C.W. Stoneking

19 June
Plug

Tom Bower has the unenviable task of opening proceedings tonight to a sparse crowd spread around the edges of the room, but he plays a half-hour set showcasing his debut EP, Let Go, which highlights his guitar prowess and vocal strength. He is humble and self-deprecating, and his performance of Duke Ellington's 1941 classic 'Jump For Joy' sans microphone is spellbinding. He plays Tramlines later this month as Thomas and The Empty Orchestra.

Chris Stoneking is a bluesman from Australia who is 44 going on 74. Over the last 15 years or so he has released three albums and has toured regularly, though he hasn't played in Sheffield in years. This is a rare solo tour, so C.W. is perched on a stool armed only with his trusty Epiphone semi-acoustic. His singing and between-song patter is a crazy, at times almost indecipherable, Oz-Deep South hybrid.

He starts with 'How Long' from his most recent album, Gon' Boogaloo, then precedes with his best-known song, 'The Love Me Or Die', with a lengthy, rambling yarn about murder ballads, hoodoo doctors and eight-sided rooms. He is a real throwback, singing old-timey songs of grizzled, hard-working, hard-drinking men, telling tall tales of talking lions, then slipping in a heartbreaking tune to a lost love.

Certain of his songs translate to solo renditions better than others, so on 'Goin' The Country' he duets with himself, while for 'The Zombie' he enlists the audience to join in with some enthusiastic call and response. A freewheeling, humorous 90-minute set is concluded with one of his finest, the beautiful 'Jungle Lullaby'.

Pete Martin

KALLIDA 2018

22-25 June
Baskerville Hall, Wales

Not long after arriving at KALLIDA on Thursday night, we were surrounded by sound and light. Volunteers and organisers were putting the finishing touches to stages and installations on the festival site at the beautiful Baskerville Hall. Friendly, recognisable faces from parties and gigs all around Sheffield. Talented, passionate, creative people who represent the best of the city and contribute so much to making it so alright.

It wasn’t long until we were taken into a dark room and shown an immersive light installation created by one of the organisers. It explored the idea of mirror images in nature, the process known as mitosis that results in the creation of two daughter cells. It was amazing and impressive and I left feeling proud.

In this way, KALLIDA started as it would go on. I was always so proud. Proud to my bones of what this group had achieved. Friends and family were involved at every level and it was good to see. Whether in chai tents or playing lawn games, everyone was doing their bit. Representatives from many of the city’s best club nights, venues and soundsystems were there, organising, performing and getting involved.

It was a proud moment to see two of the most exciting labels in the country, Off Me Nut and Bad Taste, represent Sheffield and show how and why they are contributing to the already rich musical make-up of this city. KALLIDA was a collaborative project that everyone was happy, willing and proud to be a part of.

But it was the input from outside Sheffield that really made the festival special, the coming-together of people to help make sure it was a success. It wasn’t the strong Sheffield connection, but actually everyone and everything else that really made the festival: staff food sirens from London, Chopin recitals from Norway, hip hop and family from Manchester, new pals from Brick Lane, the madness of Spinee’s set and the beauty of Kodäma’s.

It was the variety and quality of those from outside Sheffield, our mirror image in nature, in the Welsh countryside, that made KALLIDA so great. And it's all going to happen again next year. Shucks, ain’t we lucky.

Josh FT