Saturday 23 July 2022

James / Orla Gartland / Coach Party / Lime Garden / Baby Queen - Sheffield Tramlines - 22nd July 2022

We headed across to Sheffield in the rain for the first day of 2022's Tramlines Festival in Hillsborough Park. Moving between the three main stages we caught sets from Baby Queen, Lime Garden, Coach Party, Orla Gartland and James.

Delays on the trains and trams mean we miss Brooke Combe who we'd been keen to see, so our first artist of the day is Baby Queen on the main stage. She tells us that her performance at the festival last year to around twenty people on one of the smaller stages was only her second show and how taken aback she is by so many people being there to watch her. Her songs are infectious and very much draw in audience participation when she demands we all crouch and jump back up and she's already conquered the art of connecting with them - explaining stand-out track and recent single Nobody Cares is about other people not caring about all the things in your head that you hate about yourself because they're too busy with the same thoughts of their own to be interested in yours. Early singles Buzzkill and Internet Religion sit alongside newer songs like Lazy, all continue with the theme of the difficulties of learning to love yourself that make her such an important artist in terms of message whilst being exceptionally entertaining at the same time. The world needs a lot more Baby Queen in it.

Next up are Brighton's Lime Garden over at The Leadmill stage and despite, or maybe because, it being their first time ever in Sheffield there's a sizeable crowd already gathered even though the festival hasn't properly filled up yet. Singles Fever, Clockwork and Sick And Tired stand out in a set that will have won them plenty of new admirers with their engaging combination of lo-fi guitar rock embellished with synths and Chloe's vocals sitting dead centre. Whilst it's currently a big stage for them you sense they're expanding their sound to fill out bigger rooms and you wouldn't be surprised to find them following Baby Queen's path to the main stage in the near future.

Isle Of Wight's Coach Party are already much further down that path as they demonstrate with their set on The Other Stage. Their last three singles FLAG (Feel Like A Girl), Everybody Hates Me and their most recent Nothing Is Real in particular are the work of a band bristling with confidence after a year of constant touring, winning over new audiences and the on-stage interaction between Jess and Steph has an energy about it that transmits itself to a crowd that you can feel being drawn into them with each song. They've come a long way since their debut single Oh Lola just two and a half years ago, but if you pardon the terrible pun, their journey feels like it's just getting started.

They're followed on The Other Stage by Orla Gartland and despite her just having a three-piece band including herself, the sound fills the tent and feels like a headline slot even though we're still in late afternoon. Songs from her Woman On The Internet album are brought to vivid life and bulked out with guitars live. More Like This, a song she describes as her favourite despite artists not supposed to have one, and Why Am I Like This, accompanied with a 70s / 80s medley that includes Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar and Kate Bush in the middle, hit particularly hard with the crowd that stretches right to the back of the tent. Best of all are an uplifting Codependency and a glorious stretched-out Zombie that brings her forty-five minute set to a conclusion. Orla's an engaging personality that it's impossible not to warm to as she delivers the set with an indefatigable energy and passion without losing the relatable vulnerabilities that sit in the lyrics of some of these songs that mark her out a potential future headliner.

James have the slot before headliner Sam Fender and are tasked with entertaining a crowd that's in the main part not theirs, but if there's a band that relishes a challenge more than most it's them. A lesser band of their vintage would play it safe and rely on the big hitters, but James have never been that band. Three songs from last year's All The Colours Of You - the title track, lead single Beautiful Beaches and Isabella - all stand up against the likes of Sit Down, Laid, Come Home and Born Of Frustration, lacking only in instant recognition from the record collections of much of the audience's parents. Walk Like You and Curse Curse from 2014's La Petite Mort are also present and show that James, as Tim explains are about living in the moment and not simply rehashing the same over and over to huge roars from the crowd, helped by the fact that Tim references that the album was written at Yellow Arch Studios just down the road, always a winning move with a partisan crowd.

Tim takes himself down to the audience, much to the initial shock of security, and lifts himself up on to the barrier, first during Born Of Frustration where he risks getting whacked on the head by an inflatable penis that's held aloft near the front for most of the set and then during Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) where he dives headlong in to crowdsurf. He's not carried as far back as he'd usually be but it's accompanied by a huge roar as those further back see it on the big screen. Sit Down and Laid in particular have the crowd bouncing and as they finish with Sound and Andy stands aloft on the monitors as Dave and Debbie's drums combination bring the song to a powerful finale, it feels like they've convinced much of the crowd that they're a bit more than one of those bands their parents used to listen to and the two or three songs they might have known beforehand.

James' official website can be found here. They are on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the band - TimAndyChloe and Dave - are also on Twitter.

James head to Portsmouth Victorious Festival (August 26), Ragley Hall Camper Calling (28), Madrid La Riviera (September 14) and Barcelona Apolo (15) and Benidorm Visor Fest (17).

We also run the One Of The Three James archive, the most detailed resource for information about the band, and the site also has a Facebook and Twitter page.

TimBoothLyricADay, whose posts often lead to Tim explaining his thought processes behind the lyrics, can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Orla Gartland's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter.

Coach Party's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Lime Garden are on Facebook and Twitter.

Baby Queen's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter.


Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

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