Recap: Tramlines 2023 - A Little Rain Never Hurt Nobody!
By Daisy Donnelly
Two weeks on and we have finally dried up from the wettest weekend ever! The fastest weekend of the year has once again been and gone. Tramlines 2023 was truly something quite unique, but the rain didn’t get the locals down, nor did it get us down here at LSTV! We were fortunate enough to attend all three days of Tramlines - so here are our thoughts. Balancing our coverage with part-time work was challenging… so we didn't get loads of time to catch as many acts as we wanted - but we still had a cracking time! A huge thank you to Tramlines for having us.
After a quick 8.5 hour morning shift (don’t we love part time jobs!) and a quick journey across the city - we made it into Tramlines at 5PM. The first act on our schedule was Sea Girls - a band that we actually found 4 years ago on this very stage! Back in 2019, Sea Girls performed an early set on the Sarah Nulty Stage in some light rain (at the time, it felt bad… now we have lived through Tramlines 2023… it doesn’t feel as bad now!!) and since then, Sea Girls have released two albums, Open Up Your Head and Hometown. Kicking off our weekend in style, the indie rockers opened their set with some of their classics, including “Damage Done” and “Ready For More” following it up with a newer song called “Weekends and Workdays.” Not only did they keep an excitable Friday crowd bouncing non-stop throughout their 45 minute set, but Henry delivered a delightful fact, that he had been in Sheffield just the last week for his first EVER bottomless brunch! Following it up, of course, by adding that nobody does it like Sheffield does!
A brilliant performance from Sea Girls (as per usual!) and pretty much the only time the whole weekend, we got to see a glimpse of sun! With the teasing of new music, we can’t wait to see what Sea Girls have in store for us over the course of the next year… as they enthusiastically say “You’d better get ready for more!”
After a brief trip back to the press area, our second set of the weekend was due to start…DMA’s. Aussie rockers DMA’s burst onto the scene in 2014 with the release of their debut single “Delete.” Since then we’ve enjoyed 4 albums, with the most recent “How Many Dreams?” having been released in March of this year. DMA’s last played Tramlines in 2021, so a return to the steel city was well-received.
Opening their set with the title track off their new album “How Many Dreams?”, DMA’s played a span of older and newer songs, including their cover of Cher’s Believe, a firm favourite with the steel city crowd. And, of course, the flares were out for “Lay Down” - off their debut album, Hills End. Lead vocalist, Tommy O’Dell was on fire, his vocals akin to that of the recorded songs, lead guitarist Matt Mason was note perfect and rhythm guitarist Johnny Took looked effortlessly cool as he began “Hello Girlfriend” - a track off their third album “The Glow” (oh, and my absolute favourite DMA’s song… sorry to anyone that heard me screaming the lyrics!)
Overall, for a first time seeing DMA’s - they put on a show that certainly made us want to come back for more. DMA’s kick off their UK tour in Norwich in December, so make sure you catch them for more catchy Australian rock.
After another day of working, we headed to Tramlines around 6:45PM to catch the first of today’s iconic Mancunian bands, Blossoms. Blossoms last played Tramlines in 2021, and what a sweaty crowd they brought with them. 2023 was no different: just as much sweat, maybe even more than the mud!
Opening with two classics in “Your Girlfriend” and “Honey Sweet” the Tramlines crowd forgot about the subpar weather and enjoyed the upbeat indie-pop that Blossoms have perfected. Armed with hairstyles that rival Rapunzel, Blossoms brought an indie party to the soggy steel city, with lead vocalist Tom Ogden reminding festival goers that Blossoms are celebrating their 10th birthday this year! Requesting that everyone held a tin in the air in celebration (tin being the traditional 10th wedding anniversary gift!) Blossoms continued their jam-packed setlist with a song off their self-titled debut album “Blossoms”, “At Most A Kiss.”
