Interview & Preview – Paul Young & Los Pacaminos

Preview – Paul Young and Los Pacaminos at The Brook, Southampton, 11th November 2022

Paul Young’s career must be the envy of artists across the world. As well as singing the opening lines on the Band-Aid single in 1984 and appearing at the iconic Wembley Stadium Live-Aid concert, he also released three number one albums, received a Brit Award and became a household name. He continues to do what he obviously loves, and is still making music and performing live.

Paul is due to return to Southampton on Friday 11th November with his band, Los Pacaminos. They will be performing at a venue that they love, having played at The Brook on 20 previous occasions!

I saw (and photographed) Paul and the band when they played at The Wickham Festival back in the summer. I loved the joy they bought to the stage, as well as the high standard of musicianship, which was obvious across the whole line up of the band.

I managed to catch up with Paul earlier this week and we chatted about the upcoming gig, his career and, of course, about Los Pacaminos:

How would you describe the band, Paul?

I originally wanted to start a Tex-Mex band to embrace the fusion music which came out of Texas. I wanted to blend the Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll, with a Mexican twist, keeping true to the Mexican immigrants who came across the border. We’re now on the third album and I’d started to think we were drifting away from the where we started, but with this album, we’re actually coming back to more of a Tex-Mex sound.

How did the band start? Was it your idea?

Yes it was. I’d grown up listening to so many bands singing about going to Mexico, across the border and escaping from something. It all just had such a romantic sound to it. I started getting really into the music of the country, then the cuisine and then the whole structure of the differences between the north to the south. The music varies so much across the country.

Did you have a plan of who you wanted to be in the band?

Well, I was already writing a lot with Drew [Barfield], and Jamie [Moses] was playing guitar on my solo work, so I approached them first. Jamie was also playing in a band for Deana Carter, an amazing Country artist, and he’d played with Melvin [Duffy]. Jamie asked Melvin along to one of our sessions, and as soon as we heard him playing the slide guitar, he was in the band! He didn’t have much say in it! [smiling].

Does this band feel very different to your solo career?

Absolutely. During my solo career I could move across genres and styles, experimenting, as so many other solo artists can, Peter Gabriel is a good example. But within a band, you have the parameters of the sound that you need to be true to. That’s what I enjoy about the Pacaminos. Sure, we drift a little, but when we do, sometimes we elevate it to something really special. It’s the same as with a cuisine, you can have a peasant dish that’s occasionally elevated to something really special.

Looking back on your career, would Los Pacaminos be one of the highlights?

Oh yeah, it definitely is. It was a challenge I took on that was something really different, but I really enjoy it, and we do a damn good job of it! [a broad smile].

You’ve been involved in some amazing collaborations over the decades, how did they come about?

I was really lucky in that most of the collaborations were because musicians approached me rather than me seeking them out. The duet with Chaka Khan came after I bumped into her, and the work with Zucchero was because we were on similar paths, but in different countries. Each time I’ve done something with someone, it’s rarely been planned, it’s almost always been happenstance.

How do you feel the industry has changed over the years?

I do think streaming has hindered music in many ways. It’s almost become too accessible. When you saved the pennies to buy an album, I think it meant so much more. I remember reading every word on the covers of albums I bought. Spotify works well for me because I’ve had enough hits in enough countries that I get a reasonable amount from it, even though I didn’t write many of the hits. So it’s good for artists like me, but it’s not so good for people trying to break through.

When I photographed you at a festival last summer, I took a shot of you where you looked to be completely lost in the moment of the music, do you enjoy playing as much as the photo implies? 

I saw that photo, it’s one of my favourites. I do feel like that when I play. Tex-Mex music does have a sense of humour about it, as well as talking about love, loss and betrayal, there’s a deep joy in it too. Oh yes, I love playing live as much as I ever did.

You can see Paul Young with Los Pacaminos at The Brook on Friday November the 11th 2022. Tickets are still available here.

Interview and photos by Peter Nicholson

30th September 2022

Live – Lauran Hibberd | Daisy Brain | Viji at The Wedgewood Rooms

Lauran Hibberd, Daisy Brain & Viji at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 23rd September 2022 

South coast superstar Lauran Hibberd stopped off at The Wedgewood Rooms last week – always with an excellent live show, Lauran brought great support acts along too in the shape of Daisy Brain and Viji. Check out our photo gallery below…

Viji

Daisy Brain

Lauran Hibberd

Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

29th September 2022

Live – Marillion at O2 Guildhall Southampton

Marillion at O2 Guildhall Southampton, 22nd September 2022

It was another sold-out performance for the return to the South Coast for this iconic, genre defying band.

