With the annual festival season coming to an end, it was down to the inaugural Beyond The Tracks to ensure the UK’s second city ended the summer in style.
Taking place at Eastside City Park in the middle of Birmingham, the three-day festival had already seen Orbital and Ocean Colour Scene headline its opening two nights.
Hometown heroes Editors headlined the Sunday with triumphant career spanning set featuring some of their biggest hits.
We jumped on a train and headed to Birmingham to see if Beyond The Tracks could add its name to the list of city centre festivals worthy of your attention.
Flanked by modern high-rise flats and a busy train line into New Street, Beyond The Tracks was little more than a stone’s throw from the city centre with Millennium Point and the Bull Ring both in sight.
Set across two stages, the timings ensured there was live music from the offset until Editors walked of stage.
The second stage was given over to upcoming acts, many from the Midlands music scene, while the main stage boasted some of indie’s best-known names.
Norwegian native Eera, who releases her debut album Reflection of Youth later this year, got Beyond The Tracks under way on the second stage before Nadine Shah followed suit on the main stage.
Equal parts alternative and jazzy, Shah’s set got progressively stronger ending in deafening mix of sax soloing and ferocious guitars.
After attention turned to Birmingham five-piece Dorcha on the second stage, Peter Hook and & The Light followed with one of the sets of the day, thrilling fans with some of the most recognisable basslines from the 80s.
Joined in his band by his son (also on bass), Hooky opened with New Order’s Ceremony before delving in the back catalogue of Joy Division, taking on bass and vocal duties throughout.
Highlights included Isolation which was followed by the thrashy post punk of Warsaw and She’s Lost Control.
Ending with the iconic Love Will Tear Us Apart, the Mancunian legend left to cheers, throwing his t-shirt in the crowd before departing.
Nineties shoegaze stars Slowdive followed Hoopla Blue. Although Slowdive released their first album in 22 years in January, the majority of their set comprised of tracks from their 1993 album Souvlaki.
The band’s dreamy pop swirled around the sun-bathed festival site with their set including Souvlaki Space Station, When The Sun Hits and 40 Days.
Birmingham’s BLACKASH followed Slowdive and were one the highlights the second stage, combining beats, psychedelia and dirty guitar riffs, while hidden behind hoods and masks.
Wild Beasts continued the electronic feeling of the afternoon, adding a somewhat funkier feeling with a set packed with tracks from their latest album Boy King.
Battling against a sudden downpour, the band opened with Big Cat followed by the likes of Alpha Female, Get My Bang and Celestial Creatures.
Having already played with Editors, Victories at Sea battled through sound problems on the second stage playing songs from their debut album Everything Forever.
By now, a sizeable crowd had descended on the main stage to see Scottish alt rock icons The Jesus and Mary Chain.
With stage full of smoke and back lighting, singer Jim Reid prowled around the shadows while fellow band members lurked towards the back of the stage.
Deafeningly loud throughout, The Jesus and Mary Chain opened with Amputation from their latest album Damage and Joy – like Slowdive, their first LP for the best part of two decades.
Highlights included Just Like Honey, Head On and set closer I Love Rock and Roll.
It was down to Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation to close the second stage before Editors brought Beyond The Tracks to a close.
Despite opening with the new and relatively unknown track Cold, Editors soon had fans eating out the of the palm of their hands with alternative post-punk classics including The Racing Rats, Blood and All Sparks
Singer Tom Smith has one of the most distinctive and recognisable baritone voices in indie and throughout Editors’ set he switched effortlessly between singing while pulling angular shapes, silhouetted on stage, sat playing at a piano and at the front of the stage with a guitar.
Other than the pressure of playing in front of a hometown audience, this was never going to be a difficult gig for Editors.
Highlights of their set included Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors and Bullets but set closer Papillon showcased Editors at their very best.
There’s little denying Beyond The Tracks catered towards a certain genre, with little attempt to pull in a mainstream ‘daytime radio’ audience.
However, the festival saw thousands of music fans descend on Birmingham for three days of fantastic music.
Organisers have already hinted Beyond The Tracks aims to return and if this year is anything to go by – it’ll absolutely be worth your attention.