Archives for posts with tag: Rock City

I’m a fan of Dot to Dot, I’ve seen some great bands there, Bastille, The 1975, Slaves and of course the superb Kyla la Grange, but in it’s 10th anniversary year it did not quite have the same edge, and from a feet on the ground perspective there also seemed to be fewer people.

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In the past there has been both width and depth in the tallent on stage, there seemed to be alot of local bands this year, I did wonder if everyone had cleared off to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, last year Indiana played both festivals missing out a Nottingham show and this year Laurel also did.

There were some talented people here and people who have had Radio 1 and BBC 6music airplay, but you had to go looking, and as one girl said to me ‘they all sound the same’ and she was 20+ years younger than me. There seemed to be a huge amount of synth driven pop with men dancing in near slow motion …….. either it is back on trend or I was just unlucky!

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But the Rescue Rooms lived up to their name, with 2 stages backing onto each other (separated by a door) I was able to go from band to band as they completed their sets. At one point I went from Tvvins to Amy Studt to Laurel to Daisy Victoria and Oscar to Tei Shi in quick succession, this was good, the energy of Tvvins was a breath of fresh air and Laurel – well I swear she’s a model I know pursuing her other skills. Oscar’s was a warm friendly and popular show, I think Tei Shi is good, you need to take the time to get into her work, she is doing something good, in a year she could be somewhere very interesting.

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Before that the first on my list of people to see was Joy Mumford who performed with one guitar, really stripped back, that was a good set and she has a great voice.

I did have a bit of inside knowledge, I saw RagnBone Man supporting Bastille and he was on the Rock City Basement stage in the slot before Saint Raymond headlined main venue next door. I know RagnBone Man’s set was the place to be, this guy is good very bluesy almost soul, a wonderful combination and he did not disappoint.

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Just to see what it was like I went next door to see Saint Raymond headline the festival, I was surprised I could still get in, more so that I could get a space on the balcony right at the front minutes before the gig started. He’s got something, but not what Bastille and The 1975 have who I’ve seen on the same stage, at comparable points in their careers.

I started out by saying it was good in parts, having listened back to some of the acts on Soundcloud, good in parts is fair, but it has been better and lets hope it is in 2016.

This was my 3rd Dot to Dot, and this year more so than any other I had a list of bands to see. Having checked out their videos and soundcloud before hand – there were a few must sees, some nice to sees, some probably avoids and a few that just I happened to see.

Top of the list of must see’s was Kyla la Grange, but if you have got this far you will know that!

Having caught Gallery 47 the first full set I saw was April Towers a Nottingham Band, it was a shame that Indiana had gone to Glasgow and was not performing in her home town this time having done the Bristol and Manchester dates, although she is back in June. We have some good artists coming from Notts at the moment, a bit more depth and April Towers will be good to go it’s all there now.

 

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After April towers it was the first of many visits to the Sub Culture stage and one of the surprises; Southern, Lucy and Thom a Belfast brother and sister were brilliant, talented with a great set and a pleasure to see live.

One of the new venues this year was Spanky Van Dykes and being between Rock City and the Rescue Rooms I saw or popped into see a number of bands en route, Love Zombie, The Minutes and Gavin James were ‘drop ins’ and all have something, Love Zombie rebellious punk, The Minutes I still don’t know what to make of them, loud and trash the hotel room stuff but they have something to say, and Gavin James brought a sense of balance to the afternoon as a solo singer song writer and comes over a natural talent. The deliberate visit was at 10pm to see Fickle Friends (rather than see the headliner in Rock City) again a band I did not know but it was a really nice sound and a good choice. In passing I also dropped into the acoustic stage and whilst not staying long Cheshire and the Cat stood out, it’s just a shame you can’t be everywhere at once.

 

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I called into Rock City a couple of times, I wanted to see Wolf Alice and they did not disappoint, the place was full and they rocked the place for their 30 minute set, opening with their previous single, and working through to their new one, there was no doubt that the good bands were on early this time (it’s only 2 years ago that Bastille had the 3pm slot at Rock City) .

 

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There were 2 other surprises – again both on the Sub Culture stage (that had the best line up by far this year), and one on my list to avoid was ‘Slaves’ but as the act I planned to see did not quite cut it I found myself staying for Slaves whole set. It was not what I was expecting to enjoy – but punk is alive and well and doing it with vigour, loud, fast and generally offensive this two piece garage punk band from Kent were huge fun. They can clear out any cobwebs, but what I was not expecting was the banter, witty, amusing, with a very dry and self deprecating streak these guys were funny too, at one point slowing the gig to tell a story telling pace sat on the front of the stage it still lost non of its energy, odd as it seems everything that should not go together these guys made work – respect!

