07/03/2020 – Tramshed, Cardiff
This weekend, I returned to Tramshed in Cardiff, excited and ready to see my absolute favourite band again. There is always something so special about seeing Welsh indie rockers Trampolene on home soil, they have such a magical connection with the crowd, and in truth it is where you will see front man Jack Jones really thrive. His energy levels seem to peak, and chaos normally ensues. There is always a warmth and friendliness surrounding Trampolene, but at home this warmth glows to burning flames, and the band really catch on fire.
This time around, Trampolene were set to support The Sherlocks. A band I have listened to, but had yet to watch perform live, so I was curious to see what they were all about. Supporting The Sherlocks alongside Trampolene were fellow Welsh band Al Moses.
Al Moses tore onto the stage first. Very loud and very fast paced, they were an exciting ball of energy. Music gripped the crowd, and threw us full throttle into the evening.
A young band with an old-school rock and roll twist to their edgy sound, I really enjoyed their set. What stood out to me as something truly unique about them, was their ability to switch between vocalists seamlessly. Rather than centring around a single front man, the format allowed you to appreciate the band as a whole.
It is clear to see that Al Moses are nipping at the heels of indie rock greatness. A band with an awful lot of potential, they’re certainly ones to watch in the future. You can catch Al Moses at their next gig at Clwb Ifor Bach in April.
Next up were Trampolene, and I was beyond excited. In his usual bizarre fashion, Trampolene’s Jack Jones took to the stage in style. Donning a fur jacket, this time his look was complete with a face mask for protection from the crowd, given our current world health climate. Always at the centre of some kind of controversy is our beloved Mr Jones. After jeers from everyone, it wasn’t long before Jack ripped the mask from his face and thew it into the eagerly waiting crowd. Jack Jones germs obviously didn’t concern anyone, and if you thought that was the end of his antics, then you’d be wrong.
Of course, Jack had yet another trick up his sleeve for us. Or should I say, in his pants. Pretending as though he’d left his fly open, Jack proceeded to start pulling something out from his pants. Now before you stop reading, it’s not as naughty as I’m implying. Although I wouldn’t put that past him. It quickly became apparent that Jack had the welsh flag waving out from his fly. No Trampolene gig would be complete without a welsh flag appearing from somewhere or other. However, I’m certain people didn’t expect one to be strewn at them, from such an intimate place. That’s Trampolene for you though. Certainly not tame by any means.
I rolled my eyes and smiled, as I know Jack well by now. I knew that there wasn’t a way he could pass a home gig by, without doing something rather special. That’s what makes me love this band so much though. An unpredictable nature, far from boring and they will do almost anything to bring fun and laughter to their fans.
The set hadn’t even started yet, and already the crowd were wild for Trampolene.
Revving up the stage and opening straight into It’s Not Rock & Roll. I could feel the room erupt. A song really that really gives anyone new to their music a flavour of what Trampolene are all about. Before the onslaught of fan favourites You Do Nothing For Me and Alcohol Kiss.
As Alcohol Kiss blared out, Trampolene’s true spirit and madness took hold. It was at this point that I realised there certainly were a number of people in the room, who were only there for one reason, as was I. Trampolene had dedicated fans present and they were clear to spot. I was lucky enough to have secured my space in front of Jack, and despite a boisterous fan attempting to move me, it wasn’t happening.
I can hold my own in a Trampolene gig, that’s for sure.
Scattered in amongst their favourites, Trampolene also shared some new songs with us, which were amazing to hear live. Different to what I expected, the sound is more calmer than their usual style but certainly catchy, and I’m sure I will love them just as much in time.
I was certain that Trampolene gained a few extra fans that night, as I heard someone to the side of me exclaim with glee “What band was that?!”
Trampolene’s fun energy was certainly contagious and it was fantastic to see them again.
Following Trampolene’s set the music from the speakers started up again. Indie bangers from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Gerry Cinnamon and Catfish and the Bottlemen sent younger fans into meltdown as they danced and sang loudly.
Yet again Trampolene had the satisfaction of knowing they’d turned what was a relatively calm crowd into chaos, and I’m sure Jack, Wayne and Jay were smiling as they watched from the balcony. Spotted by the falling pint which soaked those below, typical Trampolene.
As I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Sherlocks, I decided to move to the side shortly before their set began to let someone else get closer to the front.
As The Sherlocks took to the stage, their professionalism was clear to see. They greeted the crowd politely and began their performance amongst the cheers. I listened and watched intently. Waiting for a killer song or a burst of energy to really kick this set into life. Those around me were singing and smiling. Unfortunately though, I have to say that I found myself underwhelmed. The night had so much energy and so much potential, but I just didn’t enjoy the music as much as I wanted to.
Without doubting that as a band they are talented and clearly adored by their fans. Unfortunately for me, each song just blended into the next, which was a real shame. Without that spark there to really excite me, I found myself feeling slightly dazed and lost. The stage was washed in bright neon lights, making the band hard to see, and I wished I hadn’t moved. I wondered, maybe if I had remained in the heart of the crowd, would I have appreciated them more?
The Sherlocks have clearly toured a great deal, I could see it reflected in their clean-cut show. There are no stumbles, or mess ups in their playing. They didn’t so much as move from their own individual perches onstage. I was expecting them to tear up and down the floor, climb the speakers and pour themselves into the crowd.
Instead, a lacklustre performance just left me disappointed. All of that character must have been ironed out in their early days, and personally I’d love to see a bit of it brought back. Barely any crowd interaction, meant little of their personality shone through. The stage wasn’t utilised to anywhere near it’s full potential.
If I had been a long standing fan of their music and had grown with them, then I’m sure I would be writing a more positive review, as I would have experienced those crazy days with them. As a new member of the crowd, watching them now though, sadly asides from generic indie rock music and a fantastic Beatles cover mid-set, there wasn’t really a lot else on offer. It makes me so sad to write that.
Undoubtedly there were a great number of people in the crowd who were enjoying the show, and their music was appreciated by fans. However being someone who only knew a handful of songs, there just wasn’t that onstage presence to carry me through to saying this was an amazing set. The Sherlocks are simply the perfect indie poster boys these days, with respectful and composed performances.
Given the crowd, genre and previous support acts, I expected a rowdy gig, but sadly that wasn’t the case. I do admire The Sherlocks ability to put on a show that their fans still love, without any theatrics. It just wasn’t love at first sight for me.
If I’m being honest and fair to The Sherlocks, I think in my eyes any band performing after Trampolene would have had a job to really impress me. Trampolene are an enigma and so lively on stage, I think this is part of the reason why The Sherlocks performance didn’t ignite me.
Overall I really enjoyed the night though, the gig provided me with a great Saturday night out, and I always adore visiting Tramshed.
I hope you can respect my honesty here. I’d never want to hurt a band as I know how hard they all work and I appreciate that massively, but I cannot write a glowing review when I was not set alight.
I’d love to see The Sherlocks really have fun and enjoy being on stage again!
Maybe next time!