Live music in the UK made a triumphant return this weekend with Tramlines putting on a stunning display. Our man, Amos Wynn was delighted to be back in the fray.
The three-day event at Sheffield’s Hillsborough Park was the first step back into normality for both musicians and spectators, with neither leaving disappointed.
Admittedly, being back in a crowd was a weird feeling at first, but despite having social distancing and masks drilled into us for the last 18 months, it didn’t take long to readapt to the way things should be.
In fact, throughout the whole weekend, it was the constant ‘Yorkshire’ chants that made us feel the most uncomfortable, but that’s just the Lancastrian in us.
On the Friday, we arrived just as The Pigeon Detectives were getting the main stage crowd back into the swing of things, with a collection of their classics.
Meanwhile, not too far away, Shaun Williamson, or Barry from EastEnders as he’s better known, was firing up spectators at the Open Arms.
Even though it was almost impossible to get into the tent, Barry’s booming voice could still be heard from the outside, in a performance strong enough to match his display at the World Indoor Bowls.
Back on Sarah Nulty’s main stage, Circa Waves had fans bouncing with a mixture of classics off their first album and more recent releases.
They were followed by The Kooks, who had their up and down moments, but the highlights of their set certainly included tracks from ‘Inside In/ Inside Out,’ with everyone in full voice for ‘Naïve’ whilst ‘Seaside’ brought a nice calmness to proceedings.
Headlining Friday’s mainstage was The Streets, with Mike Skinner putting on a stunning display for everyone who has “looked after” him for the last year, with the crowd finally getting up to a ten before the set was done.
Saturday was equally as successful, with Wigan four-piece, The Lathums, showing that the hype should very much be believed, before The Sherlocks impressed in their home city.
My opinion on Blossoms has wavered in the last few years, but nothing but good things can be said for their Tramlines set, showing off the strong back catalogue they have amassed, as well as the usual snippets of ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Half The World Away’ chucked into the mix.
Just like The Streets, Royal Blood were superb headliners, with a blistering performance to close the second day.
Any Scotland fans present at the festival were treated early Sunday afternoon, with The Fratellis producing a great display, including a cover of ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.’
Liverpool band, SPINN, did no harm to their growing reputation with a strong set, as the crowd grew throughout.
Just like The Sherlocks the day before, local lads The Reytons got an excellent reception.
From start to finish, they played songs full of Sheffield spirit and had everyone bouncing.
If their Tramlines performance, as well as a host of sold-out shows, are anything to go by, The Reytons will be the Steel City’s next big name.
Elsewhere, The Snuts and Sundara Karma were thrilling fans on the T’other Stage, whilst Sheafs and Baby Queen were making their mark on the Library Stage crowd.
The best act of the day had to be Dizzee Rascal, who was simply enigmatic, reminding everyone just how good he is.
The London rapper was having such a good time himself, he decided to do a second rendition of ‘Bonkers’ and claimed a Tramlines scarf from a crowd member.
Another highlight of the final day was Saint Raymond on the Leadmill Stage, as fans belted out songs in full voice with lots of passion, with an encore having people sprinting back in.
As the festival came to close, classic songs were everywhere you turned.
The Big Moon gave a rendition of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ whilst on the main stage Supergrass got a great reaction for ‘Alright’ even if the Britpop band didn’t attract as many people as maybe Richard Ashcroft would’ve.
Overall, musically, and culturally Tramlines was a huge success and exactly what was needed.
The next days and weeks will show if it was a Covid success or not.
Photos credit: Tramlines Festival 2021 / Fanatic