Steve Hogarth, who has fronted the band since 1989, joked with the audience that he hated the terms often used to describe their music. “Prog Rock? I don’t like that… Orchestral Rock? I like that even less… Symphonic Pop… that’s the worst!”. He then smiled and said, “However you describe what we do, I hope you enjoy the show”. So, not wanting to argue with Steve, I did exactly that, and I won’t try to pigeonhole them, other than to say that it was a superb evening of unique music with an attention to detail that is rarely seen in live performances.

Two of the unseen heroes of the evening were, without doubt, were the lighting and sound engineers. Using a huge Midas sound desk, (which I imagine the Road Crew hate) the less than perfect acoustics of the O2 in Southampton were brought to life. Together with a stunning and perfectly engineered light show, they made this relatively small venue feel like a London Arena.

The band played a two hour set and were ably supported by Luke Jackson whose opening set was full of his wonderful vocals and faultless acoustic guitar playing.

Like most audience members, I often dread the words “We’re going to play the whole of the new album for you”. Like most, I really want to hear the songs I’m familiar with, but on this occasion, it was a joy to hear such a polished set from musicians who clearly gel together so well and clearly still enjoy playing together, even after so many decades in the business.

Steve Rothery’s lead guitar was as perfect as ever. Each note practiced and polished, drawing on years of playing live. He stood (almost motionless) in his usual stage place and looked lost in the sound. The keyboard and the rhythm section were equally well rehearsed and a testament to the adage that practice really does make perfect.

At the end of the show, there was a long standing ovation before the obligatory encore. A full house of very happy Marillion fans left the venue feeling they had been treated to a spectacular show. The tour continues around the UK before heading to Europe. Catch it if you get the chance.

Marillion

Photos and Review by Peter Nicholson

Peter is a Southampton based photographer who specialises in Concert, Live Music, Performance and Show photography. He also runs Sound Level and Sofar Sounds on the South Coast. We’re delighted to have him join the Breaking Glass team; do check out his work on the link above.

24th September 2022

Live – Gwenno at Komedia Brighton

Gwenno at Komedia Brighton, 19th September 2022

With tracks from her new album Tresor, a short film worthy of an art installation, and a homage to cheese like no other, Gwenno paid a visit to Brighton’s Komedia on Monday night. Seamless vocals, strong backing from her band and a warm welcome from the packed room made for a lovely atmosphere and a great performance. Check out our gallery below…

Promoted by Melting Vinyl

Gwenno

Photos by Siobhan

22nd September 2022

Live – Altered Images | Vanity Fairy at Concorde 2

Altered Images & Vanity Fairy at Concorde 2, Brighton, 13th September 2022

There’s always an element of a gamble in seeing an artist whose music you’ve listened to as you grew up. Will it bring back happy memories or feel like a tribute to the past? No such concern with Altered Images as, in addition to the classics, Clare Grogan has continued to stake her place in the music world, with collaborations on latest album Mascara Streakz with both Bernard Butler and Robert Hodgens, better known to most of us as Bobby Bluebell.

The set at Brighton’s Concorde 2 showcased her ability to hold the audience in the palm of her hand with a mix of great tunes, storytelling and an instantly recognisable voice that still sounds as strong as ever. It rained for most of the day on Tuesday but the night ended with a spark of pure sunshine; impossible not to enjoy this.

And a shout out for an inspired choice of support as Vanity Fairy won over the crowd (not an easy task when you have a fanbase this established) with their enchanting synth-disco tunes, complete with a vocal worthy of the love child of Kate Bush and Sylvester.

For one night only, the seafront had more sequins than pebbles – which is no bad thing.

Vanity Fairy

Altered Images

Words and photos by Siobhan

16th September 2022

 

Live – THEIA at Rock City

THEIA at Rock City, Nottingham, 14th September 2022
(Supporting Magnum)

Brothers… who’d have them! An easy question for Kyle and Ash Lamley, the fraternal duo who make up the incredible multi-genre combo, THEIA.

I caught up with the guys backstage at Rock City before they took the stage on the 3rd date of their tour supporting mighty Hard Rock icons, MAGNUM on their 50th anniversary tour.

