Dot To Dot Festival – Nottingham 24th May 2015

By Andrew Scott and James Lavender

Nottingham’s premier inner city music festival returned for its tenth anniversary bash. Nothing Off Note were there to bring you all the best bits. Here are some highlights of the acts we were lucky enough to see.

Joy Mumford

The first act of the day which we saw was Nottingham’s own Joy Mumford. She has been a fixture at previous Dot to Dot’s and here she was, performing in the intimate confines of the Stealth Club Acoustic Stage. Songs such as Tripwire showcase her sweet and soulful voice which can be incredibly emotional. She could also be quite upbeat, providing a more up-tempo cover version of Ordinary People by John Legend. Overall, she is a real talent and an excellent start to the day. She deserves to go far.

Joy Mumford during her acoustic set
Joy Mumford during her acoustic set

The Griswolds

Playing upstairs in Spanky Van Dykes, Australian band The Griswolds performed Vampire Weekend influenced, infectious Indie rock. They had an energy and enthusiasm which left the audience eating out of their hands, especially with songs such as If You Wanna Stay and I am a Lion being natural chest-thumping tunes. It seemed a strange choice to have this band play in the slot they did, and it would have better suited the band and the audiences to have them play later in the day. Maybe after the success of their stint at this year’s festival, the band maybe bumped up the timings and venues next year.

The Griswolds could really have benefited from stage...
The Griswolds could really have benefited from a bigger stage…

Laurel

Over at The Rescue Rooms main stage, singer-songwriter Laurel has her audience transfixed with her haunting and sultry stage presence and Lana Del-Rey-style songs. Memorial captures the haunting sweetness of Laurel’s voice, as well as her enchanting stage presence. Coupled with this was a great rapport with the audience, which meant she was able to laugh and joke with the audience, particularly when one audience members held up an ‘R U Single’ sign on the smartphone, which Laurel handled with a great deal of coyness and panache.

Laurel in mesmerizing form
Laurel in mesmerizing form

Fat White Family

Lias Saudi takes to the stage like the classic dishevelled rock frontman, leaping into the crowd, surfing and topless. So far, so very Pete Doherty. Fat White Family certainly possesses a rock sound with edginess which is so sharp that you can cut yourself on them. What a disappointment then they only performed 20 minutes of their 45 minute set. It felt like a missed opportunity for Fat White Family to reward their fans and people who hadn’t heard them before to win them over.

The Fat White Family in full flow.
The Fat White Family in full flow.

Pretty Vicious

This was a solid set form the welsh youngsters. They have been touted as the next oasis in the music press and with good reason. Their rock sound is promising and definitely the loudest band of the day.

Pretty Vicious destroying my eardrums!
Pretty Vicious destroying our eardrums!

Oscar

Nice bit of indie pop rock from an intimate set in Rescue Rooms Red room. There are certainly shades of Damon Albarn in his voice. Daffodil days and Beautiful Words are two songs you should definitely listen to. Keep an eye out for his Beautiful Words EP which is released in June.

An intimate set from Oscar in the Rescue Rooms Red Room
An intimate set from Oscar in the Rescue Rooms Red Room

Wytches

Interesting set from the Peterborough surf-pysch power trio. These guys know how to rock but maybe an earlier set time might have suited them better.

The Wytches rocking hard!
The Wytches rocking hard!

Best Coast

Headlining the Nottingham Trent Uni stage, the Californian band put in a pretty good shift and the audience certainly loved the mosh pit! Having already toured Europe in support of their latest album, they were maybe showing signs of fatigue and a little more audience interaction might have been appreciated. We would definitely recommend seeing them in the future though.

Best Coast headlining Trent SU.
Best Coast headlining Trent SU.

Dot to Dot has to be up there as the one of, if not the best city festival in the UK. Tramlines in Sheffield comes close but the abundance of up and coming bands and the proximity of a number of great venues really makes Dot to Dot stand out. Also the intimacy of most of the venues gives you chance to meet bands and show them some support. However, there was a sense that the performances, particularly from some of the more-hyped bands, such as Best Coast and Fat White Family weren’t as strong as hoped for. Only The Griswolds really lived up to the hype. As is what is happening with the music industry generally, it was the women who delivered some of the best performances, with Joy Mumford and Laurel providing excellent performances and having a real rapport with audiences. It is festivals like this which give bands the coverage, if not the breakthrough they deserve. After previous Dot to Dots had brought you Florence and the Machine, Bastille and Jake Bugg, who knows which of this year’s acts could make it big. Roll on next year and here’s hoping Dot to Dot continues to find and promote the best new acts the music industry has to offer.

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