Offset Festival – The Hardcore
As Brighton based BRIDES take to the stage of the Hardcore Tent it’s clear that they’ve been putting the work in, whether it’s down to playing more shows or the mood of a festival they have a new found professionalism about them. Opening up with ‘Endless Sea of Dirac’ they are off to a fine start, punk jumps galore and banging heads as the crowd move closer to the barriers to get a glimpse. As the song really kicks in and you get the mild crooning of Guitarist/Vocalist Tristan Macfie there’s already a pretty good atmosphere. Moving on into their set Brides blend semi aggressive guitars with harsh but lively vocals. There are parts as they continue where more vigor is needed and they seem to be flagging but their songs are strong enough to keep things going. ‘Carcinoma’ is an instant hit, the utter expression of the vocals are almost elevating and the foursome are holding the attention of the crowd as they showcase their unusual and inventive sides. Ending the set with the awesome ‘Frank West’, fast paced drums and guitar bring the set to a close. Brides did well today, there were elements that needed that little bit more oomph and they still have a way to go but they’re definitely worth checking out live.
The Tupolev Ghost
As soon as The Tupolev Ghost burst in with beguiling guitars everyone immediately starts to move, even if it’s just a foot tapping. Straight away the striking vocals and guitars hold hope that what you are about to see is as good as you anticipate. Changing from grungy hard rock to the softly controlled stop-start of something a bit more intricate, they’re sound is intelligent. The Tupolev Ghost have elements of both Fugazi and At The Drive-In but what they are doing completely belongs to them. With guitar parts that are distorted yet lightweight and slick in sections, they bring you in; they certainly have the attention of everyone who stands before them. The sound is sharp and there is definitely something about this band that holds your interest. As their set glides through with fierce force, unusual riffs and passionate vocals it’s clear as day that The Tupolev Ghost have massive potential. Just recently inking a deal with Big Scary Monsters we can only imagine (and hope) that we will be hearing a lot more from them soon.
Rock and Rollers The Plight come on to a very warm welcome as they hurl themselves across the stage to an explosion of intensely catchy riffs and head rocking beats that instantly get everyone in the tent grooving. The Leeds five-piece are on top form tonight as vocalist ‘Aliskull’ throws himself around the stage growling and sneering as raised fists punch into the air. There’s something very cool about The Plight, they’re the kind of band you wanna party with when you’re watching them, they epitomize having a good time and that’s what this show is all about. It only gets better as they go on, straight up punk beats and pissed off lyrics thundering towards the crowd, The Plight are performing a full on rock & roll assault and its awesome. Musically they’re tight as well, everything is just spot on! The guitars make beautiful melodies, the bass lines groove along and adding those gravelly vocals over the top just makes their sound belong to them, but it’s easy to tell that they’ve been influenced by bands like Black Flag maybe with a bit of Led Zeppelin sprinkled in. By the end of their set everyone is either punching or banging or just plain old dancing. If anyone at Offset didn’t know of The Plight already they definitely will now.
The Eyes Of A Traitor
The Eyes of a Traitor are definitely more metal then most of the acts on the hardcore stage today but that’s not necessarily a good thing. They begin their set with a barrage of roaring guitars and stomach wrenching screams but the crowd aren’t that impressed at this stage and it all feels a bit static, the Hertfordshire five-piece are lacking much needed energy and at points it seems that they are just going through the motions, there’s no sign of any real passion. Instrumentally though the band is fairly talented and even though the songs show signs of creativity and exploration they are certainly not breaking down any major barriers musically. The crowd starts to get a bit more into things about half way into their set as TEOAT display melodic phrases of guitar under the down pitched vocals, yes they do this very well and they are solidly tight as a band, there is some notable guitar work and equally catchy harmonies but towards the end of their set it just get a bit boring. Yes there are parts that definitely differentiate them from the usual suspects of this genre but they don’t purvey live what they do on record which is a shame. TEOAT leave the stage to a good response from the crowd in the end but the metalcore outfit have a long way to go if they plan on standing out from the hundreds of bands doing what they do.
Devil Sold His Soul
The hardcore tent is now filled to the brim as everyone awaits tonight’s headliners Devil Sold His Soul. As the light darkens, the band take to the stage and immediately receive a surge of cheers, it’s an amazing atmosphere. In true DSHS style the band start off doing what they do so very well, create the perfect ambiance. Moody yet elated samples rush forward from all angles and there’s an eerie drama about it all and then bang, the sextet blaze into their set firing all cylinders and so do the masses. Rapid drum beats, vicious guitars and ruthlessly harsh vocals fill the heavens. Vocalist Ed Gibbs bounds and launches to every point of the stage to the ever so fitting strobe effects that light up his background of wielding guitars and contorted bodies. DSHS are infusing all the right elements of a band; it’s heavy and epic, thoughtful and raging, as Ed shifts from earsplitting screams into beautifully melodic singing over thudding drums and blistering guitars its plain to see why they are headlining tonight. Their biting form of hardcore, which throws in parts of electronica, is a rasping howl of purpose and there is so much passion and force behind it. This band are literally tearing off the faces of every onlooker tonight and it’s undoubtedly a spectacular sight. As their set draws to a dramatic close the tent is once again filled with raised fists and deafening cheers, a very good end to an evening.
