Kicking things off on the final day of Off The Cuff were Horrorshow, one of the best up-and-coming bands around the Birmingham area at the moment. It’s hard to imagine such a glorious racket emanating from just two brummie lads, but with a sound akin to Death From Above 1979 having an orgy with Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, this energetic two piece set the tone for a day that was jam packed with loud, noisy, and, more importantly, effortlessly brilliant bands.
Following them was another group of noisy natives, this time in the form of &U&I. They had the perfect blend of melancholic melody, explosive instrumentals and vocally arranged bliss, and they attacked every song with enjoyable fervour. They even managed to find time to slip in a little slap-bass odyssey and ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ into proceedings.
Upstairs, and the final day of The BrumNotes Acoustic Stage was also well and truly under way. Counteract favourite Charlotte Carpenter began things with an unbelievably cool set. The chilled out onlookers were mesmerised and caressed by her husky, rustic vocals as she set the bar very, very high indeed. But, as evident with the acts that followed her, such as Joshua Caole and Two Fathoms, not inescapably high.
Back in the Cellar, things were really kicking off. Them Wolves had just taken to the stage and my God, they were brain-rattlingly good. They threw songs out with unstoppable ferocity, playing with a degree of intensity that we had yet to see in full effect so far this weekend. Listening to their raucous, fast paced mayhem was like receiving a Tyson trademarked right hook, but infinitely more enjoyable.
And this style of high-intensity performance carried on through to the next band, the equally awesome Blacklisters. Another member of the impressive Leeds contingent at Off The Cuff this year, Blacklisters were determined to get the crowd actively involved in their set, resulting in numerous crowd-surfs by lead singer Billy, as well as an impromptu wrestling match between him and a member of the audience during set closer and latest single’ TrickFuck’. More of the heaving Leeds scene were to follow in the form of That Fucking Tank, an instrumental cacophony that really hammered home the point that for the last year or so, and possibly many more to come, now is Leeds’ time to shine.
Boat To RowMezzatonic delivered their own style of funk-rock chilledness to the BrumNotes Acoustic Stage, before the vastly impressive and never to be under-estimated Boat To Row brought that particular stage’s tenure this year, to an end. Surfing the crest of the folk-pop wave created by Mumford and Sons, BTR stunned the crowd with their expertly executed summer drench whimsy; banjo and all. Whilst the acoustics upstairs were winding down, The Cellar had hit the final straight. After Dublin math-punks Bats had showered the place in Emerald Isle aggression it was time for the two ‘Big Names’ of the festival to bring it to a close.
The penultimate act of the weekend were Bristolian scuzz merchants TurboWolf. One of the most original bands on the line-up, The ‘Wolf’s blend of good ‘ole fashioned rock and an acquired yet vindicated splash of synths made them one of the must see bands of the festival, and they didn’t disappoint. drawing the first significant mosh pits of the weekend, they rocketed through the majority of their self titled debut album, delighting the crowd with tracks like ‘Rose for a Crow’, ‘Let’s Die’ and the amazing ‘Read and Write’. Even a sickening blow to the head of vocalist Chirs, courtesy of a misjudged crowd-surf, couldn’t dampen the atmosphere of the capacity Cellar, with him solidiering on through the rest of the set as the crowd regaled them with the brilliantly tongue-in-cheek chants of ‘WurboTolf’.
Future Of The Left
Bringing this absolutely amazing weekend of music to an end were, unlike the previous two days, entirely justified headliners, Future of The Left. The welsh alt-rockers were on fine form, packing the Cellar to overflowing, and treating the crowd to an extensive overview of their back catalogue, from fan favourites taken from their first album Curses, such as ‘Manchasm’ and ‘adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood’, to tracks like ‘Sheena is a t-shirt salesman’ and ‘I am the Least of Your Problems’ from their latest release, A Plot Against Common Sense.
Overall, Off The Cuff was, once again, a roaring success. Whether it was utilised as a platform for underground and unsigned talent across the country, or as crowd-thrilling showcase of the best this Island has to offer, there was something that catered for everyone. And, with the addition of the BrumNotes Acoustic Stage, there is now another outlet for eager acts and another selling point for what is arguably one of the best small-scale festivals in the country.
Photography by Jonathan Morgan
Click here to read our review of Friday.
Click here to read our review of Saturday.
About Luke Deakin
Music is awesome. Well, some isn’t, but most is. I personally approve of Foo Fighters, Weezer, Sum 41, The Cure, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Muse, NOFX and White Denim amongst many others