This weekend, for those of you not in sunny Spain, there’s the delights of the triple city-wide (Nottingham | Bristol | Manchester) Dot To Dot Festival to keep you busy. Liam Core previews the event & suggests some “must sees”.
Is it just me or is the year going way too quick? My Year 13 students (or upper sixth, if you’re old school) will have left by the time you read this. As they go on study leave, it can mean only one thing…. Yes… It’s time for Dot to Dot festival again!
Dot to Dot originated in 2005 in Nottingham. Over the years it claims to have helped launch the careers of Mumford and Sons, Frank Turner, Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran. But we shouldn’t hold that against them.
Now taking place over three cities- Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham, the festival grows more successful by the year. No surprise, in an economic climate where the festival going crowd allegedly skews to the older crowd, £20 for over 12 hours of live music is remarkably good value.
The full lineup, including stagetimes, can be found HERE, and tickets are still available for £22 including booking fee, so if you’ve got nothing planned for the long weekend, then what better way to pass the time than by seeing some of the best up and coming bands around? Personally, I’ll be in attendance in Manchester and Nottingham, and here’s a few recommendations of bands I’ll looking to check out.
NOTE: All Manchester gigs take place on Friday 24th May, through the early hours. Bristol gigs Saturday 25th May and Nottingham 26th May.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to catch PINS supporting British Sea Power last month will know of the leaps and bounds this exceptional band have made over the last year.
With a look taken straight from a Manchester bus stop in 1982 and a sound of some very angry Dum Dum Girls, great things surely await this Manchester foursome. A late night slot in a good-sized venue in their home town is the least this group deserve.
Catch PINS at – Manchester Sound Control Loft 1am (Friday 24 May); Bristol Thekla Top Deck 6.30pm (25 May); Nottingham Rescue Rooms Subculture Stage 2.30pm (26 May).
With a sound not entirely dissimilar to The Black Keys, and dare I say it, Pink, you might think this was the sound of California rather than a Manc in exile in London.
Rock vibes, and brilliantly soaring vocals and commanding stage presence mean that Findlay is most definitely one for the future.
Catch Findlay at – Manchester Zoo 10.15pm (24 May); Bristol 9.30pm (25 May); Nottingham Red Room 11pm (26 May).
After a stunning sets at Liverpool Sound City and Live at Leeds earlier in the month, Wave Machines return for another multi-venue festival.
Combining experimental sounds with some poppy electronics, Wave Machines have a very distinct sound which is slowly making them a cult band around the country. Certainly a change of pace from the rock and folk artists which dominate the line up!
Catch Wave Machines at – Manchester Attic 11.30pm (24 May); Bristol Academy 2 7pm (25 May); Nottingham Rock City Basement 9.45pm.
And if you need some good old fashioned loud punk music then I suggest you need look no further than Hawk-Eyes.
There’s no messing around, and no gimmicks with Hawk-Eyes, unless you count the singer Paul bringing his mic stand into the crowd. This is rock music at it most pure. Unashamedly loud, Hawk-Eyes are always a fun band who always secure a great reaction from the crowd.
Catch Hawk-Eyes at – Manchester Attic 8.30pm (24 May); Bristol Thekla Top Deck 7.30pm (25 May); Nottingham Red Room 5pm (26 May).
London three-piece Teleman is the remnants of old indie favourites Pete and the Pirates. Featured as one of the Guardian’s Bands of the Day back in January, first single “Cristina” promises big things.
Tuneful, intelligent indie pop with synths not a million miles from OMD. In Your Fur suggests something a little more eccentric, but what has been released so far suggest that this is band who could be set for great things.
Catch Teleman at – Manchester Gorilla 10pm (24 May); Bristol The Fleece 10.30pm (25 May); Nottingham The Bodega 11pm (26 May).
After a delightful set at Liverpool Sound City, London Grammar are another band who return to the multi-venue festival circuit.
Inviting lazy but not entirely unwarranted comparisons to The XX, a sound of minimalistic tones building up to more poppy and dance orientated climaxed, wonderfully executed by the trio Hannah, Daniel and Dot, London Grammar unquestionably have the potential to be a huge band.
Catch London Grammar at – Manchester Gorilla 11pm (24 May); Bristol Academy 1 6.15pm; Nottingham The Bodega 8pm (26 May).
Australian synth act Feathers have one of the more chaotic schedules of the weekend.
As well as doing all three Dot to Dot festivals, they are also managing to get time into to play Field Day in London.
Another band who made it onto the Guardian’s Band of the Day, Feathers have taken the sounds of synth pop greats Pet Shop Boys (Soft in particular sounds like Chris Lowe might even be playing on it, such is the similarity) and combined them a multi-layered female vocals. The effect is really quite stunning, and what promises to be an excellent live show is not to be missed.
Catch them at – Manchester Sound Control Club 9.15pm (24 May); Bristol Thekla Top Deck 11.45pm (25 May); Nottingham Stealth Live Room 10.30pm (26 May).
And who doesn’t like Japanese Acid Punk? In future years, Bo Ningen will probably be sadly tagged as a ‘festival band.’ One who get good crowds at festivals but never really receive the commercial or critical acclaim they deserve.
Already renowned for their chaotic live shows where crowd participation seems to be a requirement, Bo Ningen are a band not to be missed, especially in venues of this size. And you never know, you might be able to brush up on your Japanese as well.
Catch them at – Manchester Zoo 12.15am (24 May); Bristol Thekla 11pm (25 May); Nottingham Rescue Rooms Subculture Stage 11.30pm (26 May).
Each city also has acts which are local to that city as well. If you fancy a late one in Manchester, the stunning Mount Fabric close the Sound Control Loft at 2am, earlier in the day local singer-songwriter Little Sparrow plays a little earlier at 6pm in the Thirsty Scholar. In Bristol, I’m told that Gumm will be representing the local scene. Sadly, my Nottingham correspondent hasn’t got back to me but I’m sure the city will come good.
All words by Liam Core. More work by Liam on Louder Than War can be found here.