Words: Kieran Toms
Festival: Offset 2010 (4th-5th September 2010)
Considering Offset is a festival made up largely of hipsterer-than-thou types from hipsterer-than-thou Hoxton, it’s actually got a pretty good atmosphere. Although everyone’s obviously put a lot of thought into making sure they look a different shade of alternative, there is obviously a passion for all sorts of music there, which means that even the stranger sounding bands, of which there are quite a few, attract decent and appreciative crowds.
This year’s Offset line-up is good. There’s a good mix of ‘fun’ bands, such as Monotonix and Art Brut, who enable all attendees to let go and let loose, and there are old legendary bands like Liquid Liquid and Cluster, for you to admire and stroke your chin to.
And there are plenty of almost-unknown bands for whom your first thought is “that’s pretty weird” followed by “that’s pretty cool.” I think the range of styles and ideas amidst the line-up is particularly striking, as you can wonder round and find a massive variety of stuff going on. Bands I hadn’t seen before that particularly impressed me included the multi-instrument wielding Clout!, and Visions Of Trees.
STREAM: CLOUT! - MAXWELL'S O
DOWNLOAD: Visions Of Trees - Cult of Cobras
I particularly enjoyed Factory Floor, who made good use of the deafening soundsystem in the Loud & Quiet tent. In the same tent, Comanechi played a great set, with the duo making far more noise than you’d expect two people would be able to. The whole thing was slightly rendered farcical by the bizarre security guards, who for one set only, became staunch anti-moshers, and began telling off the more exuberant members of the crowd. At one point they even came into the crowd to look for one fellow who had dared jump around a little too much for their liking. However, he cunningly ducked down and moved a little way away and they didn’t notice him. One security guard did ask me “have you seen anyone jumping around?” I told him yes, everyone was ‘jumping around’ for pretty much every band. And then he didn’t say anything.
Later on they even went as far as to cart someone off before the final song, though rather than dissuade anyone else from moshing it made a martyr of the poor fellow and the rest of the crowd was galvanized and the moshpit became twice as big and the crazy security guards knew they were beaten. But I must say that aside from this strange episode, security in general at the event was much improved from the previous year when they had been heavy handed and getting into the main arena had involved more stringent searching than getting onto a plane.
DOWNLOAD: Factory Floor - Post Is Here (listen at last.fm)
Bo Ningen played an energetic and well-received set on the main stage, before one of them took it upon himself to climb right onto the high roof above it. He looked pretty nervous up there, with the crowd all whooping at him, and excited too, though perhaps not excited enough to not care about whether he lived or died. And so he made his way back down, gingerly.
Monotonix were terrific. If you’ve seen this band before you’ll know a little about what to expect. They began the gig at the front of the crowd and gradually moved around, dressed just in their underpants, doing outrageous things. The singer even attempted to climb on the rather flimsy looking tent over the sound desk, much to the concern of the soundmen below. A great deal of fun.
DOWNLOAD: Monotonix - Give Me More
As were Art Brut, who debuted a new song, and produced the kind of performance that has made them such a successful live experience over the last half a decade. Eddie Argos strolled through the crowd for an extended version of 'Modern Art', and just being generally extremely charismatic.
The only slight problem, apart from a few local scallies trying to invade the campsite at night-time, was the late running of pretty much every stage. At one point I thought this might work to my favour, as it seemed like it might solve the problem of the annoying clash between Mount Kimbie and Caribou, but in the end both stages overran the same amount. After much agonising, I opted for the former, and their soothing set was the perfect comedown for tired revellers, and a great close to the festival, for me at least.
DOWNLOAD: Mount Kimbie - Field
Offset's capacity this year seemed larger, but the increase worked fine, and the whole weekend was as usual a lovely relaxed affair, with some great performances. All in all, Offset seems to be going from strength to strength.
Purchase early bird tickets for Offset 2011 here.