are nearest to being the ‘hits’ collection and do it well. Scatterings of fans across the crowd appreciate to start, many more are dancing, a little, by the end. Even new song ‘Electricity vs. the Dead’ leaves fans seeming quite happy with the progress the band have made.

It’s the hit makers up next though. The Futureheads bring a set list that’s been tried and tested for months in similar billings to Sheffield and get everyone doing “the bouncy bounce” which is effectively jumping in time, as well as constructing mass sing-alongs for ‘The Beginning of the Twist’ and the ever popular Kate Bush cover of ‘Hounds of Love’. It’s the kind of music festivals like Tramlines exist for.

Not that it stops there though, because this evening’s headliners have even more crowd pleasers. Ash (pictured at the top of this post) open with ‘Girl From Mars’, reminding everyone just what a tour de force they’ve been since day one and now with the added sound of Russell Lissack (Bloc Party member two of my weekend), they’re sounding even more like a band worthy of headlining such an event. Their set features all the expected hits, some recent singles from their ‘A-Z’ project and even covers of ‘Teenage Kicks’ and Weezer’s ‘Only in Dreams’ alongside set and festival closer ‘Burn Baby Burn’. What a way to close a festival!

Tramlines probably should have some sort of limits and caps, but I’m not sure there’s a way to implement that without ruining so much about what makes it incredible. Hundreds of bands playing a mass array of free live music can only be good in my eyes. Until next time, thanks Sheffield.

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