Mike Atkinson

Dot To Dot Nottingham – Sunday May 26th

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Rescue Rooms, Rock City, Stealth by Mike A on May 30, 2013

Originally published in the Nottingham Post. Photos by Martyn Boston.

Around 45 Nottingham-based acts played this year’s Dot To Dot festival, doubling last year’s total and demonstrating that the city’s music scene has never been in better shape. From the main hall of Rock City to the tiny stages of Brew Dog and the Jam Café, local talent was everywhere to be seen.

The Gorgeous Chans, Acoustic Rooms

The Gorgeous Chans, Acoustic Rooms

At the Acoustic Rooms bar, teenage six-piece The Gorgeous Chans opened the festival with a sprightly performance, pitched somewhere between Vampire Weekend and Paul Simon, which sat well with the glorious sunshine outside.

Great British Weather, Stealth

Great British Weather, Stealth

They were followed at Stealth by the equally youthful Great British Weather, whose astonishingly accomplished set became one of the talking points of the day. Fronted by a slender, quiffed and bespectacled singer in an alarmingly gaudy leisure shirt, their playing was taut, muscular and spacious, characterised by chiming, resonant guitar figures and a strong grasp of dynamics.

OneGirlOneBoy, Stealth

OneGirlOneBoy, Stealth

I Am Lono, Stealth

I Am Lono, Stealth

Later at Stealth, OneGirlOneBoy and I Am Lono both offered dark, claustrophobic melodrama, matching abrasive guitar with icy electronics.

Saint Raymond, Rock City

Saint Raymond, Rock City

The main hall of Rock City filled early, giving a massive boost to the Nottingham acts which opened the line-up. “I thought there would be literally five people here!” said Callum Burrows, better known as Saint Raymond, as he reached for his cameraphone. Despite performing solo, he won over the crowd with effortless charm and instantly memorable tunes.

Ady Suleiman, Rock City

Ady Suleiman, Rock City

The same held true of Ady Suleiman, whose acoustic R&B has been gaining momentum nationally. A newly developed sense of showmanship has transformed the formerly reserved singer, whose vocal prowess goes from strength to strength.

Grey Hairs, Rock City Basement

Grey Hairs, Rock City Basement

Between these two acts, Grey Hairs fired up the Rock City basement with brutal, primeval energy, dragging late night rowdiness into the mid-afternoon.

Kagoule, Rescue Rooms

Kagoule, Rescue Rooms

In the early evening, a packed Rescue Rooms played host to two of Nottingham’s most hotly tipped acts. Kagoule delivered a stunningly effective set, inspired by Nineties alt-rock, and cheered on by members of Dog Is Dead in the front row. Backed by a newly formed band, and fresh from triumphs at Dot To Dot in Manchester and Bristol, Indiana was in her element in front of a home crowd, dissecting the darker side of relationships with twisted glee, and enjoying every minute.

Indiana. Rescue Rooms

Indiana. Rescue Rooms

While tanked-up revellers roared along to Britpop classics on the outside patio, the Acoustic Rooms brought welcome respite. Battling with an obstinate guitar, Gallery 47 might have described his set as “a nightmare scenario”, but he soon silenced most of the chatter, most notably with a fine cover of Bob Dylan’s It Ain’t Me Babe and a brilliantly sung, expertly plucked rendition of Duck Footprints. Following his set, rising soul star Harleighblu gave us a stripped-down, up close and personal performance, superbly backed by Ben James on sparse, bluesy guitar.

Although national acts dominated most of the night-time line-ups, The Corner on Stoney Street continued to fly the flag for Nottingham music, culminating in a second appearance for Kagoule and a closing set by their label mates Kappa Gamma. Later still, Dog Is Dead DJ-ed at the Rescue Rooms, and Kirk Spencer brought the festival to a conclusion, with an early morning set at Stealth.

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