Tramlines Fringe Festival Live at Sheffield City Hall

I arrive to find Trigger Thumb just on stage, with a quite busy and appreciative crowd in front of them. The room is already warm and echoing, though neither of these things seems to put off either audience nor band, despite the slight disservice done to Trigger Thumb by this. Even from the third song in, there are noticeably more heads nodding along and more movement in the crowd from earlier, as the Bradford 3-piece start to quickly work over the crowd, with vocalist/guitarist Arron’s self-deprecation between songs raising a number of smiles around the room, as he says, We are Trigger Thumb and we are losers”. Musically, they veer between noisy Math Rock and some quite delicate guitar and vocals, showing an homage, at least, to The Mars Volta, whilst nods to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Faith No More pop through at various times. They perform their set with a minimum of fuss and thoroughly earned the loud applause they garner at the end of their set.

Body Hound is next on the bill and even from the soundcheck, there is a touch more control to proceedings than with our previous act. Instrumental prog-math-Rock may be a bit of a mouthful, but it sure as hell produces a hell of a punch live! The history of the band members means that we already know just how talented they are as musicians, but how well they gel on a live stage, showing quite how compelling a musical force they are, demonstrates quite how high a level they are truly at. While the room is still as hot as before, this doesn’t phase Body Hound, with an energetic performance throughout, a very good standard of musicianship and the crowd altogether making for a great atmosphere.

 

After the next break, it’s time for Boss Keloid and it’s good to see that the Mancunians are still as strong and eclectic as ever! They have always had a plethora of influences, which, while making nailing down their sound for people harder, increases their potential appeal to the audience. Around half of the heads in the room around us are nodding by the time we are halfway through the set, with there being such a different level of range in their sonic soundscape than the previous acts – as good as they were – it’s good to see that their diversity doesn’t seem to be too much for those around me, as more heads are lulled into self-induced whiplash as we progress towards the end of the set. I’ve personally been a fan of theirs for a couple of years, having first seen them play at an HRH Festival, and they again show just why they are picking up traction with a rather mesmerising cacophony of sound. Long may they continue.

A.A. Williams, with a different feel entirely to those bands that have come before her, takes to the stage with a busy room awaiting her – she has clearly piqued the interest of some of the crowd who take interest in her performance, though sadly there are others who talk quite loudly over what is a fairly intimately feeling set. I would compare her work more towards the later Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds work, the delicate, melodic moroseness belying what is a genuinely well-written segment of work. While AA may not be the loudest act on the Holy Roar label, there is something intrinsically chilling yet captivating about her music that shows their choosing to sign her somewhat prudent – definitely, someone to keep an ear out for. The talkers soon abate, drawn in by the smooth, entrancing vocals laid down, with the room held prisoner in essence, by her. A subtle, haunting and beautifully dark set that shows you don’t need to be ear shatteringly loud to evoke such a reaction.

Svalbard, MONO, and And So I Watch You From Afar closed out the day. Sadly, due to a DJ residency back home and rail disruption en route, I have to leave even earlier than I had previously intended, missing Svalbard – one of my main reasons for being interested in this line-up. Another time, for sure!

WORDS BY DJ ASTROCREEP

PHOTOS BY LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY