Outlines Festival was back for a second time, and this time it was bigger & better than ever, with the festival running over two days with higher profile acts headlining, but still focusing on upcoming new talent. Outlines took place across several iconic Sheffield venues, including The Leadmill, Plug and The Harley on 3rd and 4th March.
Opening the festival in Plug’s room 2 were local Sheffield band The Seamonsters.
Playing a short, tight set which included their recently announced debut single ‘Lost & Found’, The Seamonsters again proved themselves to be a great live act – a great opener to the weekend.
Over to the Leadmill next, with Dead Slow Hoot being the first act there I catch.
I hadn’t heard anything by Dead Slow Hoot before Outlines, but their Interpol like dark indie rock was very nice indeed, with the crowd increasing in size throughout their set.
Up next were The Crookes.
Unsurprisingly drawing one of the liveliest crowds of the weekend, Sheffield favourites The Crookes crammed as much as they could into their 45 minute slot – as always it was full of energy, and the Croftsy fan club was out in full force.
Closing the first night at the Leadmill were Slow Club.
Another home-grown Sheffield act at Outlines, Slow Club started their set with ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’ from their latest album ‘One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore’ with the highlight of their set for me was ‘In Waves’ from the same album.
Starting at Plug again, the first act I saw on Saturday was singer-songwriter Sophie Longshaw, whose thoughtful acoustic tracks had the larger room in Plug captured. Nice cover of Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ thrown in for good measure too.
After Sophie, it was across to Plug Room 2 for Graceland, who were a complete turn around in pace from the last act, and another new discovery for me at Outlines. Great punchy tracks that the crowd quickly warmed to.
The next act I saw was Clean Cut Kid.
Clean Cut Kid drew a big crowd to the Plug considering they were on at 4 in the afternoon, and once they started playing it was clear to see why. With crowd pleasing indie rock tracks like ‘We Used To Be In Love’ and ‘Vitamin C’ filling their set, you could tell the band love doing what they do, and that is a great thing to watch.
Law Holt was next up, again showcasing the diversity of the Outlines lineup.
I didn’t know what to expect from Law Holt at all, when she first appeared on stage with her two backing singers it was almost silent in the room, but she soon brought the crowd around with upbeat, quirky tracks like ‘Love Drive Through.
After Law Holt, Sheffield MC Matic Mouth took to the stage.
Bringing a mixture of upbeat tracks about after-parties and more autobiographical cuts, Matic Mouth delivered a really fun set. After his performance, Nadia Rose was scheduled to play but had to pull out due to transport issues. Fair play to Mr.Mouth for stepping in and doing an extra short set to keep the crowd occupied in the gap.
Lady Leshurr was next up, bringing the most energetic performance of the weekend. She really, really got the crowd going – getting the Plug to do the mannequin challenge for one, while still nailing her bars throughout.
After that, it was over to the Leadmill for the final 2 acts of the weekend.
Shock Machine were the first of the two acts, and they really surprised me with just how good they were. I hadn’t heard any of their material beforehand, but knew it was James from Klaxons, so I had hopes they would be at least interesting. They surpassed that, and put on a great show, with a genuinely enthusiastic and engaging frontman in James.
The final act of the weekend for me was Jagwar Ma.
I am a big fan of Jagwar Ma, and was really excited to see them live, especially in The Leadmill. Mid set, Jono Ma said he was very happy to have gotten such a warm reception, and that reception was well deserved. Songs mixing into one another meaning there was little time for chat from the band, but that was not really a negative in this case as the Australian trio were on top form, with tracks from their debut like ‘Come Save Me’ and ‘What Love’ merging brilliantly with newer cuts like ‘O B 1’ and ‘Ordinary.’
Outlines festival is a great way to discover new music and see some top well-established acts, in great independent venues. I am already looking forward to the next one, and you can get tickets now for only £10 if you are quick.
Best acts: Jagwar Ma, The Crookes, Lady Leshurr.