Preview: Offset Festival 2008

01 August 2008

Festivals have been held in some strange locations. ATP for one has proven how much fun one can have in a run-down Pontins chalet.

But the suggestion of holding a two-day event in a forest at the end of the Central Line in Hainault is still enough to raise the stiffest of eyebrows.

But that’s exactly what the Offset team have got lined up. Promising to showcase “the UK’s most exciting bands – and the artists who have influenced them” – it boasts over 100 bands across eight stages, with a line-up as eclectic as the venue is unconventional.
The weekend’s headliners Gang Of Four and Wire are two fine examples of bands whose non-existence would have shaped a very different music scene to the one we have today. The former demonstrating devastating form at recent live appearances means the masses in Essex are in for a treat indeed, whilst Wire return to plug new record OBJECT 47, so called because it is the 47th item in the band’s discography and the band’s first without guitarist Bruce Gilbert, but expect to hear tracks from their albums that were remastered two years ago also.

Warming up for the big guns on the main stage include ex-Mclusky / Jarcrew boys Future of The Left, the alarmingly popular Jonny Foreigner, the Altered Images-ish pop stylings of Thomas Tantrum Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes and the superbly fun XX Teens.

The Rock Stage boasts something of a nostalgia trip with early 00’s indie faves My Vitriol and ex-Busted stars (ask your big sister) Fightstar making up the headline appearances.

You’ll be lucky to catch your breath at the stage as the utterly oddball and wonderful Chrome Hoof‘s mix of hard metal with infectiously addictive melodies is sure to get the punters dancing amongst the trees. The equally ramshackle Selfish Cunt, plugging their recently released 2nd LP, Spain’s Grabba Grabba Tape and the gorgeous Slow Club confirms that this is likely to be the more interesting of stages that wander over to.

As DJs go, Offset has the lot. A stage hosted by the Girlcore clubnight sees Shoreditch come to Essex with NYC’s Lauren Flax spinning the discs alongside Trailer Trash’s Hannah Holland and her Batty Bass crew as well as DJs from Boombox, Durrr and Zombie Disco Squad.

Throw in new discoveries from the likes of 4 Or 5 Magicians Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and the brilliantly named We Rock Like Girls Don’t and you have one fine weekend on your hands, safe in the knowledge that you can jump back on the Central Line if it all gets too much for you.

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