 

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The other surprise and on my list of maybes and also on the Subculture stage was Norma Jean Martine, she rocked the joint and how, she plays with a passion and power found in few artists and she can do things with a keyboard that gives it a life of it’s own, today I’ve been looking to see where she plays next, what she’s got out and adding her on twitter, I defiantly want to see her again.

 

There was a noticeable mix of artists this year with a strong representation from both Ireland and the US, plus Stonefield, an Australian band who should have had an hour rather than just 30 minutes. A girl band made up of 4 sisters – their brand of rock comes from the stage, through the floor and you feel in your chest, it was huge, it was old school rock at it’s very best and they could easily have been the headline act and done it justice, this band was definitely a treasure to be found on one of the smaller stages, and you could tell that from the fact that a smaller stage at 4pm in the afternoon was absolutely packed.

 

To conclude, this years Dot to Dot was more mixed than in the past, you could go to all stages and find some great acts, there were some horrors too and one car crash act, plus the noticeable absence of Indiana. Pick carefully, keep an open mind, try a few things you may not expect to like and it’s a great festival. I have come away having heard new work from artists I know and I’m fond of, found some new artists to follow and hopefully see again, and one I may never see again but it was great to enjoy in the moment!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bastille were are Rock City last night (November 2nd) and they have changed beyond recognition.  From the 3pm slot at Dot to Dot in 2012 and then the first shows in the Bad Blood tour earlier this year  they were a  great band, and  had the Bad Blood download for some time and knew what to expect.  But before they took to the stage last night Rag’N Bone man was first up singing a cross between blues and hip hop, his voice is incredible, Clean Bandit were good but it feels as if they are still finding their way.  And then who we had come to see,  Bastille were simply too big for the stage,  their presence filled the entire building and then some, the pace was measured, it was in the bands time, there was no set to get through…… there was just one hell of  a show to put on. This was a whole new ball game, no longer an up coming band, they have arrived, big style and it shows!

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The old A made in lights had gone, and a huge projection screen behind the band replaced it – the set list included most of Bad Blood, plus some new songs and the forthcoming single.  The atmosphere was unlike any I’ve come across at Rock City and I’ve been many times, it was a mix of excitement, anticipation, energy, it tingled, the place was alive it was something you could not describe, but you could just feel  was there!  The band were on stage about 90 minutes including the encore, that was about half the entire 3 hour gig. It was a great gig!

I hope  Rock City will be big enough for Bastille’s next tour and I will be at the front of the que!

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I first came across Bastille on Amazing Radio who’s lack of ability to hold on to their digital radio licence defies belief.  And bands of the quality of Bastille are exactly why they should have it.   With the release of ‘Laura Palmer ‘ it was obvious these guys have something special, two more singles later and the release of Bad Blood their first album and it’s even more obvious.

Returning to Rock City having had an early afternoon slot at Dot to Dot last year –  where they were the class act along with the headliner who turned up many hours later, this was an evening to enjoy.

With doors opening at 7 pm the first band must have been on immediately because by the time I got there around 7.20 they were coming close to the end of their set.  A quick turn round and ‘To Kill a King’ were up, they too have just released their first album, this was their second time on the bill with Bastille having played the Lead Mill in Sheffield the night before.   Bastille joined them at their request for one song, with the invitation being returned by Bastille later in the night.Before Bastille came on I found myself taking to a couple of medical students who were good fun and clearly knew almost everything about the band about to come to the stage, you meet the best people at a Rock City gig!

Then another quick turn round and Bastille took to the stage playing allot from the new Bad Blood album, the first of the singles played being Laura Palmer, in their past the band have done a series of covers and they performed Rhythm of the Night, Pompeii  came toward the end of the set, and the gig closed with the Bastille being joined on stage by ‘To Kill a King’.

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The encore was bound to follow and did not disappoint, the final song being Flaws,  during which Dan left the stage and made his way through the crowd on the floor, up the stairs, travelled the full length of the balcony and down the other stairs before returning to the stage,  and stopping regularly, and not missing a beat to the delight and excitement of all concerned. There were other bands in town last night, but Rock City with Bastille was the only gig to be at.

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