The annual showcase of music’s most talented rising artists came around once again to Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. Join us in Bristol as we review a day of brilliant, rising stars.
There are always some festivals that take great pride in the vast array of upcoming talent that they showcase on their rostra but in the UK there are very few festivals that are specifically dedicated to up and coming artists. One of the few names that stands out amongst others is Dot To Dot Festival, which since 2005, has taken a vast array of new artists and thrust them on stages across a plethora of venues. It’s not until you add on the fact that the festival transports itself in its entirety to three different cities in three consecutive days that you realise just how unique the festival is.
Previous editions of the festival has seen the likes of Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, London Grammar, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Tom Odell, Peace and Courtney Barnett to name but a few, appear on the bill and 2017 was no different in its ability to select some of the world’s most in demand rising stars. Headlined by future indie rock stars Sundara Karma, Dot To Dot 2017 showcased itself in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham with Amber Run, The Growlers, Louis Berry, Honeyblood, The Big Moon and many more artists standing out on the bill. We went down to Bristol on Saturday 27th May to seek out and analyse the future stars of tomorrow.
Starting early on in the afternoon, we found ourselves first at The Fleece, a bar and live music venue in which alternative rock singer She Makes War took to the stage. Matching Marika Hackman’s edgier singer songwriter style with Wolf Alice at their most grungy, She Makes War highlighted her creativity with track Delete, which included a blend of police sirens and brilliantly orchestrated vocal loops. Whilst a fearless performer herself, there is a missing element on stage and that’s the noticeable absence of a band, especially a percussion section. With this, She Makes War has the potential to take real strides with the creativity and professionalism of the final product.
Opening up proceedings within O2 Academy Bristol were Ardyn who took to the more intimate and crammed Academy 2 stage. The brother/sister duo delivered, with the help of the rest of their band, a stunning selection of tracks which reached across a variety of genres and influences. The band’s harmonies stand out for the best of reasons, almost rivalling those of duo Oh Wonder whilst lead vocalist Katy Pearson’s voice is reminiscent of Kate Bush in her prime. Their set was amongst the best of triumphs from across the festival and the packed out venue was treated to glimpses of real stars on that stage.
Whilst Ardyn shined on the O2 Academy’s smaller stage, a few hours later it was the turn of Tom Grennan, a London based singer songwriter to turn the heads of Bristol towards the venue’s main stage. A hugely tipped artist, Grennan had already collaborated with Chase & Status in his small time as a solo artist and his set delivered a raw, rougher package that can only be compared to the tones of Rag’n’Bone Man. Quite simply, one of the most mesmerising voices of the festival, his set was a true indication that some people are just born with gifts at their disposal.
Later on in the evening The Music Radar UK took a trip to SWX, a venue which seems small from the outside but within the building contains two stages on two floors, with the main stage boasting an impressive size. It was within SWX that we played witness to two of the most hyped about rising bands in the world. LA rock band Cherry Glazerr gathered one of the biggest crowds of the day, with their unique garage rock sound intertwining with psychedelia and art rock amongst a variety of sub genres. Lead member Clementine Creevy’s stage presence as a frontwoman and guitarist was something to be applauded and the band sent the crowd into raptures throughout their 30 minute set. The biggest highlight of the day however was the near perfect set from the incredible The Big Moon, who delivered a stunning selection of tracks from across their debut album Love in the 4th Dimension. Real contenders to be the next leaders in indie rock, the all female band delivered a swaggering and enigmatic set which had the perfect balance of chaos and intimacy with the crowd and there was a real sense that the four piece could ignite any venue in the world if they out their minds to it.
Moving back towards proceedings at the O2 Academy Bristol, Louis Berry’s energy filled set of classic styled guitar rock and roll proved to be one of the more sweatier moments in the day whilst Amber Run delivered a masterful set of tracks that spanned their catalogue as a band. Needless to say, Sundara Karma’s set was most definitely the set to catch for the day’s festival goers. The band’s beautifully balanced mix of indie, rock and pop emits a sound that is so desirable to listen to, which is most definitely a reason as to why the four piece have connected with so many people so far. Having played a stunning set at the same venue a year ago, the promotion to headliner status was a sight to behold. Their set spanned a wide range of tracks from their debut album and ignited frenzy amongst the thousands of people watching. It was a perfect and uplifting way to end the main proceedings at the festival and for the staggeringly small ticket price, it was clearly an event that was worth every penny.
Whilst proceedings for 2017’s event have come to an end, there is going to be a clear legacy in the coming months. Each year that the festival has taken place, artists on the bill have emerged to more clearer light in the industry and therefore there is no knowing as to who might be next. We recommend you check out some of the brilliant artists from this year’s event and who knows, you might be discovering the next potential star. As for the festival, this year’s event has only gone to further increase the stellar reputation that Dot To Dot has and we wish them luck in recruiting 2018’s batch of rising stars.