Have you ever tried to reflect a whole festival in just one single photo? No? Well keep this picture in mind and let’s have a try with the one above and imagine how the first Offset Festival ever was. Here we go with some keypoints:
London. Yes, that mash-up of a gay indian chief and an adorable fluffy rock star is Eddie Argos from now infamous Ex-scene band Art Brut. In his 2nd second life and Eddie is one of the new cultural figureheads of London and then in his 3rd life he’s the Elvis jumpsuit wearing head of Glam Chops.
Of course Offset took place at – better: beneath – the Hainault Forest in the north-east of London. So the finest of London’s new underground scene – and that festival nearly had them all – didn’t have a very far way to go. And if one act didn’t come from the UK’s capital, this was a sign that it had to be a very good one like the Blood Red Shoes above from Brighton.
Goth (and postpunk). Remember that bleak boy in the background of our introduction picture? Offset was full of them and one would be stupid if you don’t track that back to the excquisite goth and postpunk line-up, surely one of the, if not the best of the entire season in and outside of the UK. For two days the plain Experimental Circle Club tent was the church of the sence and it was S.c.U.M. to read their bible. Their Saturday afternoon set of the four-piece band with rehearsal room in Shoreditch was a black, impulsive and mighty sermon.
Kasms (see above), Ulterior, Micron63, Neils Children, Hatcham Social, The Ruling Class and Electricity In Our Homes played some really nice shows as well. So it was no wonder that the entire line-up of The Horrors showed up at backstage during the weekend.
Nerds. Okay except the little friend of the bleak boy from our main picture I couldn’t hardly find any other nerds at Offset but at least Mercury Prize nominated Young Kives look liked three students one kidnapped from the next libary. Live on stage they made no single move to break with that image but from the minuted they grabbed their instruments they ruled the crowd in front of the main stage. That’s the definite proof: intellegience is sexy and rock’n'roll.
Weirdness. Like you could read above Eddie Argos appeared as a “mash-up of a gay indian chief and an adorable fluffy rock star” and the performance of his band was a crazy hurricane of beer (the crowd), glitter & mascara (the band) and shiny spandex (the dancers). But the madness started way earlier: the first gig I could completely watch was the charming kindergarten-esque appearance of Sputniko!. That girl had not only two friends convinced to play robots for her but had a Wiimote called “Wakki” tied to her left arm. Moving her forearm up and down she controlled a little dance computer and produced some funny songs taking only the best out of Japanese pop and Sesam Street. It was lovely to watch and I guess this low-budget thing can change people’s children’s lives.
Girls (and girlpower). The blondes on the 1st picture may be Eddie’s dancers or his groupies (I think they we’re both but I can’t remember it) but Offset too was set under true girl power. The Girlcore Dance Tent united pink trash, neon age and hippie groove with the hardcore gay lesbian feminist movement, visually and musicly. That may sound pretty stupid but it was wild, mad and a great fun. For instance Little Boots, a solo project of Victoria Hesketh, offered some really nice melodies to the crowd (maybe there’s a brighter future for her). Visual performer Scottee covered everything in red lipstick and Lauren Flax and Radioclit made the people dance.
Okay the only femine thing about Radioclit is… the name but there was some strong support on another front: Susanne Oberbeck alias No Bra not only exposed her boobs (doesn’t that look fucking beautiful in the picture?) but some great lyrics from her songbook performed by a MC-version of Nico over at the Experimental Circle Club. Last but not least the show of the girls from SKIPtheathre in front of the Neils Children and the performance of Ipso Facto were two great highlights that shouldn’t forgotten.
Legends. Well only the NME would call Argos a legend but who would doubt that Wire and Gang Of Four are original ((post)punk) legends? The two oldies but goldies headlined the festival and did a fine job. Actually only Wire did a fine job embodied by an experienced set played with a lot of dedication, raw power and intelligence at the same time with some suprises left missing.
In opposite of that Gang Of Four played one of the best shows in the entire season on Sunday. It was one of those magical performances everyone wishes to experience at least once in his lifetime. The hooklines were as sharp as back in 1979 and the bass was simply godly. Every hit they played destroyed you more and more til you stumbled away after the concert. The perfect end (sorry, Prinzhorn Dance School the London underground was against you!) for a nearly perfect weekend.
PS: The Maccabees behaved like legends and in the end we can state that they can at least grow to the current status of Oasis, unfortunately without having a “Definitely Maybe” or a “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” up their sleeve. So So Modern didt much better:
FOTOS: THOMAS VORREYER