I combined a visit to one of my very best friends who's at Nottingham Trent with the lazy-kid's festival option: Dot To Dot, a Camden Crawl-style event where one wristband gets you into lots of music venues across the city. With the weather being a bit rubbish (VERY windy) we didn't do as much wandering about as we perhaps might have done, and instead just headed for the people we really wanted to see.
The Saturday afternoon though, we did just pop into Rescue Rooms to get a taste of the atmosphere. It was obvious that the young teenagers who can't normally get into gigs were having an absolute blast (with their clothes and hair as well as the music) and they seemed to be loving a band called Cazals. A bit emo, a bit electro and with a keen ear for an anthemic pure-indie chorus, their sound is so zeitgeisty it's more tomorrow than today, and I've no doubt that the kids will go mad for them if they get any bigger. Not my thing, perhaps, but fantastic at what they do. Next door in Stealth were The RGBs - a band so Hoxton that the lead singer wore just a sparkly leotard and rosette. Pure electro, they're a band that CSS should be personally blamed for.
In the evening the big draw were Dirty Pretty Things at Rock City, and I can't imagine that anyone - fan or casual audience member - went home disappointed. Carl Barat clearly has thousands of killer tunes stored up in that head of his, and some of the best were on show this Saturday. The new single Hippy's Son didn't sound nearly so aggressive live, and was all the better for it, and the big tracks from their first album - especially Deadwood and Bang Bang You're Dead - went down a storm. The great thing about seeing this band live is that every member is fun to watch. Carl is a wonderful front man of course, Anthony Rossomando is cool personified, moustachioed Didz Hammond looks like he's having a blast the whole time, and drummer Gary Powell drives everything forward with a real intensity. A proper rock and roll band.
On the Sunday, we saw Thomas Tantrum at The Social. With a female singer fronting the otherwise-male group, they were certainly the tightest, most accomplished non-big-band we saw over the weekend. When I saw them live, I thought I detected a slight 50s Rockabilly sound which was really endearing, but when I've listened to their tracks on MySpace that doesn't seem to come through at all. In the early evening we returned to Rock City for Mystery Jets, who I found quite disappointing, actually. I'd always been led to believe that they're quirky and different from most other middle-of-the-road indie bands, but for the most part I didn't find them all that different at all. When they did do something a bit out of the ordinary - such as a touch of reggae, or doo-wop during a big ballad - they definitely turn into a much more interesting band, but otherwise I was rather underwhelmed.
In the evening we trekked to Nottingham Trent for a performance from the newly revived (in more senses than one) Spiritualized. Back from a life-threatening illness, Jason Pearce led an epic performance of drones, gospel, tunes and drums that felt somewhat out of place in what must have been a sports hall. Everything that was done was done beautifully, from the two-minute Stones-esque pop songs to the ten-minute, sprawling psychedelia. In the afternoon we'd seen Micachu use toy instruments and a hoover at Rescue Rooms, and watching Spiritualized you couldn't help but want to tell them to stop messing about, go away for ten years, live a bit, and come back when their vision is a bit more akin to Pearce's. But then it takes all sorts I guess, and that's what Dot To Dot is all about.