Tramlines Festival 2017

The annual Tramlines festival took place this weekend in Sheffield. Spread across the city, the festival offers access to the freshest pop and alternative acts around, plus one or two classic headliners. We headed down on Saturday to spend the day on the trams.

By Graeme Smith

A sunny afternoon on the main stage at The Ponderosa was opened in style by The Hot 8 Brass Band. Hailing from New Orleans, the eight-piece brass and percussion band make regular trips to our fair shores, having recently played our very own Fibbers.

The set featured unique renditions of hip-hop classics and was essentially like a 30-minute mash-up of tracks from Snoop Dogg, Luniz, Fat Man Scoop and James Brown. There really couldn’t have been a better way to get the party started, and the growing crowd joined in readily, even demanding an encore when the set was over. When was the last time that could be said for a festival stage opener?

It was time for a quick detour to the fringe event at The Shakespeare, where our very own Boss Caine was playing an acoustic set. Boss Caine, aka Daniel Lucas, played guitar and sang in his imitable, gravelly voice while Bradley Blackwell backed him up on double-bass, making a rich, grounded sound. Look out for their new album which Daniel promises in “nearly done.”

As the sunny afternoon turned to a rainy evening, the party moved indoors to the O2 Academy, and the stage dedicated to new music. The evening kicked off with Jamie Isaac, who’s set ranged from minimalist, ambient jazz to belting crescendos complete with earthquake-inducing bass.

Following Jamie and his band were Glasgow’s pop trio Bossy Love. Easily a festival highlight, they delivered infectious and chart-friendly hits to an appreciative crowd. Alongside their own songs, they also delivered sterling covers of Blu Cantrell’s Breathe (complete with the Sean Paul bits) and Ginuwine’s Pony (complete with talk box.)

It was time for the headliners, and a soggy crowd braved the persistent rain on Devonshire Green for All Saints. The latest in a string of ‘90s pop groups to reform with new material, All Saints always garnered a hardcore fan base of their own. Less cheesy than the Spice Girls, they created some soulful classics during their time at the top and they were all on display during their Tramlines set, starting with debut hit I Know Where It’s At.

The four-piece did pepper their set with a few new tracks but they were not too dissimilar from their earlier style, leaving the audience to wonder if the songs were hits they’d forgotten about. There was also a surprise mash-up of Lady Marmalade and Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It. However, it was their number one hits that the crowd had come to see. Black Coffee was followed by Bootie Call and Under The Bridge, with everything building up to their standout tracks Never Ever and Pure Shores.

The pop pedigree and crowd atmosphere at Tramlines is second-to-none and it takes a bit more than rain to keep the people of Yorkshire down.

Super Early bird tickets are already on sale for next year’s festival for £33 plus booking fee. Tickets can be purchased from here.

Tramlines Festival took place in Sheffield City Centre between Friday 21 and Sunday 23 July 2017.