Monday 6 September 2010

Offset Festival Day One - 04 September 2010

Teeth!!! (photo Wyldman)

This is not going to be a definitive report on the 2010 Offset Festival. For starters, over the two days I saw over fifty acts that I LIKED to varying degrees. And I couldn’t be everywhere, despite trying my best.

Things get off to a rollicking start on Saturday with Hull’s The Neat on the Main Stage. Much angular guitar and the first instance of one of the Themes of The Weekend (TotW). The front man who leaps from the stage and chases his audience across a field.

Into a tent next for the blindingly wonderful Athens Polytechnic, who are a Roadrunner cartoon come to life. Twin vocalists scream their lungs out, wrestle with each other, improvise dance routines and chase the audience around the tent. Amidst the carnage is a thrash version of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’. Second TotW – the inspired and non-obvious cover version. They are also the only band today with a chorus that goes “We want you for the Cameron youth!”

Athens Polytechnic are bloody marvellous and put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Next up, and also ace, are Oh! Gunquit, who are a bit rockabilly, a lot twangy and powered by saxophone and a phenomenal pair of black lederhosen.

Oh! Gunquit (photo Wyldman)

Back on Main Stage, Cold In Berlin have evolved into a full on festival monster. They are slick and powerful as a steel panther. They go down a bomb, and rightly so.

Cold In Berlin (photo Wyldman)

TotW the third – If you are an artist who basically just twiddles knobs on a small podule, you need a gimmick. So House of Schtinter hides in a tiny model house and Death In Plains wears a mask. It’s the musical equivalent of telling a joke. Once you’ve seen it, the novelty wears off very quickly. Neither act detains me.

The Bo Ningen mothership decends on Main, and their space rock is well suited to the festival atmosphere. They manage to top last year’s antics by finishing the set with a member scaling the stage until he is perched right above us and about fifty feet from certain death. Larks!

I miss Paper Crows because they are taking an age waiting for them to jack Scart Lead A into Socket B. This is the problem with electronic acts – they have much greater difficulty than bands that just need to plug in their guitars or adjust the height on their drum kit. I later regret not waiting, because subsequent reports are that they were really good and did a fine cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’.

Instead, I am happily entertained by The Receeders, who are a very shouty and punky band that features Kate Nash amongst others. Great fun.

The Receeders (photo Wyldman)

Teeth!!! are a revelation. A three piece electronic dance outfit who send the tent mental. Tiny singer Veronica So is paraded around over the crowd’s heads and I find yet another new band to love.

Kap Bambino are doing something similar on a grander scale on the Main Stage. Singer Caroline works the crowd into a frenzy and spends much of the set being tossed among them like a beach ball.

Most ambitious cover version of the weekend is probably La La Vasquez and their version of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ played as a piece for halting girlie guitar. It works, just.

I enjoy the suave rock of The Bridport Dagger, admiring the clothes and quiffs as much as their elegant music. I’m really impressed with this band too.

The Bridport Dagger (photo Wyldman)

Art Brut and Eddie Argos are in their element on the Main Stage, bantering with the audience and playing essentially a greatest hits set. We get updates on ‘Emily Kane’ and a report on Eddie's Rusty Gun of Milan.

I find a correlation between the uncompromising hard electronic repetitions of Factory Floor and the organic percussion of Liquid Liquid, the venerable New York no wavers who play a polarising set on Main. Both acts require tolerance from their audience, a willingness to go along with what the band are doing.

Saturday ends with an impressive set from O Children, who have all the makings of a very big act indeed, if they could just get the elements right. Tonight they sweep all before them, but the set is oddly structured and they seem to have all their really big tunes and crowd pleasing rarities like ‘Ace Breasts’ in the first half and they send us off into the night with one of the lesser songs from their very fine debut album.

That’s quite enough for Day One. Back with more shortly.


Anonymous said...

Jeez bruv. You're absolutely full of fucking taspy!

Anonymous said...

crap review, poor taste