LIVE: The Crystal Stage @ Tramlines Festival, Sheffield 26.07.2015

Sheffield has been boasting great live music for some years now, and one of the ways it continues to do so is through its annual inner-city festival, Tramlines. After seeing the likes of Slaves and The Charlatans grace the main stage on Friday night, there was only one place I wanted to be on Sunday.

The Crystal Stage provides Sheffield with some of the hottest current acts around who are still somewhat considered to be ‘smaller scale’, however after seeing some of these acts play the picturesque courtyard, it’s safe to say they won’t be regarded as small for much longer.

My day began in the hands of The Jackobins and regretfully I have to say it began in disappointing style. With every member of the band bar frontman Dominic Bassnet playing away in an intro whilst waiting for their singer to run up to the stage and join them, it soon became apparent that this would be a one man show. The apparent soon became the evident as the performance took shape, with Bassnet a good three feet in front of the other members throughout the whole show, with flailing arms, power thrusts, the lot (and not to mention the incredibly uncomfortable and frequent invasion of the crowd and even the bar at one point) – if this was secretly an audition for something along the lines of Jesus Christ Superstar, he nailed it.

The theatrics continued and left tracks such as latest single ‘Waiting On The Sun’ somewhat blemished, which is a shame because sound wise the performance wasn’t half bad, it was just swiftly taken over by the gimmicky behaviour, which took more than the right amount of focus away from the tracks themselves. Staying on the subject of sound, the overpowering vocals and overall stance of the band, along with a sound that can’t quite make its mind up, results in something that draws more towards classic rock than anything else. The disconnected performance and outdated sound left the majority of people nodding along in the crowd either well into their 50s or a younger audience who fail to see how nostalgic it is. If one thing was apparent from the band’s slot, it’s that some of the creases need ironing out. Perhaps a trip back to the drawing board might be in order.

After a frightening excuse of a dinner at Weatherspoons (I’m not sure why I expected any different), I was in dire need of a pick me up. Thankfully, that came in the form of Clubs, who proved to be a major improvement, having providing the room with their atmospheric melodies and upbeat grooves, they left the stage having accomplished the main mission when it comes to any live show in which you’re not the headliner, warming the crowd and winning a good proportion over – a solid performance. Manchester’s Delamere,  sounding big, also achieved the same feat, putting on a thoroughly enjoyable show with sounds and visuals that merged perfectly with the scenic venue, as well as a remarkably ballsy cover of Luther Van Dross’ ‘Never Too Much’ with had all of the room engrossed.

The real highlight of the evening came at 8:20pm however. The Barmines is the name that was fluttering around the room all day, and having heard a couple of tracks from the Leeds band, it was safe to say I was intrigued.

As the set takes shape its clear to see that an strong impression is being made throughout the room, tracks such as ‘Strangers’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘These Days And Nights’ are summed up perfectly in one word: solid. The boys link remarkably well together on stage with a cohesion that is undoubtedly refreshing to see – for a band to be summarised as refreshing after already seeing seven bands beforehand is a accomplishment in its own right. Tracks such as the likes of ‘Alive’, a relentless ‘Reliance’ and set-closer ‘Sky’s The Limit’ follow, accompanied by gritty rock n roll which leaves you sweating just watching. The set has been filled with charisma with an equal amount of raw and vicious energy, every member performing sublimely, and is summarised perfectly by the smile spread across drummer Liam Lockey’s face that is still trying to be removed this morning.

A chaotic finale brings an end to an incredibly strong and impressive set, with everybody in the room in applause. Tonight has been a very prosperous and promising show for the Barmines, there’s no evidence that suggests any reasoning as to why these boys can’t be the next big thing.

James Cummins.


James Cummins

James Cummins

James Cummins

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