Prior to my visit, I’d been listening to the young band’s catalogue and could only question how the duo secured such a prestigious support? Elder brother, singer Kyle, explained that Magnum keyboard wizard, Rick Benton, had been a college inspiration and the personal connection was made there.

The brothers are chatty, relaxed and very funny. If you get to meet them, ask how Kyle, being an official Teletubby, met the love of his life! They’re great storytellers, which translates into well-crafted and often introspective lyrics of their songs.

Outside Rock City the queue of Magnum fans began early and I couldn’t help but wonder how these hardcore rockers would receive this young band!

As the Lamley brothers took to the stage, their clever use of theatrics engaged their audience instantly, before even striking a note! Kyle announced the band’s arrival with a large placard emblazoned ‘APPLAUSE’, followed by a quick flip to reverse, ‘MANIC SCREAM,’ the crowd dutifully followed. Behind the drum kit, younger brother, Ash, adorned an enormous pair of inflatable hands to add extra fun and warmth to their unusual introduction.

With the audience already on their side, THEIA opened with Fire, establishing the tone for the remainder of the set with strong beats, brave lyrics and infectious energy. This was followed by fan favourite, Blue Heart.

As the crowd swelled in number, following a perfect rendition of the emotional There’s A Boy , telling the story of Kyle’s growing up with Type-1 Diabetes, Ash emerged from behind the drum kit to re-ignite the room by leading a dynamic, fun t-shirt give-away .

The set concluded with a great singalong, HooWoo; the entire crowd by this time having quadrupled in size joining in as one!

For a novice THEIA gig goer, this was a young band’s masterclass in how to win fans and influence them!

Good luck THEIA; based on that performance, your future is assured!

THEIA

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood at All The Ts Photography

16th September 2022

Live – VLURE at The Moth Club

VLURE at The Moth Club, London, 9th September 2022

And so it builds – new songs like blankets you can wrap yourself in, a growing fanbase travelling far from home, a sense of expectation that is never disappointed – the rise of VLURE isn’t stopping any time soon.

Never Heard of Ya’s combined 3rd birthday and farewell party filled The Moth Club on Friday night, and there’s little doubt about who stole the show. Every VLURE set feels like a privilege to witness, something you’ll never regret making the journey for. And catching familiar faces in the crowd is becoming a regular thing too, a strong sense of being in on an increasingly less well kept secret.

With the stage ferocity of The Snakeheads, the pulsing tempo of heavy dance beats and the propulsion of all that was good about 80s’ electronica, if you’ve not caught this band live yet then don’t sleep on it for too much longer… but be nice and save us a space at the front.

VLURE

Words and photos by Siobhan

12th September 2022

All Points East Festival 2022

All Points East Festival, London, 28th August 2022

With a propensity for pulling in the biggest names, All Points East returned this year with another impressive run of weekend events that included headline slots from Disclosure, The National, Tame Impala, Gorillaz and culminating last Sunday with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Cave’s last performance at APE in 2019 is still revered and doubtless this one will be talked about for a long time too. A captivating showman with a setlist spanning the career of The Bad Seeds, the two hours plus on stage was once again a showcase of how to hold a crowd in the palm of your red right hand.

Still, there were plenty of reasons to be there earlier in the day too with some excellent main stage sets from Chilli Jesson and Kae Tempest amongst others. Jesson seems to be more accomplished with each performance, and Tempest could easily have been much higher up the line-up and without doubt captured some new fans.

Over at the BMW #PlayNext stage, lots of new talent throughout the day with exciting sets from Attawalpa, Bonnie Kemplay and fast rising stars The Dinner Party.

The North stage played host to some great music with light shows to match from the likes of Jehnny Beth, Spiritualized and Sleaford Mods, while the Ray-Ban West stage had the pleasure of Michael Kiwanuka’s presence, always a flawless production.

An eclectic mix and an open opportunity to see some firmly established acts while discovering new breakthrough artists just around the corner. Looking forward to seeing who APE manage to sign up in 2023.

Words and photos by Siobhan

7th September 2022

Victorious Festival 2022

Victorious Festival, 26th-28th August 2022, Southsea Common

Long established as a local festival, Victorious has grown over the years and now attract tens of thousands of people from near and far across the late summer bank holiday weekend. Family friendly and with some huge names performing, there’s a wide variety of music and activities running over the three days and, at the risk of throwing in a well versed cliche, there really is something for everyone.

