Offset Festival 2009: 5 Must-See Bands

As 2009’s Offset Festival edges ever closer, NME’s Leonie Cooper looks at the connoisseur’s indie punk-rock line-up and recommends 5 unmissable acts to blow your socks off this weekend (5 – 6 September).

Reading and Leeds used to signal the end of the festival season, but with the likes of Offset, Bestival and End Of The Road still to go, these days time isn’t called on the whole bands-in-big-fields-fandango until half way through September.

First of the final few is Offset Festival, which takes place this weekend down Essex way, at the end of London’s Central line. With a ‘too cool for school’ line-up similar to London’s Field Day, Offset manages to trump said festival in the hipster stakes by managing to keep the programming impressive for two days instead of just the one. Offset also boasts an unrivalled clutch of hand-picked, cult bands.


Here’s our choice picks from the both the old guard and the new wave.


The Slits
Fronted by Johnny Rotten’s step-daughter, Ari Up, The Slits formed when Ari was just 14. The John Peel favourites mixed reggae with a totally DIY post-punk clatter and went on to be a massive inspiration for the riot grrrls of the early 1990s. We don’t want to toot their horn too much, but they’re basically one of the most important girl bands ever. Here’s the video for their 1979 track Typical Girls:

Damo Suzuki
A former member of Krautrock legends Can, Damo Suzuki is, to put it lightly, a bit of a character. If you like experimental jams that skip between baffling, bonkers and ruddy amazing then go and give him a look-see. The Horrors’ll certainly be watching. This is Mr Suzuki doing his bonkers thing down at ATP with Fuzz Against Junk a couple of years back:

A Certain Ratio
First there was Joy Division, then there was New Order… and somewhere in the middle were the brilliant A Certain Ratio, another gang of far too talented Manchester lads on Anthony Wilson’s Factory label who injecting soul and funk into the punk aesthetic. If you fancy a shimmy on Sunday – head down to see these guys. Here they are playing Shack Up:

Wild Beasts
Wild Beasts’ second album Two Dancers is just about one of most curious albums 2009 has seen. Curious because it’s damn weird, but great with it. If you haven’t seen them live this summer then Offset are giving you another chance as they close the festival on the Sunday over on the Clash stage. Their immense Hooting & Howling is here:

If the thought of an unhinged singer lunging towards you mid-set makes you come over all queasy, then you’ll be best off standing at the back when Kasms take to the stage. Front lass Rachel, well, she’s a touch on the wild side. This is them playing an uncharacteristically stationary number at Rough Trade a couple of months back: