Reviews: Heaven 17 (Tramlines) Hot Club de Paris (The Forum)

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The Crookes (Venue)

THEY’VE played some unconventional venues in recent times from the Winter Garden to Magna, but outside rather than in Sheffield City Hall will probably rank as a career high.

For Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory got to perform the likes of Temptation and Come Live With Me just yards from where those classics were penned a generation ago.

But this gathering was all the more special for packing out an, albeit rained upon, Barkers Pool for the first major stage headline of the city’s three-day multi-venue festival.

Certainly it’ll be burned in the memory of Kate Jackson, the former Long Blondes singer returning solo to her former home to join Heaven 17 for covers of Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging and Terence Trent D’Arby’s Sign Your Name, produced by Ware.

Sandwiched between the headliner and opening local hero Steve Edwards, her own set marked the first official outing of The Kate Jackson Group.

“Good evening Sheffield…I have waited three years to say that,” she said, her electric blue dress matching briefly promising patches of sky.

In a set highlighted by The Pacific and the horn-accompanied Lying In Her Arms, Jackon surely won plenty of friends here, her voice reaching its best form on late offering The Westerlies.

Even with the rain that was to follow, the opening night output from the Nokia Stage set the standard for a lot of what was to follow from Tramlines Mk III.

David Dunn

Hot Club de Paris (The Forum)

IT must be awkward for a band to soundcheck themselves…especially in front of a baying crowd, and not least when you were due on half an hour ago.

Then you could easily excuse Hot Club de Paris, if only for their apologetic Scouse tones and cheeky demeanour. That they then had the audacity to open with an instrumental, a commanding one at that, was to be applauded.

Wholly forgiven for the delay, when they finally added vocals the point of their appeal made sense. Not just the rapid-fire guitar riffs from MatthDavid Dunn

ew Smith, nor the confident delivery from lead singer Paul Rafferty. Mainly it was the refreshing sense of fun to their set; the sort of exuberance that a heaving Forum on Tramlines first night could soak up and revel in.

You could be forgiven for thinking the front pair were brothers, such was the apparent wobbling rivalry. The duo stole the show with almost telepathic interplay and banter between songs as their camaraderie acted as a sideshow to a stunning performance. It’s actually drummer Alasdair, yet that only became obvious when Matthew cajoled a crowd ‘happy birthday’ serenade.

For all their supersonic tracks, they still found time later for the odd ‘lighter’ song, which proved how devious their early repertoire was. Yet before you knew it, the reverb faded to more pulsating riffs.

Omar Soliman