Dot to Dot Festival: Manchester.Posted: 07/06/2010
(Photo thanks to : http://www.flickr.com/photos/reutc/)
Having to contend with two local festivals this bank holiday weekend is no mean feat, but the Manc leg of Dot to Dot did reasonably well for a lazy Monday.
The atmosphere here is one of general bemusement. Crowds weary from the weekend wonder up and down stairs at the Academy and shuffle to and fro from Oxford Road to the Factory in order to catch poorly timed glimpses of bands they’ve never heard of. While you can’t help but feel we’d be pushing it a little harder were it not for the fact that there’s work in the morning, everyone’s giving it their best shot.
And it’s difficult being the first band on. A notable performance from The Cheek sets a good precedent for the early part of the day. Sadly, not everything on show this afternoon is a secret act set to be huge this summer. Some acts are just shit. I won’t name names but preceding a song with, “This is a song about crying in the middle of the night at 3am” is guaranteed to clear a room and induce ridicule even from the most morose country and western singers.
The early part of Dot to Dot appears to be catering for a demographic that’ll be in bed by ten: confusing teen-types. While bands such as O Children and Twisted Wheel are entertaining enough, I’m left craving something a little more cerebral toward the latter half of the day. Thankfully Goldheart Assembly, an unlikely collection of well groomed misfits, take to the tiny Academy 3 stage to a meager audience. They base warm and fuzzy harmonies atop superb compositions. An apprehensive and gathering crowd quickly warm to their sound and character, and it’s hard not to, they’re very cool. Georgia’s Washed Out, possibly the first band that mark a shift in today’s theme, leave audience members slightly nonplussed. Filling the room with reverb synths and vocal ala Panda Bear, singer Ernest Greene adding nuances of smooth funk (eurgh) and, with the later addition of a band, play a selection of tunes that end on an upbeat finale.
As is frequently the case, Sunderland’s impeccable Field Music execute their razor sharp compositions with gusto and militaristic aplomb, much to the appreciation of a baying crowd left hungry by reams of esoteric kiddy music. The Liars bring their brand of trippy Iggy and art-house punk rock to the musical picnic. It’s one of the most considered moments of raucous abandon and showmanship thus far; gorgeously entertaining and avant-garde where the style has been previously formulaic and jejune. Beach House, who appear to be knackered and/or pissed off, still manage to cater for their ardent and wistful supporters, playing favourites ‘Zebra’, ‘Silver Soul’, ‘Gila’ and ‘Walk in the Park’ among others. Their props look a little pedestrian on a stage that no doubt hosts Hollyoaks celebrities and drinking games. Despite the décor, their sound is masterfully recreated.
I forgo Los Campesinos, as I leave the rooms swells and I breath a sigh of relief, up until this point a large majority of the acts worth seeing have been at the academy. A shame, as Dot to Dot has failed to rally people to its other two venues. I head to the Deaf Institute to catch Yuck, a charismatic foursome with a drummer sporting the Seb Rochford haircut, minus the sharp jazz patterns. They play cool Americana tinged garage rock and bring the evening to a collected and satisfying close.
Not too bad Dot to Dot. Despite poor ticket sales and rubbish organisation as far as spacing acts between venues goes, the day’s a success, and it’d be a shame were it to forgo the Manch leg next year. We’ll see.
(Originally published on Neu Magazine)