Music Reviews

Music Review: Dot to Dot Festival 2018

Amy and Sophie talk us through their day at one of Nottingham's biggest festivals...

Dot To Dot is an annual festival that tours Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham over May Bank Holiday weekend. With more than 200 local acts across these locations, the festival celebrates all kinds of musical genres in various venues and bars. Impact had the pleasure of going along for the day in Nottingham and getting a taste of all the action. 

After picking up the wristbands which were our tickets to all the venues and acts, we headed inside Rock City to the Basement, in order to watch Motormouf. Using only a loop pedal, his beatboxing talent and his smooth singing voice, the combination of all three ensured we were in for half an hour of unique and energetic music.

Next we headed to Suede, a cosy, cool bar not far from the Victoria Centre. The first act we saw there was Chai Larden, her soulful vocals blew us away and captivated the audience from the get-go. It was a small and very intimate gig; the benefit of having different venues for this festival is that each one has something unique to offer.

Following Chai Larden was singer Marco Woolf. His crisp, sweet voice paired well with his acoustic guitar. Also accompanied by a clarinet player, the performance was chilled and well-received. He seemed genuinely happy to be performing and showed gratitude to the audience for coming to watch. Along with the music, Suede has great pizza at a reasonable price, creating the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon atmosphere.

After a little sit-down break, we decided we wanted to get on the glitter hype and popped into Luvyababes to raid their collection. We headed back to Rock City Basement and applied it in the very classy toilets. Next on our to-see list was Cosmo Calling, a four-piece pop-rock band from Manchester. Their energetic, interactive performance really got the audience going. We especially loved their cover of Gorillaz’s ‘Feel Good Inc and will definitely be listening to more of their music in the future. 

“A voice akin to that of James Bay, the guitar expertise of Ed Sheeran and the face of Harry Potter’s Bill Weasley”

After Cosmo Calling we made the ten second walk to Rock City Basement (strenuous I know) to catch Adam French. French has the good fortune of having a voice akin to that of James Bay, the guitar expertise of Ed Sheeran and the face of Harry Potter’s Bill Weasley. The Basement was packed with all those eager to watch Adam French, and we predict big things for this talented musician.

Bad Sounds graced the Rock City main stage in the afternoon and the crowd went absolutely wild. From the balcony we had a very good view of the many mosh pits kicking off. The band seemed to have a lot of fun on stage, with front-men and brothers, Callum and Ewan, jumping on each other’s backs much to our amusement. With their funky vibes and feel-good sounds, we really enjoyed their performance.

“Haiku Hands, a three-piece and incredibly sassy girl band whose energy lit up Stealth”

After catching the tail end of Haiku Hands, a three-piece and incredibly sassy girl band whose energy lit up Stealth, we decided to venture slightly further afield and trekked all the way to Hockley to the Angel Microbrewery. This was in order to see The Mocking Jays, a Nottingham band who truly did our city proud. It was clear they had a huge local fan base with many of those supping in the Angel knowing their lyrics by heart. Definitely a one to watch, especially for the ladyfolk amongst us as all the band members were pretty hot.

By far my (Sophie’s) favourite act of the day was Pale Waves. An indie-rock band also from Manchester, I have recently become obsessed with their music. We got to Rock City nice and early to get a spot right at the front and it paid off. Fans of theirs were pleased to hear their most well-known songs, including ‘There’s A Honey’ and ‘Television Romance’, along with teasing us with upcoming new releases. I am very eager to see them perform again soon!

Whilst perusing our Dot to Dot programme during a cheeky ‘Spoons break, something rather special caught our eye. Not a band this time, but a silent disco in Stealth running until 3am. With an hour to spare until headliners The Horrors, we decided that a bit of a boogie was in order. Headphones on and LED lights flashing, the silent disco was not only a lot of fun, but a genuinely hilarious experience. Seeing lots of people dancing along to absolutely nothing is funny enough, but add in the presence of some absolute bangers being played and soon the “silent” disco became more of a karaoke fest, something we both fully embraced before emerging hot and out of breath to skedaddle over to Rock City.

“The festival was a brilliant showcase of the talent of local and far-off musicians”

Finishing up on the Rock City main stage were headliners, The Horrors, and the place was fill to the brim with fans ready to greet them. A five-piece rock-band, they ended the day in style. Despite our aching feet and ringing ears by the end of the very long day, the festival was a brilliant showcase of the talent of local and far-off musicians. The perfect opportunity to find hidden treasures and rekindle music love affairs, we will definitely be returning to Dot To Dot next year. The only downside is that with so many artists and venues to cover, you cannot see everyone!


Sophie Hunt and Amy Wilcockson

All images Courtesy of Sophie Hunt. 

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