The Lathums, The Sherlocks, Blossoms and Royal Blood performing at the Tramlines Festival Sheffield on Saturday 24th July 2021

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

On Saturday at the Tramlines Festival in Sheffield the crowd were there early and not disappointing them was Wigan’s rising stars The Lathums. Having been on Later…With Jools Holland and having streamed a live performance from Blackpool Tower, the pandemic has meant that their rapid ascent has mostly been conducted without a live audience. But with their appearance on the Main Stage that was all about to change.

Looking least like an obvious pop star, front man Alex Moore with his John Lennon spectacles has a really lovely voice and he seemed to radiate more charisma as each song he delivered went down a storm.

With their debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be due to be released in September, obviously this gave this talented band the opportunity to showcase what they are all about. Opening with Villainous Victorian, Moore was instantly at ease. And with the fast paced tongue twisting Fight On, the crowd showed their appreciation.

I See Your Ghost, a song reminiscent of something The Specials would be proud of, showcased Moore’s controlled vocals that were constant throughout their set, whilst a real highlight was I Know That Much with its upbeat tempo and an amazing solo performance from guitarist Scott Concepcion.

Technical issues with the guitar did not detract from the good time that everyone was evidently having and with Crying Out being a definite fan favourite, The Lathums had played the sweetest of indie pop, with beautiful vocals, catchy melodies and soaring choruses.

With the crowd singing and swaying in the Saturday afternoon sun, we are undoubtedly going to hear a lot more from The Lathums.

The south Yorkshire foursome known as The Sherlocks, have been thrilling their fans with footie ready anthems and rueful early Artic Monkeys style indie since they formed in 2010. With the original brothers Kiaran and Brandon Crook now being joined by guitarist Aex Procter and bassist Trent Jackson, (Josh and Andy Davidson left the band in 2020) they have been chomping at the bit for the music industry to return to a state of pre-Covid normalcy, and it showed with this performance.

Opening with Will You Be There? and following up with Escapade the crowd realised what they had been missing. New single End Of The Earth was well received and songs such as Nobody Knows sound so much like an early Artic Monkeys, you would have to check their Covid passes to make sure that it wasn’t them. NYC (Sing It Loud) is a triumphant sing along hit and sees the band doing what they do best and whilst the anthemic Live For The Moment and Chasing Shadows ended their set on a real high, The Sherlocks are going to be around for some time.

Earlier this year in May Blossoms performed live when 5000 residents of Liverpool were allowed to attend the first non-socially distanced gig in the UK since March 2020. That gig went down a storm and it was expected that they would replicate that success at the Tramlines Festival. From the reaction of this crowd they did not disappoint.

With a set list that had just the right mix of melancholy and euphoria to make them perfect for this festival, they opened with the synth driven Your Girlfriend. Honey Sweet, steadily built from the electric guitar and keyboard, the piano driven The Keeper and There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls) were all greeted with mass arm swaying sing alongs.

Front man Tom Ogden had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout, switching from guitar holding crooner to a marauding Jarvis Cooker stalking the edge of the stage. Belting out some killer vocals especially on the catchy chorus in I Can’t Stand It which was a particular highlight, he absolutely captivated this Tramlines crowd.

With new material to showcase from their latest album, Foolish Loving Spaces, Sunday Was A Friend Of Mine and Oh No (I Think I’m In Love Again) showed just how good Blossoms are at writing and performing perfect pop songs. My Swimming Brain was a disco drenched treat and New Order’s Blue Monday blended amazingly into the end of Between The Eyes.

Bringing the whole set to a close with the disco and edgy rock song, Charlemagne, Blossoms have shown why they are well worth the ticket price to see them live.

Closing Saturday were Royal Blood, a duo who have built up a devoted fan base who have fallen head over heels for Mike Kerr’s vocals and power guitar riffs and Ben Thatcher’s break neck drumming. There is no doubt that Thatcher is commanding behind his kit perched on top of a platform, but what is clearly remarkable is Kerr’s lead bass playing as he utilises effects pedals to transform what is morally seen as a background instrument into the primary force behind the bands music.

Opening with Typhoons and Boilermaker from their latest album, it is Lights Out, the lead single from their second album that is greeted like a real fan favourite, triggering the first of many rapturous sing a longs and frantic crowd surges.

Come On Over from their debut album was really thrilling to see performed live whilst Little Monster was a highlight midway through the set, giving Thatcher a chance to show off his ridiculous talents with a jaw dropping solo towards the end of the song with Kerr egging the crowd on, not that it was needed.

The brash Blood Hands was another high point as was the monstrous Loose Change. Finishing the main set with Out Of The Black, Royal Blood sent the crowd into the biggest frenzy of the night before an encore of Limbo, another of the new album’s standout songs, preceded the band’s highly ranking hit, the swaggering Figure It Out which saw the band waving the crowd off with a song that they all knew and could sing along to.

Holding up a line-up that had contained grade one bands, Royal Blood had rattled out the kind of live show that will remind many fans of what they have been missing.