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soundCHECK with Jamie Harper: A new goth fest for North Devon

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

ORGANISER: Tobias Matthews.

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ABOLISH your glottal stop! Soften that rhotic r! This week we're talking about pronunciation and only the most diligent orators have permission to look away. Tobias Matthews – frontman of The Dead Betas and wickedly sedulous North Devon promoter – has got a royal funk on with the way what some people talk like.

"Over the years myself and many friends in various 'alt scenes' have been bannered under one term by the less open minded of our peers: goth. Or at least it would be if any of them took some elocution lessons," chest-thumps Tobias. "Alas, time and time again anyone in dark clothing or in a bad T-shirt has heard the phrase: 'OI GOFF!'" (My empathy barometer has just exploded – I'll explain once I've cleared up the mess.)

Matthews is a man with a score to settle. And he's taking his protest way beyond Journal2's favourite ham-fisted music column, oh yes. He's starting a music festival. "I have always found that the best way to dismiss what is meant as an insult is to adopt it," he fist-pumps. "Goff Fest is a small festival in the making!"

'In the making' being the operative words there. Goff Fest is happening. The date is set, the line up is finalised and if you were a fan of BetaFest – Matthews' now defunct twice-yearly, ramshackle, live music limb-flail – you will know what to expect, right? Maybe.

"As ever I'm bringing together a mix of upcoming UK artists and the best local talent. But the main difference [between Goff Fest and BetaFest] is in organisation and attitude. BetaFest's haphazard, happy go lucky, hope for the best and wing it attitude was great in its early stages but unfortunately on the last couple I got stung by things that were out of my control. Goff Fest is going to be like BetaFest's more experienced older sister."

Confirmed bands include perennial objects of soundCHECK's affection like Pretend Happy, Scott Xander Linn & The Broken Bottles, Chapters Of Eden and, of course, The Dead Betas – whose synth-punk is currently clattering lugholes across the UK as the Bideford noise-merchants execute their second headline tour.

Also on the Goff Fest bill are Dead, who hail from Southampton and describe their sound as what would happen if Tarantino and Shakespeare started a band.

"I'm looking forward to Dead," explains Tobias.

"Their upcoming tour with Fearless Vampire Killers is a big thing and it's great to have them down. Plus their DIY approach to management works with us!"

The description on the Facebook event page reads: Oi mate, are you a goff mate? Whether the answer is yes or no, we guarantee a good time. Tobias says: "No matter what music you listen to or which way you swing, this is a place for Goffs of all shapes and sizes."

Goff Fest takes place at The Palladium in Bideford on Sunday, May 4, 7pm, £4 on doors. Four quid. Four quid! That's a bargain, right there. And it is a Bank Holiday so you don't have to worry about feigning productivity at work while chain-eating packets of Haribo to try and tame your hangover.

Put the date (Sunday, May 4) in your diary now and move heaven and earth to attend. A boisterous night of live music from some of North Devon's finest bands awaits.

So listen. I know you're wondering why my empathy barometer shattered. Let's just say I get the whole "goff" thing, having once been branded such before being ordered by a cheerful fellow in Boutport Street to remove my "gay skinny black jeans", which were actually blue and not gay. Nor skinny. In the assailant's defence it was dark and he looked a bit simple. But boy was I relieved that I hadn't worn my lucky Black Sabbath pants that night.

CONTACT: What would your music festival be called? Pen me some good'uns and I'll put the funniest/weirdest suggestions in next week's soundCHECK. Maybe. jharper@northdevon journal.co.uk or @testforpulse.

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