A great way to see out the year…
Fresh from recent single ‘Ready for the Magic’ being used on Sky Sports football highlights, Scottish due Honeyblood arrived at Sheffield venue Bungalows & Bears in the mood to party. A packed to the rafters venue was happy to oblige them. Before Stine Tweedale and Cat Myers stormed the stage, support band Eat Fast made an almighty racket that served as an odd precursor to the more melodic headline act. The band formerly known as ‘EAT’ channelled early Cribs at their best but a set plagued with sound issues did little to endear the band to the Sheffield crowd. One to watch for the future though perhaps.
I awoke on day 3 of Tramlines in a red hot flat in Sheffield on a really uncomfortable airbed with a stinking hangover. Rather than feeling excited for another day of music, I found my only desire was to drink milkshake and weep uncontrollably until nightfall. As the morning progressed however I buoyed myself and I arrived back in Sheffield around 2pm ready to give Tramlines the send off she deserves.
Day 2 kicked off with a sweet taste of home as my fellow Doncastrians Ginger Tom tackled the Tramlines main stage. Bizarrely, this was my first time seeing Ginger Tom and their breezy brand of indie pop was perfect for a summer festival. Up next were Northern indie rock band Little Comets. The Tyne and Wear band were, for want of a better word, shit. A set weighed down by songs from their most recent album left the crowd restless and even cuts from their first and best album lacked energy and spark. They have essentially become a Paul Simon cover band, and nobody wants that.
Dandy Warhols are a band that are hard to pin down. Underground heroes but stadium rockers. Resolutely musically ambitious but a pop band. This makes for a confusing live experience. After support band Dark Horses won over a sizeable crowd with their atmospheric psychedelic sound the Dandy’s strode on to the stage with little fanfare.
After opening with ethereal slow burner ‘Mohammed’ it wasn’t until ‘Get Off’ kicked in two tracks later that the Sheffield crowd responded. Frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor had the vocals mixed lower than usual and was singing into two microphones, each with a slightly different sound. This worked well for the slower numbers like ‘Mohammed’ and the superb performance of ‘I Love You’ but for the more upbeat songs like ‘Get Off’ and ‘Bohemian Like You’ Taylor-Taylor’s vocals were lost amidst the playing of the rest of the band. Having said that the rhythm section sounded great throughout with keyboardist Zia McCabe playing at least five instruments and looking cool as shit with each one and guitarist Peter Holmstrom appearing every inch a rock star.
One thing that the Dandy’s aren’t interested in is crowd interaction. For a band who showed in the superb documentary Dig! that they are articulate and opinionated it was disappointing that Taylor-Taylor barely mumbled a ‘thank you’ between songs and along with his band mates gave no indication whether they themselves were enjoying the gig.
Following a pounding performance of ‘We Used To Be Friends’ (lapped up by the South Yorkshire crowd) and a mass sing along for ‘Godless’ the stage was set for a show stopping finale. Excitement reached fever pitch following a rapturously received rendition of ‘Boys Better’… and then the curtain fell, the lights came on and despite pleas from the audience there was to be no encore. No ‘Everyday Should Be A Holiday’ or ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’.
Dandy Warhols at Sheffield Leadmill were frustrating, brilliant, abrasive and crucially never boring. There is something quite refreshing about a band that are comfortable doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Never change Dandy’s.
Love letter to Sheffield that also features Pulp.
I was expecting Florian Habicht’s long awaited Pulp documentary to be a history of the band in the classic music documentary style but it is actually more of a concert movie than a linear story. Interviews with all the members of Pulp are interspersed with footage of their triumphant live return to Sheffield in 2012.
While front man Jarvis Cocker has always appeared candid in interviews, he is also controlled and guarded about certain subjects and the interviews here offer nothing we haven’t heard before but as always Jarvis comes across as warm, intelligent and funny. Arguably more illuminating are interviews with the lesser known members of the band with keyboardist Candida Doyle and guitarist Mark Webber particularly interesting.
Sharing almost as much screen time with the Sheffield five piece are the people of Sheffield themselves with extensive interviews with some of the most gloriously Yorkshire folk captured on film since Kes, as well as beautifully edited shots of Sheffield itself.
While the dark period of the recording of This is Hardcore is only briefly mentioned, the live performance of the title track is electrifying, indeed all the live footage captured from Sheffield arena is really high quality and contains numerous goose bump inducing moments with every song greeted with massive enthusiasm from the adoring Sheffield crowd.
If you were expecting a Montage of Heck style warts and all expose of Pulp with this documentary you might be disappointed but part of both Pulp and Jarvis Cocker’s appeal is the air of enigmatic mystery juxtaposed with seemingly autobiographical lyrics and A film about life, death and supermarkets fits the bands curious narrative perfectly.