Tramlines 2014 – Day One

Friday 25th July 2014

Braver Than Fiction

Opening up with the prestigious 7pm slot at the Leadmill, Braver Than Fiction are mostly Sheffielders.

The songs show a variety of styles. There’s hints of the Stranglers on a couple of songs, with the organ heavily to the fore and the guitar used as a tool (oh behave!) rather than an end in itself. When the guitarist does solo, its funky and tuneful rather than rocking out with yer cock out, which is just fine by me, don’t get me started on bleeding guitarists.

Braver Than Fiction are incredibly tight musically, that’s all covered. Looking forward to seeing which direction they go in as their sound coalesces. Deffo a band to watch.

Influences? The band themselves mention “the grotesque glamour of Tom Waits” which is a fine thing to aspire to in moderation but the other comparison to the “dysfunctional family” of Fleetwood Mac is an interesting one, and to the fore on this track

Cut Ribbons

I’d heard the single “In The Rain” from Llanelli’s Cut Ribbons as well as a couple of other tracks. Thought they’d be pleasant enough.

Oh man, did I underrate them.

Absurdly danceable, gorgeous melodies and some great boy-girl vocals from with Anna Griffiths’ breath chanteuse counterpointed beautifully by some extremely high almost choirboy notes hit by male singer/guitarist Aled Jones – sorry, Aled Rees.

Just noticed they’re playing Long Division in Wakefield over the weekend of the 12th/13th August, which should be good.

On the long walk from the Leadmill to the Harley I heard snippets of Toddla T Sound from the main stage, which I wasn’t too sure about, and I managed to catch one song by psychobilly two-piece Death Rays Of Ardzilla which intrigued me.

Cholombian

I really love Cholombian’s dreamy soundscapes and will definitely seek him out again live – he does a really good job of transferring it from the bedroom to the live setting, but it seems not too many people in the early evening crowd at the Harley agree as they’re chatting as though at a cocktail party. This is a bloody shame – yeah, it works as background music but you get so much more from it by immersing yourself. Shame on you, young people, I know you’re all waiting for much-hyped London boy East India Youth but there’s some great music, made by a local Sheffielder, right there in front of you. Embrace and enjoy.

Back to the Forum via the excellent Betty’s Chip Shop where my British Sea Power “Heron Addict” T-shirt causes hilarity. “I thought it said you were a heroin addict”. Not a bad idea if you do want to break any addiction I guess. “I am an addict, do not offer me drugs”. “I am a fat bastard, do not sell me chips”

Walking back past the main stage area I caught a brief glimpse of Katy B. I knew it was Katy B cos it said “Katy B” in bloody great big letters above the stage.Sounded OK if you like that sort of thing and she’s a Palace fan so is therefore Fine By Me.

Arrows Of Love

A bonus late addition to the festerval line-up. Last time I saw Arrows Of Love they were headlining Xoyo in London, and played a long, blistering set which was so loud it finally persuaded me to start wearing earplugs at gigs. They’re not as loud tonight but it’s even more intense as they play a stripped-down thirty minutes.

Visually absolutely stunning, aurally tight, brash and very very loud, I was flagging a bit before their set (and when I say “flagging” I mean falling asleep in a corner) but Jesus, they woke me up, big time.

Bang Bang Romeo

I’d heard the We Were Born EP by this band and was intrigued, and their set at not only did not disappoint, it was a revelation.

If you say a band is influenced by sixties music it usually means one of two things, either a Beatles / Small Faces jangly guitar band or an indie girl band with ironic girl group vocals.

Bang Bang Romeo are neither. Their music has the dramatic rise and fall of an old film soundtrack coupled with huge in-yer-face vocals from excellent singer Anastasia Walker. I’d say she reminded me of Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and there’s certainly the odd nod to Airplane’s sound, but she has better frontwoman skills, really engaging with the crowd at a packed Frog & Parrot.

I urge you to see this band. I could go on for hours about them and I probably will some day soon. This is the moody and atmospheric “Carnival”, a Bond theme waiting to happen.

Troumaca

Managed to grab a brief power nap while waiting for these to come on. Got to that stage in life where I’m like a baby and can sleep anywhere, the louder the better in fact.

Brilliant set from Birmingham’s Troumaca. I’m slightly lost for reference points but there’s three-part gospelly harmonies over African-tinged guitars complex, insistent beats from live drums and what seems to be programmed basslines, with big keyboard washes and appropriate plinky-plonky bits. They really got the midnight crowd at the Forum moving.

An excellent, unexpected find to complete a great first day of the festerval. I was going to stay for theFamily? Certainly in terms of band members getting their cocks out on stage) but since I had already forgotten where I had parked I thought I’d better go look for the car.

You can download the podcast here :

Beat City 31 Tramlines Special

Saturday’s highlights for me should include Esben & The Witch, Her Name Is Calla, Liz Green and a Sister Sledge metal tribute band called Sister Sludge.t

I swear I am not making this up. Review to come. Watch this space.

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