With over 150 artists and bands playing across 20 various venues, Dot 2 Dot’s arrival in Manchester on the festival’s first day brought a buzz to the city centre, with thousands of music fans flocking across the shabby-chic Northern Quarter.
With Mystery Jets and Augustines taking the headline slots, Dot 2 Dot gave us a glance at the thriving underground music scene – whether that be Manchester’s home grown talent, or up and coming bands and artists from around the world. Here are some of the best acts we discovered:
Arguably one of the biggest up and coming indie bands, Sundara Karma put on an arena-worthy performance at Manchester Cathedral on the Friday evening. And of course, with the Reading four-piece comes a rowdy crowd, who didn’t hesitate in breaking down the barrier, forcing the band to leave the stage until safety was restored.
Despite knowing little about the London five-piece Babeheaven, the trip down to the dingy, packed out Soup Kitchen basement was undoubtedly a good decision. Ethereal electronics paired with heavenly smooth vocals, every last word and note were lapped up by the sweaty crowd. Babeheaven play Festival No.6, X & Y Festival and Latitude Festival this summer, and we certainly don’t recommend missing out.
Manchester natives Girl Friend kicked off Friday afternoon, teeming with sparkle and sass as usual. Clearly overwhelmed with the turnout, they grooved their way through the 30 minute set, performing crowd favourites such as the ridiculously infectious Tragic On The Dancefloor and Poison.
Lewis Del Mar
After a crazy week playing to a packed out crowd in Brighton at The Great Escape to selling out London Lexington last week, Brooklyn duo Lewis Del Mar have settled rather nicely onto British soil this year. Bringing a fresh sound to the table, Lewis Del Mar reminded the Manchester crowd the importance of acoustic and electronic music, frenetically performing Loud(y) and Wave(s) off their latest EP. Catch the hotly-tipped duo at Leeds and Reading and Primavera Sound Festival this summer.
Edging towards the end of the Northern Quarter, tucked amongst the takeaways and vintage shops is the Central Methodist Church. Perhaps not your usual gig venue, but it certainly adds to the quirky charm of Dot To Dot. After several technical difficulties, Dua Lipa struts onto the stage – much to the excitement and relief of her fans.
Performing Be The One, Hotter Than Hell and Last Dance with her band, it’s evident that with every gig the singer-songwriter is becoming more confident, easing her into becoming the Queen of pop.
It’s always a shame to see established indie bands call it a day, but faith is often restored when they move onto new projects – and this was certainly the case for ex-Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd. Having worked with The Maccabee’s, Mystery Jets and Jamie T to produce new solo material such as Hello Death and the titled EP track Pilgrims, going it alone seems to be working in his favour, as the packed out crowd in Gullivers hung onto every last word – swooning and swaying as the Newcastle-born singer-songwriter charismatically belted out his new material.
A firm favourite, Barns Courtney has been making waves on the UK festival scene in recent weeks. We’ve recently been treated to a full band sound at The Great Escape and R1’s Big Weekend – giving his raw, strong vocals a finished sound.
But this weekend Barns Courtney was on his one, performing to a raucous audience at midnight in Manchester’s famous Night and Day Café. With slightly more vigour and determination than previous gigs, the Ipswich-born singer-songwriter powered through his set, giving fans an energetic performance of his new single Hands, which sounds even more incredible live.
It’s been an insane couple of months for the four-piece post-punk band, and what better way to kick off festival season and bassist James’ birthday than a packed out hometown show at Dot To Dot? Filling the Central Methodist Hall to the brim just after midnight, fans came to finish off their night with a glimpse of Spring King.
Blasting out some of their most well-known tracks, including Rectifier and Who Are You?, the Manchester band’s infectious exuberance gets the crowd dancing and singing along till they’re ready to drop. It won’t be long till this band are everywhere. Catch Spring King at Bestival, Boardmasters and Kendal Calling.