Live: Dot To Dot 2011, Nottingham, 29/5/11
Taking stock of the recent revelation that perhaps we are too old at this point to continue partying like it t’were still our university years (that dream died in 2007 kids – stay in school. STAY AS LONG AS YOU CAN), our attendence of this year’s Dot To Dot Festival, other than indeed marking our first ever attendence in it’s 6 year legacy of showcasing the latest and greatest in both international and domestic musical talent, also marked the first time (probably) we didn’t completely lose the plot and climb aboard the booze cruise as soon as we arrived in Nottingham. Yay for us, we’re acting our age. Think of us as the anti-Sheen. Our new-found prideful sense of festival sobriety can only ultimately benefit you, our dearly beloved readership, as our famed, super-in-depth analysis of bands both newish and newerer has only got that bit more deep, although our straight-from-the-iPhone notes seem to contain far less references to our gastro-movements and wicked-bad food consumptions. Here are our top acts performing on the day that we reckoned you just had to be told about…
Baby Godzilla – Rock City Basement
First show of the day – and by that I mean this is the very first show to start the festival. I can’t believe we actually made it here for the beginning! And what a fantastic start to the day resident Nottingham homeboys Baby Godzilla are providing us with. This is Pulled Apart By Horses style boozey metallic rock; if blues met and was subsequently raped by thrash, it may well produce a noise similar to this. Doubtless well be hearing more vibes coming from this lot in the near future.
Baby Godzilla – Try Hard Or Die Hard
Childhood – Rescue Rooms
Very much in the vein of what chillwave champion-makers Transparent have been pushing of late, London town’s Childhood certainly tick all the right boxes needed for the buzz burglers out there: lo-fi guitar sounds, a rife mood of downbeatness, and all the glory that a one-word name affords new bands in this day and age. The music itself is brilliant. Someone, however, should have informed these chaps that this isn’t the soundcheck, and there is in fact a live audience in the room. Oh shite, better leave it there as they’ve literally decided to sit down right next to me as I write this. RUN AWAAAAAAAAY.
Long Dead Signal – Rock City Main Room
There is Muse and/or Radiohead written all over these dudes; at the very least, the singer is clearly a fan of Bellamy’s and Yorke’s vocal styles. Comparisons be damned, there are some solid moments of genius in songwriting, and three songs in these guys are capable of rendering any chorus and middle-8 their bitch. However, looking ahead the band need to find their own way out of breaking the indie rock cliché, especially when there are literally hundreds of new young bands doing this sort of thing.
Zebedy Rays – Rock City Basement
Seriously considering just decamping here for the rest of the day; all the fresh-out-the-kitchen indie acts, who are actually good, seem to all be here. Musically Zebedy Rays are composite of the raw gruffy rockness of Cat The Dog colliding with pre-Puzzle Biffy Clyro – which is just as well, as our guitarist here emulates Simon Neil’s high-up white strat-guitar playing style excellently (complete with bearded/topless ensemble), along with those trademark power-chanting choruses littered throughout the set. One to keep an eye on, that’s for sure.
Alpines – Rock City Main Room
These guys have come a very long way since first seeing them at Notting Hill Arts Club in late-ish 2010…then again, I suppose landing a sweet deal with Polydor will do that. Or the 9 month’s worth of practice in between then and now. Or both. Either way, the band’s Goldfrapp/Chicane late 90’s style ambient dance music with that jagged pop edge a la Beach House is working its wonders on a now-packed Rock City – the considerably sized crowd are enthralled/pissed, and the photopit is visibly active for the first time today. Our lead vocalist looks like she is fresh out of The Matrix, which is doubly convenient as this music could easily find itself onto the soundtrack should the producers choose to ruin the brand even more by making more films. By far the most intriguing act of the day, not least because I’m not entirely sure what they are exactly just yet.
Alpines – Drive
Ronika – The Bodega (aka The Social)
Been especially looking forward to this for some time. It is around that sort of time where the sombre indie boys are being put back away in storage for next year and the party really gets going. As the room starts to fill up with the enthusiasts – there is a man in a big coat and glasses doing some Travolta-from-Pulp-Fiction style moves before the show has even started, and the venue has progressively begun to resemble a Reflex bar – and casual passer-by’s, Ronika kicks off proceedings without any notice. What is instantly striking is how powerful her voice really is, to the degree that it sounds record-perfect and she makes it look so effortless that it may lead one to think anyone could do it (after just having tried, I can confirm that this isn’t the case). Collectively her and the band look like they’ve been doing this for years. Only disappointment is that they didn’t play for at least one hour longer.
Words: Achal Dhillon
Pictures: Harriet Pulford, Jo Cox (www.jocoxphotography.co.uk), Victor Frankowski (www.victorfrankowski.com)
Thanks to Bruce Hay @ Get Involved Ltd