Tramlines, Tramlines, Tramlines

3 days. 26 acts. 12 venues.
Phew what a weekend. And what a time to sit back and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in the glorious city of Sheffield. It may not be the best known of the UK’s music festivals, but for anyone in Sheffield it must be the highlight of the live music year. Quite what we need to do to be up there with the likes of Lattitude and Leeds I don’t know.
This year saw the move into the parks, and I hear that that is where the organisers see the future. We have the best parks of any city I’ve ever been to, and using them more will firmly establish Tramlines in the lives of those folks who think ‘town might be too busy’. They do have a point. The city centre does seem to be at saturation point right now, so expanding into the suburbs will be a real boost.
So how was it all for you? My feet have blisters to testify for the fact that I suffer for my obsession. My gig highlight came at the end when I finally caught up with Screaming Maldini at the SOYO bar on Sunday evening. I never tire of hearing them, and their new single, Life In Glorious Stereo, was the best bit of a set filled with delights.
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Most unexpectedly good bit was Alt-J. I didn’t think they be able to live up to the enormous hype surrounding their show at the Bowery, but they pulled it off and sent me home on a real high of the opening night. A woman I spoke to inside had been in there for two and a half hours to make sure she saw them, and there were hundreds of people outside waiting in vain for the 'one-in-one-out' door policy to work in their favour.
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Best venue was a new one for me when I paid a visit to the Yellow Arch studios. I saw DJ Alphabets Heaven perform a live MPC-based set the like of which I’ve never seen, together with a (very) loud performance from the Liverpool group Fonetics, and had a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so down there.
But it wasn’t just about the venues and the performances; it was also about discovering new music to listen to. I’ll be getting busy with the old Spotify to listen to Novella, Field Music and Laura J Martin, to name but a few.
What with Folk in the Forest and the Buskers Bus, there was, as ever, too much to take in, but that’s how it should be. There’s nothing better than swapping post-Tramlines stories of what you could have seen with friends in the warm afterglow of your sun-burnt forehead.
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Here’s to 2013. I wish I was there.

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