Tuesday, 10 June 2008

dot to dot festival, nottingham // day 1

(beautiful artwork by Michael Cowell)

Dot-to-Dot is a festival on the rise. It was formed in 2005 by Ricky Haley, promoter behind Liars Club in Nottingham. In general, you could hold him responsible for the general vibrancy of the live music scene in Nottingham. He also runs Alt-Delete Recordings, who put out the Digital Penetration compilation, often considered to be a snapshot of nu-rave before it really took off. In terms of the lineup, it's very now and I can't quite figure out exactly what I mean.

Here is my review of Day 1 at Dot-to-Dot, as I returned to my hometown with my intrepid friend, Doug, who will be providing expert video commentary on proceedings.

Kicking things off were Metronomy at Rock City, who certainly know how to put on a show. Call it a gimmick if you will, but the lights on chests thing certainly makes everyone smile. I don't know how it would go down at an open-air festival but that's besides the point. It would be easy to pigeonhole them as nu-rave but they are far more than that. Vocally, they do evoke the cooing falsettos of Golden Skans but instrumentally they remain pretty diverse for a three-piece with multiple instrument changes. They didn't have a drummer, I wish they did. New songs sounded good. Holiday is out July 7th. It has a jittery elegance with dark lyrical undertones. Listen to it over at the myspace.
Download their finest hour below.

//buy Metronomy stuff

Here's Doug's views on Metronomy.

Heading back to The Social, we thought we'd take a punt on a random artist that neither of us had ever heard of. Alexander G Muertos has a great voice, but sadly little stage presence or quality tunes. Pity.

Back to Rock City for Saul Williams, ever the showman and purveyor of intelligent hip-hop. One thing I like about him is that he clearly, clearly has a sense of humour - he named his recent album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust for fuck's sake which is easily the best album title I've heard in a long time. He also had the presence of mind to ask the crowd to get into it, and transform the show into something more than a performance - he used the term, ritual. Below you will find his defining track, List of Demands and a stream of his U2 cover, Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Saul Williams - List of Demands (Reparations)
Saul Williams - Sunday Bloody Sunday
//buy Saul Williams

The sound was bad in Rescue Rooms. It was a pity because you just couldn't hear the vocals at all well, which for a pop act like this is absolutely essential. Paris is Burning remains her best tune - it has a chorus to die for and an equally brilliant refrain. It should quite rightly soundtrack summers getting drunk in the street everywhere. Signed to Modular, I'd say she'll be big soon. Whether it will last is another thing, will everybody continue to love the 80's forever? I hope so.

At this point of the evening, I dashed back home for a bit of dinner and Eurovision - the beauty of attending a festival in your hometown.


Sebastien Tellier
has never been afraid of joking around. You would think a televised contest in front of millions of viewers worldwide would create a bit of nervousness in the performer. Not Sebastien, who sauntered on stage in Belgrade with a globe filled with helium and then proceeded to inhale it mid-song and show the world the amusing high-pitched side effects.

Ignoring the claims of political bloc voting, perhaps it was this carefree attitude that undermined any chance of returning to France victorious. Or maybe the voters just didn’t like his beard. Whatever the reasons were, one cannot deny that Sebastien’s shimmering performance of Divine at Eurovision 2008 was a defiant departure from the norm. I really hope that more quality performers will dare to perform at Eurovision in the future, despite the poor final position, as hopefully it would force general standards higher, which can only be a good thing? or does anybody actually care?

Sebastien Tellier – Divine (Midnight Juggernauts remix)
// buy Sebastien Tellier stuff

Then it was back into town and to The Social (I refuse to call it The Bodega on principle, as I consider it to be a stupid name change) for Jeremy Warmsley. One thing that irritates me about festivals is that often the artist’s set is much shorter than usual, unless they are top of the bill. I suppose it’s a necessary evil to fit everyone in though. Jeremy Warmsley + band were previewing songs from his upcoming album, How We Became. Big feature/interview on Jeremy to come in the next week or so once I get over my festival backlog (This may take longer than expected as the Villette Sonique festival with HEALTH and Chromatics the past weekend was pretty spectacular). Judging from this performance though, the new songs seem promising. Jeremy is blessed with a voice that flits between breathless softness and violent anger, often in the same song. Allied to lyrics that are sarcastic yet insightful, he is a talent. Here is Lose My Cool in streaming format, performed acoustically for MAPS.

Jeremy Warmsley - Lose My Cool (acoustic)

//buy Jeremy Warmsley

Jeremy accompanied us back through the Market Square and back up to Stealth for Dan Deacon, who is an innovator for sure. He just likes to have fun. I’d like to offer some kind of incredible review here, but I was somewhat waylaid by the incredible drinks offer at the Festival, courtesy of Sailor Jerry – beautiful, beautiful dark rum. It cost £2.50 for a double mixer. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that ensued. Dan Deacon set up shop in the middle of the crowd and then coordinated a dance contest (see video below) and one of those games that you play when you’re a kid where people join arms and make a tunnel and then each person runs through one by one. If anybody can help me out with the name for this game, I’d be much obliged. Again, respect to Dan Deacon for managing to coordinate such a fun event out of such a mess of people whilst playing crazy odd-ball electronics at the same time. He also tells a guy to stop dancing, because he's really bad.

Dan Deacon – The Crystal Cat
// buy Dan Deacon stuff

Bringing the night to a close were Aussie electro-rockers, Midnight Juggernauts. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them live, as on record they are very, very slick. Again the Sailor Jerry’s had destroyed my ability to see a little bit, but the performance was what would hope for from a show like this. It brought the heavily 80’s tinged songs to life with a lot of vibrancy and got people dancing. Into the Galaxy is my favourite track, if solely for the awesome vocal G-L-O-R-I-A, which deserves some kind of hand-dance. Worth mentioning also that in places, they remind me a lot of Erasure.

Midnight Juggernauts – Into The Galaxy
///buy Midnight Juggernauts stuff

Florence and the Machine was meant to play, I saw it on previous lineups but then her name was absent from the final list. It upset me really. I need to see her live. This video is pretty hot though.Single is out soon on Moshi Moshi. Roll on Day 2 of Dot-to-Dot report.

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