The 1975 live at the O2 Arena Review

The 1975 are currently on their sold out UK Arena tour, their biggest to date, and I got to catch their show on Saturday 19th of January. It was very good.

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After great support sets from Dirty Hit alumni No Rome and Pale Waves, The 1975 took to the stage to a ridiculously loud, and excited o2 Arena that was packed to the brim. As soon as that big screen lit up the crowd were relentlessly noisy through till the last song. Kicking things off with a double helping from their latest album ‘Give Yourself A Try’ and ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ were received as if they were greatest hits.

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Each song had it’s own amazing set of visuals, with the stage morphing and transforming; at one point Matty entered the screen and it became a phone, and a treadmill was in use for a few of the songs alongside massive floating cube screens and some really great backing dancers who added an extra level of spectacle to the show.

The visuals were stunning at times, making the show seem even larger in spectacle than it already was. Opening act No Rome returned for the stage for his recent track that featured The 1975 and even that had got a full visual treatment, dancers and all.

The 1975 played a varied selection of tracks from their 3 albums and a few from their earlier EPs, even being brave enough to play the ambient ‘How To Draw/Petrichor’ from their latest.

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This was a massive show, with amazing visuals and it’s inspiring to see a relatively new band shoot up to this level of production without losing their personality.

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Ash live at Sheffield Leadmill Review

Ash played at the Sheffield Leadmill on Tuesday 16th October, with support from Death by Unga Bunga.

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Death by Unga Bunga

Death by Unga Bunga were one of the most entertaining opening acts I had seen in a while, with non-stop energy throughout their set, while still performing great musically. Check them out if you can.

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Northern Irish rock trio Ash performed a lengthy set, but at no point did they show any signs of drifting off, with even their new album tracks pleasing the crowd.

The earliest highlight for me came in the form of a blistering rendition of ‘Kung-Fu’, and the whole set was filled with hits, reminding me just how many they’ve had over the years, with the likes of ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Angel Interceptor’ all coming thick and fast in the first half of the set.

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This tour is in support of their latest album, ‘Islands’, and while they did play a fair number of new tracks (6), they slotted in perfectly with their greatest hits and fan favourites, especially ‘Confessions In The Pool’ and ‘Did Your Love Burn Out’.

 

Ash put on a memorable performance, and the quality of the whole set is a real testament to just how good they still are. They seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage too, which is the most important thing.

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You can check out all of Ash’s upcoming tour dates here: http://www.ash-official.com/shows/

Gallery:

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Tramlines 2018 Review

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2018 sees Tramlines, Sheffield’s inner-city music festival celebrate it’s 10th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, it moved to Hillsborough Park for what was advertised as ‘Sheffield’s Biggest Ever Party.’ I’d have to agree.

Friday

The one bad thing about Tramlines 2018 was that there were just too many acts I wanted to see! With the likes of The Orielles and Everything Everything playing at the same time I found myself dashing between the stages to catch a bit of everyone.

Kicking things off for me were The Big Moon.

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Playing a selection of top indie bangers from their Mercury nominated debut album alongside a brill cover of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, The Big Moon again proved themselves to be a perfect, energetic live band.

A quick run over to the Leadmill stage for Sheffield locals High Hazels next.DSCN2254.JPG

Pulling in a big crowd for that time of day, High Hazels delivered a very pleasant set of their slick, old-school indie.

Another quick dash from Leadmill to Main stage now for the bold Everything Everything.

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You can always rely on Everything Everything to be a brilliant live act, and during the only rainy spell of the weekend, the lads pulled it off, getting the crowd going with older hits such as ‘Regret’ alongside tracks from their last album ‘A Fever Dream’.

Next up were The Orielles.

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Another Yorkshire act, The Orielles played a very tight, energetic show full of tracks from their debut album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ – if you ever get the chance to catch them live please do as Sid is an amazing drummer.

Friday’s headline act was Stereophonics.

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Kicking things off with their best track in recent years, ‘C’est La Vie’, the Welsh rock legends provided the perfect soundtrack for the Friday sunset, with massive hits like ‘Maybe Tomorrow ‘ and ‘Dakota’ really getting Sheff singing.

