Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Offset 2009 - The Best Review of Them All

There are too many festivals. Most of them are too expensive and are full of idiots. Offset is at present a remarkable exception. It is affordable, has the finest selection of new and classic bands on offer and you can stroll around the beautiful Essex woodlands and fields without a single person offering you a free hug or shouting bollocks until their throat bleeds and fills their adolescent lungs with blood.

All weekend the heavy sun beat down steadily on swarms of beautiful young people, many of whom travelled only a few stops along the central line from East London to attend. As well as the Shoreditch socialites, a number of seasoned old punks and rockers attended, some even bringing young children with them, such is the relaxed and pleasant atmosphere of Offset.

The offstage antics are what truly make a festival memorable. Saturday bore witness to a bizarre kind of sports day involving drunken teenagers frolicking through the grass like beasts in heat. The comedy tent was dominated by a rotund ex jockey by the name of Bob Slayer, whose border line paedophilic brand of comedy involved lewd remarks being launched at a 14 year old girl wearing a sailor costume, while her Father looked on in dismay. Mr Slayer was rewarded for his comic exploits by being repeatedly punched in the bollocks by an attention seeking, stage invading young lady who was covered in sick.

Despite the compulsory shake down from the over zealous security each time you re-enter the festival, I, along with most other people, was able to accumulate enough intoxicants to see me through the weekend, and remain contentedly twisted throughout all the following performances.


KASMS – Fiery haired singer Rachel boasted of her Essex roots as she shook her supple body vigorously to the eerie goth-punk rhythms. At one point she started to climb the rigging in an attempt to shake the audience from their complacency, but after climbing 3 feet, she gave up and got down again.

Teen Sheikhs – Sounding punker than ever, the Brighton lads tore the tent to shreds with their awesome fun time tunes.

Male Bonding – The audience, already psyched up from Teen Sheikhs, went ballistic to this lo-fi bro-core trio. Much of the set was performed with half the audience cavorting about the stage, picking up instruments and moshing like they were 14.

Damo Suzuki – The legendary Damo was but a whirl of swinging raven locks as his band knocked out mesmerising psychedelic electro-rock.

Factory Floor – A band who have yet to perform a bad set, Factory Floor’s pounding rhythms and captivating electronic noise was made unbearably intense by the relentless onslaught of powerful strobe lighting.

The Slits – I think there was some confusion, Notting Hill Carnival was last weekend, who booked this mediocre white reggae band? The tacky dub was punctuated by awesome performances of classics such as ‘Typical Girls’ and ‘Shoplifting’. During the performance of the latter every man in the audience wished he was a girl so he could join the exclusively female stage invasion that Ari-Up instigated. Still, this was not enough to excuse Ari pouring water on her cunt and shouting “ARI PUM PUM, FRESH AND NEW!” between each song. Embarrassing.

Metronomy – I was hoping they would provide the party atmosphere they did last year. Alas, it was pretty boring; despite the novel entrance of three people playing one keyboard for the first song.


Ulterior – Some people compare this band to Suicide. Those people are idiots. Pretty much a wank rock group with an Axl Rose look-alike on the mic.

S.C.U.M. – This band were big news last year. Singer Tom had a fine smoking jacket on. Besides this, their performance was less than captivating.

The Ruling Class – Decided to sound like the stone roses, and why not?

Hatcham Social – One of the highlights of the weekend. Everything admirable about pop music and the balance of the catchy and the experimental can be heard in the music of Hatcham Social.

The Horrors – Wisely focused on the excellent material from this year’s exceptional kraut rock influenced ‘Primary colours’. I had to leave while lanky singer Farris clumsily waltzed about his mic stand, the last train was about to leave.

Goodbye Offset.

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 36, September 2009

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  1. This review contains Lies and deceit regarding the comedy!!

    The Father looked on happily as we were baby sitting the 14 year olds for him for the weekend so that he could go and get pissed / watch bands...
    And the girl who repeatedly punched me in the bollocks (until they bled) was 17 which jail bait does not make - her only affliction was that she was Ginger and one of the other comics had been sick on her - it must have been magic sick because she fell in love with him...

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