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LIVE: Dot To Dot Festival 2010

1 June 10 words: Paul Klotschkow & Kristi Genovese
With Wild Beasts, Blood Red Shoes, Beach House, Ellie Goulding, Mystery Jets, Los Campesinos! and much more

Dot to Dot 2010 at Rock City - photo by Rowan Miles (c)

photo by Rowan Miles

Paul Klotschkow

Aside from being harassed early on outside Rock City by someone who can only be described as a drunk of window licking proportions offering a 'bumming' to both me and my friend, Dot To Dot 2010 was another enjoyable day and night of great music, discovering new bands, and just generally being able to, what I believe is termed, "shoot the shit".

I could tell you about all the great bands I saw, from Ocean Bottom Nightmare blasting away the cobwebs early doors in the Rock City basement, followed by another shot of Notts Rock in the form of fuzzy beacons of epic darkness Black Light Parade. Then making a dash for it over to the NTU Pulse Bar for the Elvis love-in that Burly Nagasaki were conducting with their skeletal lo-fi shenanigans. Bitter Tears look like a bunch of crazed acid freaks that have been let loose in the scariest fancy dress shop ever. They're awesome, with songs that sound like the tales a creepy uncle would tell their nieces and nephews before they go to sleep with the intent to give them nightmares.

Dot to Dot 2010 at Rock City - photo by Rowan Miles (c)

Bitter Tears - photo by Rowan Miles

The early(ish) visit to The Social turns in to a mistake when The Agitator agitates me to leave after one song, as I was faced with what seemed to be a man having a mental breakdown on stage. The Silent Disco turned out to be far more successful with a bunch of indie kids jumping around to some fine gangster rap and dance music, and Boom! Shake The Room causing a mass sing-along (so maybe the rap wasn't all that gangster...).

Feeling revived by the rush of getting my groove on, Blood Red Shoes in Rock City offer up a sucker punch of cranked up amps, as each song delivers a heavyweight blow of crunching, driving riffs. Wild Beasts were an all together different proposition but are no less riveting. It also turns out that their shimmering, other worldly music turns in to a sharp, strutting, confident, swaggering hulk live, making you do that thing at gigs sometimes where you sort of dance and move whilst standing completely still.

I slip in to Stealth to catch Wolf Gang, who seemed to be on a crusade to bring the funk back to rock. Imagine a Prince fronted Weezer doing The Replacements covers, then you are kinda close to what these sound like – a funked out, college rock frat-party. On to NTU where Beach House prove that mixing the melodic charms of the Beach Boys with the wooziness of My Bloody Valentine provides sublime, dream-lile results.

Los Campesinos - photo by Dom Henry (c)

Los Campesinos - photo by Dom Henry

Los Campesinos! are brimming with energy with their colourful indie pop bouncing and bobbing as if they've necked half a gallon of Red Bull. Half way through their set, and frankly just needing to sit down, a short walk to the Glow Bar see's the brat-pop shouty tantrum mistress that is Daisy Dares You going at it like Kate Nash swilling bleach and shooting up on speed. It sounds self conscious, but turns out to be a pretty fun show in the end. Which can't be said for Egyptian Hip Hop who need to be punished under the trades description act, as they turn out to be neither Egyptian or purveyors of rhyming lyrical wit. Instead they turn out to be an odd, synthy, blip-blop pop band, that leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed.

Daisy Dares You - photo by Geoff Kirby (c)

Daisy Dares You - photo by Geoff Kirby

But it seems that my experience of this years Dot To Dot Festival is best summed up by a series of text messages that I sent to my friend throughout the day, and of which I will publish here (and show how annoying I am when tipsy).

17:36
Me: ...It's okay so far. A few awkward conversations with people. In Rescue Rooms courtyard waiting for Tom to come back with my pear cider, been waiting ages! Tut! Contemplating getting a burger from the BBQ :O How are you? Xx

20:21
Me: tom and I are dropping it low in the silent disco x

22:57
Me: lol I've befriended Wild Beasts during the Beach House set x

23:48
Me: Another update. Tom and I have been talking to and hugging Daisy from Daisy Dares You lol xx

Kristi Genovese

I started the day with a dose of indie pop from The Cheek. The young Suffolk boys inject energy into their life performance with lots of exuberant dancing around. They’re definitely a band that all girls seem to love and they’ve managed to craft the perfect disco tune; For Just One Night is a catchy winner with its stomping pop brilliance.

