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Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham (Part 1)

 
By on Monday, 6th June 2016 at 3:00 pm
 

Dot to Dot was our editor Mary’s first UK festival, and she had spoken highly of her experience in Nottingham in 2009, so I was anticipating an exciting day. Armed with sensible shoes and a roughly hashed-out schedule, I was ready for a day jam-packed with a wide variety of music.

I’d intended to get to Nottingham to start my day at Dot to Dot a little earlier than I managed, with every intention of watching CHAPPO’s full set. I ended up missing most of the set, however I did manage to get there for the last two songs at the packed out Spanky Van Dykes. As I ascended the stairs I could see that there was some sort of commotion in the crowd. Lead singer Alex Chappo’s head could be seen amongst a sea of people where he was fervently singing at and reaching out to the audience. People were perched on the stairs, eager for a closer look, whilst the enigmatic indie rock sound of Chappo filled every inch of the eclectically decorated venue.

Next was a stop at The Black Cherry Lounge for Leif Erikson’s set. The band sounded great in the grungy-feeling venue, with musical interludes and guitar riffs aplenty. ‘Looking for Signs’, their single that was released last year, was played against a backdrop of purplish-pink light, causing the band to look ghostly and edgy. The moody light displays, teamed with the rough-around-the-edges style of the venue and people drinking from beer cans created a great atmosphere. The Black Cherry Lounge is one of those venues that makes you fall in love with a band all the more for simply making you feel like you’re so much more immersed in the experience.

Next on my list was Ben Caplan back at Spanky Van Dykes. I was determined to get a good spot, as I was very curious about Caplan after hearing about his unusual and grandiose style of performance. I managed to get a decent spot near the front of the stage, very glad to have got to the venue as early as I did, because the room filled up very quickly. Towards the end of his Dot to Dot set, Caplan said that he was used to performing with a full band, so the stripped back nature of the set was a different experience to his other performances. With Caplan switching between guitar and piano, yowling and maniacally laughing through the set, it certainly was a sight to behold. Caplan’s lyrics tell wonderful stories, and watching the set felt like one of those really great moments where time stops, and you just watch and listen in amazement.

Haus are one of those incredibly exciting bands that you wish could carry on performing forever. Lead singer Ashley Mulimba has a sharp, intense voice, and he sang whilst keenly staring into the crowd during much the set. The band gave a passionate performance, and they epitomised why it’s so great to watch new and upcoming bands: the experience of being able to see them up close and in action far exceeds watching bigger bands play in bigger venues. The indie rock quintet has a mixture of electronic and hip-hop influences that come across really well live, and it was a vivid and electrifying performance. I’ve been playing Haus pretty much non-stop since I saw them last weekend.

Before EKKAH’s performance, there were technical issues that meant the duo (pictured at top) didn’t get playing until about halfway into their allotted timeslot. Fortunately, they and their band, along with the audience, saw the comical side of the situation, when for about 10 minutes, Dot to Dot sound techs exasperatedly tried to figure out why every time they got one microphone working, another would cut out. The band waited patiently as the techs got things up and running, then started the set with plenty of enthusiasm, to a roar of approval from the crowd. EKKAH’s music is a lively blend of disco-pop filled with funk rhythms and dance beats. They sound great on record and even better live. Lead singers Rebecca and Rebekah both play instruments, including saxophone and guitar, as well as dance along to the music with coordinated movements. Honestly, check them out if you can.

The second half of Rebecca’s coverage of Dot to Dot Festival 2016 in Nottingham will post later this week on TGTF. Stay tuned!

 

Dot to Dot Festival 2016: writer Rebecca’s best band bets

 
By on Friday, 20th May 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Dot to Dot Festival 2016 will see a number of new and established acts descend on the cities of Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham during the second May bank holiday (27-29 May). The festival will be in each city for 1 day only and will showcase a number of the best acts from the surrounding area, as well as the likes of big names like Mystery Jets, The Temper Trap and Augustines who will play at each city over the weekend. For editor Mary’s preview of the weekend’s action at Dot to Dot, check out her post here.

