It’s fair to say Dot To Dot boasts an eclectic line up, spanning diverse genres and bands in various stages of their career. This year is no different and whilst it might have been rainy and grey outside, attendees seemed undeterred to catch a glimpse of some of this year’s hottest acts. In previous years the venues seem to have filled up later, but opening act of the day and Nottingham natives, Childhood, filled The Rescue Rooms to a near full house. Full of energy they open the festival with an amped up set that makes following act, Allie Moss seem like a whisper.
Perhaps best known for Corner, a song used in a BT ad, Moss opens with Melancholy Astronomic Man with just her acoustic guitar and a ukulele playing sidekick for company. Whilst the opener has a catchy melody it’s Prisoner of Hope (originally a piano number) and the more upbeat Leave It All Behind which capture her power to create interesting folk-pop and seems to captivate most of the crowd.
Meanwhile over at Trent University, Jake Morley, perhaps better known for his alternative guitar style, has dropped the acoustic act and arrives with a full band in tow. Whilst he still nods to his earlier days, The City still performed as an acoustic solo, the rest of the set is filled with the band. At times the addition of a drummer seems to take away from his drum-come-guitar style, his beats becoming lost in the sound. Yet ultimately he has become more enticing, current single Feet Don’t Fail being more radio friendly than his solo stuff might ever have been.
Representing the indie camp The Naked and Famous pack out Rock City, who seemed enamoured with their set despite the sound quality of the venue being totally out of kilter. Emerging only as a wall of sound with the lyrics lost in the ether, they seem to surmise the unoriginality of the music scene at present. Though Punching In A Dream goes down a storm with the crowd, it forces me only to retreat, in search of something that sounds less like a parody of MGMT. Sadly in this instance, we stumble across Is Tropical, another band so in love with the sound of synth that their slightly more innovative style gets lost.
Thankfully Stagecoach honour the rule that at least one band in The Pulse should play amid the crowd. Their frenzied set sees the crowd expand and their ability not to take things too seriously combine with well crafted melodies to make them one of the bands of the day. Opener Hieroglyphics, Map To The Freezer and newest single Jonah Lomu are filled enough melody, punch and random whooping to mark them out as the band of the day, reaffirming that music can still be original.
Meanwhile, The Joy Formidable also do a pretty good job of reminding us about the power of rock. These days the stages are too big for Ritzy to crowd surf whilst playing guitar, but the passion that fuelled the early shows has not been lost. Whirring with its solid drum ensures the crowd cannot resist nodding along, whilst The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade perfectly surmises how bass player Dafydd describes their sound – ‘the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive’.
Determined to keep hold of my reinstated faith in music, it seems logical to dismiss the headline bands and check out Nottingham’s second representative of the day, Ronika. The set allows me to drift back into a 1990’s pop heaven, with her Madonna inspired dance tracks making it impossible not to be drawn in. Her feisty beats are perfectly timed, allowing those who by this stage are inebriated and unabashed to hit the dance floor.