Live Music + Gig Reviews

Offset Festival 2008: Day 2 @ Hainault Forest Country Park, London

31 August 2008


Day 2 of Offset and the weather gods are refusing to play ball, asdark clouds descend onto the Essex green we try not to dwell on imminentshowers and focus on what could please our ears.

Merz‘s early afternoon is a delight, with the attentivecrowd taking in the gems from his Moi Et Mon Camion record.

He seems ingood spirits too and perhaps should have been slightly further up thebill than this 2pm slot.
Slow Club completely pack out the sametent after, the sweet boy-girl duo’s live show continues to shine and adreamy cover of The Mae Shi‘s Run To Your Grave is a notable highlight. Thedebut album can’t come quick enough.

Gothic O’Children bring a, ahem, dark cloud to proceedings.Their moody noodlings are entertaining enough but soon become rather samey.So So Modern save the day with an excellentset of bouncy electro. Gone are the usual “wacky” costumes they usuallydisplay, but none of the content falls flat, and the New Zealandfour-piece pull in the days strongest performance.

Ex-Mclusky and Jarcrew boys Future Of The Left‘s ferocious Shellac-inspired rock falls flat on the main stagebecause of poor sound quality. The band don’t appear to be particularlyhaving a blast either (frontman Falco asks the crowd “Are you having amediocre time?”). Their new tracks sound as if they continue where debutCurses left off but this set was a big disappointment.

Not much better are the heavily delayed Ispo Facto, whocome across as nothing more as a shambolic hipster mess. Even lessinspiring are the really-why-are-they-still-bothering My Vitriol who not only appear to have little new material but also still look as bored to be onstage as theydid seven years ago. Seriously guys, the moody thing doesn’t work -we’ve grown up now. We don’t care anymore.

Blood Red Shoes get possibly the weekend’s biggest crowd, and they’re pleasant enough, but we wander over to the Girlcore tent oncemore where the party is again in full swing. Sets from Warboyand Zombie Disco Squad have the droves avoiding the rain ontheir feet.

The heavily-delayed Gang of Four close the festival andmanage to do so on a high. Opening with At Home He’s A Tourist andproceeding to play the nearest thing to a greatest hits set, they banishthe memories of the lacklustre Wire set the night before and give thefestival a memorable climax. The smashing of a microwave and a genuinelyamazing Damaged Goods just about saves the day from being a massivewashout.

Offset has great potential, the venue is convenient and easy to getto and whilst the facilities were somewhat lacking in places, there werenever queues for anything for longer than a couple of minutes and barsand other amenities were well staffed. More quality control withthe band selections could have turned what was merely anaverage event into a great one. Next year, perhaps.



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