I honestly found it tough picking out just a selection to recommend ahead of the festival, but here are some acts (in alphabetical order, mind) to catch if you find yourself heading to Dot to Dot:

Ardyn
Ardyn are a brother and sister duo from Gloucestershire whose atmospheric pop is otherworldly, with singer Katy Pearson showcasing her powerful vocals on the newest release ‘Over the River’. Their previous stuff is gentler and more stripped back, but no less impressive. They’re sure to be an act to catch.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBNbgeWGmeM[/youtube]

Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers
With an unusual, old-world sound that feels more suited to bluegrass era, Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers is the touring name given to the folk singer/songwriter from Canada and his band. Caplan released his second album last year, ‘Birds With Broken Wings’, and will be touring throughout the summer in North America and Europe. With his eccentric look and his throaty drawl, Caplan is described as “a madman and an earnest poet” on his Web site. Sounds like the recipe for a fascinating performer.

EKKAH
EKKAH are Rebecca and Rebekah, a funky disco-pop duo from Birmingham. Their track ‘Last Chance to Dance’ feels a bit like Haim and Jamiroquai were merged together in some bizarre but highly successful experiment. They released single ‘Small Talk’ earlier this year, a bright, glittering synthpop number that is well worth a listen.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLpjPgn3nQs[/youtube]

Haus
Haus are a five-piece from London with an indie-synth sound, citing rock, hip-hop and electronic influences. They released two singles in 2015, ‘Haze’ and ‘Blinded’, and have a number of festival dates across the UK this summer, in addition to Dot to Dot.

Into the Ark
Into the Ark are for those that prefer something a little softer, with gently strumming acoustic guitars and soulful vocals. From south Wales, the singer/songwriter pair met through their love music and have an EP scheduled for release in August. Their debut ‘Right Track’ gives you a taste of what they have to offer.

King No-One
In a similar vein to Haus, King No-One are an indie rock group but from the North (York). Their music is bold, glitzy and punchy. The Northern group’s latest single ‘Stay Close’ has an addictive rhythm and is a great indie summer tune. The song also features an interesting break towards the end (with a pithy monologue!), before returning to the chorus once more.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wq6i03THc[/youtube]

Palace Winter
Palace Winter are a synthpop duo from Copenhagen, whose latest single ‘H. W. Running’ is atmospheric and smooth, with a momentum layered with a pleasing synth composition: it’s very easy to get into and I can imagine it being a good accompaniment for a morning jog or a late night at the club.

The Rubens
The blues-rock band The Rubens have been around since 2011 and are signed to Ivy League Records back home in Australia. The band have a following on their native continent but will be appearing at both The Great Escape and Dot to Dot halfway across the world to share their music. The band released their second album ‘Hoops’ last year, and they released their third single from the album, ‘Hold Me Back’, earlier this year.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs58pcvDsXA[/youtube]

The Sherlocks (pictured at top)
The Sherlocks are a Northern foursome, who have recently been travelling further afield after building a loyal home support around Sheffield. Their latest single ‘Last Night’ is a punchy indie tune with a catchy chorus and guitar hooks aplenty!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bvg1rokCEA[/youtube]

Will Joseph Cook
Will Joseph Cook is a fresh-sounding singer whose single ‘Girls Like Me’ has an upbeat feeling that is positively contagious. From Tunbridge Wells, the singer is gaining momentum with a couple of his songs reaching a couple of million plays on Spotify. If you’re a fan of upbeat, sunshine pop that begs to be danced along to, Will Joseph Cook might be the one for you.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ66D7TcEWU[/youtube]

Regardless of which day you attend the festival you’ll be able to catch the above, plus a wide variety of up-and-coming regional acts too. Tickets are still available for each city of the festival, so head to Alt Tickets to purchase your own for this upcoming bank holiday weekend.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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