Review: Outlines Festival
Outlines festival, the lets-take-it-indoors little brother of our famous Tramlines festival, hit town recently, and while it doesn’t quite have the profile, in its second year, it really has built on the success of 2016. I spent most of Saturday wending my way between The Plug, The Leadmill, Queens Social Club and the Harley to see as much as I could, and can report, it was all good!
It’s still odd to see a live band in the darkness of the Leadmill or somewhere similar, then emerge into daylight for the next live music fix, but by about the seventh of eighth time it became quite natural. I saw solo acoustic, electronic music, ambient drone, and all manner of indie-pop bands, so here’s my pick of the crop.
Early on at The Leadmill, I stumbled upon Eyre Llew, a three-piece from Nottingham. One piece of music flowed into another as they built a wall of sound with two guitars and a drummer who doubled up on keyboard. Lit from behind, with banks of stage smoke, I loved it. It was without doubt the most uplifting, captivating and inspiring live music I’ve heard this year. Some pieces had vocals, others just had a soundscape which ebbed and flowed over the audience. With a guitarist looking like he’d stepped out of the 1920s, in turns attacking his guitar or playing it with a bow, they totally captivated me and the small crowd for their 30 minute set. I need to see more of them, and so must you. You will hear more of them, if the reaction of the small early crowd was anything to go by.
My other highlight of the day was across at the Queen’s Social, when Hannah Peel played. Dressed in a long flowing evening dress, (she forgot to pack her stage clothes!) she stood at her keyboards and performed electronic pop which totally won over the crowd. I admit that since seeing her I’ve been playing her album, Awake But Always Dreaming more than a few times, and I’m realising I missed out on one of the great albums from last year. Her songs are accompanied by a synth-pop vibe we know only too well here in Sheffield, so it seemed like something of a homecoming for her; bringing her music to the city of the synthesiser. She talked a little about the story behind some of her music, the inspiration she picked up from her grandmother dealing with dementia, and how she still gaining inspiration from music. Her short set, accompanied only by her drummer, was superb, and was full of light and shade, all the time accompanied by an inspiring variety of keyboard sounds. Another act to add to the list of ‘must see again very soon’.
For more information on Outlines Festival head to www.outlinesfestival.com.