Casey Dienel and Shawn Creeden come together as White Hinterland to fill NTU with their unpredictable sound. You can’t help but feel like you’re in a trance like dream and visually they create a hippie haven with candles next to the electronic decks. Casey sings like Bjork and Bat For Lashes and its obvious she enjoys experimenting with her voice. Shawn Creedon mixes Casey’s vocals and loops them on the spot to create layers which add an euphoric depth. The music hypnotises you with the tribal earthy rhythms and thumping bass influenced by hip-hop, dub and jazz.

Dot to Dot 2010 ounters - photo by Geoff Kirby (c)

Dot 2 Dot folk - photo by Geoff Kirby

De Staat at Stealth which was probably the highlight of my day. The Dutch five-piece are a garage rock band that thrashed their way through the set with head banging and epic guitar solos similar to Queens Of The Stoneage. Then infuse cheekiness with humour and you have a great band in the making. Think the energy of Eagles Of Death Metal and The Hives with a mix of noise rock, and you have a band who know they’re bloody good but can have fun with it too. Then add a cowbell and a theremin and you have my new favourite band.

Next it was time for some punk rock with Sharks in the Rock City Basement. They don’t need tattoos or mohawks and they aren’t afraid to add melodic guitar riffs. The only problem was that more people seemed to leave as the set went on! This looked like it clearly annoyed the singer who pleaded with the rest of the crowd not to go. They’re a pure British rock band who have mastered punk rock structures.

I went to listen to the big bold vocals of  Peggy Sue in the Pulse Bar. On one level they’re a folk band with meaningful pop songs and on the other they’re a blues band with a ballsy and engaging stage presence.  Add an accordion and you have a talented band whose only attempt is to draw the crowd into their Jeffery Lewis, Janis Joplin and Regina Spektor inspired sound.

Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes - photo by Rowan Miles (c)

Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes - photo by Rowan Miles

Blood Red Shoes who are known to be one of the loudest duos around. Together they manage to write singalong tunes with a dose of rock grunge, and its obvious that Laura-Mary Carter is in her comfort zone with her guitar. She’s in her own world with the nirvana inspired riffs and head bangs like a true grunge queen. I Wish I was Someone Better showed the duo’s compatability perfectly with the pair singing at each other. You Bring Me Down and It’s Getting Boring By The Sea were live favourites with people having a little mosh and it just makes me wish there were more women singers like this!

Wild Beasts spot in the Rock City Main Hall had been creating hype all day with lots of people excited to see them play. Their experimental vocals make them stand out from the indie drivel mix of bands very similar to them. Joint vocalists Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming, mix deep vocals with vocals so high they could give Kate Bush a run for their money. Some parts are a bit sombre and fail to fully engage the crowd but when they do manage it everyone seems to go mad.  Musically they create a melodic wall of transcient uplifting music.

Dot to Dot 2010 punters - photo by Geoff Kirby (c)

 photo by Geoff Kirby

The most epic stage show of the day  goes to The Chapman Family and their raucous sound. They certainly love to cause a stir with their controversial antics. If dedicating a song to the "Crossbow Cannibal" wasn’t enough, front man Kingsley Chapman strangles himself with his mic cable, pulls it tight like a noose and then attempts to scream in a chilling manner.  With lots of jumping around clearly too mundane for them, the guitarist jumps on the bar. When the set finished one of the band members saluts before blindly falling into the crowd.

Ellie Goulding, the latest woman to grab the mainstream press by its throat, might appear to be a girl’s girl but she counter acts this by playing her guitar well and maintaining a down to earth presence. She appears to mean every word she sings and shows passion with her hand movements and intensity while playing her instrument. Also a fan of standing up playing drums, she tries to add a little difference to her mainstream pop persona.  Her hits Starry Eyed and Guns and Horses went down so well that getting people to sing along to her songs was effortless.

Mystery Jets - photo by Rowan Miles (c)

Mystery Jets - photo by Rowan Miles

Mystery Jets who have played the festival twice before, the only difference is the sets are getting longer and the songs are getting better. Blaine’s 59 year old father Henry may no longer be part of the live set-up but the sound has actually matured into 70s inspired new-wave prog-pop. Flash A Hungry Smile sounds gorgeously happy with its laid back high pitched vocals and the odd bit of whistling. Indie pop classics like Half In Love and Two Doors Down gets the best response.

The Dot To Dot Festival 2010 took place at various venues in Nottingham on Sunday 30 May 2010.

Dot To Dot Festival website

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