Following its successful debut last year, Outlines returned last weekend (3-4 March) delivering new music and local talent to the Sheffield crowds along with headliners Jagwar Ma. Like great musical watering holes (go with me on this) festivals are perfect opportunities for thirsty music fans from far and wide to lap up new music while gaining some knowledge in the process. Here are the key things we learnt as we tested the waters of this fast-developing urban festival…
Sheffield loves its local bands.
Yes, you may have been nominated for a BBC award and yes you may have been played on Radio 1, but do you have any idea what Henderson’s Relish is? One thing sure to fire up a northern audience is common ground, and that is not something you can just acquire. While Sheffield’s most loved local bands may never escape the steel city they can sure as hell get it fired up. The slightly corny Artic Monkey’s sounding indie piece The SSS stormed The Leadmill (which they have previously sold out) while local rap-artist Matic Mouth saved the day by talking bollocks to the crowd at Plug while Nadia Rose was nowhere to be found.
Shame… have no shame.
“Shame, Shame, Shame, that’s the name,” murmurs front man Charlie Steen of the aggro-punk five-piece. In their music and especially in their audacity they echo the raucous Fat White Family lads. Hailing from South London, Shame didn’t draw the biggest crowd at The Leadmill, but I doubt they even knew or cared, as they still came out all guns blazing. Steen waltzed through the crowd with the mic as if drunkenly staggering home, before throwing beer all over the seemingly indifferent front row. What a shame.
Jodie Abacus is the happiest man on earth.
We spoke to Jodie Abacus prior to Outlines so we know he is a glass-half-full character and anyone who saw him at Plug will agree it reflected in his performance. The soulful musician from Lewisham radiated good vibes delivering a warm performance to a cold and damp crowd courtesy of the infamous northern weather. The set was effortlessly slick – the euphoric ‘She’s in Love with the Weekend’ got people working their dancing shoes, while ‘I’ll be that friend’ had the crowd singing along. This kind of positive energy was needed following the mix-up of stage times and several no-shows.
Jagwar Ma can’t get enough of Sheffield.
Jagwar Ma’s first-ever UK visit began in Sheffield when they played Bungalows and Bears almost four years ago, and now they have returned to headline this chaotic festival. Despite originating from Australia, the psychedelic dance trio openly imitate the nineties Madchester scene – rather than regurgitating it however they skilfully reinvent it. Their performance was a continuous river of psychedelia and strobes, fluctuating between steady beats to sonic rapids with no pause for breath. Newer tracks ‘O B 1’, ‘Slipping’ and ‘Give Me a Reason’ now lead their material – blending together effortlessly, while old favourites got fans cutting shapes of varying success. A colourful conclusion to the day’s antics and a euphoric threshold to the night’s after-parties.