Monday, May 30, 2011

Ten things we learnt from Dot To Dot Nottingham at the weekend

1. Walking across the town hall square in Nottingham to get to the Bodega on a Bank Holiday Sunday after 9pm is taking fate into your own hands
Not strictly for the famed violence, but oh, the depravity.

2. However flabby, bloated and 'experimental' their albums get, live And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are a noisy riot
Cherrypicking from a decent sized back catalogue there was little flab and plenty of roaring borderline controlled insanity. As if the one-two shouty punch of Fake Fake Eyes and A Perfect Teenhood wasn't enough, they then had to go and play the biggest release of energy on and off stage that is Mistakes And Regrets.

3. Fixers have it going on
A set that in its opening two songs takes on West Coast harmonies, tribal digital beats and positive vibe psych-sci-fi gang appeals is quite something. Many tried to dance.

4. Paul Carlin smacks the hell out of a bass drum
Someone eventually had to find a slab of concrete, or so it appeared, to hold the kit in place when a bass amp proved insufficient. They may be down to just the one tub-thumper, John Baillie Jnr now taking on Blood Brothers-style co-vocal duties, but Dananananaykroyd are forging ahead into a new realm of positive post-hardcore with their usual boundless energy and love of crowd invading - The Greater Than Symbol And The Hash culminated in a dual scream-off encircled by baffled audience members - and hugging. No Wall Of Cuddles, but both started by embracing everyone on the barrier in turn. Shame the vocal mix was often too low.

5. Stagecoach are the most fun
We like to think the woman who got saddled with an unexpected mandolin at the end of the set is still trying to work out what to do with it.

6. Colourmusic believe in noise
And it was only a small area too. Lots of head nodding and general seratonin excitement by the closing Yes!

7. Hot Horizons are better live than on record
So far, at least. More spaciousness and wooziness, some parts edging towards an analogue keys Grizzly Bear.

8. You can be a lo-fi bedroom surf-pop auteur and be any good live
All Dom had to do, it turns out, is rub away the fuzz and the desire to be MGMT. He's got the hooks, the razor-tipped summer pop and the sense of humour.

9. Despite what Simon Reynolds is telling you, maybe taking retrospective leads isn't always a bad thing
Spotlight Kid, as discussed on here before, are very much an attempt to make three minute pop songs from the My Bloody Valentine raw materials - two songs in their set have mini-holocaust sections - but they make something of it with plenty to go at. At an opposing end of the spectrum Ronika could easily be taken for a Little Boots/Ellie Goulding faux-real synthpop type except, prodding away at a Macbook, her reference points are more based in New York's disco-not-disco scene, more Cristina than Baby D.

10. ...but far from always
You know something, you bands taking up big anthemic choruses, Killers synths, landfill solos and general "influences: Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Sigur Ros" fare? You won't get signed.

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