Hox-to-Dot is a far smaller, less established spin off from its bigger Nottingham and Bristol brothers, with an aim to prove itself worthy of an established bloodline. It's a collective of 45 DJ and live music slots spread over 5 local venues, filling 9 hours of the most hardcore of attendants' evening.
Walking into Hoxton, my first mission was to find the venues, which were hidden gems behind bar fronts, all thankfully within easy walking distance of each other. First stop after wristbanding up was the intimate pocket stage of the Old Blue Last, found in the rustic attic bar. Early entertainment was to be found in the form of The Recovery, a four-piece from Nottingham and Manchester who draw influence from the likes of Placebo, 65daysofstatic and The Smashing Pumpkins. Lacking much of a crowd, they still put on a worthy performance which was enjoyed by those present. With an eponymous album just released, the best is hopefully yet to come.
A bit of homework, and a few well placed words from 'those in the know', sent me over to the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen on the central, stylish and artistic Hoxton Square to see Hollywood-based Iglu & Hartly. A venue of far larger proportions greeted me, with more of a crowd than you would expect for a band billed so early.I guess I wasn’t the only one in the know! For a band that's only played the UK a couple of times, their following seems to have preceded them. Knocking out instantly loveable tunes one after another like 'In this City', 'Violent and Young' and 'Jump out of Your Car'. Likened to the missing link between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Flaming Lips, they're definitely worth seeing if they ever pop into your area.
A preference for live music over DJs and a rapidly filling venue of limited capacity persuaded me to stay put for the following acts. Next up was Esser, producing a selection of broken beat, part sung-part spoken tunes like 'Headlock', 'Satisfied' and newly released single 'I Love You'. Generally enjoyable, but it left some of the audience a little confused as they tried to work out exactly what they had just heard. This diversity epitomises the life behind the start up mini-festival, dragging up a selection of under-the-radar artists, laying them out, and simply saying 'judge for yourselves'.
As if to further drive this home, House of Brothers next graced the stage, showing off their chilled, melodic rifts and nicely pitched vocals. Drawing on a number of mostly folky influences, House of Brothers provide complex yet easy listening songs and are a pleasure to listen to, something reflected in the appreciative crowd at this particular outing.
Despite my evening unfortunately drawing to a close before the festival did, I can easily say Hox-to-Dot fulfilled its aim. If nothing else, it gave a selection of lucky punters an insight into things to come. Questionable name, unquestionable content, but upon leaving I feel I’ll be back next year as I’m sure this is not the last time we will see an event of this nature in Hoxton.