Dot to Dot: Stand Together

Who to see at this festival united by new music

This week the music industry has been rocked to its core. The attack on innocent audience members during Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena was a senseless tragedy and the city of Manchester are still very much feeling the effects. Many bands and artists across the UK and beyond have postponed shows out of respect for the victims and many more have come together, united by music, hope and love, to carry out gigs as planned and even spontaneously announcing fundraising events in support of the victims and their families.

One such event that will proceed is Dot to Dot Festival, who gave the following statement:

We are shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester. Our thoughts go out to all those affected.

From ongoing discussions with venues and relevant authorities, and in solidarity with the resilience of the amazing people of Manchester and the power of live music, Dot to Dot Festival will be going ahead this Friday.

Dot to Dot is a festival about bringing people together and enjoying a day out watching live music. We have taken stock and thought deeply about whether it’s appropriate for us to go ahead in the light of what’s happened – and we have decided we will hold the event. We can’t forget what’s happened, but we don’t want to let fear and hate stop us.
Dot to Dot

This Friday, this highly regarded new music festival will commence. More than a platform for the best who’s who on the emerging industry radar, Dot to Dot has become a show of solidarity, a way to say that we are not a defeated and we will not forget either.

Whether you’ll be heading to Manchester on May 26th, Bristol on May 27th or Nottingham on May 28th, we would like to recommend a few of our favourite acts.

Bad Sea

Night And Day, Manchester on May 26th, 5:45pm
Thekla Top Deck, Bristol on May 27th, 2:30pm
Red Room, Nottingham on May 28th, 7:45pm

Who are they? Dublin-based duo Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrel met through a popular dating app and although they abandoned any chance of romance, they did pursue a creative partnership.

Why should you see them? Bad Sea’s refreshingly classic approach can be heard in their precious trio of singles, “Solid Air”, “Tell Me What (I Mean)” and “Over My Head”. Each one is breath-taking and the pair must also be commended for their bare-faced sound on latest single “Over My Head”, but as we hear on “Tell Me What (I Mean)” Farrel and Thompson are also partial to those fuller, Americana rock sounds.

Over My Head by Bad Sea

Cosmo Pyke

Band On The Wall, Manchester on May 26th, 6:15pm
02 Academy 2, Bristol on May 27th, 3:15pm
The Bodega, Nottingham on May 28th, 6:00pm

Who are they? Hailing from Peckham, this 18-year-old is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, skater and model.

Why should you see them? While Cosmo Pyke was raise on an enviable diet of blues, jazz, hip-hop and neo-soul, his own fuzzy, relaxed songs are less about following genre lines and more about going with the natural flow. Tracks like “Great Dane” paint with “spacey, beautiful, and lazy” strokes that produces a realist image of everyday life in East London.

Great Dane by Cosmo Pyke


The Albert Hall, Manchester on May 26th, 5:00pm
02 Academy, Bristol on May 27th, 5:45pm
Rock City, Nottingham on May 28th, 5:00pm

Who are they? Noisy garage rock duo from Glasgow with a pinch of shoegaze.

Why should you see them? Over the years, the band’s line-up has taken a few different forms, but these days it’s all about the wild guitar playing of Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale and the ferocious drumming of Cat Myers, plus that wonderful middle ground where the pair’s vocals meet. Honeyblood have also been on an extensive tour across Scotland, Ireland and England over the past two months, so you can be sure on one tight set this weekend.

Over My Head by Bad Sea

Kudu Blue

The Peer Hat, Manchester on May 26th, 8pm
HY Brasil Music-Club, Bristol on May 27th, 8:45pm
Stealth Live Room, Nottingham on May 28th, 3:45pm

Who are they? Eclectic sounding band from Brighton with four members Clementine Douglas, Owen Crouch, Tom Peterson and Creeda Kirkman.

