Sunday, September 13

Offset 2009

. Sunday, September 13

Squeezing the last blood from the Summer festival stone is London’s Offset, a two day event with one of the best alternative line-ups of the whole season. Forcing the Shoreditch glitterati up against hardcore bands such as Rolo Tomassi and more traditional indie groups makes for an interesting dynamic and provides something for almost everyone.

Pulled Apart By Horses tear through their set with an energy and zest that enthrals the converted and more than turns the heads of those yet to fall for the Leeds based band. What should be a similar triumph for Future Of The Left however turns out to be something of a damp squib. Handicapped by a short set time Falco and Kelson’s jokes fall flat as they focus too much on the quirkier songs from ‘Travels With Myself And Another’ leaving the whole show airing dangerously close to sounding like a novelty act.

Elsewhere on the Saturday Bombay Bicycle Club play a set full of songs you didn’t realise you knew with Jack Steadman’s twitchy performance a highlight. Even though many whispers of how much they sound like The Maccabees in earshot seeing songs such as ‘Always Like This’ and ‘Dust On The Ground’ played live make you wonder why this band are not bigger. One band who were very big but have now found themselves levelled out is The Futureheads. Their contemporaries were once The Killers, Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs but now they find themselves playing the same songs but to much smaller audiences. Going by this festival appearance however this is a miscarriage of justice as the group from the North East tear through hits from across their three albums focussing mainly on their fantastic self-titled debut airing the likes of ‘Le Garage’, ‘Carnival Kids’ and festival favourite ‘Hounds Of Love’.

The second day of Offset sees the opportunity to hear some of the year’s best albums given a live airing. Very few would argue that Wild Beasts, The XX and The Horrors have not made some of the most innovative and exciting records of 2009 and it is a pleasure to hear them all come to life on the stage. Wild Beasts in particular enrapture with tracks from their ‘Two Dancers’ album with ‘Hooting and Howling’ impressing alongside ‘All The Kings Men’ and first album cuts such as the sublime ‘Devil’s Crayon’. A truly bizarre and unique band yet one anchored down by a sense of romance Wild Beasts are quickly making themselves one of the bands of the year. Relative new kids on the block The XX might have made an amazing album but surely it wouldn’t hurt them to crack a smile every once in a while. With songs as beguiling and soft as ‘Basic Space’ and ‘VCR’ to unleash surely they must be on cloud nine? If anyone can make them chuckle by the end of the year please let us know. One band who need no encouragement to have fun are Dananananaykroyd and the Glaswegian sextet propel their live show at 100mph towards the audience. Undoubtedly the performance of the weekend the visceral pounding of their music is juxtaposed by the catchy choruses and like a comic book At The Drive In the group leave the stage to a mass of smiles and tapping toes.

Some, if not all, of the hype surrounding The Horrors second album ‘Primary Colours’ seems to have died down recently perhaps due to the fact the album does not translate very well to a festival audience. Appearing, through no fault of their own, forty five minutes late does not help and those who have to return to London are making their way towards the tube station as Faris Badwan stomps his way around the tiny main stage. Perhaps they need the absolute pitch black surroundings of a gig venue or the sweaty enclosed walls but having seen The Horrors twice over the Summer it’s fair to say that they are not representing a fantastic album to the best of its abilities across the fields of Britain. No matter how many times Badwan spits or guitarist Joshua postures there is no hiding that The Horrors need a dingy hall to make things work.

Photo via Helen Boast@ DiS



Anonymous said...

Dananananaykroyd were definitely one of my bands of the festival, along with Bearsuit, Rolo Tomassi, Kong, Future of The Left... who have I forgotten? I was gutted to miss The XX but Bearsuit were beyond awesome and that more than made up for it. I was also surprised how many Futureheads songs I knew and how much fun they were! We didn't stay for The Horrors - couldn't be bothered at all. It came across really badly on that big stage.

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