Tramlines, Sheffield’s ‘free for all’ festival opened with a bang. Now in its third year with more bands, artists and venues involved it promised to be bigger and better than ever. From blues to dance to soul to indie to folk to metal in fact any genre you could care to think about there is something for everyone. Tramlines Friday certainly wasn’t a let down. With every inch of the city packed with music lovers, post work drinkers, friends and families there was simply one thing in common, music.
An early start for Steve ‘Papa’ Edwards and the Big Strong Love at the Nokia Unannounced Stage brought early evening sunshine vibes and a gentle haze bringing the weekend in. Ready set and lifted by the smooth sounds fusing soul, reggae and a little bit of ska the vastly growing crowd in Barkers Pool proved it was a sure fire sign that it was going to be a good night.Wandering round the Devonshire Quarter there were queues forming at packed out venues people were obviously in the mood for a good time. Music in its different forms was filling the air wherever you went.
The Forum was packed to the rafters after Pistola Kicks performed and an eager crowd awaiting new ‘super group’ Mercury Rising consisting of Steve Edwards, Jags Kooner and Joe Moskow. From start to finish, well when the crowd actually let them finish, a promoters nightmare it has to be said, they embraced and captured all is what is right with music: unique, entrancing and a total pleasure to watch. It was a shame they had to end their set.
Back down at the Sheffield showcase held on the Nokia Unannounced Stage, ex Long Blondes front-woman Kate Jackson, alongside her band the aptly titled Kate Jackson Group, openly declared her love for the city. Dressed in blue she wrapped herself around the stage enticing her way through the set list. A neat little affair it has to be said, but the night actually belonged to Heaven 17.
Pioneers of electro, Heaven 17 provided a narrative to their set. They didn’t just put Sheffield music on the map, they actually pointed out locations around the city whilst reminiscing on their own history as a band. Playing back to back hits starting with (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing and including Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and Temptation no one cared about the fact it was raining or time was passing quickly it was simply a memorable and enjoyable performance for young and old alike there was drinking, dancing and a whole lot of singing. Heaven 17 have always done their city proud and after their set tonight it was easy to see why, professional and timeless and a great end to the evening in Barkers Pool.
Pretty much every venue was at bursting point with a strict ‘one in one out’ policy, people didn’t seem to mind hanging around in queues. The Drowned in Sound curated night at The Harley was one such venue. Welsh band, Islet were on stage and despite it being positively heaving they managed to find space on the floor to simply go mental. Loud and furious it was a positive end to our night. As bands played on and music was still in the air, it gave encouragement that Saturday would be fruitful in our search for good times and musicalities.