As festival season draws to a close for another year, Sheffield’s Float Along pokes its head through the curtain, ready to take to the stage for an encore. A multi-venue showcase taking place in Sheffield’s city centre, Float Along takes over The Leadmill, Sidney & Matilda and Corporation, bringing together three venues and a total of six stages in a showcase that displays some of the most hotly-tipped acts that the industry currently has to offer, and even throwing in a talk with BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq if there wasn’t enough to quench your musical thirst already.
Only in its second year, this years Float Along festival boasted the likes of W H Lung, Gengahr, English Teacher and headliners The Murder Capital, the latter of which gave their all through a 90-minute-set at the iconic Leadmill, treating fans to a preview of their new track, ‘Heart Is The Hole’, and highlights from their debut album, When I Have Fears, and deep-cuts from January’s Gigi’s Recovery. It’s during the set of The Murder Capital, who have this year played at the likes of Glastonbury Festival and a career-defining show at Paris’ Rock en Seine, that it becomes clear how lucky we are to have venues such as the Leadmill – Sheffield’s longest living independent venue which is currently under threat of eviction, sweaty, cramped venues with walls that ooze with personality are best for mosh-filled sets that allow fans to see their favourite artists in more intimate settings.
W.H. Lung, named after a Chinese supermarket in Manchester, performed at the festival for the second consecutive year. They upgraded from last year’s Steel Stage performance and now enthralled the main-stage Leadmill crowd with an eccentric and captivating show. Their hour-long set took the audience on a journey to Berlin disco rooms and included songs from their two albums, as well as their latest single, ‘High Pressure Days’, which turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser. Fans, both old and new, were treated to an unforgettable performance.
Perfectly displaying how Float Along caters to every genre, Manchester’s Maruja found themselves at home at Corporation. With what started out as a subdued crowd, something those that are familiar with Maruja would know is a rarity, perhaps due to their 5 pm set time, it didn’t take long before bodies were jumping into each other – commanded by the four-pieces saxophonist Joe Carroll, who jumped off stage to weave his way in and out of a crowd entranced.
Leeds’ English Teacher are a band that seem to be going from strength to strength at current, with their latest single ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab’ receiving a roar from a packed Sidney & Matilda – an intimate setting that suited the bands charming post-punk-tinged pop tracks perfectly, allowing vocalist Lily Fontaine to quieten down chatty crowd members with just a glance.
Elsewhere, Personal Trainer dealt with the challenge of fitting their seven members on a small stage with ease, hurling themselves through an eleven-track set that held attention captive, allowing vocalist Willem Smit to properly connect with his audience before closing with fan-favourite ‘Milk’.
Float Along is a festival that, in its second year, positions itself as an exciting new addition to a music lovers festival calendar. Setting itself apart from other multi-venue festivals in other major cities, what with it holding talks and food stalls alongside the music, Float Along is definitely a festival to keep your eye on in 2024.