Dot To Dot Manchester: Rated!

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Jamie Barker | 03 June 2010

Overall – 8/10
Originally confined to the mazey venues of Nottingham before expanding to Bristol, Dot to Dot 2010 is the first time the festival has made it to the North and the advance news that the entire event is to be downgraded (with Academy 1 bands now playing Academy 2, etc.) does not bode entirely well if organisers are to make the gamble pay off.

The Manchester leg may not be as well attended as hoped but there are few grumbles from those present, apart from the repeated complaints that student drinks prices are not applicable for the day.

Getting There And Back – 10/10

With all the venues based on or immediately around Oxford Road even the most picky of travellers would struggle to complain about a lack of transport choice to and from the city and the various venues once there. There are two major train stations within walking distance, as well as a coach station and a constant stream of local buses. The only minor gripe would be the event running far later than many “last train homes”.

Site – 8/10
With four of the six venues based in the same building, the travelling time between bands is minimal resulting in much more time spent watching than wandering. The Deaf Institute and Fac251 are both only a short jaunt down Oxford Road and the freedom to move in and around the venues also allows a pleasant chance to occasionally escape the bustle indoors for the glorious sunshine outside.

The sound in some of the venues leaves a lot to be desired at times, particularly the rarely used Council Chambers and the heat outdoors doesn’t help many of the rooms’ already-battling air conditioning systems.

Atmosphere – 7/10

Despite being under-attended, each venue remains sufficiently well stocked to ensure no bands fall foul to a noticeably sparse crowd lacking in atmosphere. As the event and beers continue to flow, conversations between groups become much easier and new temporary friendships are allowed to bond. The close proximity of all the venues means rushing anywhere is kept to a minimum and the atmosphere remains relaxed with the focus entirely on the music.



fun. – 9/10

Front man Nate’s attempts to blend his previous band The Format’s most orchestral moments with the outright flamboyance expected of acts like Mika really shouldn’t work, but at Dot To Dot 2010 it unites a busy room in a spell of hand-clapping, finger clicking and slightly self-conscious hip wiggling. Narrowly dodging their traditional cover of Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’ due to an over-enthusiastic request for, rarely played, ‘The Gambler’ also allows the band to showcase their more restrained side; a nice contrast to their typical 100mph pop-rock.

Los Campesinos – 9/10

Pulling a large crowd despite Mystery Jets finishing their set upstairs and the more dance-heavy moments beginning to roll into motion down the road, Los Campesinos deliver a well balanced set touching base with highLights from each of their three albums. Their closing duo of ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future’ and ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’ is a perfect representation of their journey from the shambolic, glockenspiel-led pop of their debut album to the truly breathtaking heights they found themselves touching upon with this year’s ‘Romance Is Boring’.

Lights – 8/10

In a music industry so often dominated by egos and arrogance, Lights’ obvious gratitude for every clap and cheer of support is a breath of gracious fresh air and there are plenty of them during her crowded set in Council Chambers. With a synth-pop sound befitting of a Canadian artist who got her UK break supporting chart-toppers Owl City earlier in the year the audience is a clear mix of curious new ears and familiar fans; with several songs even being dedicated to those recognised by the charismatic Lights. The clear highlight is the fantastic ‘Ice’ and a true UK breakthrough must soon be on the cards for her.

Dan Sartain – 8/10

With his recent press release campaign having a back-story featuring his death and resultant reanimation by a scientist, it’s immediately obvious that nothing is straight-forward in the world of Dan Sartain. He blends a host of genres into his inimitable style and is unfortunately left to deliver his performance to one of the smallest crowds of the day. Still, there’s no accounting for taste and those few who do venture into the mind of Dan Sartain appear to enjoy it.


Liars – 5/10

Liars may have earned themselves some backlash due to their previous performances being so difficult to match. Today they draw a set mainly from ‘Sisterworld’ and it seems to fall flat despite them filling Club Academy to bursting point. A classification as a ‘downer’ may be a little harsh but on a day of so many top-notch performances Liars are just not up to their usual standard.

Twisted Wheel - 3/10

Brash, forgettable and with more than a dash of arrogance Twisted Wheel still seem to be spending more time talking about their Manchester upbringing than writing any decent music. Their set today receives an understandably chaotic hometown reaction but it would have failed to raise anything more than a grimace in any other city.

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Jim2479 wrote on Friday 11 June :

haha - what a plonker Jamie is - He obviously has no idea of many of the bands he writes about. Twisted Wheel have just played 45 out of 48 sold out shows and below is Dot to Dot Review from Nottingham leg - will see what happened at Bristol but sure the same. Jamie should stick with Nerd Rock defo give em 8/10 - this lad wouldn't know the difference between Punk and something dribbling down his trouser leg.

Nottingham Review Dot to Dot I head on over to catch Manchester upstarts Twisted Wheel and, anticipating madness in the mosh, stake my place at the front of the Rescue Rooms early. Big shout out to the bouncers at the front for giving me a much-needed laugh. Boozy chants of �Weee-el, wheee-el� dominate the airspace and things go off like a firebomb when the trio finally emerge and launch into She�s A Weapon. The atmosphere goes wild and the mosh gets so frenzied that after a while I leave and go to the back. I�d kinda prefer to leave this fest with my head still intact. Nevertheless, Twisted Wheel definitely have fire in their punk rock bellies and the hype around them is probably deserved.

