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DOT TO DOT FESTIVAL 2011 - INNER CITY CRAWL
:: Dananananaykroyd :: We Are Scientists :: The Joy Formidable :: Golden Glow :: The Kill Van Kulls :: Frontiers :: Veto :: Nicki And The Dove :: To Kill A King :: Wolf Gang :: The Naked And Famous :: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs ::
30 May 2011 / Various Venues / Manchester
By Adam Wheeldon

With inter-city crawls becoming an ever more frequent and popular way to take advantage of a festival without mud on your doorstep, Manchester once again plays host to the final leg of this year's Dot To Dot Festival with another fine, eclectic mix of local, new and established artists across six venues within close proximity. With a start time of 1pm and with the rain lashing down to signal another Bank Holiday washout, Dot To Dot appears a much more attractive option to spending a typical Bank Holiday in B&Q.


-kill van kulls-

With the first wave of acts taking place at Academy 2,3 and Club Academy throughout the afternoon, it is an early start for The Kill Van Kulls at Academy 3. However, the 1.30pm slot has fortunately not failed to prevent the local lads playing to a big crowd as such is the enthusiasm for live music, it is a credit that the venue is very busy as they take to the stage. Those evident are fortunate to witness a performance full of epic, synth-heavy anthems that are popular throughout. New single 'Lost And Found' has a passionate Delphic feel while 'Wooden Heart' signals an ambitious, soaring sound. A welcome start and a band that has huge potential.



-golden glow-

Over to Academy 2 where Golden Glow offer a more restrained approach but without losing any passion as their warm, jangly pop leave a distinct impression. Full of warm rhythms but coupled with a downbeat vocal style, it's an impressive mix that has a distinct, introspective appeal. The finale is particularly brooding with the lyrical refrain of "I'm Gonna Leave This Town" over subtle, mood-drenched riffs result in a powerful statement. A moving performance.


-veto-

The beats are in full force downstairs at Club Academy with Danish five-piece Veto delivering a polished display of electro-pop that veer between hypnotic beat-driven grooves and dense atmospherics that showcase a darker, thought-provoking side. With an energetic frontman losing himself in the music throughout, his powerful voice sounds a lot like Brandon Flowers but that shouldn't put anyone off as the band deliver an accomplished display of. electro beats with a wide variety.


-frontiers-

Back upstairs to Academy3 and the venue is full at 3pm. With a massive appetite fo live music and large crowds throughout the festival so far, this is the first time there has been a queue to get into a gig today. This is for Nottingham based four-piece Frontiers and the wait to get in is completely justified as the band are superb throughout. Epic and intense in equal measure, the dark mood is reminiscent of Interpol but with a heavier side that is similar to when My Vitriol were tearing up venues this size. A fine display of haunting anthems that has certainly won over a few more admirers judging by the response of a capacity crowd at such an early stage in the day. As the vocalist proclaims that the crowd was a lot smaller when they played their hometown during the Nottingham leg of Dot To Dot over the weekend, there certainly appears to be a place guaranteed for them in this city rather than their own.


Following on from this epic performance was Nicki And The Dove down at Club Academy and it certainly resulted in a bit of a comedown. A change in pace, the Swedish band were enigmatic enough and had a sound and performance that was not too dissimilar to Florence And The Machine with a singer that certainly appeared to model herself on the stage presence of Florence. Despite the large crowd, it
Offered little to distinguish them from their peers.


-to kill a king-

Off to Academy3 once again and To Kill A King deliver a polished performance of acoustic led folk that have plenty of foot-stomping rhythms and a Melancholic beauty that bring to mind Springsteen and Arcade Fire with them being endearing and impressive throughout. Full of sweet, vocal harmonies, the five piece make an emotive tale that is well received.

After a tea-time trip to the BBQ stall outside the Students Union for a bit of Chicken and Chorizo Paella, it's back up to Academy3 and another capacity crowd for the over-hyped Wolf Gang who have an enormous buzz surrounding them at the moment. Their blend of electro-pop fail to make much of an impact however, as they appear to offer little to really set them apart that is able to justify the hype. Unlike the Kill Van Kulls earlier, they are unable to use their 80s influences to deliver a fresh and exciting sound, instead, playing it safe and lacking much originality. Disappointing.


