Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Review: Offset Festival 2010

80's matchbox B-line disaster - photo: Lousie Roberts

Hoards of hipsters swarm onto the central line like migratory beasts making their way to the lush green woodland of Hainault forest. Skinny jeans, feigned disinterest and black clothing are rife amongst the crowd despite the cheery availability of candy floss, booze, burritos, rides and an immense Egyptian themed inflatable slide.

Offset is clearly distinguishable from the multitude of British Summer festivals for its comparatively relaxed atmosphere and absence of adolescent japery such as the distribution of free hugs. This year’s six stages are managed by London’s most reputable underground promoters, from Soho’s White Heat to ECC as well as a hardcore stage and the main stage.


Bo Ningen, front man Taigen Kawabe invades minds on the ECC stage with his electronic noise solo project early in the afternoon. Those who are not yet intoxicated, now feel as though they are.

Colours pull a reasonable crowd to the Offset presents tent, sticking to the safer end of the lo-fi spectrum, followed later by the more challenging pop duo Peepholes.

Bo Ningen electrify the main stage, their hanging black hair and garments enhancing the spectacle of their frenetic funky, thrash noise rock. Singer, Taigen conducts the audience with erratic flicks of his wrist and arms, as though summoning some demon of his own creation.

Graffiti Island, sound like if The Cramps had a snotty little brother. Recently reformed with the addition of Andy from Teen Sheiks on guitar and sounding as punchy and humorous as ever with lyrics of primitive rituals reverberating over bass driven punk ‘n’ roll.

Male Bonding hit the vast main stage and its hard to fill for these kind of scuzzy lo-fi fast punks. They thrash out fuzzy melodies regardless as night falls on the warm September evening.

Liquid Liquid are one of the last bands of the Evening. The legendary disco punk legends defy their origins and confess that London is better than New York.


photo: Andrew Kendall

Monotonix - These Israeli meat heads whip the crowd into a frenzy, pulling out all the stops in the name of absurd theatre. The long haired ape of a singer climbs on top of the sound tent as well as the audience while throwing drums around and blathering an unintelligible but clearly disrespectful rant against the Queen and Paul Weller. Despite these efforts, their music justly suits their name.

Bitches - This drunken couple stick to a simple formula;- bass, drums, booze, rock. Their old fashioned Black Flag style punk goes down a treat.

Teeth of The Sea - Epic symphonies hypnotize the awe struck audience, who remain transfixed while the band.average about three songs in half an hour.

John and Jehn - French kids wearing sunglasses in the day time. A brand of innocent indie pop candy that is soft enough not to aggravate a hangover, but not so sweet as to cause rotting of the teeth.

These New Puritans - The prodigal sons of East London return with a new rap influence on their industrial strength post punk.

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Another blast from the recent past, Matchbox unleash ominous, horror tinged rock and roll as singer, Guy, switches alternately between a low warbling to unhinged screaming.

Blurt - Bald headed, post-punk poet, Ted Milton, strangles his sax and spits verse over discordant post-punk jams. This legendary outfit let loose a captivating set to finish the festival. A steady rhythm serves as the body from which spontaneous growths of mutant melody erupt on each song. Inspired.
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