21 July 2023 (gig)
24 July 2023
With the news channels full to the brim with stories of record-breaking, inhumane temperatures across Europe, the skies inexplicably opened up in Yorkshire as Sheffield played host to the 15th edition of Tramlines. In true British fashion, Hillsborough Park was soaking for the duration of what was a brilliant weekend of secret sets, career-defining performances and homegrown talent.
Sea Girls were one of the early high points of the Friday with their high-octane, energic live set that has drawn them a cult following. With waterproof macs and ponchos on display throughout the audience, the four-piece are perfectly suited to festivals and now appear truly comfortable on main stages with their distinctive riffs, cathartic choruses and propulsive rhythms.
The same can be said for DMAs. Now well established across Europe, the Aussies have a solid collection of hits to choose from, with the more melodic, acoustic-led numbers taking priority on the festival circuit ahead of the more dance-infused soundscapes on recent album How Many Dreams? The likes of ‘Silver’ and a cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’ gained the wildest responses as the crowd grew more inebriated and wet in equal measure.
Headlining ‘T’Other Stage’ tent later in the night were indie stalwarts Bloc Party and their brand of melodic, high-tempo indie that on this evidence has only grown in intensity since the early days of ‘Silent Alarm’. With Louise Bartle now on drums, there is a vigorous intensity to her playing that made her captivating to watch on a raised platform for a set that borrowed from the entire back catalogue as the crowd never wavered throughout the 60-minute barn-storming set.
Blossoms were a key highlight across the weekend and now fully transformed from the indie-psych purveyors of their earlier days to what is now a well-polished pop outfit. Think the love child of Talking Heads and George Michael with some Abba sprinkled in there and that gives you an idea of what the Stockport-band have evolved into. Throw in some extra instrumentalists, three-inch Cuban heels, silk suits, an array of catchy riffs, funky rhythmic lines, a multitude of sing-along choruses and you have all the makings of a future headline band
Meanwhile, Spector are veterans of the circuit, with charismatic lead singer Fred Macpherson full of self-awareness knowing the crowd were here for the earlier career bangers such as ‘Chevy Thunder’ and they duly obliged. As with most Spector gigs, audience participation became a staple of the show with the singer at one point urging the crowd to raise their hands in order to comedically distinguish the tent’s age range. There was another hilarious moment saved for one of the security guards, who in Macpherson’s words “needed help finding his mud-encrusted pineapple vape.”
With the crowd well and truly drenched at this point, Courteeners made their way onto the main stage for another career-defining headline set. Now six records deep, they continue to deliver a compelling collective experience at every live show, with their rousing, anthemic tunes possessing an enduring appeal for the 40,000 fans in attendance.
Super early bird tickets are now already on sale for Tramlines 2024 (Friday 26th - Sunday 28th July) costing £89.50. Only an extremely limited number of tickets are available at this price from today, Monday 24th July at 6pm from tramlines.org.uk.