Competing with the Love Saves The Day on the same weekend, Dot to Dot seems to have found a new audience by diversifying. Its appeal doesn’t just tempt young indie darling obsessives any more – it’s becoming increasingly inclusive of the average festival-goer.
We kick off the day in style with the jazzy, intricate New Palace Talkies, the moniker of Bristol native Tom Stevens who incorporates a revolving door policy for band members joining him onstage. ‘Now we’ve simmered you up, let’s simmer down’ Stevens says as he launches into a subdued track – which kind of bums everyone out. Luckily Kagoule hit the stage next, a mixture of Fugazi and Smashing Pumpkins with a dollop of soft grunge style – definitely one to watch.
Down the road from The Exchange, Menace Beach take the stage at Trinity. True to their name they bring a distinct California nostalgia with them. It’s all too easy to imagine them as the soundtrack to a classic 90s teen film. After taking in Tastes Like Medicine, a song littered with pogoing guitars, doo-wop vocals and other distinctive American 90s alt rock tropes, it’s only slightly jarring when singer Ryan Needham says ‘cheers’ in a distinctive Leeds accent.
Honeyblood are upstairs at Trinity, ready to pump riotgrrl pop into the already hyped-up crowd. There’s been a distinctive rise of female fronted bands at this year’s Dot to Dot and it’s obvious that it’s a breath of fresh air to the audience. The duo launch into Super Rat, a fantastic homage to bands like Helen Love and Kenickie, mixing alt-rock sensibilities with the best aspects of bubblegum pop.
Downstairs The Wytches start their set and at the front of the stage are a young crowd of fans who have been glumly milling around until the Brighton-based band take the stage. The crowd responds to the heavier sound of surf-psychedelia and moves to the next level of hysteria just in time for Fat White Family. As Trinity begins filling up I wonder whether it’s just Fat White Family’s reputation for mayhem that’s drawing the crowd, but like the majority of the room, I am pleasantly surprised with an organised and only slightly shambolic set of 70s prog doom as the crowd start heaving toward singer Lias Saoudias like some kind of prophetic leader.
Soft surf pop band Best Coast lead Trinity to a close but after the raw energy of the bands preceding them, their set falls a little flat. The Thekla closes out Dot to Dot with some of the latest sets of the festival, including a set by The Hotelier, a band that drag the best parts of emo and pop punk from the forgotten genre and make them sound atmospheric and totally fresh. Single Mothers close the festival at 2.30am and while the crowd is waning, the band manages to deliver a scorching finish to the day with their sneering punk aesthetics and who-cares-I’m-drunk attitude.