"Our album’s only been out a week. How do you guys already know all the words?" - Taylor Rice
After two days in Bristol and Nottingham, Dot To Dot Festival 2012 made its way up to Manchester for its concluding day. A different kind of festival from the start, all of the acts perform indoors, distributed among the best venues Manchester has to offer like Sound Control and The Deaf Institute. The momentum off the back of the previous two days paired with the buzz of Jubilee celebrations gives this year’s Dot To Dot all of the force needed for a day of memorable performances.
My one complaint would have to be that there were simply too many performances I wanted see and not enough time to get to them all. But alas, as only one of me exists, I made it to as many sets as I could starting with This Many Boyfriends from Leeds. The guys, known for their high energy performances, draw forth a sizeable crowd and start the day off with a buzz as lead vocalist, Richard, wanders through the audience singing for the finale. Manchester’s own Patterns take the HMV Ritz stage next offering forth their lo-fi Indie rock mixed with fresh pop beats. Their debut EP ‘New Noise’ has had everyone talking and their live set certainly does not disappoint.
Deciding to switch up venues, I head over to Joshua Brooks to catch the Danish group, Rumour Said Fire. Joshua Brooks is by far my favourite venue of the day, with the bands tucked away in an all brick basement and the audience rammed close together to give the intimate feeling one craves but very often fails to receive from a festival. Perfect for the venue, Rumour Said Fire’s indie-folk sound makes for unique energy shifts within a single song and their presence on stage is unmissable.
Tucked away in the Sound Control club, Clock Opera have the room rammed for their early evening set, but I weave my way to the front of the crowd. Every single second of their performance is packed with energy. Whether it’s beating on silver cups, breaking drumsticks on the metal bars on stage, or simply mixing the beats that make their progressive sound, not one moment passes in their thirty minute set in which I’m not completely captivated.
While waiting for Peace to warm up after Clock Opera, I sneak over to catch a few songs from Lucy Rose. Well-known for her vocals on Bombay Bicycle Club recordings, Rose has taken the folk singer-songwriter persona of Laura Marling and made it a bit more edgy. She’s 100% worth the trek.
Coming out of Birmingham, Peace have been compared to other indie rock bands with dreamy pop sounds like Wu Lyf, however, their most well-known track ‘Bblood’ has an upbeat motion to it comparable to Arctic Monkeys or Two Door Cinema Club. Peace’s set could have gone on for another half an hour and I don’t think a single person in the room would have still had enough.
After some time at Deaf Institute for a chat with Pulled Apart By Horses and Admiral Fallow, I hurry back over to catch Wavves at Sound Control Loft, but the venue’s at capacity. Dismayed, I perk up quickly when I hear Bastille is playing a second set at the Ritz in place of Summer Camp. A definite crowd pleaser, Bastille wins a great deal of respect for his second performance and proves the great musician he is.
I end my night early but not before hearing what The Drums have to offer. The room is rammed for frontman Jonathan Pierce’s moves as well as crowd favourites like ‘Money’ and ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. Looking closely, lead singer of Two Wounded Birds, Johnny Danger, plays guitar for The Drums after his own band’s performance earlier in the day. Two Wounded Birds received their big break when The Drums refused to go on tour a few years back unless Danger’s band was on the lineup.
Absolutely exhausted, but perfectly happy with the packed day, I call it a night after The Drums. However, the festival doesn’t finish when I leave with huge late night performances from Olugbenga (whom you know from Metronomy) as well as The Internet and Neon Indian still ahead in the night. I know I’d given myself an impossible task to hear as many bands as I could and am ashamed to have missed personal favourites like Deaf Club, Pond, and Willy Mason. However, if the biggest complaint with Dot To Dot Festival 2012 is that there were too many quality bands to see them all, I’d say there’s not much complaining to do at all.