Why should you see them? Over the past two years, Kudu Blue have had regular spots at hometown festival The Great Escape and this year their heading out to Dot to Dot to deliver their unique combination of electronics, alternative-pop, R&B and dance to new audiences. If you after an energy boost this weekend, get down to Kudu Blue’s show for dynamic tracks like “NGFM” and “Sugar Lemz”.

Sugar Lemz by Kudu Blue

Liv Dawson

Band On The Wall, Manchester on May 26th, 7:15pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 3:00pm
Rock City, Nottingham on May 28th, 3:00pm

Who are they? At just 18-years-old, Liv Dawson is one of the most promising, emerging R&B talents on the circuit right now.

Why should you see them? Don’t be fooled by this singer-songwriter’s young years, as this artist has displayed a sophisticated self-awareness through her increasingly noted R&B-pop singles and live sessions. Dawson’s super power has to be that voice, it’s every bit Destiny’s Child in its youthful tone and wise aura. She’s also fresh from a performance at The Great Escape’s Vevo dscvr stage, which always seems to be on point with picking up the year’s rising acts.

Liv Dawson - Somewhere Good | Mahogany Session

Matt Maltese

Band On The Wall, Manchester on May 26th, 8:15pm
The Louisiana, Bristol on May 27th, 4:30pm
The Bodega, Nottingham on May 28th, 7:00pm

Who are they? London-based musician Matt Maltese with a notable gift for writing timeless, piano-led, blues ballads.

Why should you see them? As one of three artists selected for HumanHuman’s Showcase last year in Antwerp, we can guarantee that Maltese is truly a talented performer. His voice beckons from an era of golden age jazz fingers, while his songs themselves are sparsely lit and question meaning in everything and anything. Do not miss.

Matt Maltese - Studio 6 | Live From The Distillery

Miya Folick

SWX Room 2, Bristol on May 27th, 5:15pm
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on May 28th, 3:15pm

Who are they? The Oakland-based artist whose music spans riot grrl, punk and indie-rock.

Why should you see them? “Trouble Adjusting” is a real gift from Miya Folick, as it was written and recorded to capture the magic of her live shows. Safe to say we wouldn’t be disappointed if any gig contains as much energy, fantastically fun melodies and full-blooded drums and guitars as this single does.

Trouble Adjusting by Miya Folick

Nilüfer Yanya

Soup Kitchen, Manchester on May 26th, 5:45pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 2:00pm
The Bodega, Nottingham on May 28th, 3:00pm

Who are they? London singer-songwriter in her own groove of indie acoustica, jazzy blues and new wave shimmer.

Why should you see them? This twice featured artist has managed to rise from a handful of demo songs to the blogosphere’s indie music sweetheart with recent releases like “Golden Cage” and “The Florist” being highly praised across the Internet. In the live realm, Yanya performs with the same intimate sense of delicacy that comes across on the recording, just check out this out take of this 21-year-old musician playing her cover of Pixies’ “Hey” for NTS Radio.

Nilufer Yanya - Hey (live)


Soup Kitchen, Manchester on May 26th, 9:45pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 9:00pm
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on May 28th, 12:30am

Who are they? Purveyors of disco for the modern age.

Why should you see them? This Berlin-based Australian band are a pretty rare find. Not only do they look like they took a Delorean from the height of ‘70s glam-rock, but their sound also takes many cues from a past where disco grooves were essential to any good night out. While, watching their set, it will be absolutely impossible not to dance (or bop or foot tap or ever so subtly nod your head) to “the slick musicianship, the rapturously rhythmic, Nile Rodgers-worshipping guitar,” as The Guardian put it.

Hideout by Parcels


Old Granada Studios, Manchester on May 26th, 8:15pm
SWX, Bristol on May 27th, 7:45pm
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham on May 28th, 8:15pm

Who are they? With a various combination of musicians, this New Jersey band creates uncomparable and emotional left-field Americana.

