Tramlines: What’s Going On – Indie / Rock

Tramlines is once again rearing its musical face and as ever we here at Exposed have had our ears to the hallow'd ground to find out what the best bits'll be.
Yes, we've done the hard work for you! We have the crème de la crème of all things guitary that shall be on your doorstep come the start of the bestival Festival around….ival. Boasting a range of genres and sounds as diverse as the names of the acts themselves (spot the Italian footballer below), there's a little summat for everyone – so there really is no excuse to stay in. Nope, not even the weather can  hold you back – we have indoor and outdoor gigs below. Like we said, summat for everyone!

Who: The Crookes
What: Newpop brilliance
When: Saturday, 11pm
Where: Shakespeares
Why: The local boys will have released second album ‘Hold Fast’ a couple of weeks prior to taking the stage, so expect new songs aplenty to be getting their first airing. If recent tracks ‘Afterglow’ and ‘American Girls’ are anything to go by, expect their romance-in-the-gutter lyricisms to be complemented by a new found brashness and penchant for exceedingly catchy choruses to provide one of the highlights of the weekend.

Who: Hot Soles
What: Big man. Big voice. Big sound.
When:  Saturday, 10.05pm
Where: The Leadmill
Why: With their brilliance acknowledged by their ‘Best Unsigned Band’ gong at the Exposed Awards this year, if nothing else the Rotherham duo will certainly be making the most noise at the festival. From Keiran’s repertoire of yelps and “hhuhs” to Richie stomping through the rhythm section, their electric blues displays all the restraint of a Rottweiler pulling free of its lead in a butcher’s shop.

Who: The Fontana Instincts
What: Folky, bluesy, psychedelia from Derby
When:  Saturday
Where: The Green Room
Why: Set to release their debut album early in July, The Fontana Instincts’ lead single ‘Our David’ showcases gravelly, cigarette tinged vocals over music that envisages a heat-haze heavy scene from western cinema. If they can summon a few more songs as thoroughly danceable as they are likeable, The Fontana Instincts could be the perfect band for a hazy July afternoon.

Who: Alt-J
What: Psyche-altering genius.
When:  Friday, 10pm
Where: The Bowery
Why: Truly one of the most original and best new bands in a very long while, with mind bending arrangements and a nerveless approach to sonic discovery (kitchen pans feature on at least one track), their sound comprises of an expansiveness that belies the stuffy surroundings of a Cambridge basement in which it was formed. You won’t be able to marvel at them in such intimate surroundings for much longer; grasp this opportunity while you still can.

Who: Esben and the Witch
What: Ethereal Zombie-pop
When: Saturday, 6.15pm
Where: New Music Stage
Why: With music today existing within some sort of scene-chasing zeitgeist, how refreshing that Brighton three-piece Esben and the Witch appear to shun all influence and inhabit a realm of their own. It’s a realm of dark, hazy fantasy, with music that retains a captivating otherworldliness leaving you chasing the next sound, urging you deeper into their brooding domain. Singer Rachel’s voice finds the medium between dark and sultry, and the band has all the ingredients needed to provide an enchanting spectacle.

Who: Frank White
What: Heavyweight blues guitar
When: Friday, 9pm
Where: Delaney’s Bar
Why: Frank White is Sheffield music royalty. He started his career in the swinging sixties, backing the likes of Dave Berry and Jimmy Crawford. He’s not just stuck in a blues rut though: his music blends funk, country and jazz with a down-home Delta groove. Songs like ‘Tupelo’ and ‘Open Up Your Heart’ show Frank’s ability to tackle raw tub-thumpers and heartfelt ballads with ease. Leg-end. End of.

Who: Carmen Ghia and The Hotrods
What: Hip-swinging rockabilly
When: Friday, 6pm
Where: Delaney’s Bar
Why: Sheffield’s finest retro-rockers, Carmen and The Hotrods party like its 1959, with tunes that take you back to a simpler time before some band called The Beatles changed music forever. If you’re after a slice of USA-flavoured nostalgia, not to mention a chance to shake your wobbly bits on the dance-floor, then give this lot a listen.

Who: Catfish And The Bottlemen
What: Hyper-jangle indie screeds
When: Saturday, 11pm
Where: Frog and Parrott
Why: If there’s a Kooks-shaped hole in your heart, fear not. Catfish and The Bottlemen take the basic Luke Pritchard formula and inject it with a widescreen guitar sound that recalls Echo and The Bunnymen at their finest. Bunnymen… Bottlemen? The plot thickens. They’ll have you moving like a cat on a hot tin roof and gasping like a fish out of water. Run with that image.

Who: Cut Your Wings
What: Sweaty blues ruckus
When: Saturday, 5pm
Where: Frog and Parrott
Why: Cut Your Wings possess more than a few mucky riffs to satisfy your Neanderthal craving for good honest rock and roll. Nothing fancy on show here, just a sublime raw marriage of guitar, bass and drums that will allow you to get your rocks off with satisfaction.  Fans of Sabbath, Led Zep and the Stones will lap this up. Go on, have a lick.

Who: Screaming Maldini
What: Saccharin pop harmonies
When: Sunday, 6pm
Where: The Riverside
Why: Any group named after Italian defensive supremo Paolo Maldini is worth a punt. It also helps that Screaming Maldini are bursting with pop hooks that grab you by the collar and leave you hanging over a precipice of pleasure. Their sublime sound is beefed up by brass licks that give their songs a riotously joyful edge. It’s like having a unicorn… in your EARS!

Who: Blood Sport
What: Afro-beat freakiness
When; Sunday, 10.30pm
Where: The Great Gatsby
Why: Blood Sport combine the liquid sunshine riffs of Afrobeat with a hazy psychedelica which is both beautiful and unsettling.  You know, like John Barrowman? Topped off with some seriously bugged-out vocals, their tunes manage to sound unlike anything else, and are best listened to with your top off.

Who: Soul Circle Gang
What: Slick reggae vibes
When: Saturday, 5pm
Where: World Stage
Why: The Soul Circle Gang are a seven-piece band that serves up tasty licks straight from Jamaica – with a dash of funk and soul thrown in for good measure.  The feel-good factor will be through the roof when this lot are on stage. Toothy smiles and finger-gun bogling mandatory. One love… with a side order of rum.

Who: Joanna Gruesome
What: Twee-pop loveliness
When: Sunday, 10.15pm
Where: Bungalows & Bears
Why: The delightfully named Joanna Gruesome, you’ll be glad to know, aren’t some horribly disfigured fairground freak. Rather, they make summer-loving sounds that are actually quite attractive. That doesn’t mean they can’t amp things up when they feel like it, mind – go and get your gruesome on… it’s the new pretty. 

Who: Hookworms
What: Trippy psychedelicosis
When: Saturday, 7pm
Where: The Bowery
Why: Hookworms are a band that time forgot. The spirit of ’69 is alive and kicking with this lot, who sound like they were born playing 13th Floor Elevator tunes. Fuzzed-out guitar and far-out vocals are the order of the day which will leave you all trippy-flippy-floppy like a lava lamp on a beanbag. Groovy!

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