Dot To Dot Festival 2023, Nottingham, UK, May 28, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024  

Heartworms

Heartworms, Mickey Callisto, Bloodworm, Benefits

Dot To Dot Festival 2023, Nottingham, UK, May 28, 2023,

Jun 01, 2023 Web Exclusive Photography by Ian Weston Bookmark and Share


​Having first opened its doors in 2005 across three venues in Nottingham, Dot To Dot has grown into becoming one of the UK’s traditional festival weekends. It’s also grown significantly in size, this year’s event being spread between two cities - Bristol and Nottingham - while incorporating a combined total of twenty-nine venues across both. Taking place over the second May bank holiday weekend - Saturday 27th in Bristol then Sunday 28th in Nottingham - Dot To Dot focuses on providing a multi-venue showcase for both new and established artists with a heavy emphasis on local acts from both of its participating cities.

As with all great festival line-ups clashes are inevitable, and this year’s Dot To Dot is no different. Looking through the timetable there’s a mouthwatering selection of artists from beginning to end of the Nottingham event, which is where Under the Radar have based themselves this weekend. The local scene is well represented here, particularly in independent venues like The Chameleon Arts Cafe and Percy Picklebackers, whose line-ups predominantly feature artists from the East Midlands.

Bloodworm
Bloodworm

Nevertheless, its in one of Nottingham’s most renowned venues where Under the Radar’s Dot To Dot begins. The Rescue Rooms recently celebrated its twentieth birthday, and having been the focal point of Dot To Dot’s inaugural event is probably the most fitting place to start our adventure. Taking the stage are Nottingham/Leicester based three-piece Bloodworm, whose gothic tinged take on post-punk has already drawn comparisons with Seventeen Seconds/Pornography era Cure, Bauhaus and The Smiths. With the Rescue Rooms almost full to its 450 capacity, this is probably the largest crowd Bloodworm have played to so far in their short existence. Yet they take it in their stride and deliver a masterful performance culminating in forthcoming debut single “Cemetery Dance”, which even initiates a moshpit of sorts down the front.

Bloodworm
Bloodworm

Sticking with the East Midlands flavour, Nottingham five-piece Otala have also been garnering a lot of praise recently, and their teatime set at Percy Picklebackers is nothing short of a revelation. Taking their cues from bands like Slint and Black Country, New Road, their eloquent fusion of post-rock, freeform jazz, post-punk and spoken word sets them apart from the crowd as one of the most unique acts to emerge from the city in a very long time. While the queue to get into the room tells its own story.

Likewise GIRLBAND, who Under the Radar first saw at No Man’s Land Festival in the same venue (The Bodega) back in August 2022. Although only a year old, the trio display a poise and confidence normally reserved for more established bands and their insanely catchy repertoire (think Breeders or Sleater-Kinney but with a distinctly East Midlands UK flavour) has the audience in the palms of their hands from the outset. Their debut single is out later this year and they’re launching it in September at this very same venue which if this evening is anything to go by, will almost certainly be packed to the rafters.

Moving out of Nottingham, London-based musician and singer/songwriter JoJo Orme aka Heartworms has been making a name for herself throughout the first half of 2023 thanks to her excellent debut EP A Comforting Notion. But its Heartworms live show that really brings her songs to life. Backed by an extra guitarist, bass player and drummer, Orme is an extraordinary performer whose presence demands attention from the moment she walks on stage. Captivating and mesmerising throughout with elements of PJ Harvey, Siouxsie Sioux and Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy in both her vocal delivery and mannerisms, Orme and Heartworms justify every morsel of praise that’s been bestowed upon her/them and more besides. “Retributions Of An Awful Life” has the room bopping manically while Orme ends her set with a spectacular stage dive that sees her being passed around Rock City long after the music has subsided.

Heartworms
Heartworms

Middlesbrough four-piece Benefits are another band who’ve been on our radar for some time, and their early evening set at The Bodega ranks as one of the most primal and intense half hours that venue has ever witnessed. Essentially spoken word essays set to a combination of electronic noise and live drums, Benefits channel the spirit of Einsturzende Neubaten, Whitehouse and Atari Teenage Riot respectively while frontman Kingsley Hall addresses the state of the nation in a way that makes it impossible to take ones eyes or ears away from the stage. Playing a seven songs set lifted entirely off critically acclaimed debut album Nails, Benefits are a must-see live act that don’t pull any punches while leaving no stones unturned. Unmissable.

Benefits
Benefits

Staying in the north east, Sunderland born and now Liverpool based Mickey Callisto wowed Sheffield’s Get Together festival two weeks ago and judging by the response he receives at a packed Bodega, is about to do the same here. Going head-to-head against heavyweights Yard Act and Alvvays in other venues over yonder, it doesn’t make a difference to the 200+ souls gathered here who’s playing elsewhere. Callisto’s visionary pop falls somewhere between the operatic vocals of Freddie Mercury and Barry Manilow fronting an upbeat Supertramp with the dance moves of Confidence Man. While in “Destructive Love” and “Homospace”, he has two songs that will undoubtedly soundtrack the rest of this summer and beyond.

As with previous years, the 2023 edition of Dot To Dot has delivered once again. See you next year, same time, same place!

Benefits
Benefits




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