WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR
W/ Madness, The Wombats, Yard Act, The Coral, Goa Express, Elvana
and many more!!
I could tell walking into the Tramlines showground on the Sunday it was going to be a big day, even if the weather didn’t look like it was going to be great. Overcast and on and off drizzling rain, I arrived early doors, the festival was already in full swing. You know when you feel you are late to a party? That taste of festival excitement and anticipation was already hanging in the air.
After having to miss the first couple of days, I was excited to be at Tramlines for a least one day, and it was going to be big. How could it not be? Madness, The Wombats, Yard Act, The Coral, The Goa Express, Elvana to name just a few.
My first port of call was The Leadmill Stage named after the iconic Sheffield Venue, for FELL. This band has been picked to play by “Far Out Magazine” through the competition “Apply To Play” and on this showing I can understand why.
(The Leadmill is an Iconic Venue, and its under threat, some of the biggest bands to come out of Britain have played there Oasis, Blur, Pulp, and many many more, lets do our best to stop this happening, please click the link and sign the petition HERE thank you)
FELL are Nicolas Burrows, Jon Rulton, Matt de Kersaint Giraudeau and Dav Shiel and they play their own unique blend of folk pop, jangly guitars, seaside organ and wispy intimate vocals, a very nice start to the day.
A quick walk across the festival and I was at the Sarah Nulty main stage for Luxury Goods. Hailing from Sheffield, even though lead singer Leaonie originates from Denmark. Luxury Goods brought their A game with them; alternative pop with synths, melodic guitars, all backed up by Leonie’s powerfully distinctive vocals. In parts they did remind me of Kate Bush and that was not just because they did an exceptional cover of “Running Up That Hill”!!
I hung around at the main stage to catch the next band, the brilliant Liverpudlian Indie kings The Coral. I do love this band! Brilliant song-writing, performed by a band that are incredibly in sync with each other. Songs like “In The Morning”, “Pass It On” and “Dreaming Of You” are timeless and sit beautifully with tracks from their recent number 1 album “Coral Island”. And even though it was raining and cloudy it still felt like sunshine.
Back at the Leadmill stage, it was time for a band that a lot of people seem to be talking about right now – Glasgow’s post punk quartet “Dead Pony”. Comprising of Anna Shields, Blair Crichton, Liam Adams and Aidan McAllister, they were brilliantly energetic as they ripped up the Leadmill stage, even though they seemed to have been tagged with the post punk label, there was more than a big helping of 90’s grunge mixed in. Pumping bass, squealing guitars and a talented singer in Anna Shields, who has the perfect voice to set it all off.
Up next on the main stage are Sports Team and I made sure I was there for this one! With their swooping guitars and rattling drums, they are the finest purveyors of post punk with songs that rip and sizzle. Enigmatic front man, Alex Rice ties it all together like a ring master. I loved their set, defo one of my favourite bands of the day.
The next band I was going to check out were The Goa Express. A band I have had on my radar for quite some time, and they didn’t disappoint. Their brand of breezy Brit pop and inspired indie garage rock, is brilliantly anthemic, with razor sharp vocals, catchy melodies, soaring choruses all wrapped up in perfectly constructed pop songs. They had the mid-afternoon crowd all blissed out, singing, and swaying along.
My first trip to T’Other Stage was for something really special, Elvana, a band who basically play and looks like an Elvis Presley cover band, but, and here is the kicker, they cover Nirvana songs. Yep Elvis meets Nirvana. Does it work? I hear you cry! Oh yes people, it most certainly does. This is pure entertainment, that wouldn’t look lost on a stage in Las Vegas. I guess when you are doing something like blending the king of rock and roll with the king of grunge, it could go to the horrible end of cheese and high camp, so balance is the key and Elvana have that balance spot on, mixing and mashing songs together brilliantly, Yes impersonator Elvis doesn’t really sound like Elvis, even admits he doeasn’t sound like Elvis, or even attempts to. This doesn’t seem to bother him one bit, or the packed out big top, great fun!!! This is what is so great about festivals – you can check out crazy stuff like this and be pleasantly surprised!