Previously a two day event, the Friday opener is now well established and this year kicked off with Primal Scream playing in the hot, hot sunshine. From Bobby Gillespie’s Screamadelica inspired suit, to the gospel voices joining the stage, to the entire crowd singing along to Come Together, this was the perfect start to the weekend and a beautiful reminder of the power of live music.

Another standout on the main stage was (unsurprisingly) Self Esteem. Victorious has been criticised in the past for a lack of female artists on its line-up. It was really good to see a significant turnaround on this, as the rows of teenage girls loving every second of this set will attest – would be great to see a switch-up in the daily headliners too next year – 2022 offered up Stereophonics on Friday, Paolo Nutini on Saturday and Sam Fender on Sunday. Other big names across the weekend included James, Anna Calvi, Bastille, Sports Team, Anne Marie and Suede.

There was also plenty going on at the selection of smaller stages with some great showcases from loads of local favourites – amongst others Jerry Williams, Marley Blandford, Flowvers, Welly and the inimitable Van Gosh, who never disappoint visually but don’t be lulled into thinking they’re just a gimmick band; they can really play. Lots more to see and discover across the common too with a kids’ area, comedy tent, skatepark and an impressive choice of food and drink vendors and festival shops.

All in all, a really successful weekend with lots of memories made. If you want to join in the fun, tickets for 2023 are on sale now here. Check out our photo gallery below and see if you can find your favourite act (or even yourself) in there!

Common Stage

Primal Scream

Primal Scream, We Are Scientists

Self Esteem

Soak

James

Acoustic Stage

Paddy Taylor

Amba Tremain, Margo Cilker, Jerry Williams

Marley Blandford

Beats & Swing Stage

Utah Saints

Showcase Stage

Ben Brookes

Andy Foster

World Music Stage

Hutch

Welly

Castle Stage

Sports Team, Coach Party, Only The Poets

White Lies

Casemates Stage

Filta, Jordan Duke

Flowvers

Van Gosh

Words by Siobhan
Photos:
Acoustic Stage, Beats & Swing Stage, Showcase Stage and Casemates Stage by Hannah Mesquitta
Common Stage, World Music Stage and Castle Stage by Siobhan

2nd September 2022

Live – Everything Everything at The Wedgewood Rooms

Everything Everything at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 24th August 2022

I think it’s fair to say that the past two years have been pretty rough for us all. The live music scene has certainly had its share of struggles since the initial outbreak of Covid-19, but amongst the endless doom and gloom there is cause for optimism.

Back in the summer of 2020, the Revive Live campaign (a partnership between The National Lottery and Music Venue Trust) launched to help independent venues survive post-Covid. Its mission is to support UK grass roots venues by bringing big artists to intimate crowds, and well, so far so good.

Manchester art rock heavyweights Everything Everything grace the Wedge’s stage tonight to a sold-out crowd, but first up we have Hayden Thorpe. Performing as a solo act, Hayden conjures up a calming atmosphere which is unfortunately punctured by the gathering crowd’s constant chatting. However, Hayden seems unphased for the most part and looks to be enjoying himself. Good for him.

Having only heard a handful of tracks from Everything Everything’s six album discography, I’m told that their latest album Raw Data Feel is one of their best. Luckily then tonight’s set leans heavily on that cache of tunes. Teletype kicks things off, and the crowd are immediately singing along to every word and dancing like they’re VIP guests at the world’s greatest indie-disco circa 2005.

Watching the set unfold at a steady pace, I feel that Everything Everything are a band that is greater than the sum of its parts. Michael Spearman’s drums are loud, punchy and straight to the point. This approach then complements Jeremy Pritchard’s tight rolling bass grooves, whilst Alex Robertshaw’s efficient yet effective guitar leads provide plenty of texture and dynamics to songs like Jennifer and Night of the Long Knives.

Singer Jonathan Higgs’s passionate falsetto vocal delivery rounds off the Everything Everything sound, and it’s during Kemosabe where it really shines. The crowd sing along loudly, and Higgs can’t help but smile throughout as his words are pelted back at the band with more enthusiasm than I’m used to seeing these days.

Now, I have already admitted to not being well-versed on the subject of Everything Everything’s back catalogue. However, the last three songs of the main set are really impressive. Here we get the triple threat ‘bangers’ Bad Friday, Cough Cough and I Want A Love Like This. Each track is a total ear worm, and I’ve had them stuck in my head since the show. I Want A Love Like This in particular gets my vote as Robertshaw moves over to play synth, and Higgs’s voice soars during the chorus. I feel alive indeed.