Saturday

The second day of Tramlines kicked off earlier, with both music and comedy beginning at around mid day. I saw some great, innovative comedy acts in the Leadmill tent to start my Saturday, including the amazing Foxdog Studios, who got everyone’s phones linked up for an interactive experience, and the hilarious Barbara Nice.

Music-wise, for me first up were Redfaces.

Lighting up the main stage with their fast-paced tunes like ‘Kerosene’ – the Sheffield lads proved they deserved that place on a big stage, and they owned it.

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After that, I nipped over to the Library Stage to catch Self Esteem, the solo project of Rebecca Taylor, formerly of Slow Club.

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Rebecca and her band put on a great show, with songs such as ‘Your Wife’ being a perfect Saturday afternoon soundtrack, with the weather slowly getting hotter and hotter.

Next up were Sheffield legends Reverend and the Makers, who had the rowdiest crowd of the weekend, and for good reason.

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From the get go, Jon and Co got the crowd bouncing, and I mean the entire park was shaking, with massive tunes like ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ and ‘Bassline’ really kicking things off, with people of all ages going for it.

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Saturday was a big indie night out, with Blossoms next up on the Main Stage.

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From their first track, ‘At Most A Kiss’, the Stockport favourites played a blinder of a set filled with crowdpleasers from their first two albums, and the irresistible ‘Charlamagne’ got the crowd nicely warmed up for Saturday’s headliner.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were the closing act for the Tramlines 2018 Saturday.

DSCN3257.JPG While I was obviously excited for Noel, he really surpassed my expectations. He was noticeably really enjoying playing in Sheffield, and his enthusiasm quickly rubbed off on Hillsborough Park, with many a mass sing-a-long to be had. Playing a great mixture of solo and Oasis material, the elder Gallagher really shone on Saturday night.

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Sunday

Sunday for me was all about T’Other stage. Opening up the Tramlines Sunday for me were quick rising Sheff band The Seamonsters.

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Pulling a big crowd for the time of day, the Sheff six piece played a great, energetic set that proved to be the perfect start to the day.

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Next up was Nina Nesbitt.

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Playing a selection of her recent singles and older tracks as well as teasing some upcoming new tunes, Nina really impressed me with just how good she was live, witha  great vocal performance and stage prescence.

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After Nina were Gengahr.

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Beautifully playing tracks from their first two albums, including fan favourites like ‘She’s A Witch’ and recent hit ‘Carrion’, Gengahr played to a pretty much full T’Other Stage tent on the Sunday afternoon.

Following on from Gengahr were Little Comets.

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Little Comets really had Sheffield dancing with their upbeat indie rock, playing a great, tight set despite being down a member.

Next up, Pale Waves.

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Pale Waves are perhaps the buzziest band in the country at the moment, and they played a set that showed just why they have risen up so quickly, with the tent packed out to see the Manchester band play their indie pop to perfection.

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After Pale Waves, it was to the Main Stage for the last time of the weekend for De La Soul.

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One of the liveliest acts of the festival, De La Soul definitely won in terms of crowd participation, really getting the crowd involved in call-and-response games in between their legendary tracks like ‘Me Myself and I’. Another act who genuinely seemed to really enjoy playing to the Sheffield crowd.

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The final act of the weekend for me were Teleman, over on the Library Stage.

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Another of Britain’s Tightest Bands™, Teleman played a brilliant set of tracks from their first two albums, as well as tracks from their upcoming ‘Family of Aliens’ album, with ‘Song for a Seagull’ being a set highlight for me. Closing with the absolute banger that is Dusseldorf, they were the perfect end to a great weekend.


 

Tramlines 2018 was definitely Sheffield’s biggest ever party, and there was a really positive attitude throughout the park all weekend, with literally everybody having a good time. With organisation, food and entertainment that good it’s hard not to.

You could easily tell the amount of effort and love put into the event by Sarah Nulty and her team, and it paid off in a massive way. Roll on 2019.

Check out my full photo gallery from the weekend here!