Jim2479 wrote on Friday 11 June :

Yeh - just as i though - Jamie is a tosser - see gigjunkie review of Dot to Dot

REVIEW: Dot to Dot Festival Manchester- Twisted Wheel By Harry Moore 5. June 2010 13:31 After running about for several hours and trying to follow the smallest map in recorded history it was time to settle down in the main venue of this years Manchester Dot to Dot festival.

It was the turn of hometown heroes Twisted Wheel to delight the crowds and it seemed half of Manchester had turned up to see the �return of the wheel�. Before the most eagerly anticipated set of the whole festival the venue was packed, sound check had been completed and shouts of �wheeeeeeeel� echoed around the venue before the lights dropped and Twisted Wheel walked on to the biggest cheer of the night.

Before the three piece began to take the packed Manchester audience on a spectacular rock �n� roll rollercoaster the more observant fans would have noticed a young stranger stroll on stage with immediate �Twisted Wheel confidence�. This so called stranger was new Twisted Wheel drummer Eoghan Clifford, and what he achieved in the 45 minute set is nothing short of sensational. He had a total of two days to learn a 45 minute set before stepping out in front of thousands of people and not only delivering each beat with the conviction and passion that the band are renowned for but he managed to take it up a notch. This wasn�t a case of just getting by his first gig with no mistakes for Eoghan; this was a case of setting a standard for all young drummers showing off not only his talent but his unbelievable nerve and confidence by delivering a drumming master class.

As the band began �Lucy The Castle� it was almost like a cue 500 actors in the crowd had been waiting for as they all made their way to the front to engage in scenes not dissimilar to that of an action film. The passion and energy the fans show throughout the whole set is quite unbelievable and there is one boy of no more than 10 who we occasionally get a glance of as he is flung around by people twice his size. His Dad makes his way over to help but he just runs straight back in, arms aloft, singing every word.

When live music is played with the conviction, passion and energy it deserves there is no better experience or feeling in the world. Twisted Wheel manage to do this no matter where or when they might be playing, but as this in Manchester, in front of a packed venue, you feel this means much more to the band and especially Jonny. I�ve seen the band play several times over the last year but I�ve never seen lead singer Jonny put so much into a set and sing each note and line like it�s the last of the night. As front men go, he takes some beating.

Fan favourites �Strife�, �She�s a Weapon� and �We Are Us� raise the bar yet again and �Strife� in particular leads to a mass sing-a-long that wouldn�t be out of place in a football stadium. Due to the sheer brilliance of their debut album they deliver tune after tune for the 45 minute set and it�s acoustic number �Bouncing Bomb� that proves to be not only the highlight of the set, but the highlight of the festival.

As Jonny walks out onstage on his own with acoustic guitar in hand most people worked out what was about to happen, however, none of them could have expected just how epic and set defining the track would be. As he began to strum the opening chords there was a huge cheer that for a few seconds completely deafened the guitar and as the first line echoed around the venue it became very clear this was going to be special. Teenagers, adults and women alike all with their arms around each other and pint glasses raised began to sing along to every word which created the kind of atmosphere you rarely see, or hear, at a gig. It was sang with such passion and meaning behind it the crowd responded and it felt like they were trying to give it back to Jonny as a mark of respect.

As the set drew to a close �You Stole The Sun� gave the crowd another �chance to dance� and they were more than happy to oblige. It�s the song that, for a lot of people, got them into the band and certainly one of the stand out tracks live and to see it performed in such a brilliant venue in front of so many people seemed a special moment for the band. It also showed off Eoghan�s unbelievable drumming ability even more as he carried the song perfectly giving it even more passion and energy which I didn�t think was even possible.

As the band make their way off stage they applaud the crowd and more shouts of �wheeeeeel� fly around the room as the crowd show their respects for a simply brilliant live performance from Manchester�s finest as well as a memorable debut from drummer Eoghan Clifford. 9/10 Harry Moore

Jim2479 wrote on Friday 11 June :

Dot to Dot - remember Jamie's name - he hasn't got a clue TWISTED WHEEL, so with most of the Oldham lads' set still to go (and MM's resident Wheel aficionado sidelined for the weekend) I do, just to be awkward.

Exactly why this band are so frequently dismissed as monkey-friendly sub-Oasis (or Courteeners) lad-rock is beyond me. Another example of lazy "compare new Manchester band to old Manchester band" journalism? Yes they're working class and so are most of their fans, yes they use guitars with little in the way of effects, yes they're pretty unfashionable looking, but **** it, there's more passion on Academy 2 stage right now than a thousand (insert name of this week's favourite haircut act here) gigs. And does "You Stole The Sun" sound like ****ing Wonderwall to you? Really? It sounds more like Stiff Little Fingers to me, as do most of their other songs. This is a good thing, by the way.

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