An hour went by far too quickly whilst watching Blossoms and we inched closer and closer to our Saturday headliner, “Courteeners.” Another iconic Mancunian band, Courteeners have rocked the British indie scene for over 15 years, with their last appearance at Tramlines taking place in 2019. Having released an album since then, “More. Again. Forever” Courteeners drew in a massive crowd, even with a heavy downpour before they came on stage.
Coming on stage to Morning Glory by Oasis (a song very well received by the Tramlines crowd), Teeners opened with a banger in “Are You in Love With a Notion?” followed by two of their early singles “Cavorting” and “Acrylic” - with the former being restarted due to a crowd issue. Courteeners frontman, Liam Fray, later admitted that the crowd issue has somewhat scared him - but he certainly didn’t let it affect his energy on stage, or the energy of the crowd. One of the most beautiful moments of the whole weekend took place during this set, as Liam Fray took to the stage alongside Elina Lin (the band’s live keyboardist and vocalist) for an acoustic rendition of “It Must Be Love.” What a song, and what a beautiful way to remind the crowd why they were all standing outside… beautiful beautiful music. Hats off to you Liam Fray, you brought a tear to the eye of a Steel City girl.
Naturally, they rounded off their set with “Not Nineteen Forever” (with that being the final time I would hear it live before turning 20… maybe that’s another reason I was getting emotional?) alongside “What Took You So Long?” A beautiful way to end the Saturday night of Tramlines. Courteeners never EVER let down a crowd, and Tramlines 2023 was no different.
And then the worst of the weather came! The heavens opened during the night, and we awoke to alerts from Tramlines that they would be delaying the opening of the festival site while they put safety measures in place.
That didn’t get us at LSTV down, as we headed down to Hillsborough as soon as the site opened and prepared for an extremely exciting interview with none other than local Leeds legend, Simon Rix from the Kaiser Chiefs!
Simon was absolutely lovely, and well up for the performance later that day. He spoke about all things new music, Otley Runs and even gave us a sneak peek at his favourite dance move. Our interview with Simon will be out very soon on our Youtube and Facebook, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Here’s our beautiful Head of Music, Willow Arlett with the legendary Simon Rix!
After meeting Simon, we RAN outside to catch the final two songs from the iconic Sugababes set - “Round Round” and “About You Now.” The noughties icons absolutely smashed it alongside their band, and hearing About You Now live was truly something that will stick with us for LIFE.
We caught Black Honey’s set in a packed out T’Other Stage afterwards, enjoying lead singer Izzy’s electric vocals and her love for the passionate crowd. We were lucky enough to catch up with Black Honey at Leeds Festival last Summer, check out our interview here!
We took a brief Yorkshire Pudding break, and took in some local sports AKA Mud Sliding… yes people had genuinely lost their mind enough to be sliding along the mud without their tops on. Welcome to Tramlines 2023!
And then it was time to catch our mate Simon and the Kaiser Chiefs rock the Sarah Nulty Main Stage. As the rain poured down on Hillsborough Park, it didn’t dampen the crowd’s spirit as the Leeds legends opened with Never Miss A Beat - and they certainly didn’t! Playing a mix of their newer singles, “How 2 Dance” and “Jealousy”, alongside their old bangers, “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” and “Oh My God.” “Ruby” and “I Predict A Riot” were incredibly well-received by the hardcore festival goers who were still sludging around in the mud. Enjoy a photo of the mud and my poor boots.
Kaiser Chiefs truly brought out the best of the Tramlines crowd, and coming off the back of multiple other concerts, they didn’t appear tired in the slightest… now that is dedication!
All in all, we had an incredible time at Tramlines 2023 - having the chance to see some of the greatest artists around and doing it in one of the greatest cities? It doesn’t get much better than that. Tramlines 2024 tickets are already on sale now, so make sure you grab yours now! Thank you so much to the Tramlines team, who welcomed us with open arms, and to all the artists we got a chance to watch and meet over the course of the weekend. Music really does bring us all together, no matter the weather! Big up Tramlines, we will certainly Be More Nulty for you <3
Tramlines 2024 takes place 26th - 28th of July 2024.