Live Review

Yard Act, Heartworms and others provide highlights at Bristol’s sunny Dot To Dot festival

We’ve partnered with the festival’s sponsor Super Bock to bring you a full report from the event.

After what surely felt like the longest of winters, that spring has decided to finally make an appearance just in time for festival season proper is a fact that all of Dot To Dot’s attendees seem to be relishing. Having transformed the city of Bristol for the festival’s first leg - the second takes place in venues across Nottingham the following day - the buzzing crowds of punters quickly make it clear that there really is nothing better than a bit of sunshine, a hefty dose of live music, and some delicious cold beers - provided, courtesy, of festival sponsor Super Bock.

But while the sun is blazing over by the city’s dock - and the indoor-outdoor stages of the Thekla - an altogether darker affair is unfurling within the O2 Academy, as Teeside band Benefits take to the stage. Fresh from a full UK and Ireland tour, and an appearance at this year’s Great Escape, their commanding stage act is by now a lean, honed beast; frontman Kingsley Hall slickly darting from staccato dialogue into searing screams and back again in a set that’s impossible not to be drawn into.

A short walk through town and SWX is playing host to the somewhat unhinged stylings of Fat Dog. Despite their early afternoon slot - and the fact they’ve still not officially released any music - their brand of eclectic rock and roll is allure enough to draw in a hefty crowd, while their drummer’s rubber dog mask gives things an even more surreal edge.

Dot To Dot, various venues, Bristol

Back at the O2 Academy, Heartworms is busy proving exactly why she’s one of music’s most talked-about new artists. Offering up a taste of her recent ‘A Comforting Notion’ EP, her wares may be darkly seductive on the surface, but they crackle with a delicious electricity on stage. Meanwhile, upstairs, in the O2 Academy 2, Fräulein make a return to their old stomping ground with a deliciously scuzzy set, despite a few technical hitches to begin with.

Venturing back outdoors for an extra dose of vitamin D, the Dockside stage - in association with Super Bock - plays host to a handful of DIY’s Hello 2023 alumni (Surya Sen, pinkpirate and Humour all played our show series back in January), with its atmosphere feeling as buzzy as the bands on the bill.

It’s the double one-two of The Murder Capital and headliners Yard Act, though, that feels most eagerly anticipated; by the time the Irish quintet hit the stage, the O2 Academy is packed out, and the band’s James McGovern cuts a menacing figure on stage. Blitzing through tracks from debut ‘When I Have Fears’ and this year’s ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, their set blisters with aggression in the most glorious of ways.

Dot To Dot, various venues, Bristol Dot To Dot, various venues, Bristol

“Give me a B, give me an R, give me an I, give me an S!” starts Yard Act leader James Smith as the Leeds quartet take to the stage for their headline slot, egging the crowd on before undercutting their enthusiasm with a perfectly comedic turn: “Give me a K! Let’s make this brisk, Bristol!” Fresh from five nights performing alongside comedy royalty at their hometown Brudenell Social Club residency, the band’s riotous but witty energy feels particularly palpable tonight, with the tongue-in-cheek salve of ‘Fixer Upper’ opening proceedings perfectly. Bouncing through their compact but potent discography with a cheeky zeal - and showcasing new track ‘The Trenchcoat Museum’ to boot - they provide the kind of giddily rowdy conclusion to Dot To Dot that festivals are made for.

Brought to you as part of our paid partnership with Super Bock.

Head to their dedicated festival website now to be in with the chance of winning tickets to other festivals across Europe this summer.

Tags: heartworms, The Murder Capital, Yard Act, Dot To Dot, Festivals, Paid partnership, Reviews, Live Reviews

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