-naked & the famous-

Academy 1 has opened its doors for the evening session and a first visit to the venue is next on the agenda as The Naked And Famous are entertaining with their blend of heavy electro vibes that rumble across the venue to a massive response. With a style that is similar to the way MGMT were first able to cause a stir when they first arrived on the scene, the band make a fascinating racket with lead singer Alisa Xayalith having a great stage presence. Biggest cheers are reserved for recent hit singles 'Punching In A Dream' and 'Young Blood' that are epic slabs of electro-rock. The kiwis have big choruses to match their grand, often brooding sound which keeps it interesting throughout.

Academy 2 then has an altogether different proposition in the form of the absurdly named Dananananakroyd. The Glaswegians effortlessly get the venue moshing away to their high-octane punk rock that never takes itself too seriously. The six piece are quite a presence on stage, in particular the dual singers of the band continuously leaping round the stage like excited kids on Christmas morning, they entertain while the heavy riffs and rumbling bass stir up an effective noise behind them. Their countless energy and enthusiasm make for a joyful live experience.


-joy formidable-

Next up at the same venue are The Joy Formidable where it surely won't be too long before their epic sound will be headlining a venue of this size in their own right. Full of grand melodies and anthemic intensity, the Welsh 3-piece sound huge especially on the likes of 'Austere' and 'I Don't Want To See You Like This' offering heavy riffs and pounding drums which are offset by the soothing and soaring vocals of Ritzy Bryan that make for an essential combination. Ritzy commands the stage and oozes confidence throughout with a near capacity crowd lapping up every word, a huge cheer being reserved for when she proclaims that her family are from Wythenshawe that the audience now welcome her as one of our own. Ending with recent single 'Whirring' the set descends into a wall of noise that is a chaotic statement of intent that they are destined for bigger things.


-we are scientists-

Tonight's headline act at Academy 2 is We Are Scientists and with it they bring a huge crowd to suggest they still have a place within the musical spectrum despite going off the radar recently. Unlikely to gain the same kind of exposure they had around debut release 'With Love and Squalor', the trio offer enough catchy melodies and spiky lyrics to work the crowd up into a singalong frenzy. Opening with 'Nice Guys' off their latest release, they effortlessly have the ability to make you want to dance around to their upbeat riffs which give each song an anthemic quality. It is a pattern that follows during a thoroughly enjoyable hour long set as each song sounds like a hit that you can't help but smile at. Crowd favourites such as 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt' and 'The Great Escape' are sung back with great precision while set closer 'After Hours' has Keith Murray ditching his guitar and joining the crowd for a unique finale to the song. They may not be the coolest band around right now or the most ambitious, but they have plenty of material that will make a memorable and enjoyable live experience. They have plenty of charisma to endear to an audience as is evident in their between song banter and sometimes all you want is to be entertained, and it is exactly what We Are Scientists are able to acheive.

With blurry eyes, the final stop is a trip to the basement of Sound Control at 1am to witness some heavy beats in the form of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Delivering a powerful mix of dark electro beats and bleeps, TEED mix differing styles of dance genres to create a unique mash up of sounds that get the crowd shaking even at this late stage. Backed by two dancers either side of his decks and all wearing carnival style headwear, the producer concludes the festival in energetic fashion.

After 12 hours of live music it is time to retire safe in the knowledge that the line up of Dot To Dot this year has been a superb mix of new and established artists that have plenty to offer. Having witnessed some special performances from newer acts that will hopefully be the stepping stone to a bright future, along with some fine performances from established acts that will hopefully be a continuation of already successful careers, the day has been a success. All this live music and not an ounce of mud in sight, it is a great showcase event with a fine mix of genres and few stage time clashes that has seen large crowds for each gig adding to the atmosphere. Roll on next year.


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