Dot To Dot never seems to fail as the place to showcase new talent for the months ahead, and though this year saw the loss of Nottingham Trent University on it’s list of venues, Jongleurs made for a fitting change. Venues aside, with the likes of The Drums and Pulled Apart By Horses on the bill, it proved to be yet another massive success with hoards of people taking to the streets despite the weather.
We started our day with Nottingham based Yunioshi in the Rescue Rooms, who combine indie rock and electro pop. Synth heavy Invisible with its duel vocals and heavy beats truly captures what they mean when they describe themselves as ‘robot funk’, and though it may be lunchtime this doesn’t seem to stop the crowd from embracing the rhythm. In Rock City it was Jake Bugg who pulled the crowds. Home town hero of the hour, his influences drifted from the likes of The Beatles to rockabilly styles, but it’s the vocals which carried the set. With a drawling Dylan style and hints of Johnny Cash, you either love it or hate it and whilst his songs are solid, unfortunately I end up unconvinced.
Meanwhile Lucy Rose delivers a much softer set, Middle of the Bed hinting at the style of Rachel Sermanni with a more rock vibe, and despite a blown microphone at the start of the show she manages to carry her set forward. Nevertheless Rock City seems like an odd choice of venue for the saccharine singer and at times it feels as though she almost gets lost in such a vast venue. With this in mind, it’s ThePetebox’s intricate beat boxing style which was the venues highlight, especially his covers of MGMT’s Kids and The Pixies Where Is My Mind. Though there are many dubious faces at the start he soon converts the crowd to his unorthodox method of making music, with awed faces littering the audience.
In The Red Room we stumbled upon Gabriel Bruce, whose electro-pop combines Marina and The Diamonds with Right Said Fred’s vocals. Backed with perfectly timed dancers he knows how to work the crowd, though it’s fair to say it’s probably the live arena where he holds his power, his slightly tenuous sound less likely to translate to recorded material. Sadly the main let down of the day came in the shape of 2:54 who’s set was flawed by sound issues. Whilst they looked every bit the part, Collette’s microphone ruined the vocal. Though the band ploughed on through, things sadly didn’t improve, leaving us to make a hurried departure knowing that the sisters had the potential to offer so much more.
Thankfully in The Bodega we were graced with the dancing rhythms of Vadoinmessico and though monkey suits were not on show, the bands mix of sunshine beats with rock riffs allowed everyone to temporarily forget the weather outside. Meanwhile Nina Smith’s more commercial pop style saw her deliver an interesting mash up of the Spice Girls 2 Become 1 and The Police’s Message in a Bottle, whilst I Won’t Forget You boasted a more soulful style, perfectly suited for idle Sunday morning listening.
Nevertheless, it’s Rae Morris who ends up as the highlight of the festival marking herself apart as the artist to watch over the next 6 months. Though the crowd seems to dwindle for her set, those who are present seem swept away with her heartfelt vocals and dramatic piano. Don’t Go is a rousing number, with Tori-esque style melodies which seem to force the audience to embrace into a sea of hugs, meanwhile, For You is more melancholic yet captures the raw emotion which carries Rae’s performance. With a string of live shows and festival appearances over the summer months, it’s clear that Rae won’t be playing the more intimate venues for long, and based on tonight’s performance, deservedly so.
Photos © Jo Cox and must not be reproduced without prior consent