Offset Festival 2010; Hainault Forest; Saturday 4th September
It’s a shame that the small crowd of supporters are mostly sitting down for Ice Sea Dead People
’s main stage-opening slot, as they’ve got some great tracks; ‘Justin Klein
’ a particularly enjoyable listen. Onstage, they’re clearly throwing themselves into the music, leading me to believe that their own shows could well be rather good.
Over on the hardcore stage, Jackals
are less of an intriguing prospect, with one more vocalist than they have ideas. Despite this lack of really good songs and the fact that half the vocals are a sputum-drenched slur, they give a spirited performance; the two vocalists’ foray into the crowd prompting some brief movement on the floor.
Over to the ECC stage, next, for a band called Novella
. The set started interestingly enough, a brief instrumental showcasing some genuine musical talent. Unfortunately, the remainder of the first half was rather less interesting; the songs either overtly drawn out or not given enough space to breathe. However, when the synth comes into play, the second half of the set is very enjoyable; the dreamy soundscapes mingling pleasingly with the vocal tones. Their myspace demos are promising, so it may be interesting to see the direction they move in.
Back to the hardcore stage for Pariso
, who play loud, fast, abrasive hardcore (no way, really?). They’ve got the songs, and they play like it’s all they could ever want to do. The audience is appreciative enough, though it’s a shame that a band-requested human pyramid is the extent of the crowd activity. Invasion
receive a hero’s welcome on main stage, being so perfectly suited to this scene. Their soulful ‘wizard-metal’s hypnotic grooves perfect for outdoor shows. These are three amazingly talented individuals with seriously good songs, who should be much bigger than they are.
Next on the main stage, Bo Ningen
seem to have walked out of 1971; and play a show that I can only assume would’ve been one of the better ones of that era – groovy, fuzzy rock music played by 4 small men with long hair and strange clothes. It’s like watching a band of goblins. The show ends in a full-blown freakout - one guitarist holds his instrument in his mouth, another goes onto his knees and disappears behind a monitor, and bassist/frontman Taigen drops his instrument for some of the most surreal dance moves I’ve ever witnessed. Oh, and the drummer climbs up around the outside of the stage
. Utterly insane, and more than slightly brilliant; this band should be at every festival, everywhere. They’d all be much more fun.
Arriving too late for their set at Tramlines
and having to miss out on Leeds
festival altogether, this was my first chance to see Male Bonding
. The live setting served to enhance the rawness of their recorded work, while maintaining all the songs’ various emotions and feelings of urgency to produce a truly uplifting, beautiful set of music reminiscent of Fugazi
covering the interesting bits of Pink Floyd
songs. Kap Bambino
’s set serves as a good indication of the chaos to come during ATR
tomorrow; them also playing an aggressive form of electronic music. Frontwoman Caroline Martial seems to be everywhere at once, bouncing about as much as the audience, who for the first time genuinely explode. As the set closes, Caroline leaves the moshpit and declares that ‘everyone is safe now
’; the closing track having caused utter havoc throughout the small field. A lesson for the other modern electro bands in how you do live shows.
Last time I saw Lavotchkin
, in a review that never actually made it to any websites; I said that they played “quite simply the best sort of show a modern hardcore band can produce
”. As such, you can understand why I might have had very high expectations for a festival set. Unfortunately, this evening feels more restrained – perhaps just because of the barrier between the band and the crowd. Musically, however, they’re still a revelation, the songs alternating between the slow and crushing and the fast and brutal, the riffs dark and tortured throughout. An enjoyable enough set, but we know they can do better.
There is nothing else anywhere that can be compared to the sound of Throats
’ live show. Their melding of brutal, grinding hardcore and deep, sludgey grooves is so powerful as to alter the consciousness of the audience; with some songs such as ‘**** Life
’ assaulting the minds of the crowd. Others such as opener ‘My Hands Are Cold
’ cause brutal moshing activity; space in the tent opening up with more speed and aggression than any of the preceding bands. Each time I see this band, the shows get more and more effective. I look forward to the next time, and also the time after that.
’ live show is a mental assault, Trash Talk
are a physical equivalent. Opening with the heavy crush of ‘Hash Wednesday
’, frontman Lee doesn’t actually appear until the set’s second song. From that point onwards, the set becomes less of a musical experience, and more an all-out brawl. It’s difficult to do the set justice through describing individual events in the crowd, but to attempt to summarize; I’ve never seen security guards quite so utterly lost as to how to handle a set as during Lee’s strangling a crowd member with the microphone and subsequent somersault off a speakerstack into the crowd (all done with several other participating crowd members on vocals). For levels of aggression caused in a crowd, this band is entirely unmatched. Rolo Tomassi
are over 20 minutes late onstage, James (Spence, Keys/Vocals
) shouting apologies to the crowd and becoming ever more visually angry with the sound engineers. As the set finally starts; opening on I Love Turbulence
, the band play with more vitality than usual (and this is not a band to expect any shortage of vitality from), using their personal annoyance with the sound situation to enhance their performance. This is never more evident than in the close of French Motel
, as James; dissatisfied with the current size of the moshpit; climbs over the shoulders of audience members to create space. A blistering rendition of Unromance
follows, with Fofteen
subsequently representing debut album Hysterics’
contribution to the set. Kasia/Sakia
has seemed an odd choice for festival setlists at Download
due to its length in comparison to the other tracks, but tonight it makes perfect sense, sounding as intensely emotional as the first time I heard it, back in January. As closer Party Wounds
begins, James asks all of the bands’ friends at the side of the stage to get in the crowd through whatever means necessary, and Eva offers a prize to the first person to the top of the tent (someone actually makes it. I hope he was adequately rewarded). As I’ve come to expect at Rolo
shows, all hell breaks loose in the tent, the lyrics to the first breakdown screamed back by the whole crowd. Then everything stops. The power is cut and nobody gets the finale they deserve. A great shame, but then again; perhaps even Party Wounds
’ ending wouldn’t have done that set justice.