As Beer O’clock struck, it was the perfect time to head to the main stage for another Liverpudlian band, the effervescent The Wombats. Showcasing their brilliant back catalogue whilst leaning heavily on their new long-player “Fix Yourself, Not The World”, The Wombats take classic pop sensibilities, indie values, sonic guitars, giving it all a good shake and voilà, pop perfection. There are bits of The Cure, there are touches of Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem, but it is Wombats, through and through. This band have the brilliant art of writing slightly dark and introspective lyrics but, at the same time, truly uplifting indie pop in the way that The Smiths did to perfection. If there was a house, they brought it down tonight, which demonstrates that, after all this time, this band shows no signs of slowing down or losing the knack for clever pop-smithery. And you know what? They are even bigger now than they have ever been.
Yard Act were up next, on the Leadmill Stage. I have seen Yard Act a few time lately and every time I see them they just get better and better, and today was no exception, Yard Act hail from Leeds, comprising James Smith (vocals, lyrics), Ryan Needham (bass), Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums). Their debut album ‘The Overload’ was released on 21 January 2022 and debutd at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. Think of them as post-punk indie, and like an evangelist frontman James Smith stalks the stage, preaching his rhetoric to the hordes of followers gathered in front of him. He is such an enigmatic frontman, as he gives his sermon to the gathered congregation in front of him. Backed up by the sharp math driven guitar work of Sam Shjipstone, the unembellished groove of the bass and drums, it was hypnotizing; the crowd hanging on to his every word. It’s The Fall, it’s Dr John Cooper Clarke, and it’s Talking Heads. All through the gig, James Smith engages effortlessly with the crowd. Funny, witty and sharp as a razor, Smith’s energy is contagious. he may be the focal point of everyone’s attention, but that would be undervaluing the rest of his bandmates. Yard Act are the sum of all their parts, bassist Ryan Needham, drummer Jay Russell and guitarist Sam Shjipstone are tight and on point from start to finish.
Madness, Madness, Madness they call it Madness and it was time for the legendary Nutty Boys to bring us their unique take of on Ska. What can you say about Madness that hasn’t been said before? A band that can play for over an hour with every song being a classic hit, that in itself is mighty impressive, and the hits came one after another, “My Girl”, “Shut Up”, “One Step Beyond”, “House Of Fun”, “The Prince”, “Baggy Trousers” and the list goes on and on. These days, rather than being the Nutty Boys, I would personally call them the London Gents, dressed in their spectacularly tailored suits and trilby hats, this band showed why they are still playing sold out venues all over the world. Unbelievably tight and completely relaxed at all times, comfortable banter with the audience, everything from politics to The Spice Girls, this band is a national treasure and I for one hope they play for ever.
1/ ONE STEP BEYOND
3/ THE PRINCE
5/ MY GIRL
6/ TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
7/ THE SUN AND RAIN
8/ WINGS OF A DOVE
9/ RETURN OF THE LOS PALMAS 7
11/ IF I GO MAD
12/ SHUT UP
13/ BED AND BREAKFAST MAN
14/ MR APPLES
15/ DON’T YOU WANT ME (Human League Cover)
16/ HOUSE OF FUN
17/ BAGGY TROUSERS
18/ OUR HOUSE
19/ IT MUST BE LOVE
21/ NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO
And that was it, my one day at Tramlines was done, but before I finish I need to do a shout out to the organisers of Tramlines. What and amazing job they did, a weekend of music that was well thought-out, providing 3 nights of entertainment with something for everyone. Plenty of bars, loads of toilets, more than enough places to grab something to eat, fairground rides and so much more, the staff were polite and friendly. The whole event ran like a well-oiled machine and it was just a pleasure to be there, WELL DONE TRAMLINES!!!
FOLLOW YARD ACT
FOLLOW THE WOMBATS
FOLLOW THE GOA EXPRESS
FOLLOW SPORTS TEAM
FOLLOW DEAD PONY
FOLLOW THE CORAL
FOLLOW LUXURY GOODS