Muic Review: DOTS Live at Standard Electric

Dot.s at The Masquerade 2019


Atlanta indie darlings bring their quirky synth pop to the small screen — and we’re here for it. 


Do you remember gigs? Actual, live, laugh-in-the-face-of-COVID, maskless gigs? Though we dreamed of a return to “normal” within months of the pandemic hitting in 2020, here we are in 2021. Gig-less. Someday we’ll sit the grandchildren down and tell them all about it: “We went to these things called “clubs” where we drank this stuff called “beer” and and sweated on each other. It was great.”


However, all hope is not lost. Enterprising bands have joined the new virtual reality of things — adding live streams and pre-recorded, socially distant gigs that fans can enjoy from the comfort of their collective couches. From Nick Cave to IDLES, more and more bands are refusing to let their fans sob quietly into their pillows. And now Atlanta’s very own DOTS have joined their ranks. 


You might be more familiar with the band in their previous nomenclature: Dots. Regardless of how you spell it, since the release of their first album in 2015, DOTS have become one of Atlanta’s best and most beloved live bands over the past few years. Weaving experimental, dreamy electro pop with nods to the best parts of the 1980’s, this band has been leaving hearts pounding and brows sweaty in many a small club — and we want those days back. 


Recorded in the comfy confines of Standard Electric’s new home in Scottsdale, DOT.S recorded a live, seven-track synth pop wonderland that harkened back to all the reasons we love live music in the first place. Though the interaction is solely one-sided and through the small screen, it’s a good return to form; chock full of drums, synth and lyrics so sassy they need a slap.


Surprisingly, the band seem to be dead set on delivering a swarm of new tracks with the two exceptions being Get it Right from 2016’s We Swim and Stand Up Shape Up from 2019’s Long for This World albums. Clearly they’ve been busy, pandemic be damned.


Kicking off with the synth-laden, hook-heavy Twitch, we’re reminded of why we loved DOTS live in the first place. However, this stripped-bare version seems strangely — yet wonderfully — intimate. It’s like seeing a fresh face on an old friend. This rolls into Being Born and Bleach White Flamingos, which sounds like they’re letting Neil Tennant from The Pet Shop Boys and James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem take the wheel. It’s 80’s-laden, dreamy synth pop from a simpler time where we all dreamt of getting stoned in the high school library and hanging out with John Bender.


Set List:


  1. Twitch
  2. Being Born
  3. Bleach White Flamingos
  4. Stand Up Shape Up
  5. Loose Wrists
  6. Get it Right
  7. One Thousand Swans


One Thousand Swans rounds out the set list — veering away from the synths and taking on a very Sufjan Stevens approach. Though undeniably stark, it’s beautifully haunting enough to stick with you for days. 


It’s easy to lament the live music dry spell and bang on about the imminent return to normalcy that 2021 was supposed to bring us. It’s easy to feel cheated. But DOTS are here to remind us that there’s a dawn just around the corner… and they’re here to help guide us through it. 


Words by Kari Eisenhardt


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