Some of my readers may remember that Mike and I went to Offset for the first time last year after being convinced by RX Kitten, we had such a good time that despite the fact of not really knowing any of the bands playing this year (last year The Slits and The Futureheads played- The Slits was enough of a reason for me to go)! we thought we should definitely go again. The only band we actually knew any songs by was Art Brut, and some of the band names rang a bell, but couldn't think of any songs. This year for that exact reason I thought it would be a good opportunity to discover some new music, especially to play on my show. I spent some time investigating before the festival, and I did buy two albums- Thomas Tantrum and Wet Dog and a very helpful person on my facebook fanpage (add if you haven't already- just look for DJ Moonlight on facebook) gave me a long list of female fronted bands that were playing at the festival, so I had a bit of preparation beforehand!
Last year we went in our friend's Dave's car but this year we had to travel down ourselves, so we met our friend Will outside Westcliff station at about 11.30am on saturday, for some silly reason there was no one at the ticket gate so we couldn't buy a ticket from real person, one of the machines was broken and you couldn't see it really as the sunlight was beaming on it, and then we went round to the other side to the other machine that wasn't taking notes! Eventually after much running about we finally managed to get tickets to Upminister, which according to the Offset website was meant to have a shuttle bus to the site, but when we enquired with the train staff, they told us there wasn't one and we weren't the first ones to ask. Apparently we would of had to get two buses from there to get to the site, so we waited for a train to Romford and then we could get a normal bus (again, no shuttle bus) to the site. We were very relieved once we finally got there about 2.30pm! (we live in essex and the journey should have been just under an hour in total) even if we did have to join a fairly lengthy queue to get out wristbands. Luckily Dave was nice enough to have taken some of our stuff in his car.
We met Dave and our other friend Paul once we got our wristbands and then found the campsite to find a spot to pitch our tents up. The campsite was already quite full but they were expanding it as more people were arriving, it was about double the size of last year, indicating ticket sales must have been better and they were also selling tickets on the door this year. We managed to find a nice spot just in the corner. We got all pitched up, helped Will set up as it was his first time camping at a festival then had the joy of inflating our air bed! Soon after RX Kitten arrived, she hadn't been able to come sooner as she had college that day.
When we had a look at the arena we could see straight away that there was a bit more going on this year. There was a small fair this year, we didn't actually end up going on any of the rides, but at least there actually was this time, as they promised one last year and there wasn't! There was also cash points this time, and a special security van where you could store stuff or charge your phone, we didn't personally use it, but I thought it was a good idea. There was several clothes stalls including the vintage clothes tent again, this year I got a pretty necklace from there, it's silver and has a heart charm that says "You Rock and Roll" on it which cost me £5. I saw a gorgeous dress that had guitars all over it but it was £40 :( There was a stall selling Offset merchandise (we got a program from there, but they also had t shirts and bags) and another one that was selling some of the band's music and merchandise.
There was a selection of food stalls but we spent all eating time at one that was called The Wide Awake Cafe which we discovered all their food was vegan- including cheese and everything! We sampled Chili, Pasta, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, and best of all a full vegan cooked breakfast on Sunday morning :)
Anyway, Saturday. The first band we saw was on the Loud and Quiet stage called Teeth!!! fronted by a slightly mental Japanese female singer, they were electro/punk/noise and fun to dance to.
We hung around as we wanted to see the next band on this stage, who had a interesting write up in the program comparing them to Bikini Kill and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This band was Comanechi another band that was fronted by a mental japanese woman. She was not only the singer, but also the drummer. She was awesome, the epitome of a riot grrrl. There was a small mosh pit and the security was being really over the top. The slightest movement and they were going in to tell people off but really they were just making it worse, at one point the singer/drummer was telling them to get out the way (they were standing right in the middle of the stage at one point) so she could see her fans, and she got the crowd to start putting their middle fingers up at them! At another point she was drinking straight vodka and then she gave it to someone in the audience. This band was truly the highlight of my weekend, it was very much modern day riot grrrl, I felt this may be the closest I'll ever be to what it was like to see Bikini Kill. Expect to be hearing a lot more of this band on my show soon!
The last band we saw on Saturday was Thomas Tantrum, I thought they were quite good musically but weren't anything special live really, but then again I had witnessed some really amazing bands that day so it was hard for them to compare to them!
We didn't do much else that night really, we did have a boogie in the dance tent at some point and a brief walk in the woods.
Sunday morning we went to the petting zoo type thing that was just across from the forest and got to stroke horses and goats, and look at chickens, donkeys and rabbits. The conditions were by no means perfect, but it was nice to be able to do something like that.
The first band we saw was Wet Dog on the main stage, they were pretty good although to be honest I think either being on a smaller stage or at a later time of day would have been better as there wasn't much energy. as they were first on, most people were just sitting chilling out to it.
The second band we saw on Sunday was Blue on Blue unfortanely as I had so little sleep I couldn't really enjoy them properly but I did really like them, and there was some speculation, which I've now discovered is correct- is the female vocalist was indeed the same vocalist of a band that played last year- who I enjoyed but sadly split up An Experiment on A Bird in the Air Pump
Went back to the tent for a while to attempt to get a bit of sleep, I still couldn't manage so just decided to start drinking instead! When we got back up, we went to see
Chrome Hoof as Rx Kitten had told us how awesome they were. She wasn't wrong! (not she ever is ;) ) there was about 10 of them, and they play a blend of metal and disco and somehow make a very interesting and entertaining noise! also an amazing stage presence, dressed in silver and black outfits, with the lead vocalist like a vampire Grace Jones.
The next band we saw was Anna Calvi there wasn't much of a crowd for the band but they were contending with These New Puritans on the main stage. I did quite enjoy them but again, there was no atmosphere, I'm sure this band will get bigger though...
We decided take a quick peek in the Offset Presents tent as I had a funny feeling I recognized the name The Rayographs as soon as I saw them, i remembered i think I had them on MySpace when I actually bothered to use it. I only saw a small glimpse of them but that small bit sounded great, I saw a review elsewhere giving them a glowing verdict so kinda disappointed I missed most of it now!
Anyway we wanted to have more drink at the tent (rather than paying for alcohol in the arena, as you couldn't bring it in with you) so we did that for a bit before going to the arena again. We saw a bit of Caribou (the first band we watched all weekend that wasn't female fronted)! who were quite good, wasn't too impressed with the vocals though, I preferred the instrumentals!
Even though I had heard of them, I had no idea what Atari Teenage Riot sounded like, and everyone kept going on about how great they are so had to see a bit of them. Well my apologies to the legions of fans, but I don't get it? It sounded like just a lot of noise to me, like drum and bass music with shouting over the top or something. I really didn't like it!
We wandered off and watched Gramme who were dancey fun and I loved that the lead singer didn't really fit into the traditional mould of female singer and she looked like she was having a great time!
Well that was it for another year, what great time, can't wait for next year, heres some videos of the bands-