As a veteran of nine Leeds festivals and seven Tramlines you would think that I would be experienced and adept at festival decadence. As I sit here a broken man it is clear that I still have a lot to learn…
Tramlines is made up of three brilliant and very disparate stages. Ponderosa Park hosts the main stage, Devonshire Green is the more chilled out second space and Endcliffe Park is home to the Folk Forest. It was at the ridiculously middle class Folk Forest that we found ourselves on Sunday. Sheffield’s Sgt Pepper Project is a group of 30 musicians taking in string, brass and much more, that brings to life the classic Beatles album on it’s 50th anniversary. It was the perfect start to the day as most of the iconic record was covered in front of a massive crowd.
Folk Forest isn’t just a stage. It has loads of food places, bars and various stalls and shops. Bizarrely, you can even have blacksmith lessons or receive a nice festival massage. We had a bit of a gap until Loyle Carner so we spent that time doing the only thing we knew how. Sitting in the grass drinking cider and talking about how much of a great time we were having.
After trying in vain to identify the Buskers Bus that supposedly runs between stages (I’ve literally never seen it) we resigned ourselves to yet another taxi and made our way to the main stage for the London rapper Loyle Carner. As I am probably the whitest white man in South Yorkshire I am not an expert in the British hip hop scene but I had heard Carner on BBC 6music and he caught my ear. I was not disappointed as he delivered a warm and eloquent set of breezy, likeable hip hop. His stage set is basically a living room and that relaxed vibe also manifests in Carner’s music. Overall he seems like a thoroughly nice chap.
By the time Carner wrapped up with the excellent ‘No CD’ I was once again drunk. I know this because I was shouting about The Crookes and talking to random people based on what T-shirt they were wearing. The walk to Devonshire Green for The Big Moon is a bit hazy but the bands performance will live long in the memory. The London four piece have released one of the albums of the year in Love in the 4th Dimension and they played all the best cuts from that interspersed with a stunning cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’. What strikes me most about The Big Moon is how much fun they seem to be having. They bring the party and all four of them looked like they were loving every minute of their well received Tramlines set. ‘Cupid’ and ‘Formidable’ are hooky, melodic and exciting but it is final song ‘Sucker’ that really brings the house down.
By the time we arrived back at Ponderosa Park for the final time to watch Metronomy I was, for want of a better word, leathered. I had forgotten just how many great songs Metronomy have and everyone was dancing and hugging along to the music. Actually… on reflection maybe it was just me that was doing that, it’s difficult to say. ‘The Bay’ is obviously a classic but it was ‘Night Owl’ that stood out the most for me. The soaring chorus is perfect for a festival and the band played it note perfectly. Again, it was clear that Metronomy still love playing live and that energy was infectious.
At some point within that time period we spent a fair bit of time in a cracking little pub called Red Deer in which there was a fella called Will Servers playing some acoustic numbers that sounded pretty good but other than that there isn’t much I can say with any degree of certainty. The night ended in a flurry of pizza, Dr Dre and dancing. Time to start mentally preparing myself for next year…