Package tours aren't just for families, they can also showcase the best new bands around. Leicester (July 5), Nottingham (July 6) and Sheffield (July 7)
Hot summer, out there. Good music in here. Right?” asks Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man singer Frederick Blood-Royale, but in actual fact he’s wrong. On the first count at least: in rain-soaked Leicester on Saturday night, it isn’t hot and it certainly doesn’t feel like summer. Ditto Nottingham and Sheffield on the days after. It seems, then, that the Trangressive crowd are taking the weather with them on this jaunt – apt, perhaps, considering the fact that singer-songwriter Liam Finn is actually the son of Crowded House’s Neil; author of classic ’90s chart hit ‘Weather With You’.
The rain can’t dampen the mood, though, as spirits, and indeed band members, remain high throughout our stay. In Sheffield, for instance, Finn improvises a song called ‘Sex In The Pocket’ with members of Esser, and during Ox.Eagle…’s set, the New Zealander takes to the stage wearing little more than a cape before wrestling Blood-Royale to the floor. So So Modern’s sets prove less eventful but equally entertaining. A furious fusion of bleeps, guitars and whirlwind drums, they sound like At The Drive-In disassembling Battles and Holy Fuck. One of their tunes, ‘Berlin’, was written after drummer Dan partied in the German capital for four days without sleep, and after spending 72 hours on the road with him, NME can quite believe it. Esser might be the poppiest artist in the Transgressive stable, but there’s plenty of edge to go with the hooks. ‘Leaving Town’ and ‘Headlock’, bookending his set, soon win over the crowds – although, in Nottingham, not the sound engineer: the band trash the stage at the end, much to his obvious chagrin.
Headlining the three nights is Jeremy Warmsley, playing with just a bassist and drummer, and the songs sound suitably stripped-down as a result. Rather than diminish their impact, this serves only to highlight Warmsley’s skill as a tunesmith, particularly on ‘Dirty Blue Jeans’ and ‘I Believe In The Way You Move’. Closing his Sheffield set with a cover of New Order’s ‘Temptation’, Warmsley is denied an encore by the venue’s staff and so invites us outside for an acoustic finale. It might not be a hot summer outdoors, but Trangressive’s new charges still leave us
with a warm feeling inside.