Why should you see them? This isn’t the first time we’ve recommended Pinegrove as a must-see act. Last year, the Brooklyn-via-New Jersey outfit built around two central figures Evan Stephens Hall and Zack Levine was on our list for the new music extravaganza SXSW and now the American alt-rock band are hopping the water to give UK fans a taste of their singularly brilliant live renditions. There’s an abundance of live sessions out there (such as NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert) to wet your appetite over the next few days.

Pinegrove: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert


Gullivers, Manchester on May 26th, 6:30pm
The Louisiana, Bristol on May 27th, 6:30pm
Stealth Live Room, Nottingham on May 28th, 10:45pm

Who are they? Pixx is the moniker of Surrey musician Hannah Rodgers.

Why should you see them? Pixx first popped up on our radar around the time of her debut EP, Fall In, which was accompanied by a string of eerie, elemental music videos perfectly suited to her modern New Romantics style. Since then, the artist has become bolder in her style, songwriting and seemingly her live shows too. One thing to listen out for would be her cover of Joe Jackson’s 1979 single “It’s Different For Girls”.

It's Different For Girls (Live Cover) by Pixx


Ruby Lounge, Manchester on May 26th, 6:15pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 8:00pm
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on May 28th, 4:15pm

Who are they? Self-described as “dark grooves with room to breathe,” pair Dan and James create everything at home in their North London basement.

Why should you see them? Two years after Tender’s first appearance on HumanHuman and the initially anonymous project are beginning to drop the veil further as they approach the release of their debut album, coming this summer. On first LP single “Erode”, the self-sufficient deliver that R&B vibe, minimalist guitar work and luscious electronics that we’ve loved all along. Hopefully more album tracks to be heard at their festival sets.

"Erode" by TENDER

Tom Grennan

Ruby Lounge, Manchester on May 26th, 9:15pm
02 Academy, Bristol on May 27th, 4:45pm
Rocky City, Nottingham on May 28th, 6:00pm

Who are they? Solo artist Tom Grennan strikes the balance between acoustic songwriting, bluesy lyricism and indie-rock frontmanship.

Why should you see them? The charismatic songwriter possesses a mighty blues vocal and knack for lyrics that permeate your soul and stay there. It’s something that translates wonderfully into his live versions of “Sweet Hallelujah” and “Something In The Water” and if the word of The Independent is anything to go by, the backing of a full band adds “more weight to his music but [doesn’t] distract from his great charisma or that astonishing voice.”

Tom Grennan - Sweet Hallelujah (Live Session)


Gullivers, Manchester on May 26th, 5:30pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 4:00pm
The Bodega, Nottingham on May 28th, 4:00pm

Who are they? Finding her feet in New York’s underground rock scene, Lætitia Tamko, continues to wow with her anthems for weird girls.

Why should you see them? You only need to listen to Vagabon’s “The Embers” to be convinced that this indie-rock heroine is well worth going to see this weekend. Her songs vibrate with indignation and ferocity. Throughout all of them, Tamko unleashes biting lyrics with that sweet, unassuming vocal which contrasts against the punk-rock instrumentation.

Vagabon - The Embers (Official Video)

Yellow Days

Soup Kitchen, Manchester on May 26th, 6:45pm
Thekla, Bristol on May 27th, 6:00pm
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on May 28th, 6:15pm

Who are they? George van den Broek is the young songwriter-producer featured in our 20 Under 20 list for his incredible debut EP, Harmless Melodies.

Why should you see them? Reminiscent of King Krule and Only Real, Yellow Days is a relative newcomer and yet since the release of debut “You Are Nothing That I Can’t Get Over”, this 17-year-old has punctuated the new music consciousness. The turning point came with “Your Hand Holding Mine” when listeners woke up to van den Broek’s wonky, lo-fi strings and synths with a gravelled, left-field soulful vocal rich in mature emotion. Surely not one to miss out on.

Go Home by Yellow Days

You can check out the full line-up for Dot to Dot 2017 in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham here.

This article is written by Hannah Thacker and was published 4 years ago.

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