A minor regret of 2013 was that we didn't attend that year’s Dot to Dot festival. Frankly we missed it. It's a great showcase of 'radar' bands, often in our experience, featuring next year’s 'Glasto must see' acts. So we were determined to go to the 2014 event. We had previously attended the Nottingham version of this festival several times so we thought a change of geography would be appropriate this time around so decided to try the Bristol event instead.

It's every bit as well organised as Nottingham but whereas the majority of the Nottingham venues are centred around one location (Rock City, Stealth, Rescue Rooms and the nearby Trent Uni) the Bristol venues are more widespread making timetabling and band selection (or de-selection) a challenge. 

But the venues are all individually good, particularly the Thekla, a beached boat, and The Fleece which is under threat of losing it's license if a planned development goes ahead to build flats opposite the venue. 

So to the bands....

Cursor Major (Louisiana, downstairs bar)

A good opening set to get the ears tuned. 4-piece guitar band with in-yer- face anthemic songs, the type of tunes that would sit well opening a big festival stage. 

Casimir, The Fleece 

Fresh-faced 4-piece. Looked less rough round the edges than the previous band but their indie guitar songs had a slightly harder edge. Overtones of Arctic Monkeys in some of their numbers later in the set

MT. Royal (The Fleece)

Canadian 5-piece with female lead singer. Opening song was beset with sound problems such that the last couple of minutes, as the keyboard came in; the song was overtaken by distortion and feedback. I think this was probably the best quality band so far but, for me, the sound never got quite right and in particular the high register vocals lacked the clarity their interesting songs deserved. Their tunes had more than a little nod to Beach House but with a rockier edge. 

The Trouble With Templeton (Louisiana)

Hailing from the Bella Union stable, we knew there would be a vein of quality running through this Aussie 5-piece. And so it proved. Excellent lead guitarist, and lead singer sounded like Neil Young on occasions.

Sheppard (Louisiana)

Another Aussie band. 6-piece with female lead singer with striking green hair, and female bass. Solid indie tunes but nothing remarkable to note. 

Stats (The Exchange)

A 6-piece synth-pop band, delivering excellent seventies-style tunes with occasional shades of Devo. an appropriately named band - my favourite line: "Do you want to wait til later; Do you want to eat your data"

White Lung (The Exchange)

This was Girl Band with girls!  From West Coast USA - blew the roof off with their screaming vocal, guitars and thumping bass. Best band so far. 

Dolomite Minor (The Exchange)

Southampton 2-piece on drum and bass. This band get better and better and aired some excellent new songs tonight. They were the epitome of cool and unflustered as an 'overly excited' couple took to the stage and started dancing along. It took a few minutes for the unobtrusive security to usher them away. This lead to the funniest moment of the day as the guy, a few minutes later, took the stage again only to be grabbed off the stage by the bouncer and bundled out of the fire-door. The latter action took place in a flicker while the girl was facing the other way - a hilarious moment followed as she fathomed how come her guy had vanished into thin air. (One of those 'you had to be there' moments)

Sean McGowan (Thekla, Upper Deck)

More support for our hometown acts as Sean took to the smaller of the Thekla stages. In inimitable self-deprecating manner he introduced himself as 'the bloke who cleans the toilets at the Joiners' and proceeded to run through a string of his classic semi-protest songs, poking his chest with his index-finger as he belted out his 'This is not my England' refrain. These songs were given impressive additional colour tonight through Dean's acoustic accompaniment. 

Ezra Furman (Thekla)

The one set we didn't see in full after discovering Thekla Upper Deck required exiting the venue to 're-board' to gain entry to the main Thekla stage. But on entering at the back we managed to weave in to a central front position for the last 10 minutes of EF's musing and impressive song craft

Barbarossa (Thekla, Upper Deck)

Back up to Thekla Upper Deck for the fantastic Barbarossa who delivered a wonderful selection of his 2012 album plus new single Elevator. This man truly has range from electro-based, sorrowful tunes to uplifting melodies, all lyrically wondrous. Quite possibly my favourite set of the day. 

Wolf Alice (Thekla)

Our last set of the day and a great way to end. This band had not been high on my agenda - my recollection from a previous gig was that they were a bit twee. Well either my memory is worse than I thought or they've upped their game considerably (I suspect it's the former). Fantastic rockin indie tunes. 

As ever at festivals, our next morning thoughts turned to 'what we could have seen'. The fact we missed out on Fyfe, Johnny Lloyd, Courtney Barnett, Real Estate is a reflection of how spread out the Bristol venues are but also the strength of line-up at this excellent, well-organised event. 

Si & Sally