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You can buy tickets for Tramlines 2019 already here. I would if I were you.

Tramlines 2017 Review

FRIDAY

Opening up the main stage for this year’s Tramlines were local band Liberty Ship, who definitely deserved that big slot, providing an upbeat set of crowd-pleasing indie rock that kicked things off proper.

Following on from Liberty Ship were Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic.TA9.JPG

Drawing a big crowd fairly early on, Twin Atlantic were one of the tightest acts of the weekend, kicking their set off with ‘Whispers’ from last year’s GLA album.

After a few songs from them however, I had to dash over to the Devonshire Green stage to catch US Hip Hop Legends The Pharcyde. PS2.JPG

One of the most high-energy, fun sets of the weekend came from The Pharcyde.

Getting the crowd moving and making noise on every song, and Bootie doing his part from Dirty Harry by Gorillaz was one of my highlights of the weekend.

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Closing the Devonshire Green stage on Friday was Mercury nominated grime legend Kano.  Alongside an incredible live band, Kano performed cuts from his latest album, Made in The Manor alongside some old favourites. Many big grime acts have someone else to fill in the gaps when they need to take a breath bars, but Kano did not need that at all, effortlessly spitting even through the rain.

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SATURDAY

Saturday was wet. But that didn’t stop Sheffield. The first act of the day for me were the ever-brilliant Estrons.

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As punchy as ever, Estrons delivered a great set to an upbeat Dev Green crowd despite the threatening weather, with big hitters ‘Make a Man’ and ‘Drop’ getting the slightly damp crowd moving.

Next up were another act that I had seen a few times before, and knew that they would be great; Spring King.

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I was expecting a good crowd for Spring King, but they had the liveliest crowd of the weekend, with most songs ending up with a mosh pit, much to the delight of Tarek and co.

After a short, very wet interlude, it was time for the Saturday night headliners, Primal Scream.

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A large amount of people had left before Primal Scream had even started, the weather was that bad. But those who braved the rain knew they had made the right decision as soon as the opening of ‘Movin on Up’ blasted out across the Ponderosa. A greatest hits set in the biggest way possible, massive track like ‘Loaded’, ‘Rocks’ and ‘Come Together’ did their best to shake away the clouds.

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SUNDAY

Having mostly dried off from the night before, it was out to the main stage for Akala.

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Akala drew a massive crowd for 3 in the afternoon, bringing his fire from the booth to the Tramlines main stage.

After Akala’s short and sharp set, Loyle Carner took to the (very smartly dressed) stage.

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Launching into his set with ‘The Isle of Arran’, Loyle played a blinder of a set, getting a great reception from the main stage crowd. Witty lyrics with great delivery made for one of the highlights of the festival, with set closer ‘NO CD’ going off in a big way.

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After Loyle, it was back over to Devonshire Green for The Big Moon. tbm13.JPG

Starting off with ‘Silent Movie Susie’ before ripping through most of ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’, The Big Moon were one of the best acts of the weekend.

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Closing Tramlines 2017 were Metronomy.m6.JPG

Despite it being another wet one, the main stage was rammed. ‘Back Together’ from ‘Summer ’08’ kicked off Metronomy’s hit filled set, with ‘Old Skool’ from the same album following that. The whole hour was filled with memorable synth lines that got Sheffield grooving in the rain, from ‘The Bay’ right through to closer ‘Reservoir’. The final, and best act of the weekend.

Overall, another great year for Tramlines. Very well organised with very friendly, helpful staff and one of the most diverse festival lineups I have seen this year.

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The Human League live @ Sheffield Arena review

The Human League played at Sheffield Arena’s Steel Hall Stage on 3rd December 2016 with support from Ekkoes and Blancmange.

Ekkoes were the opening act on the night:

 

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Blancmange were the main support on the night, surprising me with how good they were, and the crowd’s response to them. Starting off with one of their biggest hits ‘The Day Before You Came’ it was clear that singer Neil Arthur still has the voice that made Blancmange popular the first time around. ‘Living on The Ceiling’ got the crowd moving as much as it did for The Human League.

