So...yawn. About a million years ago, I went to Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham (first part here). It's a beautiful city, as the above photo taken in the town square testifies. Here is day 2.
I awoke with a dirty hangover courtesy of the Sailor Jerry £2.50 mixer offer. I guess, usually, at a festival to get out of the slow-roast sauna that is probably your tent, you wanna get out there as soon as possible and back seeing some music to jolt the senses somewhat. You don't have to do this in a city.
Nobody like old news (or maybe I'm wrong you might like old news?) I'd planned on being extensive but this has dragged on for far too long so here's the highlights.
OPERAHOUSE make nice indie-pop. Or at least that was their intended career path until they decided they wanted to do more. Or that they needed to if they were to have any kind of longevity. That isn't guaranteed yet, the proof will be in their album, due out later this year. The singer, Johnny, needs to use his voice like I'm sure he knows he can as well as being supplemented by the backing vocals of the guitarist, Alex. They blew away any cobwebs that were still present in my mind that day...Diane is a beautifully catchy little tune, perfect indie-pop basically. Plastic Cage is an early sign of the band trying to inject a little more inventiveness using loops and layered vocals to update their indie-pop formula.
Operahouse - Diane
Operahouse - Plastic Cage (demo)
visit their myspace////buy their single Diane here
MYSTERY JETS - I'd last seen the Jets in January at Fleche D'Or when their stunning album, Twenty One had not yet been released or leaked to the world. Four months later, having played this album so much and still somehow not sick of it, I was giddy with excitement to see them perform tracks from the album live. Surprisingly, they didn't open with Hideaway but instead chose Zootime. This omission upset Doug greatly, but when they string tunes together in a combo like Diamonds in the Dark->Young Love->Two Doors Down->Half in love With Elizabeth->Veiled In Grey->Behind the Bunhouse, the result is astonishing. The latter, and album closer Bunhouse was my favourite of the night, with William taking over vocals mockingly for one of Blaine's early parts with a microphone lead in his mouth to try and replicate the voice of his friend. The point in this song which really gets me is towards the end, as the final chorus arrives and Blaine changes pitch to emphasize his kicking in the ribs. It works so well because the song has such a great pace to it, building up really slowly in power up to this point. Glorious climax to an album.
Mystery Jets - Undercover Lover (early demo of Hideaway)
Mystery Jets - Behind the Bunhouse (undercover lover demo) - this is practically the same as the album version. If you don't own this record you should.
I have held out until now because I wanted it on vinyl. The guys at Pure Groove, obviously due to their connections with sixsevennine, have it on vinyl exclusively. Check it out. (It came this morning, the A-side is possible the greatest A-side ever and the artwork is sick.)
This is what Doug had to say after the show. He reveals his track of the year eventually.
Ratatat - Shiller
ESSER was my next port of call. Was pretty excited about catching this boy live, as being a former drummer, the beats were sure to be tight. I like the air of nonchalance he brings to proceedings, his lyrics are pretty dry and musically he occupies a certain electronica-pop area that is never going to be too in your face in an aggressive way, often recalling the mid-nineties?. He did his best to rock out to an empty room though, debut single I Love You was a highlight (it reminds me of White Town), but my favourite is Satisfied - it has a wonderfully over-the-top fairground / silent movie feel to it. If it's a future single, I can definitely envisage Esser being dressed up like a mime artist or something and disappearing into thin air at the end. Not such a huge fan of Headlock, recent single on his new home, Transgressive Records. Don't get me wrong, it's good but it leaves me wanting more. I'm hardly left satisfied. I think the idea of selling a single via the medium of a T-shirt is a bit of a gimmick, but then it could well be the best T-shirt ever.
Esser - I Love You (live on 6music)
Esser - Satisfied (live on 6music)
courtesy of the legendary Daily Growl///visit Esser's website
In brief, Sons and Daughters warmed up for Mystery Jets excellently. William from Mystery Jets advised everybody to go see Santogold but the queueing was ridiculous so it didn't happen for me. Kissy Sell Out was disappointing (more than that, he was gash), his brand of glitchy roller-coaster in a sweet shop electro was not on display. I wish I had gone to see Primary 1 and The Shoes instead.