Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham (Part 1)

By on Monday, 6th June 2016 at 3:00 pm

Dot to Dot was our editor Mary’s first UK festival, and she had spoken highly of her experience in Nottingham in 2009, so I was anticipating an exciting day. Armed with sensible shoes and a roughly hashed-out schedule, I was ready for a day jam-packed with a wide variety of music.

I’d intended to get to Nottingham to start my day at Dot to Dot a little earlier than I managed, with every intention of watching CHAPPO’s full set. I ended up missing most of the set, however I did manage to get there for the last two songs at the packed out Spanky Van Dykes. As I ascended the stairs I could see that there was some sort of commotion in the crowd. Lead singer Alex Chappo’s head could be seen amongst a sea of people where he was fervently singing at and reaching out to the audience. People were perched on the stairs, eager for a closer look, whilst the enigmatic indie rock sound of Chappo filled every inch of the eclectically decorated venue.

Next was a stop at The Black Cherry Lounge for Leif Erikson’s set. The band sounded great in the grungy-feeling venue, with musical interludes and guitar riffs aplenty. ‘Looking for Signs’, their single that was released last year, was played against a backdrop of purplish-pink light, causing the band to look ghostly and edgy. The moody light displays, teamed with the rough-around-the-edges style of the venue and people drinking from beer cans created a great atmosphere. The Black Cherry Lounge is one of those venues that makes you fall in love with a band all the more for simply making you feel like you’re so much more immersed in the experience.

Next on my list was Ben Caplan back at Spanky Van Dykes. I was determined to get a good spot, as I was very curious about Caplan after hearing about his unusual and grandiose style of performance. I managed to get a decent spot near the front of the stage, very glad to have got to the venue as early as I did, because the room filled up very quickly. Towards the end of his Dot to Dot set, Caplan said that he was used to performing with a full band, so the stripped back nature of the set was a different experience to his other performances. With Caplan switching between guitar and piano, yowling and maniacally laughing through the set, it certainly was a sight to behold. Caplan’s lyrics tell wonderful stories, and watching the set felt like one of those really great moments where time stops, and you just watch and listen in amazement.

Haus are one of those incredibly exciting bands that you wish could carry on performing forever. Lead singer Ashley Mulimba has a sharp, intense voice, and he sang whilst keenly staring into the crowd during much the set. The band gave a passionate performance, and they epitomised why it’s so great to watch new and upcoming bands: the experience of being able to see them up close and in action far exceeds watching bigger bands play in bigger venues. The indie rock quintet has a mixture of electronic and hip-hop influences that come across really well live, and it was a vivid and electrifying performance. I’ve been playing Haus pretty much non-stop since I saw them last weekend.

Before EKKAH’s performance, there were technical issues that meant the duo (pictured at top) didn’t get playing until about halfway into their allotted timeslot. Fortunately, they and their band, along with the audience, saw the comical side of the situation, when for about 10 minutes, Dot to Dot sound techs exasperatedly tried to figure out why every time they got one microphone working, another would cut out. The band waited patiently as the techs got things up and running, then started the set with plenty of enthusiasm, to a roar of approval from the crowd. EKKAH’s music is a lively blend of disco-pop filled with funk rhythms and dance beats. They sound great on record and even better live. Lead singers Rebecca and Rebekah both play instruments, including saxophone and guitar, as well as dance along to the music with coordinated movements. Honestly, check them out if you can.

The second half of Rebecca’s coverage of Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham will post later this week on TGTF. Stay tuned!

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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