It can be a tough task for a band to be first on at a festival, especially on the second day and even more so if its midday but Crocus seem more then prepared for duty and there is a surprisingly good amount of people here for this time of the day. The four piece from Falmouth charge into their set holding absolutely nothing back. Vocalist Greg Milne flings himself around to the point where he looks almost unhinged but its suitably fitting and every single person is fixated, as they jostle their instruments around with great technical ability at a furious pace. It would appear that Crocus are doing this for all the right reasons, there’s so much passion, anger and ferocity as each member looks in pain as they writhe around the stage. ‘A Spiritual Polemic’ eases in with a simple bass line that soon emits into utter chaos and disorder, but a structured disorder and don’t be fooled into thinking that the sound is one you could forget, there are parts that are genuinely catchy and get you moving along, especially the funky bass breakdown in the middle. As the band continue their frantic 12’oclock attack what they’re doing is so sincere and it’s an enjoyable sight to watch, they are similar to bands like JR Ewing and Orchid but are undeniably doing things their own way. They end the set with ‘The Worst Kind of Joy Is Hope’ which appears to be a crowd pleaser as everyone bellows once the name is mentioned. The track is exhilarating, starting off with the catchy guitar riff before once again exploding into pure disarray as you wonder why front man Greg isn’t injured yet. They finish off to a really good response and so should be the case after that.
Lower Than Atlantis
Watford lads Lower Than Atlantis appear on stage today to a warm welcome, kids at the barriers seeming eager to check out the four piece, straight from the word go it doesn’t appear that these boys are just as keen though. Starting off with their usual gutsy sound, frontman Mike Duce’s vocals are on top form, sounding as harsh as ever as he hurls out his vulgar and uncompromising lyrics over the punk rock riffs. Yes the sound is great and yes the songs are undeniably rocking but the performance is just a bit stale, they seem to be going through the motions this afternoon, that doesn’t appear to be deterring the crowd from enjoying it though. LTA swing into the well acknowledged ‘Frankie Goes To Hemel’ and the masses revel in the fact that they can sing along to the line ‘come on girl, show me where you piss from’. As the set progresses into crashing drums and punchy riffs its clear to see why these guys get compared to the likes of Gallows and Everytime I Die, Mikes vocals sound really similar to Frank Carters at times (especially when they both come from Watford and have an identical accent) and some of the guitar work and riffs could easily be found on an ETID record, they are by no means breaking any barriers, but they do what they do well and its cool. New song ‘No Belts’ is immense, showing signs of great potential to come from their next record, it’s a step further from their usual songs and they seem to be exploring a little bit more with it. Towards the end of the set everyone seems to be a bit more into things and as they end their set on ‘The Juggernaut’ the masses go nuts, very much so the song everyone wanted to hear. So maybe LTA weren’t in top shape tonight but their keeping it real with fast punk beats and rock and roll riffs and if tonight’s new tunes are anything to go by their next record should be a blinder.
Outcry Collective smash straight into their set tonight raring to go, riffs and straight up rock and roll aplenty, from the set off it looks as though these chaps were born to be on the stage, they make it look so natural, especially vocalist Steve Sitkowski. His vocals are filthy and strong over the heavy, bluesy guitar and hammering drums. The in-between banter from the frontman is genius as well; he’s funny, charismatic and totally in his element and that very much shows. The OC boys are full of energy tonight as everyone is singing and bopping along, skipping from fast punk drum beats to grooving bass lines, from contagious riffs to gut-wrenching screams, its there for all to be a part of, even more so when Stikowski bounds into the crowd to get all and sundry involved in the party. New track ‘Dead in the Water’ has a similar taste to ‘Everytime I Die’ with a more brutal chorus then this band would usually endeavor, it’s not anything groundbreaking but it’s awesome. Still going strong as they make their way towards the end of the set, Outcry Collective come across as a very professional band, they’re tight and their stage presence makes them look as if they’ve been doing this for years, don’t be mistaking that for boring though, they brought a whole lot of fun to this party tonight.
