The rain doesn't dampen any spirits
Willis Earl Beal - Dot To Dot 2012 - Nottingham

With every city seeming to have its own multi-venue day festival, we’re at Dot to Dot, a three city festival, where it all started: Nottingham. With arguably one of the better line ups, shunning the usual names that seem to be playing everywhere, we genuinely are dot to dotting across town all day trying to avoid the clashes, of which, inevitably, there are loads.

First up for the day is dreamy synth poppers Bastille. It has only just gone lunchtime and the main room at Rock City is packed. Originally just a one man band, Dan Smith put together Bastille as an outlet for his bedroom-written soaring electronic melodies. You can’t argue that they have some super catchy hooks and they really take things up a level for recent single ‘Flaws’. Keeping up the momentum they chuck in a cover, quite a risky thing to do, but not when it’s ‘90s R&B hit ‘What Would You Do’ by City High. The crowd is suitably warmed up and ready for an afternoon of local talent on the main stage.

Jake Bugg draws in one of the biggest crowds of the day, local lad just turned eighteen and fresh from his appearance on Jools earlier in the week, this lad has got some swagger and you can’t help but close your eyes and imagine a young Dylan on the stage. It’s refreshing to hear such a distinctive voice, but with the lyrics and tunes to back it up. Give him a few more years and he’ll be writing the songs Miles Kane tries so hard to.

The weather is awful, so after a quick run across town to Jongleurs, we’re here with every man and his dog to see the much anticipated Pure Love. Frank Carter has made the transition from hardcore punk band Gallows to his new outfit, who by the songs recently put online wouldn’t sound out of place on a rock ballads album. He may have learned to sing but this isn’t a man who can deliver a show half-heartedly, half a song in and he’s singing from the middle of the crowd in this ballroom type venue, and that’s where he stays till the end. Still delivering every lyric like his life depends on it, ‘Handsome Devils Club’ is an absolute belter, Frank Carter is a man who knows what he wants, and with Pure Love, they’re going to go far and he knows it.

Willis Earl Beal, this man was always going to be a star, strolling on stage, shades on, whisky in hand and toothpick hanging from his mouth. Just him, a chair and a reel to reel tape machine with his backing track. Opening though with an acapella version of ‘Wondering’, the crowd is silenced, it’s easy to why he has been the name on everybody’s lips recently. Unfortunately we have to dash so miss the second half of his set but next time he’s in town, we’re there.

Continuing with local talent, Dog is Dead are joint headliners tonight and the whole of Nottingham is here to see them. Taking all the best bits of Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees, whilst still maintaining to sound original, this is a band that are all about the harmonies and recent single ‘Two Devils’ gets the crowd jumping all the way to the back, and even up on the balconies. Old favourite ‘Glockenspiel Song’ is the one that everyone here is waiting for and Dog is Dead show that they’re ready to step up to the big league and be selling out venues like this all over the country, 2012 is their year.

Not even the torrential rain could put a dampener on today’s proceedings, Dot to Dot, we love you.

Words by Paul Melbourne
Photo by Jack Farrow

Click here for a photo gallery of Dot to Dot, Nottingham.

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