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Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham (Part 2)

 
By on Tuesday, 7th June 2016 at 3:00 pm
 

Part 1 of Rebecca’s coverage of Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham is here.

I’d heard a little bit about Rat Boy (pictured above) before the festival, mostly in comparison to Jamie T. After taking a break following EKKAH’s performance, and waiting for The Rubens to start, I decided to head into Rock City’s main stage to see what the hype was about. What I found was a frenetic crowd, evidently having the time of their lives, and I discovered that the Jamie T comparisons weren’t too far off. Rat Boy’s performance was raw and charged, with his music drawing together all manner of influences from hip-hop to punk. For someone so young, he’s managed to amass an impressive number of animated fans.

Catching The Rubens meant a trip down to the Rock City Basement, one of my favourite rooms that I visited due to the lofty ceilings and coolness of the air. The Rubens had travelled all the way from Australia and seemed pretty amazed when they found out that there were no Aussies in the considerable Dot to Dot audience. They seemed to genuinely love being up on stage, playing a number of their indie-bluesy tracks, including their popular single ‘Hoops’.

I arrived early at The Bodega, where I was planning on watching the start of Palace Winter’s set. As I arrived, Girl Friend were just finishing up in the packed out bar, and I felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t made it sooner to catch more of their energetic set. I headed upstairs to watch Palace Winter play in front of a moderately-sized crowd. Their melodic, balmy indie synth style was atmospheric and engaging, and I would have been happy to stick around for the full set, but I only ended up sticking around for the first three tracks.

As I wandered back across town, the plan was to see The Sherlocks next, where they were playing at the Rescue Rooms’ Subculture Live Stage. Despite being from my hometown, I’ve never the band play live, and I was looking forward to getting a chance to finally see them in action at Dot to Dot. By the time I arrived, however, the room was packed out and I popped my head through the door but couldn’t get close enough without getting bashed every time someone came into the room. It was a shame I couldn’t get in to see them, but a great sign for the band and their increasing popularity.

After deciding that I’d be unable to get a decent spot for The Sherlocks, I headed to Rock City’s main stage to watch Mystery Jets. I’d recently caught the band for about 15 minutes at Live at Leeds, so was very excited at the prospect of seeing them for a little longer this time around. They played a balanced mix of old and new songs, including the older ‘Serotonin’, ‘Elizabeth’, the newer ‘Blood Red Balloon’ from current album ‘Curve of the Earth’, and of course, the classics ‘Young Love’ and ‘Two Doors Down’. There were points during the set when the crowd, who had been in incredibly high spirits throughout the entire set, were jumping up and down so enthusiastically that I could feel the floor move beneath my feet, which were incidentally stuck firmly to the sticky floorboards. It was a great atmosphere to be a part of.

I left about 15 minutes before the end of the set, and headed back into the Red Room of Rescue Rooms to watch the last band on my schedule for the day, King No-One. When I arrived the band were in full swing and lead singer Zach Lount was twirling the microphone stand across his shoulder, evidently having a great time. The band’s star-spangled indie rock sound translated very well to their live performance; fans of their music should definitely check them out in the flesh if possible. The set ended with Lount firing a confetti cannon into the cloud, which was a fitting end to a great day.

Pretty much every band that I saw during the day was a perfect example of why, whilst music sounds great on Spotify or on your record player, you just can’t beat it live. Dot to Dot is a great example of how you don’t always have to travel across the country for the big festivals to have a truly great experience. There’s so much going on in your own city or neighbouring ones that you might not aware of. It’s really worth supporting these smaller city events because we’ll bet you’ll find more than a few new favourite indie bands to follow.

 

Dot to Dot Festival 2016: writer Rebecca’s best band bets

 
By on Friday, 20th May 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Dot to Dot Festival 2016 will see a number of new and established acts descend on the cities of Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham during the second May bank holiday (27-29 May). The festival will be in each city for 1 day only and will showcase a number of the best acts from the surrounding area, as well as the likes of big names like Mystery Jets, The Temper Trap and Augustines who will play at each city over the weekend. For editor Mary’s preview of the weekend’s action at Dot to Dot, check out her post here.