We had to leave before the encore sadly, but judging by the band’s performance tonight, I would say Everything Everything are a solid and enjoyable live act, and it was fun seeing them play on a smaller stage. So, support the Revive Live campaign, support your local independent music venue and maybe knock the chat on the head whilst the acts are performing.

Everything Everything

Words by Ryan Howarth
Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

31st August 2022

Live – Safety Jacket | Maximilian | Pastil at The Rialto Theatre

Safety Jacket, Maximilian & Pastil at The Rialto Theatre, Brighton, 12th August 2022

After a couple of years in the making, Safety Jacket launched their debut album Honey from the Wasp Nest into the world on Friday night in the stunning setting of Brighton’s Rialto Theatre. 

Kicking things off, Pastil opened proceedings with some smooth dream-pop tunes, just the thing to escape from the heat outside to. Announcing a name change to bobbysmiles, watch out for what’s to follow.

Next up, having swiftly emerged from behind the first set’s drum kit to take the mic for the second – Maximilian with an almost Cure-esque quality to his vocals, and some more familiar faces to hand from the local scene.

And so to Safety Jacket – a special evening for the Brighton three-piece and lots of support in the room. Honey from the Wasp Nest is as much a collection of short stories as a collection of songs. Dedicated to vocalist George’s grandad Derek, a photo of whom is projected above the stage, it feels like a very honest and heartfelt project, the ethos of which will be relatable to many. Veering from indie rock to almost Bragg-like protest poetry, the album is full of twists, turns and mood swings.

With lots to reflect on, it’s clear that the band have put everything into making this record and it stands up as a piece of work that manages to avoid the pitfalls of sameness that it’s easy to fall into in an attempt to follow trends. Something of a concept album, showcased at the theatre with a great reception and a call back for one more song at the end? I reckon Derek would’ve loved it.

You can listen to and purchase the album here

Words and photos by Siobhan

15th August 2022

Live – The Cribs at Pryzm Kingston

The Cribs at Pryzm Kingston for Banquet Records, 31st July 2022

The Cribs have a diehard fanbase, always there to party and equally happy to hear the new tunes as the old ones. This week though has been all about the old ones, as the Wakefield trio released special edition versions of their first three albums.

And to add the icing to the cake, some live shows to take everyone down memory lane. A show to play through each of the albums, The Cribs, The New Fellas and Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever. The twist? All three on the same day, one after another. Sunday was the turn of Banquet Records, utilising Pryzm down the road for their out-stores.

Almost off to a shaky start with a broken down van, happily none of us knew how close things were to being cancelled, and the opportunity was there for those in the right bit of the queue inside to watch the Lionesses kick off on time instead. But inevitably worth the wait, The Cribs never disappoint live, not once, not twice, not three times.

A day to remember and a chance to relive the early days – all three records are currently and deservedly sitting comfortably in the UK chart top 10. What can you say? Brilliant albums, brilliant shows, whatever…

Words and photos by Siobhan

2nd August 2022

Live – Yumi and the Weather | Outpost 3 | Shallow Honey at The Factory Live

Yumi and the Weather, Outpost 3 and Shallow Honey at The Factory Live, Worthing, 6th July 2022

It’s always interesting to see an artist grow over the years, and Yumi and the Weather (the brainchild and alter ego of Ruby Taylor) is a fine example of how to hone and develop your skills to keep reaching a new audience whilst retaining those who have supported from the start. With the ability to switch pace and genre, last night’s performance at The Factory Live was a great showcase of their talent, and even came with an offer of merch available for cash or croissants.

The venue is tucked away on an industrial estate in Worthing but has a great layout, sound and lighting – let’s hope it continues to attract more acts in, as there is definitely a change in the air of what was once hailed a sleepy seaside town.

A good night all round, with no option than for the crowd to warm up with solid sets from supports Shallow Honey and Outpost 3; gallery below.

Shallow Honey

Outpost 3

Yumi and the Weather

Words and photos by Siobhan

7th July 2022

Live – Deliluh at The Hope & Ruin

Deliluh at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, 17th June 2022

Something of a well kept secret, Deliluh combine influences from different eras and genres, their Canadian roots and European base no doubt adding to the melting pot. The band are now a duo comprising Kyle Knapp and Julius Pederson, but the sound they create is worthy of a stage full of musicians, perhaps not surprising as they seem able to switch between instruments at the drop of a hat, without even needing a hat.

