|Talbot Street was closed for Dot to Dot - photo by Victor Frankowski
With over 40 bands spread over various venues including Rock City, Rescue Rooms, The Bodega, Stealth and Nottingham Trent, the Dot To Dot festival is a mammoth day and night of new and underground music.
|Baby Godzllla - photo by melimOi
The day starts off in the basement at Rock City to catch local lads Baby Godzilla, and they blast away the early afternoon cobwebs with an onslaught of atomic strength riffs and nuclear screaming. Combining the noise and energy of punk, hardcore and heavy rock and delivering it in chaotic fashion that sees band members throwing themselves around the stage and amongst the audience, it’s an exciting and entertaining way to start the day.
|Royal Gala - photo by Dom Henry
Royal Gala are another Notts band who are set with the task of opening up one of the stages - in their case it is The Pulse Bar at Nottingham Trent. I’m used to seeing them late at night or in the wee hours in a packed sweaty club, so catching them in the early afternoon with daylight flooding through the windows is a little disorientating at first. But they soon warm the audience up and get them going with their soulful and funky mix, with singer Louise barking orders at the crowd to get them dancing. Royal Gala are the perfect party band in many ways led by a captivating lead singer and pushed along by some of the funkiest horns to never appear on a James Brown song, so it’s not hard for them to liven up the early starters.
|Spotlight Kid - photo by Dom Henry
A small walk downstairs and it’s recent LeftLion interviewees Spotlight Kid opening up the Trent Uni Main Room. It’s a big space, but fortunately Spotlight Kid generate such a mammoth wall of noise that they easily make the room their own. With three guitarists there is a heaviness to their sound, but the guitars ring out and chime as the twin male and female vocals harmonise perfectly underneath it all, creating a warm aural blanket that wraps itself around you - it’s music to lose yourself in. They summon up the ghosts of bands such as Ride and Slowdive, yet Spotlight Kid stamp their own authority and style on the classic shoegaze sound.
|Yunioshi 'let there be biscuits!' - photo by Dom Henry
in the downstairs room at Stealth a Yunioshi seem genuinely thrilled to have attracted a sizable crowd at such an early-ish time. Over the past year Yunioshi’s self proclaimed ‘robot funk’ has got noticeably heavier and now it sounds like the machines have finally taken over. Leaning more towards heavy, crunching electronica, the band play like the house band at a Sci-fi version of Studio 54. Their electro-funk is enthralling and makes even the the most rhythmically challenged want to get down and dance. The Yunioshi Catering Corp was also in action as the band dish out some Y shaped biscuit treats midway through their set
|And lo there were biscuits - photo by Dom Henry
Around the corner in the Rescue Rooms Get People are doing their thing. They sound a touch like Friendly Fires if Friendly Fires made ice cold grooves, and leave arctic sized spaces between the instruments giving their songs are rather chilling early 80s vibe. Their minimal sounding tunes are overflowing with enough pop know-how that they never sound detached and instead pulse and throb with life. They are the perfect warm up band for what is coming up next...
Not enough praise can be heaped upon Is Tropical who blow everyone’s mind in the Rescue Rooms. All three band members wear masks and the stage is draped in darkness, but out of the shadows radiates an electronic dust storm of squelching samples, throbbing bass and driving drums. They sound like a darker heavier late 80s New Order and are relentless and euphoric all at the same time. Their music feels like a chemical rush that forces itself in to your veins. I could have listened to them all night, but unfortunately it eventually has to end.
|Nike and the Dove - photo by melimOi
But next door in Stealth, Niki and the Dove are conjuring up a bewitching spell of dark and gothic-tinged electronica led by the enigmatic and spellbinding Mahlin Dahlstrom on vocals. The Knife comparisons are obvious, but there are similar traits as both bands deal in epic and gloriously melodic electro. Although, watching them live you can’t but help feel that Siouxise and The Banshees also cast a shadow over the band. They are a dance band, but a dance band with darkness at their heart and this is more than obvious when they end of a pounding version of DJ Ease My Mind.
| Kogumaza - photo by Dom Henry
Back to the Pulse Bar and Kogumaza are loud and heavy and hammering their way through a set of hypnotic and fuzzy sludge rock. The heaviness and repetitive nature of their music makes your mind do weird things; you feel like a worm hole has opened up in your brain and reality has just been zapped away from you. The brutal levels of volume are counter-balanced by the subtle and groove based nature of their songs. This reviewer has seen Kogumaza numerous times previous, and just like tonight, watching Kogumaza is an assault on the mind as well as the ears.
|...And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead - photo by Victor Frankowski
It’s fitting that ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are on straight afterwards downstairs in the Nottingham Trent Main Hall as they share similar traits to Kogumaza, mainly in their love of noise, volume and mighty riffs. The first thing that hits you is just how loud they are, but in the past where they may have been chaotic up on stage, tonight they channel their energy by throwing their all in to their songs. Their set plays out like a greatest hits and the band quite simply tear it up like they won’t be happy until the venue is nothing but a pile of rubble around their feet.
Upstairs at The Bodega for Fixers and it’s heaving, with people being stopped from going upstairs. Fixers are a kaleidoscopic adrenaline rush of vaguely Animal Collective pop, and their choppy and bubbling songs are a much needed shot of energy at this late hour. It’s a relentless set and the band barely stop for breath between songs whipping up the already excitable crowd.
Cults follow with their echoey, Phil Spector-ish sounding take on sunny 60s girl groups and twee indie-pop. Where Fixers were like a wound up ball of energy, Cults are more laid back and have an air of New York cool. But they joyfully bounce through their set with wonderful abandon and their songs shimmer as if encased in sunshine. They mix up lush sounding keyboards with moments of blustering garage rock guitars for added moments of spice, and it’s clear from the anticipation before their set and the audiences reaction that there is a lot of expectation around this band at the moment.