I honestly found it tough picking out just a selection to recommend ahead of the festival, but here are some acts (in alphabetical order, mind) to catch if you find yourself heading to Dot to Dot:

Ardyn
Ardyn are a brother and sister duo from Gloucestershire whose atmospheric pop is otherworldly, with singer Katy Pearson showcasing her powerful vocals on the newest release ‘Over the River’. Their previous stuff is gentler and more stripped back, but no less impressive. They’re sure to be an act to catch.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBNbgeWGmeM[/youtube]

Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers
With an unusual, old-world sound that feels more suited to bluegrass era, Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers is the touring name given to the folk singer/songwriter from Canada and his band. Caplan released his second album last year, ‘Birds With Broken Wings’, and will be touring throughout the summer in North America and Europe. With his eccentric look and his throaty drawl, Caplan is described as “a madman and an earnest poet” on his Web site. Sounds like the recipe for a fascinating performer.

EKKAH
EKKAH are Rebecca and Rebekah, a funky disco-pop duo from Birmingham. Their track ‘Last Chance to Dance’ feels a bit like Haim and Jamiroquai were merged together in some bizarre but highly successful experiment. They released single ‘Small Talk’ earlier this year, a bright, glittering synthpop number that is well worth a listen.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLpjPgn3nQs[/youtube]

Haus
Haus are a five-piece from London with an indie-synth sound, citing rock, hip-hop and electronic influences. They released two singles in 2015, ‘Haze’ and ‘Blinded’, and have a number of festival dates across the UK this summer, in addition to Dot to Dot.

Into the Ark
Into the Ark are for those that prefer something a little softer, with gently strumming acoustic guitars and soulful vocals. From south Wales, the singer/songwriter pair met through their love music and have an EP scheduled for release in August. Their debut ‘Right Track’ gives you a taste of what they have to offer.

King No-One
In a similar vein to Haus, King No-One are an indie rock group but from the North (York). Their music is bold, glitzy and punchy. The Northern group’s latest single ‘Stay Close’ has an addictive rhythm and is a great indie summer tune. The song also features an interesting break towards the end (with a pithy monologue!), before returning to the chorus once more.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wq6i03THc[/youtube]

Palace Winter
Palace Winter are a synthpop duo from Copenhagen, whose latest single ‘H. W. Running’ is atmospheric and smooth, with a momentum layered with a pleasing synth composition: it’s very easy to get into and I can imagine it being a good accompaniment for a morning jog or a late night at the club.

The Rubens
The blues-rock band The Rubens have been around since 2011 and are signed to Ivy League Records back home in Australia. The band have a following on their native continent but will be appearing at both The Great Escape and Dot to Dot halfway across the world to share their music. The band released their second album ‘Hoops’ last year, and they released their third single from the album, ‘Hold Me Back’, earlier this year.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs58pcvDsXA[/youtube]

The Sherlocks (pictured at top)
The Sherlocks are a Northern foursome, who have recently been travelling further afield after building a loyal home support around Sheffield. Their latest single ‘Last Night’ is a punchy indie tune with a catchy chorus and guitar hooks aplenty!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bvg1rokCEA[/youtube]

Will Joseph Cook
Will Joseph Cook is a fresh-sounding singer whose single ‘Girls Like Me’ has an upbeat feeling that is positively contagious. From Tunbridge Wells, the singer is gaining momentum with a couple of his songs reaching a couple of million plays on Spotify. If you’re a fan of upbeat, sunshine pop that begs to be danced along to, Will Joseph Cook might be the one for you.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ66D7TcEWU[/youtube]

Regardless of which day you attend the festival you’ll be able to catch the above, plus a wide variety of up-and-coming regional acts too. Tickets are still available for each city of the festival, so head to Alt Tickets to purchase your own for this upcoming bank holiday weekend.

 
 
 

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