Nottingham’s inaugural Dot-to-Dot festival was essentially based around the same concept as London’s recent Camden Crawl – a series of up and coming bands play in a variety of venues, with punters running across town in an attempt to see as many groups as possible in a certain amount of time. This year’s event certainly gave the London version a run for its money, with 26 acts playing across three venues – The Rescue Rooms, Stealth and The Social – many of them certain to be big news in the not too distant future.
Although officially kicking off at around 2.30 pm, with the bill slated to run into the early hours, the first band of any note were San Francisco based dance rockers Every Move A Picture, who got The Rescue Rooms crowd going during their early evening set.
Yet another group who seem to love the 80’s, they look like a cross between The Bravery and Interpol, and sound not unlike either of these bands. Their songs are predominantly based around electronic beats and incisive guitar riffs, and they exude an onstage energy similar to that of Hot Hot Heat, most notably so on stunning single Signs Of Life. Once they depart the stage, there’s a resounding feeling that we’ve just witnessed the beginnings of something quite special.
Next on at The Rescue Rooms are Derby’s Komakino, who have been building up a cult following over the last year or so after touring with the likes of Hope Of The States. They fuse aggressive, punky, early Idlewild like vocals with towering guitars to create a sound that can be described as very much their own. This is certainly a band to keep an eye on.
It’s off across town to The Social to catch New Rhodes, a four piece from Bristol who impressed a lot of people after supporting Bloc Party at the end of last year. They entertain a reasonably packed room to their accessible hook laden slices of pop-rock, that sound something like Morrissey fronting The Strokes. Singles You’ve Given Me Something That I Can’t Give Back and I Wish I Was You receive the loudest cries of approval, but there’s not a bad song in their set.
Social headliners The Departure play to a slightly disappointing crowd, as everyone seems to have headed back to The Rescue Rooms/Stealth to catch The Rakes and Ladytron respectively. However, those who stay are rewarded with a typically excellent and self assured set – their taut and distinctive guitar riffs, funky bass lines and early U2 sized choruses resonate around the small venue effortlessly. They trawl through the highlights of their forthcoming album – Be My Enemy, Just Like TV and new single All Mapped Out are all aired, and this is surely the last time we’ll see them in a venue of this size.
Thanks to a slight delay in the running schedule, I arrive back at The Rescue Rooms just in time to catch The Rakes, who are a revelation. Single of the year so far Retreat, a tale of going out and getting drunk every night, sends the crowd wild, as do previous releases Strasbourg and 22 Grand Job. The amount of energy in their short blasts of jagged punk rock is truly astounding, and in singer Alan Donoghue they have one of the most eccentric and entertaining front men of recent times. Their album is out in the summer, and on tonight’s evidence, it’s set to be one of the records of the year.
All in all it’s a thoroughly entertaining end to a great day of music, one that represents a gigantic middle finger to anyone who may claim a lack of talent in the British (and American) music scene. The summer festival season has got off to a truly explosive start.