It was simply a case of pummeling riffs, driving chords and a solid vocal performance from front man Clarke Vaughan...and who in all honesty...looks like a young Tom Cruise! One thing that can guaranteed with this band is a show and with Josh Longley on lead guitar throwing himself around the stage like a roadrunner on speed, that was exactly what we got, not to be outdone bassist Oli Moore straddled the barrier and started playing out on the main floor!
A great start to the weekend and now we were ready for anything so feeling all pumped up we thought why not brave the swelling to capacity Main Stage, for tonight was The Reverend. We’d caught him in the pouring rain back in 2009 and since he was back this year (and it was raining again!) why not?
Making sure we arrived early enough to get a good spot we found ourselves in time for the brutal onslaught of Dead Sons, a band that have impressed so many people in the last few years with what truly can be described as a wall of sound. Composed of earsplitting drums and galloping riffs, each track is an assault on the senses that resonates at a very primitive level; there really is no other sound in Sheffield like it.
Bathed in the red stage lighting, a customary setting for them, the thronging masses were embracing this almost tribal experience to their hearts as crowd favourites like ‘Shotgun Woman’ really got them chanting along. Dead Sons also gave them a new song, ‘Ghost Train’, a song they describe as a face-melter, a brilliant addition to a moody, brooding thumper of a set!
Now when we arrived at the entrance to the Main Stage...we (along with everyone else) were given LED wristbands which all the time people were trying to get to light up. Some succeeded and some....ourselves included...failed dismally. In fact it wasn’t until first thing this morning after we started smashing them against a solid oak table did they spring into life, though under no circumstances do we recommend that course of action to anyone…….lol!
But now it was time for Reverend And The Makers, and right on queue the rain started, no worries the crowd didn’t care as they erupted into a state of euphoria the moment Jon McClure took to the stage! “We just want you to BOUNCE!” he called to them as the opening thump to ‘Bassline’ kicked in. This was quickly followed by ‘Bandits’, one of his oldest..but still one of his best songs, but what made this rendition special was that Jon was joined by Tim Bromhead and his brother Chris McClure. The sight of Jon and Chris bouncing around on stage together was really a priceless; it was like watching a couple of kids playing together!
As one classic track followed another the crowd bounced along getting more and more heady with excitement, in a few isolated pockets this erupted into a slightly more boisterous behavior so Jon yelled out “No fighting! No one wants fighting here!” …….good call mate!
‘State Of Things’, ‘Noisy Neighbour’, ‘The Wrestler’ and of course ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ all kept the crowd hyped and dancing. It really was a great set and even the rain kept itself to little more than a few spots here and there. But it was time to move on for us...and if all was well we hoped to catch Neil McSweeney at The Library Theatre.
Unfortunately there was quite a queue and they were operating a ‘one out, one in’ policy as the venue was packed so finding ourselves at a slight loss we headed back to the O2, basically it was the nearest venue, in time to catch The Crookes.
By now the room was rammed, completely rammed and by the time we got anywhere near the front to see anything the lead singer was already sweating buckets. With their new pop bouncing effortlessly around the room it was a good finish to the evening for us. Lively buoyant chords, sparkling vocals and a steady...but well paced beat at the back to hold it altogether, the crowd loved it as they all bounced in unison, even those along the front who were getting sprayed with sweat!
The opening night of Tramlines for us was a success, we only got to two venues...but with some great sets from all four acts it was a fun evening, leaving us looking forward to Saturday and Sunday with eager anticipation!
Words & Photos by Gail & Geoff Buckthorpe