Off Festival 2010 Day One Recap: The Horrors, Toro y Moi, Art Brut, Tindersticks | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Horrors

The Horrors, Art Brut, Tindersticks, Toro y Moi, Off Festival 2010

Off Festival 2010 Day One Recap: The Horrors, Toro y Moi, Art Brut, Tindersticks, August 6th, 2010

Aug 07, 2010 Photography by Laura Studarus Web Exclusive
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The opening night’s observation that I was about to slip down the rabbit hole turned out to be apt. After a restless night of sleep (Hello jetlag!), I was bundled into a car and taken deep into a rain covered forest. I’m from Los Angeles. This setting? Well…welcome to Wonderland.

Huddled at the far end of field under an oversized umbrella (ignoring the flashes in the sky), I managed to catch final bit of Polish quintet, Potty Umbrella’s set—a hard rocking, jazz-influenced group whose energy cut though the deluge. It seemed a shame they were playing to a half-field, but it appeared I wasn’t the only one afraid of the storm.

Taking cover in a nearby tent, Tin Pan Alley also represented for Poland, in all its garage-rock, guitar squealing glory. Glory which—it should be noted—I’ve never quite embraced. Ditto for NP’s impassioned rapping. (Although points should be given for their drum beats made by an actual drumming.)

Kim Nowak (one letter different than the starlet) faired much better. Poland’s answer to The Black Keys, dirty southern rock is alive and well. 

Actually hailing from the American south (southish, anyway) was South Carolina’s Toro y Moi. Their (or rather, his as the band is the work of leadman Chaz Bundick) ambient pop and dance quickly transformed the tent into a sweet and sweaty dance party. (And turned this skeptic into a believer.)

Outside again, Something Like Elvis—a Polish band who turned out was nothing like Elvis—was warming up. While their MySpace makes them sound not unlike a later-day Cure, their lively performance, use of an accordion, roaring guitars and staccato vocal delivery put them in the poppier side of the '80s equation. Not that I’m complaining. 

The Horrors rocked the main stage. Taking everything that’s wrong about rock (dirt, sex, and oh the arrogance!), they turned it into something very right, strutting across the stage like the world’s most possessive peacocks. It's the fantastic rock cliche that, while I might not want them as a best friend, I'd happily pay again to see on the stage. 

Of course, few bands matched the absurd energy of Art Brut. Frontman Eddie Argos threw his heart—and later body—into the crowd, while talk-singing through Art Brut’s ridiculous tales of alcoholism, romantic misadventures, and of course, “DC Comic and Chocolate Milk Shakes.” In a show-stopping moment, the audience was convinced to sit while the lyrics to “Modern Art Makes Me Want to Rock Out,” were rewritten to include a reference a recent episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor encounters Van Gogh. (Later, The Fall would prove to be Art Brut without a sense of humor or clever references.)

Lenny Valentino took the prize for the most impressive local band of the day. Formed in the '90s, The Off Festival marks a return to their original line-up—a major coup judging by the crush of humanity who came to witness the sight. Glorious, soothing rock, the only draw back (at least for this American) was that their (reportedly) introspective lyrics were all in Polish. Their remarkable presence, however, was universally appreciated, even during the second downpour of the day.

Closing out the muddy evening was Tindersticks. The set opened with a lone cellist, who jointed the band in their melancholy intertwining harmonies. A subtle beautiful close to the evening (alas, jetlag prevented me from checking out the super late sets), it was a performance that resonated even after the final note and a perfect end to a long day. (


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August 7th 2010

Sounds wonderful!!! Yes, I am officially jealous!

August 16th 2010

It would have been great if you had seen the set by A Place To Bury Strangers. It was incredible!!! Rave reviews!