Spring Offensive


It was a gloomy and foggy night in Oxford – one of those damp atmospheres where you develop a thin covering of cold moisture as you walk. It was the kind of Oxfordian scene that conjures images of weary highwaymen and wizened old dons that probably attracts the tourists – exactly the English scene they always dreamt of! We were on our way to see Oxford’s Spring Offensive perform an acoustic show in Turl Street Kitchen.

We were ushered upstairs into a small room where they stamped us with something designed by the band – in my case a feather. They told us to make ourselves comfortable and that sitting on the floor was encouraged. I laid my coat on the floor and my friends and I sat close to where the bands would perform.

Support was from Richard Walters. He sang without his band and did a brilliant job. His songs were heartfelt and subtle, strummed strongly on his acoustic guitar. He was charming and funny in his delivery and confident between songs.

After the interval we were presented with the headline act – Spring Offensive. They opened with Worry Fill My Heart a song released in 2012 and one that really helped them gain exposure. It worked well acoustically. Once the song and applause had finished they were left exposed to almost complete silence. I think that this was a little startling having come from Liverpool where they played to ‘300 drunk people’.

Not Drowning But Waving, their latest single, was a high point. It built up patiently after its brooding opening and hit a pounding climax that left the crowd with an increased pulse and open mouthed. I was impressed by how much effort they had put into adapting their songs to the acoustic format. They don’t just switch the electric guitars for acoustic ones, and the drum kit for a cajon.

Red Oak was my favorite song they performed all night and a perfect example of their flawless vocals. The harmonies were rich and broad, and carried the songs with the absence of much of their normal electric sound. It had a wonderful moment when the instruments dropped out and left just the voices confidently and ethereally holding the melody. A special mention should be made for No Assets, a song of brilliant rawness and lyrical starkness. They released a very clever video for No Assets on the 13th March. Watch it below.

There was a feeling of being a bit of an insider, sitting amongst a group of people who were also ‘in the know’. I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer Spring Offensive will be doing this sort of show. I don’t think it will be long before the secret is out.