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The Sheffield crowd light up their phones for Blancmange

This was a hometown show for The Human League, and you could tell, with the arena’s Steel Hall stage being completely sold out. Kicking off their set with ‘Being Boiled’ and ‘The Sound Of The Crowd,’the show went from hit to hit, making you realise how many big songs they have had in their career.

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I was pleasantly surprised by Phil Oakey’s voice, still sounding the same as it did when they first broke into the charts, and the rest of the band were very tight, making for a very enjoyable show, for the whole arena.

The band had a simple but impressive stage setup; at first Phil emerged solo infront of big zig-zag screens on the stage and sang alone, but then the screens split in half, revealing the band.

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Phillouette

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The Human League ended the show with a string of about 7 big hits in a row, including Love Action, (Keep Feeling) Fascination, Mirror Man, Don’t You Want Me and The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, leaving their hometown of Sheffield very happy indeed. At the end of the show Phil said “as long as you keep coming, we will always play here.” I’m pretty sure that they’ll keep coming.

4.5/5

The Human League Setlist was:

  1. Being Boiled
  2. The Sound Of The Crowd
  3. Sky
  4. Heart Like A Wheel
  5. Filling Up With Heaven
  6. Open Your Heart
  7. Soundtrack to a Generation
  8. Seconds
  9. The Lebanon
  10. One Man In My Heart
  11. Human
  12. Louise
  13. Stay With Me Tonight
  14. Love Action (I Believe In Love)
  15. Tell Me When
  16. (Keep Feeling) Fascination
  17. Mirror Man
  18. Don’t You Want Me

Encore:

19. The Things That Dreams Are Made Of                                                                                                20. Together In Electric Dreams

 

Laura Mvula at the Leadmill review

The opening act for Laura Mvula was Washington based Olivier St. Louis.

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Olivier and his band warmed the crowd up perfectly for Laura, getting the packed to the brim Leadmill to all act like cats and dogs within the first few minutes of his set.

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Laura entered the stage to complete darkness, then bursting into Overcome, from her ‘The Dreaming Room’ album, which gave her a second Mercury Prize nomination.

Playing tracks from both that album and her debut ‘Sing To The Moon’, Laura had the Sheffield crowd captivated, and also got them moving when the time came to it. The title track from her debut album was a highlight of the set for me as it showed off just how good of a live performer she is.

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Laura was a great presence on stage, being completely serious when needing to be during emotional tracks, but knowing when to have a laugh with the audience, noting that on the previous night of her tour in Cambridge she cried during one of her songs so “if it happens again tonight, just pretend like nothing is happening”

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Ending her main set with her biggest hits to date, Green Garden and Phenomenal Woman, Laura got the very busy Leadmill moving. Coming back on for a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Be My Husband’, she left Sheffield to rapturous, appreciating applause that was very much deserved.

4/5

The Smyths (The Smiths Tribute) Review

The Smyths played at O2 Academy2 Sheffield on 3rd November 2016

The Smyths are a Smiths tribute act, and this was their ‘The Songs That Saved Your Life’ tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect from them in terms of how long the set/show was going to be, or if they would focus more on accurate looks or sound.

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Playing a mixture of songs from the Smiths’ back catalogue as well as playing one solo Morrissey track (Suedehead), it was clear from the start when they kicked things off with ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’ that they were focusing more on sound, but Graham Sampson, the band’s Morrissey, got the look (and sound) spot on.

The band played two hour long sets with an interval inbetween, meaning it had a feeling of somewhere between a stage show and a gig, which is no bad thing. Also I feel that the ticket price was great value for how much of a show you got (£13.50).

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The band played a mixture of big hits and less well known tracks, meaning that both die-hard and casual fans would be pleased with the show, with tracks like ‘Rubber Ring’ and ‘This Night Has Opened My Eyes.’ getting a play alongside big hitters like ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and ‘This Charming Man.’

The band itself were overall very good musically, with them replicating the sound as close as I think is reasonable to expect considering just how good Johnny Marr is.

4/5

You can find out about the Smyths’ future tour dates and more at http://www.thesmyths.net/