Festival Preview: OFF Festival | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Festival Preview: OFF Festival

In Katowice, Poland, August 2-4

Jul 26, 2019
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With the ever-greater saturation of UK festivals with arguably decreasing quality, many are looking to the East where promises of expertly curated events with fantastic line-ups, cheap booze, and a lot less chance of foul weather keep coming.

First started by organizer and director Arthur Rojeck from rock band Myslovitz and dream pop outfit Lenny Valentino, OFF Festival at Katowice in Poland boasts an intoxicating mix of youthful energy coming from the carefully selected cutting edge musicians plus huge heritage acts ensuring a high quality of performers which can range right from German techno to Norwegian death metal.

The event has taken home numerous awards including the prestigious prize for Best Medium-Sized Festival at the European Festival Award and previous luminaries to have graced their stages include PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, The National, The Smashing Pumpkins, Patti Smith, Primal Scream, The Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

This year, Off is held at Three Pond Valley (Dolina Trzech Stawów) and boasts five stages including the main Scene Perlage featuring the biggest artists of the weekend, the picturesque Scena Leśna (Forest Stage), energetic Scena Trójka/Tauron, a wonderfully odd selection on Scena Eksperymentalna (Experimental Stage), and Dr. Martens sponsor their own stage of lively upstarts keen to make an impression.

If that wasn't all, OFF also offers a wide range of activities and experiences to enjoy such as film screenings at their very own cinema, Q&As at the Literary Café, and even games setup for younger festival goers, plus a wide range of gourmet food suiting all dietary requirements to sample and enjoy.

Under the Radar will be jetting off to Katowice from Friday, August 2 until Sunday, August 4 to check out the local talent plus looking forward to seeing how some of our favourite UK acts fare in foreign climes. In anticipation of what will no doubt be a truly massive weekend, we take a look at the Top 10 performers playing OFF Festival.

1. Suede

(23:40 - 01:00 Scene Perlage, Sunday 04/08)

Despite a career that has lasted for 30 years, Suede certainly have been living up to their reputation as the insatiable ones on their recent tour which has seen singer Brett Anderson leaping around stage with more vigor than a man half his age. Whilst many lose their inspiration after the first couple of albums, the indie icons have just completed a trilogy of albums finished with the creepy concept album The Blue Hour, which has marked a true creative highpoint.

They are one of the final acts of the festival and will no doubt be the best way to end the weekend on a high. Although it will be interesting to see how this definitively British band is received by the Poles.

2. Jarvis Cocker introducing JARV IS

(23:40 - 01:00 Scene Perlage, Friday 02/08)

Ultimate geek chic sex symbol Jarvis Cocker has gone and got himself a new band. Wittily titled JARV IS, our first taste of his new project comes in the form of an existential question put to a surging explosion of psyche-disco: "MUST I EVOLVE?" Apparently inspired by a visit to a cave once inhabited by pre-historical troglodytes, Cocker realizes that like his ancient ancestors he cannot rest on his laurels and must continue to press himself to progress into the future.

Hopefully we will hear a couple of classic Pulp tracks thrown into the mix. And given recent changes in current affairs, we can't help hoping for his acerbic solo anthem "Cunts Are Still Running the World" too.

3. Aldous Harding

(21:30 - 22:30 Scene Trójka/Tauron, Friday 02/08)

It's already been a massive year for New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding having recently just dropped her incredible third album Designer. An introspective record which features guest appearances from Huw Evans from H. Hawkline and Stephan Black of Sweet Baboo, the gorgeous and evocative melodies were captured by famed musician and producer John Parish to create nine enigmatic tracks of blissful indie folk. The perfect set to enjoy whilst the sun goes down.

4. Trupa Trupa

(18:15 - 19:15 Scene Leśna, Sunday 04/08)

Atmospheric and hypnotic, compelling math rock band Trupa Trupa make their very welcome sophomore appearance at OFF Festival. The Gdansk based four-piece first made waves with their album ++ in 2013, followed by two years later by their critically acclaimed record Headache, which earned them a nomination for the Polish equivalent of the Mercury Prize, and the beguiling Jolly New Songs. With word spreading across the Internet, they made forays into the international festival circuit to be warmly received at SXSW, Primavera, and Eurosonic to name a few.

