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Dot To Dot Festival - Manchester - 30th May 2011 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 01 June 2011 Written by Liam Gascoigne
Dot To Dot Festival - Manchester - 30th May 2011 (Live Review)

You know it's close to summer when the word 'festival' starts being thrown around everywhere. Dot to Dot festival has been going for the past six years and has grown from being a one day event to spreading over a full weekend with days in Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester, the latter being where I went down to see what it had to offer.

ImageFrom the start of the afternoon, there was a good vibe throughout. Various bands were dotted around Oxford Road in Manchester (hence the name of the event, clever hey) with the headliners ranging from bands such as Hurts to We Are Scientists, Morning Parade and Guillemots.

But it's never just about the headliners at festivals and this was no exception. With a ridiculous amount of bands on, it was almost impossible to catch a full set of any band, something which worked in the favour of Dot to Dot. So much to see for a very affordable price. Good work so far.

Starting off my fun was Ed Sheeran, someone who appears to have come from nowhere but straight onto the Radio 1 playlist, but don't let that put you off. A huge talent who already has great stage presence and shows enough potential to make you think that not only can he make it, but he can become a very big star indeed.

No time to hang around though and next up was Wolf Gang, another band with big potential. The beauty of Dot to Dot is how they manage to blend some of the most up-and-coming artists around with some of the biggest names in alternative music at the moment and these guys showed enough to suggest that they could indeed go on to become one of those, maybe just spend a bit more time on the lyric writing side of things.

A quick blast past a few more very promising new artists such as Allie Moss and Braids led me to The Naked and Famous (small picture), a band who have had a very big 2011 so far, and one which can only get better after this storming set. The New Zealand newcomers sound like a mixture of Linkin Park and MGMT and they manage to pull off the set of the night with final track Young Blood nearly blowing the roof off the main Academy.

A run led me to next door where Dananananaykroyd were midway through their set. The strangest name in music had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands and really got people going for the next band The Joy Formidable, a band who look like they were born to be on stage. Each song getting better throughout the set made for an extremely entertaining half hour, plus extra marks for amazingly good stage presence from singer Ritzy Baren.

With feet about to drop off, fresh air was needed. Unfortunately the need for that was stopped when I saw my watch. Hurts were about to start their set at a different venue, off for another run I go. A run which was worthwhile, the band showing exactly why they have been getting such praise from pretty much everyone. A set full of moody crowd-pleasers, one of the best bands around at the moment getting the acclaim they so rightly deserve.

The big headliner is usually the end of at least the music at a festival, but not at Dot to Dot. Another walk down the road led me to We Are Scientists. One of the most entertaining bands, well, ever. Definitely one of the funniest. The banter throughout each song (inparticularly the stuff about incestuous time travel) keeps you entertained inbetween some of the tightest music you'll ever hear. This band are already massive but they should be bigger. One of the best live bands doing the rounds at the moment, sell anything for a ticket to see these.

It's close to midnight and I'm nearly on the floor, however the fun of Dot to Dot made me wish it could go on that bit longer and luckily for me, Guillemots (main picture) were about to start their set, which was another highlight of the day. A great live band with the tunes to rival anybody's. One of the most critically acclaimed bands around, and it is no wonder why.

However, all good things must come to an end and the end of that set led a very tired me to call it a day. A very very good day. I'd not heard much of Dot to Dot festival before but it's something I now plan on making a yearly event.

Photography by Victor Frankowski.

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