Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Dot to Dot festival (Bristol) 23.5.09

The Dot to Dot Festival is a one day festival in bristol and the next day in nottingham featuring around 50 artists and bands in 5 venues over the area. It's like camden crawl but without the expensive tickets, queues and pretentiousness.

I know usually I'd say what I was doing and stuff leading up to this but this is going to be an epic review so open your minds to new music and- bam...

2pm. Official Secrets Act @ The fleece

You get your wristband, map, line-up etc about an hour before it kicks off so you have time to make an educated decision on where to go first. I chose the official secrets act for I had blogged about them a week prior and had good things to say. This has been slightly tarnished now for they apparently cancelled! When I found this out I had about 10 minutes to get to...

2.15pm. "Special Guests" @ Louisana

So I run 2 miles to the louisana to see the special guest. From experience this is either someone awesome opening up the festival (it's the only special guest the entire weekend) or someone they've just bunged on at the last minute.

Well let me tell you I was sweating balls by the time I got there, drunk after drinks with my bro earlier and hot... not in a co-ed spring break way but an uncomfortable self-conciousness leading to more sweating kinda way.

There was a bit of a buzz about this carpeted, curtained, well decorated, could be a living room venue so I was hoping for the best. Turns out to be one guy from a band called "farthing wood" just him and a guitar oh, and a guy on the glockenspiel. I can't say anything too bad about the performance which is a plus but after listening to the band on last.fm I can say this guys way better on his own.

Towards the end people started to filter upstairs, I figured this was to see...

3.15. Marina and the diamonds. Louisana

I was looking forward to seeing her cos she's amazing, unfortunately it wasn't to be. Another cancellation. i didn't stick around to see the replacements because there was a huge up and comer back at the fleece...

3.20. Gran Ronde @ The fleece

So once more I RAN back to the fleece. To hear a californian band I compared to the early works of the killers in time for the lead off single from their new album. Absolutely immense. Around 100 people, all digging the hell out of it. They turned that this rustic, sunday night venue into a proper venue. What a killer sound though. After seeing them I can only heighten their reccomendation.

3.40. Flashguns @ Thekla

The thekla is a unique venue. In that it's a boat. Yeah. So I headed to see whatever band was on there as there wasn't anything I was planning on seeing there later. This was in the bar part of the thekla, a smaller room that later on that evening would be the setting for the most memorable performance i've seen in recent times. The place was packed, the band were mental, I didn't stick it out.

4.30pm. Rogues @ The Academy2

The Rogues were reccomended to me by a guy outside of the first venue so I headed back to the academy that I first visited in 2005 to see the young knives in the upstairs room. It was a long time ago but still looked exactly the same which was nice. Also the next venue is right near it so pretty sweet deals.

I caught the end of Tommy O'Reilly (the winner of indie idol or whatevs on T4). A modest sized crowd. I only heard one song but he plays guitar like a 12 year old i.e. bass plucks, open strings, has a hard on for palm mutes. I think all his songs are about love.

The crowd upstairs slowly but resoundingly filtered in and by half way through was rather impressive. One track in particular stood out "under the red sun". Between songs they used recorded effects to add atmosphere. I can give little more desription as I was sitting down at the back, whacked.

5pm. Mumford and sons @ The academy

Fortunately the next act I was due to see was downstairs. They were brilliant. The only bad thing I could possibly say is that they are a bit country, yeah but this in the same way that the decemberists are! They PACKED the academy it was like a 9pm headline slot despite it being only being tea time o'clock. Musically and lyrically the whole place was into it, especially this one guy, damn I wish i'd videotaped him- BEAMING he was! These guys will get a whole blog to themselves very soon. Brilliant. The set closer was incredible but I had to shoot off right after see nme hyped girls...

5.35pm. Girls @ The cooler

The final venue out of them all and it's an awkward one. Narrow but with raised standing areas towards the back so even if it's packed out you can see. These guys were insane. Acid rock. Stonercore. I headed back to the academy pretty quickly...

6pm. Cage the elephant @ The academy

An actual queue here. I skipped due to being awesome/not having a bag lol.

CTE were fairly riotous from the get go. Very middle america frat party rock but yeah you know that's good times. One thing was that they reminded me of rooney to such an extent that it was hard to remember you weren't watching them. Very much a party band, enjoyed but wouldn't make a trip especially. Good atmosphere.

6.45. Mission District @ Academy2

This was the first band I hit that I knew zero about. Just a short jaunt upstairs where they were kicking off. They were nice. Definately one of those bands I secretly dig. In the style of the rocket summer and other summery emo pop bands. Definately gonna check them out.

7.30pm Patrick Wolf @ the academy

It was at this point I realised that I'd only ever heard this guy on record. Most of the time it doesn't occur to me to check out what an artist might look like but I definately realised why each of the numerous times he'd been reccomended to me none of those had been guys.

He really did blow the place up though, real control over the stage and audience. So androgynous it was confusing :p

8.30pm. The pains of being pure at heart @ the cooler

Tricky one. My feet and butthole really hurt. Plus I had no money. You know these guys have been hyped to the heavens for months now. They seemed nice, I didn't stick around too long, one of these reasons being that the cooler is an uncomfortable venue. I'll give the record another listen before I see them in oxford next week.

9.15pm. Baddies @ The thekla

Here it is. One of those reasons that all the effort is worth while and why I love live music.

I sat down in an empty thekla bar with 15 minutes to spare. I was whacked I was pretty much ready to call it a day, no one else on the roster appealed to me enough to move another inch. Sitting there flounced over the couch people started to filter in and soon enough it was a healthy attendance, I wasn't interested I just wanted to lie down on this suprisingly comfortable leather couch.

They kicked off and BAM. That was it the place was on fire, I was up, forgot my woes rocking out to such an event. The Baddies have about as much energy as a particle accelerator. Mesmerising. The front man was as unique as they come.

The greatest thing about festivals like these was seeing word spread about these guys. Calls, texts and tweets declaring a happening. Seeing people walk in and realise this was huge was fantastic.

They stormed through an action packed set, including the lead singer getting a tooth knocked out and seeking vengeance on a few members of the crowd. I stood around to indulge in the excited conversation before heading next door...

10.10pm Kid British @ The Thekla MainStage

I can't imagine a gig being any more FUN than what this group bring, such a visceral, eclectic sound with each member bringing their own personality to the furore. Rock, reggage, rap, killer times. I'm definately going to see these chaps again.


And so that was that, I headed home. The hold steady weren't due to play til after midnight so I thought it best to call it a day, working in the morning and all. It was such a drive back though, I mean i'd been rocking out 10 hours, running in between venues in searing heat. Halfway back I had to take a nap in someones driveway! Still, definately going to be a mainstay for me while i'm in england. Highly reccomended festival.

Tips for future dot2dotters- don't drink. don't bring a bag. add dot2dot on twitter to get live updates on cancellations, tips etc. Try and research vaguely where the venues are to save on shoe leather and to reserve your energy for rocking your face off. See you in 2010.

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