Tramlines 2018 Review

tramlines 2018 collage

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.



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


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.



Next up was Nina Nesbitt.


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.


After Nina were Gengahr.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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!


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


Cover it Up

I asked artists what their favourite cover version was and why:

Frank Turner: 

My favourite cover version is probably Joe Cocker’s version of “A Little Help From My Friends”. It’s the definitive version of the song, to me; it’s certainly a totally different beast to the original. And it’s arguably Cockers’ finest performance too.


Dean: LVL UP’s cover of Somebody Kill Me ‘cause they slay and Return to Love doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before.

Jake: Probably Weezer’s cover of Velouria.

Reverend and The Makers: 

Hendrix covering Dylan. If ya gonna do a cover it has to be a total reinvention really or it’s cheating. Hendrix doused Dylan’s original in petrol and set it alight. Stone wall classic.

Faris Badwan

Jeff Buckley – Lilac Wine


His voice man – It’s totally incredible. He has such emotional depth and tone to his voice. A technically brilliant singet and a great update on the 50’s song. Anyway I love that album and it’s a tragedy that he died so soon.

Big Black – The Model

Big Black had a real pop sensibility behind the brutal noise and the model was a fitting choice of song to cover.. the dalek-like vocal delivery is maybe more overtly sarcastic than the original and the guitar is, as ever, fucking great.

 The Slits – Heard It Through The Grapevine

The Slits were rooted more in reggae than soul but in this version they really sound like they belong.. they totally transformed it into a spiky post-funk classic and I always play it out when I DJ. There are covers that maintain the feeling of the original and hit the listener in a similar way, and that’s totally cool – but then there are ones that “rip it up and start again.

The Crookes (George):

Caitlin Rose – Pink Rabbits by The National. She has such a great voice and I love the arrangement. She takes a very brooding, distant sounding song and turns it into a very warm, intimate thing.

Plus, she’s on Domino, the same as Arctic Monkeys, and a couple of years ago did a 7″ with covers of Piledriver Waltz and Love is a Laserquest which are both amazing and well worth checking out if you haven’t heard them.

Penthouse (Ben): 

My favourite cover song would have to be Seahaven’s cover of ‘Bad Diary Days’ by Pedro the Lion. The cover is only on youtube but it is worth the watch as the scenery, encompassing the band, really adds to the dreary/emotional feel of the song. The cover isn’t too far off from the original in terms of dynamics but Kyle Soto’s strained vocals really add a nice twist to the song. The quiet but constant bassline fits so well, complimenting the gentle acoustic guitar. Although filmed outside with the sound of raindrops in the background, the tone of the bass and guitar are so warm sounding and really just took me somewhere else when I first heard it. The drums are so in time and appropriate for the song that they sound almost sampled…which I absolutely love. Maybe I’m biased because I love Seahaven anyway, but this cover is something special and sounds like it was meant for the band to cover. The best song/video for a rainy day.


Cat Power – Wonderwall

It was the first cover of a song that i heard that made me realize you could put your own unique touch on someone else’s song.

Adam Buxton:

It’s This.