[Review] Dot 2 Dot Festival Manchester
A 4 day weekend. A rarity in anyone's yearly calendar, not this year if you're in the UK. Thanks to the Queen! God Save her and all that. What better way to spend part of it than at a must on the local gig calendar, Dot to Dot Manchester. It's is a funny event really taking place across three cities in total over three separate days. Manchester was the final stop for the bands who'd sweated their music into Nottingham and Bristol the previous two days. Manchester's gigs this year had introduced some new venues adding to previous years' fun times. Large venues like The Ritz and Sound Control were staple but new kids on the block Zoo had been added to the mix making for a smaller more intimate feel at a few sets. It takes place across 5 venues all reasonably close together just off of Oxford Road right in the City centre, handy, Sound Control also had 3 levels which was an added bonus for ticket holders. Why? My main concern was going to be getting from place to place and then getting back into venues. What if they were too full? What if the stage I wanted to get to was unavailable?!
Turns out, the main place I wanted to be was at the aforementioned Sound Control. After picking up my wristband I was at The Ritz and heard the familiar sound of Bastille ringing through the venue so quickly headed to enjoy an albeit short but sweet set. The band actually ended up playing two sets after Summer Camp cancelled, I only caught one set but they filled the room with ease packing a large punch for a band so young.
After Bastille I headed down to the place I wanted to witness some musical magic for the majority of the day, Sound Control. First up as I walked through the ground floor and headed up to the awkwardly shaped Club room was Clock Opera who's album I absolutely loved. From the rather large crowd they'd drawn in I think a lot of people eddied too. A highlight of the set for me was "Lesson No7" as the beat kicked in the floor slowly started to bounce in time. Wonderful.
Next up was some fun from 2:54 who were playing in the loft. They'd been getting a fair bit of attention on the blogs and from the likes of Zane Lowe and radio so I was pretty giddy for the set and I wasn't disappointed. Their echoey twangs filled the loft with an ease and elegance. Next up was a really intriguing act: Pure Love. A band fronted by Frank Carter, the previous lead singer of Gallows and a man I'd seen cause carnage in the past at the likes of Sonisphere and Leeds festival. He knew how to make some noise yet this new project is a popper affair. The loft was pretty quiet for the set in all honesty which led to Frank immediately jumping the barrier and planting his mic stand right in front of me. He commanded the attention of the room with the actions of a man in a hardcore band, the music has changed but his presence has not. A great set from a band with a future if they play their cards right. Only downside was he tried to start a circle pit at one point, the crowd weren't the circle pitting type and it led to Frank hitting me in the face with his bottle of cider. Luckily, I like cider.
Finishing up a day of truly great music in Soundcontrol's Loft was Cloud Nothings, Wavves and Pulled Apart By Horses. One band I like a lot while two of those bands I adore. Cloud Nothings set was a gentle yet noisy affair and a nice little bit of relaxation from the energetic performance Pure Love had offered half an hour prior not to say these guys didn't have energy but the main event for many in the room was still to come. Nathan Williams, frontman of the surf-punk band Wavves wandered on stage to set up his kit, strat in hand a few minutes later his band joined him and without a word the intro to "King of the Beach" filled the air and damn it was loud! I don't know if previous sets had sensitised my ears to the levels but it was a wall of fuzzy goodness. I like it loud and the next 45 minutes was a joy to watch with tracks from his two albums and EP, Life Sux being played one after another.
Pulled Apart By Horses followed Wavves and after the two days prior they looked a little rough prior to the set, I spotted Lee their drummer watching Wavves contently from side of stage. The boys took to their slot on stage and bloody delivered a knock-out blow after a day of already great music. Tracks like "V.E.N.O.M." and "Punched a Lion In The Throat" were sang back at them as the crowd all bounced as one. From the rowdiness and the state of my shoes/t-shirt by the end of the set I must say I'd had a great day and the event was a well oiled machine. It managed to showcase some great new emerging talent along with some more established acts. For a music fan and avid gig goer I'd recommend the day in any of the cities to everyone. Roll on D2D2013 I say! Onwards and upwards.