Perfect weekend at Tramlines

Hillsborough Park, Sheffield.
July 19th-21st 2019.

Review by Joanne Marsland

Photos by Philip Goddard

Having arrived a little later than anticipated on the Friday at least I was in plenty of time to see The Manic Street Preachers hit the main stage, a band that never disappoints. At a festival you are guaranteed all their best hits and boy did you get them. Motorcycle Emptiness, You Stole The Sun From My Heart, You Love Us, Everything Must Go, No Surface All Feeling and A Design For Life to name but a few.

This was just a snippet of what these Welsh legends are capable of and I would strongly recommend seeing them at a stadium gig to get the full experience, they surprised us all by playing Guns N Roses hit Sweet Child O’ Mine which highlighted James Dean Bradfields guitar skills.

The headliners following were Northern Irelands Two Door Cinema Club and I will admit that I was not familiar with them before Friday night so didn’t know what to expect. They were certainly popular with this massive crowd and after a few songs and trying to suss their style out I was starting to really enjoy them.

They could be described as electro indie pop which brings the 80’s into the modern day but the fashion hasn’t changed, bright suits and polo necks a plenty.

The band are charismatic and the show they put on had me dancing on the front row, a little crushed, but having great fun.
Day 2 started at The Library Stage, which isn’t as boring as it sounds, especially with Saturdays opening band Hands Off Gretel.

This grunge punk rock band is fronted by the talented Lauren Tate who is accompanied by Sam, Sean and Becky and what a way to start the day, full of energy and enthusiasm, maybe too much if you’ve seen the footage of Sean’s mishap but like a true pro he carried on playing.

Their recent album, I Want The World, is definitely worth a listen, with songs like S.A.S.S and Milk getting a great reception from the crowd.
Unfortunately I only caught half the set as they clashed with Oddity Road on the main stage so I had to split my time between them. Local bands have an advantage in this loyal city of Sheffield, not that these lads needed it because they sounded great and played out of their skins, singer Jack even asked for his English teachers approval on his lyrics which I assume he got.
Another Sheffield band which cannot fail to entertain are The Everly Pregnant Brothers and what a crowd they got. This ukulele parody band really get the crowd involved and its just a whole lotta fun from start to finish, I’m pretty sure I will always be singing No Oven, No Pie instead of No Woman, No Cry from now on. Laura from Reverend And The Makers made an appearance too for Don’t Tha Want Me Baby, Reet Yorkshire it was. Keep the kids ears covered though as swearing is inevitable.
As well as all the fantastic music there are other things going on too at Tramlines. There are some funfair rides, plenty of food stalls, bars, tents selling merch, clothes and anything else you may need at a festival. We sat on a couple of deckchairs and watched 10 minutes of a movie on a big screen, this is a great area for your little ones to have a rest. On Sunday we even saw a couple of dinosaurs roaming around….

Of course they were real!!
The next act we saw on the main stage was Miles Kane who has a distinctive Liverpool sound but with tiny hints of Sheffield and Manchester in there too,

The Beatles meets The Arctic Monkeys with a Gallagher swagger. Don’t Forget Who You Are is a catchy crowd pleaser.
Now as you may or may not know the main stage has been named in honour of Sarah Nulty, the festivals founder and director, who tragically lost her battle with cancer at 36 shortly before last year’s festival. During the break her brother James sung a moving tribute to her, a song she loved called Laura with added ‘Be More Nulty’ which has become the tramlines motto since her death.

The Reverend And The Makers followed and now the party is on. Singer, John gets the fans bouncing as they play hit after hit, The State Of Things, Open Your Window, Heavyweight Champion Of The World, Shine The Light, Bandits and He Said He Loved Me and then they go nuts for the dance tracks Bassline and Out Of The Shadows, absolutely phenomenal set.
Former Smith’s guitarist, writer and legend Johnny Marr was up next and he was fantastic, definitely exceeded my expectations, charismatic personality and the songs were cool and catchy.

Speaking of cool, headlining this Super Saturday were Manchesters new indie kings, The Courteeners. I very wisely chose to be a wimp and left the front row behind because the enthusiastic crowd went mental for them and although I’m old I’m still too young to die.

What a fantastic end to the day but because the main stage talent was so good Im guessing I missed a lot more talented acts on the other stages too including the very gifted Becky Hill, performing to a massive, ecstatic crowd in the tent.

My Sunday started with the legends that are the Happy Mondays, Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, 24 Hour Party People, Step On, all absolute classics that sent me back to my teens.

Through the day we were treated to some of the best current artists out there at the minute with Lewis Capaldi, Rag’n’bone Man and Tom Grennan, all have exceptional voices and treated us to some of their hits.

Last on stage was the Legend who is Nile Rodgers and Chic. I was treated to a lot of the songs my Mum and Dad played around me in my very early years, what a performance. Not only treated to classic Chic songs but also songs from Nile Rodgers CV which included working with Diana Ross.

Thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend, very family friendly and the town of Hillsborough was very welcoming.

Thank you Tramlines, see you next year.

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Philip Goddard

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