Tramlines 2015

Posted by vibrations on 09-08-15

Friday 24th

After a mad scramble to the wristband collection, my Friday night gets off to a promising start. Like any festival worth its salt, it’s often the bands you don’t plan to see that steal the show. That’s certainly true of Awooga’s City Hall Ballroom set. Despite the silly name, their half hour of progressive metal is far from the ridiculous; equally as accomplished as it is entertaining.

But Friday was always going to belong to one man, and one man alone. Or not quite, as Lone Wolf, or Paul Marshall to you and me, takes to the stage uncharacteristically accompanied by a bassist and drummer. Regardless, he appears to be in his element for what is one of his final shows - as he prepares to move on from the moniker that he has gone by for the last 5 years. ‘Alligator’ proves to be a particularly highlight, but there’s an even mix of material from all three albums.

Across the road, hidden away in the upstairs room of The Great Gatsby, Shinies are amongst a number of young, post punk bands on show. Bursting with enthusiasm, the Manchester quartet perfectly set the tone for what proves to be a rowdy Friday night.

Saturday 25th

Having missed their packed set at the Frog and Parrot late last night, I’m grateful for a second chance to catch Bang Bang Romeo as they kick off proceedings on Devonshire Green. With recent single ‘Johannesburg’ blaring out to a slightly dazed but receptive crowd, it’s not hard to see why this band is quickly building momentum.
Over at Maida Vale, it’s nice to see upcoming local bands being given the spotlight, with Bayonet and Malarkey Affair both entertaining with their own distinct and catchy variations of indie pop.

Despite plans to head over to Ponderosa for Basement Jaxx – a major coup for Tramlines, and easily the festival’s biggest booking to date, a surprise DJ set from The Cribs’ drummer Ross Jarman proved to be a bigger lure for my Saturday evening plans. Players may be far from an ideal venue but it is well worth the sacrifice – with Ross seamlessly blending classics such as Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’ and Weezer’s ‘Buddy Holly’, with some local favorites from Pulp and Arctic Monkeys – ‘Common People’ and ‘Dancefloor…’ respectively.

Sunday 26th

My plans to finally visit the somewhat mysteriously titled Folk Forest were quickly swept away, with torrential rain turning Sunday into a wash out. Determined to salvage something out of the day, I Kept The Wolves Away produced a powerful debut set in the Frog and Parrot; the trio certainly are ones to watch for the future. Across in Soyo Caroline Francess and Dan Spooner provided some mid afternoon easy listening, with her piano based melodies and his charming acoustic musings a welcome getaway from the busier venues.

Although a trip to The Leadmill for Billy Bragg proved to be a waste; the queue twice round the block a good hour before his much anticipated headline slot, Dave Woodcock and the Dead Comedians save my day. Playing what feels like their now customary slot at the Frog, and with new album ‘Medicine’ receiving rave reviews, Dave and co are clearly enjoying themselves, providing the night and the festival with a fitting finale. Tramlines may keep evolving but as long as it keeps attracting such a diverse range of local and national talent, long may it continue.

Tom Bailey

On the Vibrations stereo...