A heady mix of synths, distortion and a lap steel guitar, topped off by the unexpected but delightful addition of sax, the crowd veered between transfixation and jubilant dancing. Elements of early VU, the darker side of 80s’ electronica, hints of melancholy and the stage presence of a certain Mr E Smith made for a very special evening. I wonder how long the secret will be well kept.

Words and photos by Siobhan

23rd June 2022

Live – Blood Red Shoes | Ciel | GLU at Chalk

Blood Red Shoes, Ciel & GLU at Chalk, Brighton, 15th June 2022

Touring with their latest album Ghosts on Tape, Blood Red Shoes were always bound to receive a warm hometown welcome in Brighton, playing last night to an elated crowd at Chalk. Eclectic support came from locally based rising stars Ciel and the elusive GLU (aka Michael Shuman – Mini Mansions / QOTSA). Check out our photo gallery from Mike Burnell below…

GLU

Ciel

Blood Red Shoes

Photos © Mike Burnell (iso400.com)

16th June 2022

Dot to Dot Festival (Bristol) 2022

Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol, 28th May 2022 / Nottingham, 29th May 2022

While competing with the likes of Wide Awake and Bearded Theory this weekend, Dot to Dot proved itself worthy of both its status and name by creating a landscape of music over two cities in two days. Catching the event in Bristol on the 28th, I was treated with a great sweep of music, emblematic both of the talent of those involved in creating events like this, as well as of the bright world of local music. Throughout, band and audience joined, each enticed by other bands, hen nights, buskers and all the delights that the city had to offer on the sunniest day of the month.  

The day started off at the lovely Louisiana’s bar with Hamburger. The Bristol locals have a musical collection which (personally) can only be described as having the energy of the ending of a coming of age teen film. Their performance, which enticingly involved three guitars with no bass (creating a lush style of light sadness), was backed by a wonderful collective atmosphere, with each member of the front of the band singing along. The lead singer, Fearghall, shines through with falsetto style ‘emo’ singing, fitting well within the upbeat tracks the band had to show. ‘Supersad’ was a key highlight, reflecting the band’s talents for emanating fun sounds between reflections of misery. With a scream from keyboardist Katie, the day was set with a fun energy. 

Once their time came, it was a short walk to the Dockside for Sam Akpro. After seeing the band open for Connie Constance back in September, their style of melancholic rock found a whole new light, quite literally, within the summery setting given to them. Assuming their tracks would be misplaced out of the dark room I’d first caught them, the band instead caught me offguard, providing a new fun and joy alongside their atmospheric moods. Alongside the weaving personality of the titular singer, both guitarists on each side of Sam brought an integral aspect to the band: the lead guitarist with sparking blood, biting his guitar strings any chance he could, and the bassist with some beautifully clean riffs, keeping subdued but integral. If you’re into Krule-ish styles, or just good music, ‘Juno’ acts as a nice introduction into this world.

With a good 15 minute break we were given time to head into the Academy, where DAMEFRISØR kicked off with their stylish musings. The collective, made of 6, are perfectly able to craft a distinct level of mood, enveloping the audience in a pool of sound, sprinkled with techno fusions, like in the closer 2-HEH-V, beginning with a glitchy monologue alongside a beautifully simple arpeggio, before expanding into a blazing fury. It was a shame, given the time constraints, that they weren’t allowed to play for longer – a full Dame set would surely be special.

Clearly, whoever was working on the setlist was a mastermind, because this mood was regained almost immediately by the seminal Just Mustard. With their album Heart Under released just the day before, their style was ready to be injected into the academy. As they went on each track gained more traction, especially energised in Mirrors, which closed off the first half of their setlist, symbolised by the surprise reveal of a bow for one guitarist to make even more of a disturbingly long groan, a key staple of Heart Under.  From both near and far, their signature sound was sure to find its way inside each audience member, with all its beautiful grime. 

Next, it was a megawalk to The Fleece, to catch Coach Party. Arriving around 5 to 10 minutes before its start, it was a surprise to see the room already packed, brimming with fans. It wasn’t hard to see why: the Party themselves have an infectiously fun energy pervading through their songs. Even watching from a distance, their atmosphere carried through the crowd, elevating their bouncy rock thanks to both the audience and the band’s own energy – seen most effectively in the second scream of the day, from guitarist Steph Norris. Each track felt as vibrant from the next: even the more talkative, bleaker ‘Shit TV’ has ended up replaying most in my mind days after their set. 

