Nottingham may not be the biggest city, but the cultural talent that was on offer at Dot to Dot surpassed populated distinctions. A festival that attracted some of the biggest names in the music scene, but had bottomless local talent at the core showing what this city has to offer.
The vibe of this group was relaxed and intense; contradicting one another to provide a sexy aesthetic driven performance. Having the first slot at Rescue Room’s Red Room, the area in which they presented their art was packed before the big lights blinded the lead singer. Their reputation fulfils their local fame, with the music getting the crowd going and the lead singer taking us on an adventure.
FEET combined a variety of genres, ranging from Britpop to post-punk and underpinned by slacker indie-rock – the only way to describe them is as the bizarre lovechild of Mac Demarco and Fat White Family. The band bring tropically wonky ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ vibes to Rescue Rooms’ main stage, kicking off with lighter material, newest releases ‘English Weather’ and ‘Ad Blue’ before descending into the punky chaos of ‘Petty Thieving.’ Sporting eccentric Northern Soul-style moves throughout the set that could even rival the mighty Mick Jagger and doing things to a guitar that you’ve never seen before; the Coventry-based quintet are easily one of the most entertaining and underrated bands in the UK right now.
Vega Bay gave the former Orange Tree a charming and energetic performance that turned this usual pub into very much a music venue. As soon as the band started to set up their gear – with a little pause for the background music to be turned off – the room was packed. After a couple of songs you can see why this band can fill any room in the city; an unusual mosh pit with chants of the chorus booming through the venue touching the walls with their sound. This is a band that expresses their chemistry well which highlights their tightness and talented powerful voices.
Having recently rounded off supporting Viagra Boys on their UK tour, the 5-piece from Brighton have established themselves in the UK music scene just in time for festival season. Already boasting a cult following, fans pack Rescue Rooms to the rafters – the only chance of catching a glimpse of the stage is crouching on the floor of the balcony peeking in-between people’s legs. Conjuring up a tsunami to rival the torrential rain from earlier on, the band hit the crowd with relentless waves of futuristic synth-heavy noise, accurately living up their status of ‘the most insatiable underwater band.’ Squid are weird and wonderful, their monolithic math-rock infused psychedelia leaves their stunned audience to muse the ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ atmosphere they have summoned.
My Pet Fauxes
This band cuts through the mist of the usual sound in the Nottingham scene. The use of the saxophone provides a unique sound and finishing touches that are complemented by a fantastic voice, making his talent seem effortless. Just by seeing the interaction between these musicians, you can tell they love what they do. The relaxation they exude along with their carefree attitude makes this band very visually pleasing and brings a smile to your face. The mass of musicians that graced Albert’s stage was of a deep level of talent. This band has recently gone through changes, but it’s not like you would notice.
Indie-rock favourites Swim Deep return to Dot to Dot for the first time since 2015. Veterans of the day festival, the B-Town boys are back to give us a taste of what they’ve been up to over the past 4 years since their last release. Launching into shimmering seminal debut album favourites ‘Francisco’ and ‘Honey’ before proceeding into the glorious techno-twisted indie of 2015 album ‘Mothers,’ the band send the crowd wild with their own brand of vibrant, blissful guitar music. The 4-piece debut their brand-new dream-pop soaked material – garnering a resonance of crowd approval – before throwing it back to the nostalgic Digbeth-based days of the Birmingham music scene revival. Would it really be a Swim Deep show without fan favourite ‘King City’?
Following the recent release of their debut album, London 4-piece Crows roused an angsty vehemence in Rescue Rooms bringing their angry, disarming strobes and ferocious drum beats that cut straight through you. It was fast paced, extremely loud, and full speed ahead. The band rev up their excited audience and take them into a twisted, malevolent ether of scuzzy distortion. The punks are renowned for their interesting live shows – 4 years ago at their debut Nottingham show, lead singer James Cox was meandering his way through the sparse but intrigued crowd, this year – now Crows have well and truly taken flight – he is aloft, held steadily and with ease by the avid crowd.
The Spanish electro-folk band headline Rock City with their exotic brand of vibrant world music. No other word aptly describes them other than a hell of a lot of fun, and there is no group better suited to bring the bank holiday festivities to a close. Combining heavy synths with traditional Spanish folk instruments and soulful vocals, Crystal Fighters create infectiously uplifting and joyous carnival vibes as they explode from one song into another. Treating Nottingham to a taste of summer before the famous Nottingham Beach arrives, it’s impossible not to dance along with them as they launch into banger after banger, ending their energetic set with fan favourite, ‘Plage’.
Brash, boisterous and brazen: Stockholm-based ‘irony’ punk rockers, Viagra Boys, have been causing quite a stir in the music scene lately. The 5-piece have gained traction with their raucously sweaty live shows and audacious hit singles ‘Sports’ and ‘Research Chemicals’. Plunging straight into their prolific set, it’s not long before lead singer Sebastian Murphy is shirtless, provoking the electrified crowd into a wild frenzy and spewing beer all over the stage. Quite honestly one of the most ridiculous live shows I’ve ever attended, the madness did not stop there – cascading bass lines taunted the crowd, now drenched in a variety of drinks and sweat, the mosh pit a hostile plane of voracious fans rocking out to the authentic DIY punk ambiance.
A festival like Dot to Dot makes us appreciate the widespread yet local talent that we have in this beautifully underrated city. A day like Dot to Dot is of cultural importance to this city and it is stunning to see its population support it so. Here’s to Nottingham – the city alive with cultural art.
Photos by Laura Phillips
Words by Laura Phillips and James Evans