Friday 23 : Ecky Thump (the full-on rock day)
Tramlines kickstarted on Friday with a quick visit to The Circle (for the press wristband) and then to Penelope’s (for a chat with the wonderful people from Counterfeit Magazine). This was the first year for us covering a massive festival and needed some advice from pros to get this job done.
After an interview with the lads from The Loud (which will be posted soon on this site) in a very busy Bungalows and Bears, the first gig I went to was at The Washington. Wet Nuns lugged around some heavy amplifiers (one with the band’s name made up with pieces of the Marshall logo) and woke up the audience with ‘7 year itch’, a loud call to arms, then doing a bit of Link Wray‘s ‘Rumble’. Pretty energetic set too, and Doc and Sheriff were right in character, engaging the public with their Sheffield Alabama drawl in full gear.
A quick run to The Grapes and it was time to see The Loud, feeling right at home in the grungy and intimate gig room for The Grapes. Trying stuff from their new EP (which will drop by in October), their set was characterised by distorted guitars and a pounding rhythm section, enveloping Pennington Lee’s distinct voice delivery. The room was slightly underpopulated but some people started to drop by as soon as they heard the music downstairs. Easy highlights of the set were ‘Five years’, ‘I am a war’ and ‘Good intentions’.
Tramlines then became a cardio & music festival, as I had to run again, this time back to The Washington to catch the lads of The Hope Explosion. “We’ll be playing our only five hits” said lead singer Rob Burras before breaking into ‘Talk is cheap’. Their set was a tad too high in volume (then again, it’s a small venue) but there was plenty of head banging in the front (specially on the ‘Stress of the scandal’). Sadly, the Curse of the Damned Pedalboard (TM) reared it’s ugly head again during ‘Bored & Brokenhearted’ but they still soldiered on and were generally in good spirits, joking between each other.
obLONG came to stage afterwards and without a warning did their usual stuff: an aggressive mix of rock that’s still catchy enough to keep you watching. Playing quite a few new songs (they’ve just released two new EPs on iTunes), the already packed Washington was really teeming with people. Again, too loud, but liked ‘Words’, ‘Disappointment’ offered a slightly more calm moment and it’s a great act to catch live.
Had to leave in a rush and Tried to go back to The Grapes to catch Cats:for:Peru but alas, the venue was pretty full by then and had to listen to them from outside, feeling like the naughty kid who gets kicked out of the party for being a bad writer and ends up eating cold cous cous in a grungy, stark corner (!).
So, rounding up the day:
The good: Great sound at The Grapes, Excessively loud at The Washington (some ringing ears), friendly atmosphere and a good workout (all about that 5 minute dash between Grapes and Washington).
The bad: The queues were insane (Forum was packed like sardines, Grapes felt like the Mexican Metro in rush hour, Washington was the Human Blob), schedules were shuffled at venues.
The ugly: My face + ridiculous hair. Seriously.
The Hope Explosion
Gallery (now with worse level/colour correction. please sponsor our photographer a photoshop course – STAT!)
Words : Sam
Photos : Orestes Xistos.