I didn’t think I was out of touch with general fashions or trends, even if I don’t partake in them myself, I like to think I’m at least aware of them. I thought that, and then I entered Offset – the one festival in the world where it is possible to be underdressed.
But let’s not ponder on the ‘trendy-ness’ of this Hainault Forest based bash for too long. There were times when I wondered why people were clapping during some sets, but maybe people are genuinely bred to be a lot more receptive in London. Anyway, there were some blinding sets from numerous bands, so let’s reminisce…
Novella were the first group I saw of the weekend, built up of three female front women and a male drummer, this was only their fourth ever gig but they showed promise in being able to do interesting things with their chosen genre. Combining Pixies, the riot Grrrl scene and scratchy ol’ US pre-punk groups from the 70s in a swooning, youthful, love note. Too Young To Love broke their UK festival virginity, with an added drummer, thus a bigger sound, and a predicatively entrancing set. I still can’t really describe them without sounding like I have no idea what I’m on about, but then again, no one really can, so I’m not alone. All I can say is n matter what size the stage is, those looping tribal rhythms over their glacier sized synths will always impress.
One band I wasn’t expecting to enjoy but was, ultimately, the one band I remember enjoying most; These New Puritans. Despite their recent LP ‘Hidden’ splitting opinion, live their sound beckons in one and all, and suddenly the album makes a lot more sense – in as much a gothic-black-noise can make sense. ‘Elvis’ made a welcome appearance mid set, ‘cause you can’t beat a good old fashioned pop track. Later that night Caribou managed to mangle my brain with a 45 minute set that, by the end it, saw half the crowd turned into vegetables; all awestruck by the sheer power of their ambience.
Mystery Jets, Death In Plains, Atari Teenage Riot and Mount Kimbie were also all groups which made the weekend that extra bit special.
Offset is a great way for a music lover to finish off the summer, less great for someone without a fringe to blend into a crowd.
By Nicholas Burman.