Solid music appreciation at Dot to Dot festival

Even the overpriced bar couldn’t dampen spirits at the Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham. Fans were treated to a line up of established and up-and-coming acts across the city on Sunday, May 30th.

The main stage at Rock City was buzzing throughout the day, with enthusiastic crowds moving in and out and making the most of the festival. Ellie Goulding, one of the big names on the line up, spoke to The Linc before her set about her live shows: “[When playing] live some of the songs blend together a bit like a DJ set, and I do some drum solos.”


Ellie Goulding was a crowd pleaser at the Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham. Photos: Tom Ladlow

Over the past year, Goulding has gone from being relatively unknown to a huge star with a number one album. “When I was around 15 I started writing songs, but the actual process of making the album took about a year.”

She described the year as a bit of a whirlwind: “It took off when I released ‘Under The Sheets’. I did Jools Holland and then ‘Starry Eyed’ got more people into me, and I’ve had such a great response with my album.”

Kicking off the live music, the shouty three-piece Ocean Bottom Nightmare played the Rock City basement stage. The Nottingham band claimed not to be the heaviest band playing, and while they might have made a racket playing live, they failed to get any reaction from the crowd.

Following them upstairs on the main stage were Morning Parade. The band won over a fairly large crowd with their emotional indie rock, and if they continue to make songs as epic as these they could go far. The crowd showed the Essex band solid support throughout.

At the Rescue Rooms venue, East Anglia’s The Cheek played through a host of technical issues with feedback, and delivered a competent performance of indie pop tracks. However, they became tedious as many of their songs sounded the same and the crowd began shuffling outside to the bar and DJ.

Back on the main stage, Dead Confederate played their emotional and very American rock to what began as a tiny crowd. A few tracks in, though, the crowd picked up and the band stepped up their game with some great tracks, sounding a bit like a mix of early Radiohead and Nirvana.

The first band of the day to get a real response from the crowd were Brighton-based Blood Red Shoes, who had the crowd moving throughout their whole set. They came on to one of their biggest hits “It’s Getting Boring by the Sea” and followed it with “I Wish I Was Someone Better”. Both songs saw the band create a raw and powerful sound.

Wild Beasts, who in their own words are equally elegant and ugly, had an overly dramatic entrance and began with a track from their second album, “The Fun Powder Plot”. The band played a brilliant yet bizarre set, and who was doing what in the band seemed to change from song to song.

Hayden Thorpe and Tom Flemming swapped roles constantly between vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, and at one surreal point in the show Flemming played his guitar with a drum stick. The band captivated their audience with an impressive light show and songs from both albums, with highlights including “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant” and “Hooting and Howling”.

When Ellie Goulding took to the stage she had the biggest crowd of the day, all chanting her name. She opened with non-album track “Lights”, and showed off her many talents playing guitar, drums, and synthesizers at several points throughout the set.

She was visibly emotional at points of her set, actually crying during her album track “The Writer”. Whether it was the overwhelming site of the crowd singing along to every word or the meaning of the song, it really struck a chord with both her and the crowd. After the song Goulding said “well that was emotional”.

Goulding, who comes to Lincoln this September, played the majority of her debut album during the set, along with a cover of Midlake track “Roscoe”. But the biggest cheers of the night came with the first note of her top ten hit “Starry Eyed”. She left the stage after a blistering performance, proving herself as a live musician.

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