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Offset Festival – Sunday review (In photos)

September 12, 2009

Originally posted on The 405

Offset Festival Sunset

For Saturdays words and pixels, looky here

After a solid night’s sleep, The 405 return to Offset surrounded by blurry eyed punters for another day that the Offset bookers should be proud of. The day is started the way it continues throughout, in the shape of bouncy New Zealanders Die! Die! Die!

If you read Saturdays review (and if you haven’t, why not?) you’ll know the unnecessarily humongous photo-pit got a lot abuse from bands venturing into it, and DDD are no exception – lead singer Andrew Wilson setting up camp in their for a couple of songs in there. At least the organisers make things better for the audience by decreasing the size of the area for Sunday.

The noisy post-punk trio is a Fun! Fun! Fun! experience and race through their set, People Talk particularly enjoyably erratic. The end of the set is closed by Wilson hurling his guitar towards the stage from the audience, as seen below.

Die! Die! Die! @ Offset Festival

One would imagine Let’s Wrestle would continue the chaos theme, having been mighty impressed with their album launch at Camden Barfly last month – a brilliant bedlam mess of beer and sweat. However, today’s set is marred by a brutal sounding hangover, Mike Lightning explaining a phone call from lead guitarist Gonzalez: “I phoned him this morning and woke him up, and it was 5 minutes into the conversation that he realized he had dry sick all down him – and I still haven’t slept”.

Consequently they don’t do themselves justice, and lack the usual energy with the audience connection missing. A good set for those that know and love the songs of LW, including a closing of “Let’s Wrestle, Let’s fucking Wrestle”, though I’d imagine few new fans would have been won over.

Lets Wrestle @ Offset Festival

A double header over at the Clash:Live tent is a welcome change of gear, with electronic shoegazing types Maps on first, the brainchild of James Chapman. Debut album We Can Create was one of the hidden gems of 2007, a dreamy mix of come-down electro drizzled in nostalgia, and many tracks get a playing here.

You Don’t Know Her Name is as gorgeous live as on record, It Will Find You also a pleasure. Plenty of new tracks form forthcoming album Turning The Mind get an outing, single Let Go Of The Fear sticking in the mind particularly. A heavy emphasis on the electronica is very evident, the new tracks feeling harder, a shade more aggressive. Who cares that The Radio Dept.t have gone AWOL? Bodes well for the new album following this performance.

Maps @ Offset Festival

The second of our downbeat double header is much talked about The XX. Their relatively simple lo-fi atmospherics are hugely dark on their debut album, and it’s a similar event in a live outing. Known for tracks surrounded in minimalism, their performance reflects this, barely moving or talking on stage, letting the unsettling music work it’s way and reverberate round your mind.

It could be viewed two ways, totally reliant on the viewers interpretation; on one side, the camp that will argue of their absorbing, hypnotic power on stage, no need for gimmicks, minimalism reflecting minimalism. The other side will claim they’re just dull.

Crystalised sums this up best, silences between hanging notes in the air feeling vulnerable, almost uncomfortable watch. But that’s why it’s perhaps brilliant; a hugely subtle act in a field of bands that are desperate to try hard and impress – though one you’d have to be in the correct mind-set for, for sure.

Dananananaykroyd @ Offset

And now for something completely different, it’s back to the Main Stage for fight-pop demons Danananananaykroyd. You remember in Saturday’s review whilst talking about Pulled Apart By Horses, and how a certain band might be stealing their crown? Yes? Good. Well here we are.

Right from the very outset the strictly vocal duo of Calum Gunn and John Baillie Junior are a spring of hyperactivity, a dose of Ritalin is obviously missed before gigs. Possibly more fun than is legally possible is had by all, Watch This is 100mph of noisy melodic joy.

The vocalists cover so much ground, with Gunn in particularly running riot and diving into the audience continually, hugging randomers high-fiving and general pandemoniumal antics. During the penultimate song, Gunn and Baillie organize the crowd into two sections straight down the middle to create a “Wall of death”, then get each sides to charge at one another, though I’m sure some just ended up cuddling each other. Highlight of the weekend.

Dananananaykroyd @ Offset

The 405 slither into the murky underworld of The Hardcore Stage for our first full encounter of the weekend, to experience Rolo Tomassi – and what an experience it is too. Call them Mathcore, Noisecore, Spazzcore, whatever silly genre name you want, they’re mostly purely a force five hurricane of excellence. All sorts of (mostly noisy) rock references are thrown in, synth driven at times, whilst rocking out always.

Abraxas sends the crowd into limb-flailing raptures, one mighty moshpit growing by every song. Another contender for live band of the year, well done Offst Festival. In fact, RT are playing a gig with Pulled Apart By Horses in Brixton in early October, what a delightfully messy night that will be.

The Horrors @ Offset Festival

Finally, the weekend is ended by The Horrors headlining the Main Stage – well, eventually, technical problems causing a massive delay. If you’ve been lucky enough to see them sometime over the summer, you’ll know the routine of a playing of the glorious Primary Colours all the way through.

It’s a perfect set, obviously a band knowing the album inside out now, with the colourful and moody lights matching the krautrock influenced sound. Farris Rotter strides about spasmodically on stage, the harder edged Who Can Say offering a change for the crowd to have a release. The set washes over and captivates superbly, every bit as arresting as on record.

The Horrors @ Offset Festival

That’s a memorable Offset for another year, and the festival season for most of us, so it’s with an autumnal chill in the air and a heavy heart (and one last festival cider) that we depart to the harsh realities of life. Surely a festival that will keep on growing.

Dananananaykroyd @ Offset

Die! Die! Die! @ Offset Festival

The Horrors @ Offset Festival

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