Photos: Hannah Broughton
There’s just something beautiful about Bristol at this time of year. The city is dominated by festivals, good weather and this just reflects in the notable buzz of the place. For some years now, Dot To Dot has been the catalyst of all such joy. The line-up is as ever suited to the spirit of things and we simply can’t wait to get stuck in.
Thekla naturally draws the largest crowds early in the day as it’s doubled as the wristband exchange. Upstairs Fenne Lily is amongst the first to showcase the talent of the local scene at the moment, bringing something tender and chilling, it’s an easing start to the day.
Meanwhile downstairs, Ardyn are showcasing their wares. It doesn’t take long to see that this is a band that champion a hard-hitting and emotional sound. The hold of the boat is totally packed so that it’s tricky to catch a glimpse of those on-stage.
The hectic nature of the festival soon prevails as we dash over to SWX to catch one of our favourites in Tamu Massif. The man is on point as ever. There’s something remarkably powerful about his laid-back summer anthems. A lot of people might be familiarising themselves with the venue for the first time as it usually operates as a nightclub. Once inside it’s a pleasant surprise though, the sound and layout are well suited to live music and it’s a worthy addition.
Keeping things diverse, Brockley Forest are taking to the upstairs stage in local boozer The Mothers Ruin. Interestingly delivered as a drummerless set, their usual grungy sound is sidelined for an acoustic bluegrass approach. The ballads come off with fruitful delivery. It makes for a relaxing breather in the schedule of the day. Underpinned by hard work, this band really do deserve their recognition on the local scene now.
Perhaps the true headliners of the day lie within the walls of the Christmas Steps for those in the know. We’re treated to a stunning set from the fresh-faced pair Rink, who warm the atmosphere perfectly for the now prolific Oliver Wilde. There’s a shrouded silence of appreciation as the opening notes of his first song ring out. Moving away from the more layered sounds of previous live shows, it’s simply Wilde and a guitar. This makes for a teary and poignant affair; such is the sad lyrical content of latest EP ‘Long Hold Star an Infinite Abduction’, those gathered know a genius when they witness one.
Although you get the sense that nothing can really top what we’ve just seen, the final stop of the day comes with Mystery Jets. It’s more than a throwback with this band who have been a staple of their genre since they first arrived. The latest album ‘Curve Of The Earth’ packs numbers that are both wholesome and warming. Certain cuts from the new record even bring to mind the sun-glazed urgency of The War On Drugs.
As ever, you can never really catch it all with this event. The line-up is colossal with the potential for discovering new music. Dot To Dot is something that grows stronger year on year. It’s not always simply to do with big-names, but the memories and knowledge and fragile heads you take from the day.
Check out Mystery Jets’ ‘Bubblegum’ right here: