Just when you thought the festival market had been saturated, here comes Tramlines; a three-day spectacular across the numerous bars and clubs Sheffield has to offer. Did I mention it was free?
Despite missing most of Friday’s acts, arriving in the steel city at eight sharp-ish, there was just enough time to catch Heebie Jeebies and The Lost Brothers both deliver spirited outings in Bungalows and Bears and The Bowery respectively before Slow Club’s homecoming slot back at the former received a rapturous reception. Showcasing material from their recently released debut Yeah, So it was hard for anyone who has supported them in some form or another over recent years not to leave bursting with glee. They’re finally getting the recognition they have long deserved.
Determined to make the most of a gloriously sunny Saturday, after a few steadies on West Street, and a nosey in the vintage fair, the day started well with Disco Kiss’ blend of indie, dance and disco funk in the Harley. A quick stop in the Frog and Parrot allowed us to stumble across an equally enjoyable outing from The Flying Squad, before heading down to the Stockroom for the set of the day from Johnny Foreigner; their energetic, at times frantic, pace providing a much-needed shot of adrenaline to anyone starting to feel weary. A quick tram ride back up to the Frog, and the hotly tipped Elephant Keys brought the day to dramatic close, with their intense set providing a great start to what was no doubt for many, a BIG Saturday night in the city.
Whilst rain might not be as much as a problem at Tramlines than say at the more rural festivals, due to the morning downpour Sunday had a much sombre feel, with even the main stage on Devonshire green noticeably suffering in attendance. The shelter of The Green Room offered up a fittingly melancholic set from Craig Shields, whilst in contrast, over in The Olive, Sarah Mac produced a wonderfully breezy yet accomplished half hour of her piano based melodies. Across the road in Soyo, Thomas The Brave battled through a set plagued with technical difficulties to deliver a short but charming set of both his solo material, and material from his band Pirouettes, bringing my Tramlines weekend to a gentle close.
Teething problems aside, there’s no doubt Tramlines 2009 will go down as a huge success. Providing something different for the regular punters and a real treat for the gig goers of the city the weekend was the perfect mix of good music and good company, without the queues, extortionate pricing or mud to dampen spirits. I’m already excited for next year, lets hope it makes a bigger and better return in 2010.