Being There, Wonder Villains, Wavves and more
Dot To Dot 2012 - Bristol

With stuttering beats and thunderous, rumbling bass, Newcastle's Lulu James kicked our Dot To Dot 2012 off in Bristol. Shrouded in a black, hooded robe, she cut a haunting figure, especially in the shadowy depths of The Thekla. Her gorgeous vocals carried a similar 4am come-down vibe to The xx. Atmospheric stuff – but why was she on at three in the afternoon? This is music for the small hours.

Being There at The Cooler get bonus points for being named after an ace film. 'The Radio' had a cool, blissed-out The Jesus And Mary Chain vibe, but the rest of their set was dominated by faintly preppy indie rock. Fine if you like that sorta thing, though not exactly adventurous.

Derry's Wonder Villains bounded onto stage, full of enthusiasm. They looked great - a summery, feel-good power pop outfit comprised of two cute girls, and two geeky guys, armed with guitars, drums and Casios. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on the crowd through a fun, raucous set - though the way that the singer and keyboardist paused to throw cheesy grins at each other with every song was a bit weird. High five and have done with it!

A long walk later, Cloud Nothings at The Trinity destroyed our ear drums. People talking is still mostly just static hum. Their devolved sound from the Albini-produced Attack On Memory was in full effect, with the tunes mostly replaced by grinding, industrial noise. Security stood by the stage wincing. Imagine ED-209 bursting into the room and slaughtering Wheatus (no, really, imagine that) and you'll get it. It made for an impressively noisy spectacle. And then they did it again. Good stuff.

Equally loud, but more tuneful were Wavves at Academy One. Most of ‘King Of The Beach’ got an airing, including an ace 'Idiot', and the splendid title track. They're so good that you don't mind the fact that you're listening to essentially the same song repeated again and again. Wavves made us happy – and from the number of people wandering around afterwards going, “dooo dooo dooooooo!” they did everyone else too.

Back at the Thekla, The Internet, were a disappointment. Their ‘Purple Naked Ladies’ album had an adventurous weirdness that didn’t come across here. Instead, Syd the Kid and Matt Martian treated us to a set that was mumbled and fuzzy. Sure, there was always a distance in their music, but here they sounded totally disengaged.

Finally, for us, Friends. It may have been pissing it down outside, but Samantha Urbani and her cohorts: Sarah Connor, Young Ron Jeremy and co, were there to make us forget about it. Urbani strutted into the crowd, hugging anyone who got in her way. There's been a worry that these Brooklyn-based hipsters might not live up to the promise of their first two singles, but they were great. Funky, sexy, exciting and fresh. Urbani was captivating, of course, all glitter and sex appeal, but star of the show was Matthew Molnar, who bounded about the stage playing everything, seemingly all at once. A brilliant, charismatic band and a fine end to the day.

Words by Jan Carter
Photo by Sophie Williams

Click here for a photo gallery of Dot To Dot, Bristol

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