As soon as Throats proclaim ‘fuck everything’ they disperse into unadulterated chaos and they are off to an enormous start. Extremely heavy and relentless guitar, it’s furious and angry and the crowd love it, it’s the first true pit witnessed in this tent. Vocalist Alex Wealands screams are so stomach wrenching it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was spitting blood by the end of this; they are taking no mercy tonight. Complete clamor alongside groovy rhythms, battering through with no signs of stopping, drums and bass hauling the rhythm forward as the vocals are frantically scrambling screams that you can’t particularly understand, but that doesn’t matter, they are beyond doubt putting on an incredible show tonight. Throats are filling the tent with energy as people stage dive off amps and throw each other around to the enormously heavy sounds that are battering everyone’s ears. Frenetic and loud, the band launch across the stage, swinging guitars and mics amongst the raging bass lines and defiant drum beats. The five-some put on an impressive show tonight, it’s out of control. Perhaps there is no melody or harmony but it’s wholly exhilarating and there is so much raw passion on this stage tonight for such a young band. Throats must have been happy when they left the stage tonight, the cheers were deafening and providing such a thrilling set it’s no wonder why really.
The first song of Blackholes set smashes in with a huge riff as vocalist Rich Carter gets stuck into the crowd’s faces. Straight away the sound is infectious as the Watford five piece jump and spring around the stage with a fair amount of energy, it’s a little bit stagnant to begin with but that doesn’t seem to be effecting anything as the crowd is going absolutely berserk. It’s clear as day that Blackhole have been influenced by bands in the vein of Everytime I Die as they blare out the southern rock inspired riffs. Rich Carters vocals are vicious and sturdy as they rip through the air while he decides to get a bit more involved with the excitement. He dives straight into the throng and gets involved with all that are dancing and moshing, this seems to spur on the rest of the band as the energy bursts out of them. The band is a lot of fun to watch tonight and for such a young group they ooze confidence. The sounds that they create may not be anything revolutionary but its well written, likable and a fair amount better then a lot of other young UK bands around at the moment. By the end of their set the crowd are loving them, especially Carter as he spent the majority of the time in the crowd with them, good times.
A loud applause welcomes noise kids Rolo Tomassi to the stage tonight as they enter to a fittingly darkened tent. As the lights come up the Sheffield five-some burst into bounds of energy, front woman Eva Spence writhing and dancing to the schizoid frenzied paces of the guitars. The band exude their eccentric and entertaining side from the very start with crazy time signatures and creative guitar sounds as both Eva and James shriek and cry over the cacophony of intense drums and bass lines. The madness stops just for a minute for Eva to introduce themselves in her almost angelic speaking voice and lets us know that they are about to play us the first ever hearing live of their new track ‘Party Wounds’. It’s the usual tomassi sound of catchy bass parts and fascinating electronics but with that little extra heaviness. The track is nothing particularly novel from their older stuff but it’s incredible all the same. The set continues with fiery energetic party sounds that gets everyone shaking and jumping. Eva’s vocals are astounding as she moves from saintly sounding melodic singing to vicious harsh screams. Tonight we also had the pleasure of the band doing a Throats cover with Alex Wealands joining them on stage to do guest vocals. By the end of the set the whole place is in bedlam with all and one having a good time, it’s very fair to say that these youngsters put on a fantastic show and have a bright future ahead of them.
The Ghost of a Thousand
Brighton lads The Ghost of a Thousand burst into pure fury from the second the first note kicks in. Starting off the set with ‘Bright Lights’ a track from their new album the band showcase their raw energy and craftsmanship as vocalist Tom Lacey, dressed all in white, screams vibrate into every ones ears. Even though just one song into this you can’t help but think this is punk rock at its finest. Next up is classic ‘Left For Dead’ which all clearly approve of as the whole tent goes absolutely nuts. Guitarists Andy and Jag leap to the sky and dash across the stage swinging their guitars as Tom clambers on podiums and barriers emotionally screaming on top of those unmistakable drum beats. Every single note, shout and jump is filled with passion as you witness five guys doing what they love and it’s just awesome. Drummer Memby Jago is certainly one of the cooler drummers as he plays the most inventive, groove based beats with such ease and personality. Sweat dripping from every member of the band as they show no signs of slowing down their set just gets better and better. Toms vocals are as strong as ever and the new tracks are engaging and exciting with a little more realness about them. The tracks have great structures and you can understand why this band are getting the attention they definitely deserve, they sound colossal tonight. Galloping drum beats, pulsating guitars and firing vocals are on show tonight as all bodies are sitting up and paying full attention. The TGOAT lads end their set with ‘Black Art Number One’, still full of energy and clearly ready to take on anyone, your left thinking one thing, this band should be massive and it’s going to be the biggest crime if they don’t end up being big very soon.
Words: Jenna Lee
Photo: Abbi London
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