Trupa Trupa are expected to be showcasing new material from their next highly anticipated album Of the Sun.

5. tęskno

(17:20 - 18:10 Scene Trójka/Tauron, Saturday 03/08)

Tęskno (Polish for longing) is the beautifully haunting work of violinist Joanna Longić and the pianist Hania Rani. The highly skilled pair have their roots in neo classicalism but allow their music to range from the lively and impassioned to delicately ethereal whispers to allow for the tremendous emotional weight of their music.

Last year saw the release of their stunning debut album Mi, which has already found them an international audience and received awards all around the world, celebrating its elegant beauty and exceptional innovation, marking them as amongst the most important Polish artists right now.

6. Jakuzi

(20:25 - 21:25 Scene Leśna, Saturday 03/08)

Coming to Katowice from Istanbul, Jakuzi proved to be vital listening with the release of their stylish first full-length record Fantezi Müzik in 2017, which is regarded by many critics as a modern synthpop masterpiece. Undaunted by their early success, this year they have returned with their second LP, Hata Payı, which despite the title (Turkish for "a part of the mistake") shows considerable development as they explore a darker sound than their previous outing.

Jakuzi are bringing the Turkish underground to the world stage and Hata Payı is sure to feature in the most discerning Album-of-the-Year lists.

7. slowthai

(19:20 - 20:10 Scene Trójka/Tauron, Friday 02/08)

It seems like nothing can stop the irrepressible rise of Northampton rapper slowthai. Having been bubbling away for a couple of years, he suddenly grabbed attention with the release of his lo-fi muscled single "Doorman," produced by Mura Masa, before teaming up with Skepta for vital track "Inglorious" as heard on debut album, Nothing Great About Britain. He has now been announced as support from Liam Gallagher on his upcoming tour after appearing at OFF and we cannot wait to see how this indomitable character infects the crowds with his irreverent take on hip-hop.

8. The Comet is Coming

(20:25 - 21:25 Scene Leśna, Friday 02/08)

While no-one could have predicted the return of jazz, London based trio The Comet is Coming have certainly made it their year by spearheading the resurgence with the release of their second LP, Trust In The Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, which features "Summon the Fire." Yep, it's THAT whaling sax single that is seemingly always being played by BBC 6 Music.

Having electrified the audiences in the scorching fields of Glastonbury earlier this summer, we can't wait to see how revellers at OFF react to their mind-blowing cosmic grooves.

9. Perfect Son

(18:15 - 19:15 Scene Leśna, Friday 02/08)

Signed to iconic indie label Sub Pop, Perfect Son is the moniker of Polish singer and Tobiasz Biliński, who is drawn to the darker hard edge of synthpop as heard on his debut album Cast, released just this year. His first album contains 10 expertly produced tracks which are unapologetically grandiose in scale to address themes of endurance, intimacy, and desire.

This is Biliński's first prominent slot before making further appearances at major festivals around Europe across the rest of summer.

10. Dezerter

(19:20 - 20:20 Scene Perlage, Saturday 03/08)

The world has certainly changed since agitational Polish punks Dezerter first formed in 1981, having seen the fall of USSR and their home country turn from Soviet satellite state to eventually become a full member of the EU whilst the planet still comes to terms with the global dominance of neoliberalism and the lasting disastrous effects of the War on Terror.

It seems no matter how radical the political transformation, the selfish rule of the powerful and the suffering of the poor remain constant. These are issues addressed by Dezerter on their seminal debut album Underground Out Of Poland, and album that is more relevant than ever and which they play in full at OFF.

(Also performing this year are Stereolab, Foals, Neneh Cherry, Superorganism, Daughters, and many others.)

www.off-festival.pl/en/

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