A well earned break accidentally led to a disastrous time mismanage, where in trying to find any way to choose between BG favourites Honeyglaze and techno-duo Jockstrap, time chose to take both away. To make this situation worse, a mishap at doors led to the departure of the camera into the cloakroom for (almost) the rest of the night. Tragedy seemed set. The dots of dot to dot were forming an outline of disaster. 

So what better time for some nice indie-pop?

Make Friends were the next unplanned surprise of the night. After it taking us half the set to realise this wasn’t Gretel Hänlyn (which in hindsight should’ve been more obvious from the all-male band), we found the dig which allowed the grooves of the Bristol locals to set in. It was hard to find a more delightful sight, between their breezy tunes and the delighted dancing of some of the older fans. Placed elegantly before Cassia, the band’s atmosphere holds a similar summery quality, while keeping fresh with passionate lead singer and elegant percussion. With hits like ‘Hesitate’, the mistakes of the past were left behind, and our minds were set towards the future. 

The future came immediately, with Cassia fronting just five minutes after in the room beside. Sitting down, it was a matter of spotting any member we could through the legs of audience members, as well as feeling the rhythms of the bass through seats. Even a false start couldn’t stop the atmosphere from feeling soft, comforting. If it wasn’t for the other bands that night, I could’ve happily slept to the dreaminess of their sound, exemplified by hits like ‘Drifting’. Sadly cut short, the atmosphere Cassia created couldn’t be left behind.

The summer sun transferred from sound to sight with a return to the dockside for Bleach Lab. In risk of running that sun metaphor too long, the Lab’s signature tranquility turned it purple, into a Violet Light of sorts. The quality of the band, especially in singer Jenna Kyle’s delivery, was truly put into its space here, with recent and (hopefully) soon to be released tracks making the most of the summer atmosphere. 

Heading back to the Louisiana, it was a delight to chat briefly to George O’Hanlon, who had been a last minute replacement to the set. He gave some integral behind the scenes information, especially concerning a hot dog mixup with another George from festival mindblowers FEET. It was clear that Lime Garden was the place to be, and it only became more clear once their set began. In a full room, the quartet were electrifying, both in and between songs. Each track transformed on stage: ‘Marbles’ became even more funky that it already is, ‘Clockwork’ gained an extra groove – they even gave ‘Sick and Tired’ a new light once feeding me the actual lyrics, as opposed to the usual ramble I’d sing in the post-chorus. It’s hard not to see this as the highlight of the day – even with a 30 minute set, the band showed their place as a force of pure excitement, hopefully making their way up to the bigger stages soon enough. 

As much as this praise could seem to dislodge headliners Squid from their place, the night couldn’t have wrapped up any other way. Now, with camera back in hand, the night was set to end in burning intensity. Intensity was certainly there. ‘Sludge’ kicked off the team’s repertoire, a track whose title speaks for itself, wading through stellar lines and bass riffs. Two (assumedly) new tracks set the tone for what the band sounded like to those who hadn’t heard them before – good noise, essentially. 

Houseplants provided the second best joke of the night, with the song’s rise and fall of tempo acting like the friend who won’t stop starting the car as you put your hand on the door. The best, of course, had to go to the fan who decided to go shirtless-on-shoulders to ‘Documentary Filmmaker’ – the most subdued of the band’s setlist. Whoever he was, he brought the joy of the room together, and I can’t thank him enough for it. Singer/drummer Ollie Judge’s constant references to the Superbock logo were certaintly up there, too – I think at one point, the only word stated in a song interval was ‘Superbock’. 

Waning between their rage and atmosphere (halved pretty perfectly in ‘Boy Racers’), the headliners allowed for breathing room between the high octane numbers of the night. The mosh was a place of both fuel and love – a delightful mix of characters to end a delightful day. Someone may even have been married within that night, according to the wedding dress caught on camera.

All in all, it should’ve been expected that those in Dot to Dot would deliver yet again, both in the artists actually performing to the audience and the audience itself. Each provided their own slice of the D2D pie: conversations with drunk guys who’d lost their mates; buskers providing backing for the walk to and from venues; the sun itself; all were in place to make it yet another day to remember, even if impossible to recall for some of the more excited members of the audience. 

Dot to Dot Festival

Words and photos by Jacob Rose

2nd June 2022