With Guillemots, The Naked and Famous, Is Tropical...
Dot To Dot 2011 - Manchester - Guillemots live

As expected, the final leg of Dot to Dot takes a few hours to truly hit its stride, but there are some real treats along the way. Band on wrist, we find The Kill Van Kulls playing to an eager crowd upstairs at the Academy. Four local chaps dabbling in fine electro pop, they’re easy on the eye and possess a couple of big stadium-shaped tunes. New single Lost & Found struts like prime Depeche Mode, while chest-pumping closer Impossible Man hints at a bright future.

Sticking with local talent, we catch Golden Glow downstairs performing their scratchy, scruffy indie. Named after a Felt tune and clearly in love with Orange Juice and the Postcard Records class of ’80-81, Golden Glow songs barely stretch pass two minutes mark, but there’s promise within the homage.

Up next are Nottingham’s Frontiers who play noisy indie guitars and gloomy basslines. Isn’t one White Lies enough? Whizzing downstairs we stumble across Swedish group Niki and the Dove who are a real find. Led by the bewitching vocals of Malin Dahlström, their icy gothic-pop brings to mind a chirpy Zola Jesus. Dot to Dot is getting going.

Clash picks Dom soon switch our focus to indie-pop via their youthful charm, big hair and bubblegum melodies. The man himself, frontman Dominic sports a mullet to make Bon Jovi blush, yet Living in America, a lopsided trip through confused adolescence reminds us of early MGMT. Promising.

Braids are the name on many lips and they don’t disappoint. The Canadians draw a strong crowd to the Academy basement who quickly fall under their dream-pop spell. Main vocalist Raphaelle shares tense, manic stares with bassist Taylor as melodies entwine, float and zigzag on gorgeous single Lemonade. Braids are our favourite band of the day.

As we hit tea time, The Naked and Famous have drawn an impressive following at the main Academy. Confident, loud and picture perfect, there’s not much to dislike, with Punching In A Dream’s melting melody and Young Blood’s titanic chorus likely to storm more festivals this summer. Calculated? Perhaps. Soon to be massive? We reckon so.

By the time we climb more stairs to check on Glasgow noise-scamps Dananananaykroyd, vocalists John and Calum have dived into the crowd and created their own mosh-circle. Fun, throw-away and sometimes plain daft, the boys put in such a shift its impossible not to lose yourself in their noisy world.

The much hyped Cults are a different proposition, and with our brains fried by Dananananaykroyd, their soul-pop doesn’t make much of an impression. Maybe next time?

After an impressive lesson in stagecraft from Darwin Deez, we end on a dose of scruffy rave-punk via Is Tropical and chart-indie with the crowd pulling We Are Scientists. Leathered up and mouths masked, Is Tropical eventually hit their stride after a sloppy start, delivering a mix of Jesus and Mary Chain and Death From Above, which against all odds, somehow works.

We Are Scientists deliver everything we expect: fast, meaty riffs and a flawless rhythm section that’s easy to throw your lager around to. By the looks of the queue to get in, WAS wont be ditching the meat and veg rock any time soon.

Dot to Dot delivered everything we could ask for. New bands, familiar bands, beer and no rain – what’s not to like?

Words by Alistair Beech

Follow Clash: