Not a lot at Dot to get too excited about
LET's make one thing clear from the start – the Dot to Dot is a great idea. Bristol is hardly the first to host an indoor music festival across the best venues in the city.
But the concept perfectly suits the music capital of the south west due to the large number of excellent gig destinations.
Unfortunately, though, it's hard to avoid the feeling that the standard of the music is getting worse each year.
The scatter-gun nature of picking half a dozen or more bands you've probably never heard of inevitably means some will have more enjoyable festivals than others.
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Like picking a horse, though, you'd like to think sooner or later you'll get lucky.
For the second year in a row however, this reviewer sadly found very little to get excited about.
First up were Bristol's own The Outsiders at the Louisiana bar.
If they were named after the classic novel and film – or even the American wrestling duo of the 1990s if you like your references obscure – you wouldn't know.
Utterly pedestrian and utterly forgettable, these Editors-esque indie rockers sounded like a covers band for an act that wasn't worth listening to in the first place.
There were high hopes for another Bristol act – Strange Billy the Saint and Bernadette Pike.
Although listed as separate acts, this real life couple actually took to the small but perfectly formed Start the Bus stage together.
After a prolonged wait they were something of a let down – although perhaps more due to the circumstances rather than their music.
For the most part they played rather entertaining, sweet tales of love, but already by 4pm the bar chatter was so loud that all subtlety was lost.
They turned up the volume for some louder numbers towards the end but it was clear this wasn't the best place to see them.
If they play another venue any time soon they're worth a second look though.
The Old Market boozer the Stag and Hounds joined the festival for the first time this year, and made a welcome stop on trips to the Trinity.
By early evening things at the Fleece weren't faring much better. Watford's Kyla La Grange has been compared to Florence and the Machine.
But even those who aren't thoroughly bored of the overrated Ms Welch have to admit she's not in the same league.
A middling indie band fronted by a Kate Bush soundalike is hardly cutting edge.
Much, much better was the hotly tipped Beth Jeans Houghton.
The charismatic Newcastle newcomer played a lively set giving the festival an uptempo injection it sorely needed.
With a Carmen Miranda style headdress, shrill but striking vocals and a Vampire Weekend sound, she certainly stood out.
It's nice to see someone who lives up to the hype and you'll definitely more of her in the coming year.
Brooklyn's Here We Go Magic were one of the few non UK acts and were perfectly suited to the Louisiana.
They continued the high standard, with an atmospheric post rock noise somewhere between Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground.
Downstairs were the real highlight of the weekend, Bristol's Scarlet Rascal and the Train Wreck. The garage rock four-piece continue to own every stage they step foot on, with the self assured swagger of a much more experienced band.
Channelling The Stooges with flashes of Nirvana they really are in a league of their own and deserve to be absolutely massive.
Indie disco crowd pleasers Summercamp have an excellent pedigree but sadly wore out their welcome at the Fleece. Jeremy Warmsley's previous work as an indie singer songwriter has been given an electronic charge, and the first half of the set was infectious.
They played against a background of largely 1980s musical moments including Dirty Dancing and that bit with Ferris Bueller on a float. But towards the end they tried to shake things up with an acoustic trip to the floor. It didn't work – the vocals were so quiet it felt like they had just walked off stage in an anti climactic finish.