So, it’s here again, Sheffield’s brilliant City Centre festival – Tramlines. With (literally) hundreds of bands to choose from all over the city this coming weekend (24th-26th July), it’s an unenviable choice to pick some things out, but do it we have. With headliners such as Basement Jaxx, Wu-Tang Clan, Martha Reeves, The Buzzcocks and The Sugarhill Gang there’s plenty to go at.
W’ve tried to ignore the obvious big headliners, and to get ten acts to see has meant cutting out plenty of our favourite acts – Slaves, Ghostpoet, Diagrams, Lonelady, Rolo Tomassi, Submotion Orchestra, Kid Wave, Gnod for a start, and DJ’s as well – Gilles Peterson, Roni Size, Erol Alkan, Craig Charles and Romare are all playing over the course of the three days, but hopefully we’ve identified a batch of diverse and brilliant bands and artists to see.
1. Who: The Charlatans – Where: Main Stage – When: Friday 24th, 20:45 – 21:45
Ok, we couldn’t leave out all the headliners, and fresh from kicking Glastonbury off as surprise guests come veteran indie rockers The Charlatans. Despite seemingly having been around forever, they’ve got an incredible cannon of records. That they’re still together and making music is something after the double tragedy of first Rob Collins death in 1996, and then drummer Jon Brookes who died in 2013 from brain cancer, shows both how strong and together they are as a band, and how loved they are by the public. No doubt playing songs from this years Modern Nature album, as well as a plethora of hits, they are ALWAYS good value live. Don’t miss them.
2. Who: Best Friends – Where: Davonshire Green – When: Saturday 25th, 17:00 – 17:30
The Sheffield four piece make deliciously messy indie/garage rock, and have just released a brilliant album, titled Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. When you hear a track like that fantastically euphoric (as well as catchy) Nosebleeds, you know they’re going to be brilliant live, and they are.
3. Who: Ultimate Painting – Where: Cathedral – When: Saturday 25th, 20:30 – 21:15
If you haven’t yet run into Ultimate Painting, essentially what you need to know is that its Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls. After meeting while touring, the pair got their name from the early 60’s Drop City Arts commune (it was also the title of the first song they recorded together) Since then they’ve gone to release a highly regarded Self titled album, support Parquet Courts and tout their lovely mix of indie pop and velvet underground art rock just about everywhere, including on 6Music where they’re just about house band, so often are they played. In the Cathedral, they should be magical.
4. Who: Ceiling Demons – Where: Millennium Gallery When: Saturday 25th, 21:30 – 22:00
On the face of it, Hip-Hop coming from Richmond doesn’t sound that promising. It’s hardly Compton up there, but then again, as Mercury Winners Young Fathers and (maybe to a lesser extent) Ghostpoet have proved over the last couple of years, hip-hop, particularly this side of the Atlantic is less about expectations and more about end product. And anyone that’s listened to their 2013 debut album dual sides will tell you, they have that in spades.
5. Who: Fat White Family – Where: Leadmill – When: Saturday 25th, 22:15 – 23:00
What can you say about the Fat Whites? They’re brilliant, Fall-like funk/punk is as relevant as anything else that’s going on in music at the moment, and they are without doubt the best, and most dangerous live band out there. Likely you’ll see high energy, high spirits and almost certainly genitalia at some point. What’s not to like?
6. Who: Nozinja – Where: Queens Social Club – When: Sunday 26th, 01:00 – 02:00
1. He’s on Warp Records 2. He mixes up a range of styles from his native South African Shangaan, through hip-hop, techno, electro and everything else. 3. His new album (out now) Nojinza Lodge is unfeasibly brilliant. 4. Look at him, those who don’t want to be him, don’t want to mess with him. Isn’t that something you never thought you’d see in the Queens Social Club?
7. Who: Lo Shea – Where: Hope Works – When: Sunday 26th, 03:00 – 05:00
Yeah, its late – well, technically early. But you know, if you can party hard (or have a baby who doesn’t sleep maybe) then Hope Works is the place to be. It was a difficult one , with (backseat mafia hero) Giles Peterson on just before at the foundry (0:00 – 01:30) with A Guy Called Gerald following on (1:30 – 3:30) but we’ve gone for Sheffield DJ/Label Owner/Venue Owner (he’s on at his own place) Lo Shea, who is always ready to run into the light, guns blazing. Which, in effect, is what he’ll be doing.
8. Who: GoGo Penguin – Where: Folk Forest – When: Sunday 26th, 17:15 – 18:15
Their Mercury nomination might have come out of nowhere, but if you’ve listened to the brilliant v2.0 then you’ll know that it was fully deserved. The setting down at the Folk Forest should be the perfect setting for their hypnotic Jazz soundscapes. The future sound of the trio 2015-style.
9. Who: Billy Bragg – Where: Leadmill – When: Sunday 26th, 21.45 – 23.00
Ok, so he’s one of the big names on the bill, but this one is all about me, not you – ok? From listening under the covers to songs from his first album on the john peel show, to saving my pocket money to buy that said album, through to periods where both Brewing Up with and Talking with the Taxman almost totally consumed my listening right through to his equally brilliant recent albums, the Bard of Barking is, in my humble opinion, one of the great English songwriters. But I missed him. I missed a train which meant I missed him for the first time in Derby when I was about 17, and for one reason or another I’ve missed him ever since. So, you can bet i’ll be there for this. And, just to make sure I get in, can all of you PLEASE GO ELSEWHERE.
10. Who Ghost Culture – Where: The Harley – When: Sunday 26th, 23.20 – 01:30
What better way to finish the weekend than heading up to The Harley for Ghost Culture, aka James Greenwood, who skirts round the shadows of the dancefllor, somewhere between the night and the morning making records that – judging by his self titled debut that dropped at the beginning of the year, are frankly brilliant. Expect his DJ set to be more of the same.
So there you have it. Not many headliners, and if the truth be told, I could have made a case for just about anyone. The Tramlines team have done a brilliant job in pulling together a fantastic line-up. If you’ve not got a ticket (they’re all gone, apart from Saturday, check the website on that) then get yourself to the fringe, where there’s some great bands on in some of the bars in town – Justin Robertson, Adult Jazz, Desperate Journalist, Sex Hands, Slow Readers Club, The Luka State, Traams, Mugstar, God Damn, Kagoule, Steel Trees, I Set the Sea on Fire and Bad for Lazarus are all on, gratis, somewhere in town on Saturday.
Check the website, and see you there.