Tramlines Festival Recap: Brit Rock & Pop Gems

OK, I know the whole premise of #ThematicStatic is that it’s a mixtape we make TOGETHER. But I was without you for so long, I needed to whip something up solo upon returning from my United Kingdom adventure last week. Anyway, I hope you found the July 29 solo expedition #ThematicStatic a fun listen, despite no requests being tucked in, as I relived my time at the Tramlines music festival in Sheffield.

I couldn’t capture the stream of the show (tech difficulties, sorry!) but you can listen to the bands via videos, walk away with a bit of a British accent, and then consider making requests for future themes via social media @WNXPNashville. Thanks to East Side Bowl for supporting this listener-powered program on WNXP!


NoSo – “Honey Understand” – NoSo is a Korean-American artist and not a Brit, but I did see them perform in London a couple of days before Tramlines and recorded an interview you can find on the #RecordoftheWeek post for NoSo’s first LP Stay Proud of Me. This is one of my favorite tracks on the wholly impressive debut record.

Declan McKenna – “Brazil” – This song is some six years old, but feels timeless, does it not? Got to see Declan and his glitter-clad full band bring the bops on Friday early evening at Tramlines.

Declan McKenna and his band at Tramlines, 7/22/2022

Yard Act ft. Elton John – “100% Endurance” – Does anything justify “buzz band” status more demonstrably than one’s heroes becoming a fan of the music and approaching them for collaborations? This happened with Sir Elton John and Mercury Prize nominees Yard Act, who cut this new version of their optimistic album-closer with the Rocketman himself. The ivories and the strings make it really pretty. Yard Act’s set at Tramlines, however, was predictably chaotic and hilarious and life-giving. It was also their 100th show of 2022, and they have a full dance card the remainder of this year, too.

#ThematicStatic Playlist

Coach Party – “Weird Me Out” – Like Obama-approved Wet Leg, one of WNXP’s undisputed favorites of this year, the band Coach Party hails from the Isle of Wight and makes delightfully catchy, distorted guitar rock. This was one of my highlight, “stumble upon” sets of the festival. Their EP is called Weird Me Out and I played you the title track.

Working Men’s Club – “Widow” – This Manchester band was seemingly everywhere in England the same week I was, hitting record stores and playing gigs, because their newest album Fear Fear came out the week before they offered us a loud, moody tent set at Tramlines.

The Coral – “Goodbye” – Finally a band that didn’t make me feel like an Elder Stateswoman, The Coral, whose 2002 self-titled record was a college radio staple for your girl. The jangly, sometimes psychedelic but always harmony-fanatic group played a spirited midday Sunday set including this throwback jam.

Lime Garden – “Sick & Tired” – Here was another happy surprise for the DJ who didn’t research all the groups on the Tramlines bill, rather sauntered around between bands she did know and caught new-to-her folks like Brighton band Lime Garden. The lead vocalist Chloe Howard has a snarky, side-eye delivery and the riffs are infectious. Highly anticipating their new tunes!

Sports Team – “The Game” – Y’all, the kids were LOSING IT on Sunday at the main stage for Sports Team. I was particularly charmed by this gaggle of mullet-clad teenagers up close, passing their vape pens and fist-pumping, screaming every word of the South London band’s first record. Lucky for all of us, Friday marked the release of Sports Team’s newest called Gulp!, and “The Game” is a really fun one referencing radio. #META

Tim Both of the band James at Tramlines, 7/22/2022

Orla Gartland – “Why Am I Like This” – This Dublin-native YouTuber made a really fantastic first album last year, and you’ve heard us play a lot of songs from Woman On The Internet here on WNXP. Go figure that this particular song Gartland first sang online in 2018 now has a huge new life after appearing in the Netflix series Heartstopper. Gartland and her band sounded great at Tramlines. She’s a born performer.

James – “Sit Down” – If the Sports Team set was all about the youth, Friday’s penultimate main stage singalong with James was a homecoming for the parents. And yet, Tramlines attendees of all ages seemed to get lifted by the 90s-modern day tunes of this classic Brit Pop outfit, which really only made a splash stateside with “Laid.”

I felt like the biggest poser up front only knowing a handful of songs, but I was enveloped by the spirit of the crowd swelling and belting out all the tunes behind me. To the left, here, is one of the best of the dozens of sub-par iPhone photos I took all week, capturing a joyful moment of James’s pitch-perfect, ecstatic-dancing frontman Tim Booth communing with his people.

Sam Fender – “Spit of You” – “Seventeen Going Under” is a damn good song from a damn good record, packed with other good songs like this one describing a difficult father-son rapport. But Fender, the golden Geordie boy from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, drew in even more people as a Tramlines headliner in North England than I expected. Working-class hero. Dreamboat.

Bedroom High Club – “HARDTALK” – With a live show reminding me of Nashville’s Cage the Elephant, this young energetic band had the bucket hats a-bumpin’ under the big top on Sunday. They’re from Barnsley, and selling out club shows in Sheffield just south of their hometown. Be the second person in Nashville to love them. You, yes, you!

Gia Ford – “Sleeping in Your Garden” – The first (rainy) set I watched from under a tree on Sunday was that of Gia Ford, Sheffield native, who expressed delight that her first festival appearance was at Tramlines in her hometown. This one is from 2020, but sultry singer Ford has a new single coming out in August I’ll be excited to hear and share with you.

Do Nothing – “Gangs” – It sort of sounds and smells like Leeds’ Yard Act, but it’s Nottingham’s Do Nothing, with a slick and literate frontman reminiscent of Interpol’s Paul Banks and beats like LCD Soundsystem. These songs are all stuck in my head after some essential train listening, Do Nothing’s set being one of my favorite of the weekend at Tramlines. Dig it!

For more Tramlines coverage — mostly crappy iPhone videos to supplement the aforementioned sub-par photos — visit my Highlights reel on my Instagram, @celia_wnxp!