Where: Tramlines, Sheffield
Venue: New Music Stage
Kicking off the brilliantly planned 'Nandos New Music Stage' at Tramlines festival on Saturday was Novella. The first of many up and coming artists playing on this wonderful stage set deep in the city of Sheffield. For those of you that are not from Sheffield, Tramlines is a yearly three/four day music festival, now in it's fourth year. Nothing can rival a free festival in such a vibrant city... With a line-up of exquisite artists.
The quatro took to the stage smiling, frowning and staring at the beautiful town hall, where the New Music Stage was placed. Tracks from their debut EP sounded fresh, but not as harmonic as on recordings. 'Eat Yourself' opened up Novella's set nicely. It's first on the EP and rightfully played first live. The abrasive opening marks their territory nicely on a stage that would later feature Mazes and Future of The Left.
The chord progressions of 'He's My Morning' sounded magnificent, as did the kick and layered electric guitars that follow. The bass seems to cascade down on the listener, that's if you're standing within 20 feet of the stage. The sound system isn't the strongest, but that doesn't effect Novella's lo-fi tendencies. Hollie's vocals are without girl power backing from Suki and Sophy, who have opted not to provide the harmonies. Hollie's lead vocal sounds clear and crisp, instead of smooth and harmonic. They perform their debut EP almost perfectly without flaws, it's just the odd few hinges that are missing from the live performance.
Our much loved 'Don't Believe Ayn Rand' is always pleasing to hear. To hear it live for the first time is orgasmic. There's something about the honest vocal and guided message which seems to be portrayed easily and effortlessly in Hollie's vocal. The guitars are loud, distorted and versatile with the structure. The girls seem confident enough to play bigger shows. 'Strange Things' and 'You're Not That Cool' both had a glamorous setting. Strange Things is dissonant and extremely noisy, where as You're Not That Cool is refreshingly textured and riff happy. The bass flows excitingly well with the guitars and the drumming never misses a beat.
'The Things You Do' has this Spacemen 3 feel. Novella used this glorious track to close their 30ish minute set. It's extremely trippy, like woaaahhh tripppppyyyy maaaaan. The little breaks, or the chorus as it could be, has this straight edge drum beat and a pretty stark guitar chord progression. The following 'verses' of instrumentation and eerie vocals have distorted guitars playing very loud and aggressively. It's on the verge of punk, noise rock and shoegaze, whilst keeping the alternative rock aesthetic at it's core. I couldn't think of any other up and coming band that deserve the opening slot for this alternative frenzy of a line-up. Novella have the passion and the psalm to reach the next level, they're just as good live as on record.