As a Yorkshireman, there’s nothing I look forward to more during the summer festival season than Tramlines Festival in Sheffield. Set in the shadow of Hillsborough Stadium, the festival, now 11 years old, hosts some of the UK’s best talent from yesterday, today and importantly tomorrow. Halfway 2 Nowhere always looks forward to the big acts, but this year’s event showcased some of the best talent that will be headlining festivals like this in the not so distant future. With no problems, excellent food and bars, the weekend was thoroughly enjoyable throughout – here’s our review of the music that was on show at 2019’s event!
H2N Live: HHHHH Unreal HHHH Excellent HHH Great HH Met Expectations H Poor
Main Stage – Friday – Sunday
The Nulty Main Stage, named after the late Tramlines organiser who died prior to 2018’s festival, held a real host of diverse talent at this year’s event. From Manic Street Preachers (HHHH) to the Everly Pregnant Brothers (HH) the stage had something for everyone. Friday saw Sea Girls (HHHH) take to the stage to perform a hit-packed set including singles “Too Much Fun”, “Closer” and “Open Up Your Head”. The band are on a hell of a rise at the moment and are playing festivals up and down the country this summer bringing their happy, sounds to adoring fans. Vocalist Henry Camamile is endearing and easy to watch and his vocals were the stand out. The crowd were receptive and it was a great, memorable festival set.
Saturday’s Main Stage highlight came from our boys Oddity Road (HHH) who were, at the time, competing in our Twitter competition to be names best act at Tramlines against Red Rum Club in the final. They unfortunately missed out and finished second but their set was far from second rate. Blasting through a banger filled set including new track, BBC1 played, “Why Am I Like This” and crowd favourite “All Again” the band, which are sort of Sheffield based, felt at home on the Tramlines stage having played the fringe previously. This band will be ones to watch in 2020 so we recommend catching them on their upcoming November tour if you can, available here.
Sunday saw Lewis Capaldi (HH) hit the stage but with him competing with the legendary Peter Hook and the Light for sound we swiftly headed away from Main Stage. The final day’s top performance came from Marsicans (HHH) who epitomise the word “summer” and fully embody what it means to do a killer festival performance. From recent single “Your Eyes” right through to “Pop-Ups” the Leeds band performed with high energy and bags of fun whilst sticking right to their incredibly musical roots providing really enjoyable Sunday listening. Great band, top tunes, big future ahead for sure.
T’other Stage – Saturday
Much of our Saturday was spent up at T’other stage which this year, had a lineup that had clearly been curated by those who love music. Three bands that stood out though on the day were Anteros (HHHH), Casey Lowry (HHH) and Jade Bird (HHHHH).
We stumbled upon Casey just after listening to the Oddity Road guys and were extremely surprised with the voice that hit us walking into the tent. Casey’s tone is one I’d not heard before and the depth of his songwriting was really impressive at such a young age. Set highlight “Trampoline” was clearly a fan fave and he looked genuinely honoured that so many people had shown up to see him, a humility not often seen in young artists today; I cannot wait to see him again very soon.
Up next was Anteros a band I listen to frequently on track, but still hadn’t seen live somehow. The London indie band released their debut earlier in the year and you could tell from the rowdy Tramlines crowd, the eleven track record has gone down very well within the fanbase. Laura Hayden has a presence that is unrivalled currently in their genre but what really stands out is the maturity and musical ability that is gleaming from every orifice of this four-piece. With only one record out, Anteros already have a catalogue of outstanding tunes to choose a live set from and I predict they will only get better in 2020 and beyond.
One of the performances of the weekend came from Jade Bird, an artist that has been championed by Radio X and Absolute Radio and her live set at Tramlines 2019, proved exactly why there is so much hype around her presently. With her self-titled debut album released earlier in 2019, Jade has already amassed over 40 million streams across her tracks on Spotify. Including “Lottery” and “What Am I Here For”, Jade has formed a unique sound that when combined with her infectious live energy makes for addictive viewing. She has a charm that complements her real vocal power and at such a young age to challenge the topics she does through her music, suggests she is going to become a powerhouse in British music in years to come.
Library Stage – Friday / Sunday
The first thing we look for when summer festival lineups are complete, is which artists This Feeling have chosen to represent their stages. This year’s Tramlines Library Stage curated by those legends provided four of the most exceptional bands of the entire weekend kicking off with Himalayas (HHH). The welsh wizards have seriously gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months since the release of “If I Tell You” and their Tramlines set certainly carried on that trajectory. Firing through their killer hits including highlight “Thank God I’m Not You”, the Cardiff band played to a strong crowd and were one of the real standouts on this stage.
The Friday night headliner the majority of Sheffield ehaded to was Two Door Cinema Club (HHH) a band that we caught three tracks of and the guys created a bloody earthquake it was that good! But…there was only one band for us to end the evening, Red Rum Club (HHHHH), the artist of the weekend by some distance. Whilst most of Sheffield were indeed over at the main stage at least 2500 had made their way to watch the six-piece by the end of their 45 minute set. I have run out of superlatives for this band (and I also need to write a Y Not review..) – they just impress me more and more with each performance. This being the fifth time seeing them in the space of a few months, you’d expect to get a little bored of the same record being played, but this just isn’t the case. Set highlights included Alone Together and Honey and the Sheffield crowd have a new favourite band to look out for on tour runs for the next few years!
Sunday saw Man and the Echo (HHH) and October Drift (HHH+) take to the Library stage in two very contrasting sets. Man and the Echo performed a large chunk of their hotly anticipated new record which went down very well with the chilled Sunday afternoon crowd – it wasn’t until set closer “I Don’t Give A Fuck What You Reckon” that the audience really got going and a few more from the back catalogue might have been welcomed but a top set nevertheless and we cannot wait for the new record to come out.
Now it’s probably a little harsh to have only given the October Drift lads a HHH+ rating but the quality of a crowd does determine a gig in a lot of ways and given they had the worst clash of the weekend, up against Lewis Capaldi, it certainly was not their fault it was a little thin on the ground. That being said, the intensity with which they performed highlighted the quality and professionalism of the band as they played as if 30000 were watching. Brand new track Losing My Touch is the set showcase as proven also at Y Not Festival last weekend but it’s the legendary Cherry Red that impressed the most as always! Love this band and credit to lead singer Kiran Roy for still getting in and amongst the crowd regardless of its size.
Tramlines 2019 was a categorical success from the organisation, to the Camden Beer Bar and of course the plethora of artist talent on offer. See you in 2020!
Image Credit: Fanatic – 2019