Tuesday, May 31
The inaugural Dot To Dot Festival gives us twenty-six bands and a clutch of top DJs, providing almost twelve hours of music, across three Nottingham venues. But with so much to choose from, who should you see?
Taking to the stage the Social at 4:30 are Beats Capri. They’re a Boy/Girl quartet, bringing an early touch of glamour to proceedings courtesy of some red leopard skin leggings and a smudge of kohl eyeliner. Tunes such as ‘Young Blood’ are poppy yet possess an abrasive edge, bringing to mind those yelping riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney.
MP3 Beats Capri - 145
MP3 Beats Capri - Young Blood
Here's a duo who provide the kind of beautiful, laid-back tunes that are perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Several instruments are used, including keyboard, xylophone, a jaunty accordion and a mournful cello. I’m led to believe that this was their first ever gig. If this is the case then their fragile and haunting performance is even more remarkable.
Snow White take around a second to destroy the relaxed ambience of the venue. They’re noisy and seemingly tuneless. In fact I’m not certain that each band member was even playing the same song. Time to beat a hasty retreat across town to the Rescue Rooms…
At this time of the day during a festival, what you need is a hyperactive, avant-garde saxophone player. Step forward Twisted Charm’s Luke Georgiou. The Londoners show a definite two-tone influence with the pulsing saxophone augmented by driving rhythms. There’s a lot of jumping around and some great tunes, with most of the crowd sporting big grins when they leave the stage.
Listen to four tracks
White Rose Movement
Take that smile off your face though, there’s something serious going on next door at Stealth. White Rose Movement frontman Finn Vine has the anguished look of a man who has just finished second in an Ian Curtis dancing competition. He whirrs around the stage equal parts menacing and amusing. Later in the set he uses a Vox Teardrop guitar (the one used by Curtis in the Love Will Tear Us Apart video). An act of idol worship or a mere coincidence?
WRM are seemingly cut from the same cloth as many young British bands of the moment, but improbably named keyboard player Taxxi lifts the songs above the post punk crowd. When her synth comes to forefront is when the band are at their best, bringing to mind the epic Depeche Mode in their pomp. A smile once in a while wouldn’t hurt though would it?
Every Move A Picture
Back at the Rescue Rooms, Every Move A Picture have recently supported Radio 4 on tour and it shows. Punk funk dynamics augmented by keyboards (sadly mostly from samples) provide an entertaining if slightly repetitive set, closing with the catchy ‘Signs Of Life’. Their singer wears a fetching tank-top, possibly knitted by his nan.
Listen to three tracks
Next up are Komakino - an outfit that plays unremarkable emo by numbers. Despite being named after a Joy Division song, there are no dark forces at work here, just the usual slightly tortured vocal delivery and chiming guitars that you can see so often on MTV2. They’re not bad, but there’s nothing outstanding or memorable here. Perhaps festival fatigue is setting in.
As Big Apple punk funk legends Radio 4 cram themselves onto the small stage in Stealth, you sense something special is afoot. Led by the diminutive ball of energy that is Anthony Roman, the five-piece storm through a selection of tracks from their now bulging back catalogue.
Radio 4 are regular visitors to Nottingham and obviously love playing here. The crowd love them too and an impromptu mosh pit develops, lurching forward onto the stage into the equipment, causing the band to stop mid-song. They don’t mind though - they’re feeding off the energy. ‘Dance To The Underground’ allows percussionist PJ O’Connor to take centre stage and unleash a ferocious bongo solo. Splendid.
MP3 Radio 4 - Eyes Wide Open
MP3 Radio 4 - Get Set To Fall Out
After the sheer exuberance of the New Yorkers - Scouse electro boffins Ladytron can only be described as a disappointment. Recently signed to Island and ready to release their new album, there’s a tangible sense of anticipation in the air.
Some sort of technical problem means their set is short and subdued. There is little movement onstage, with videoscreens at least providing some interest. Whilst songs such as ‘Cracked LCD’ sound so dynamic on record, tonight’s live performance is a terrible letdown. There’s no energy there and whilst many bands have a cool stage presence, Ladytron’s icy, aloof demeanour is taking things too far.
As they slope off after half an hour, it’s all over - but perhaps we shouldn’t judge them too harshly tonight, when they clearly weren’t firing on all cylinders. Perhaps I should have gone to see The Rakes next door instead...
Despite the downbeat ending, it was a fantastic day and credit must go to the organisers for booking a varied and eclectic lineup and making it feel like a full on festival.
Band of the day - Radio 4
Disappointment of the day - Ladytron
Surprise of the day - Felix & Twisted Charm
See you next year then?