Young Offenders: from Adelaide to the biggest festival in the world

Words by Brett Pike
Photos by Young Offenders

From Adelaide to the biggest festival in the world. Playing Glastonbury is the pinnacle of performing for bands across the globe. So how the hell does one punk band from Adelaide manage to book themselves a slot amongst the heavyweights? As bassist Anthony Katern explains, a bit of luck and having the right people dig your band can go a hell of a long way.

A reshuffle of the line-up two years ago combined with increased work and other responsibilities left Young Offenders in somewhat of a limbo following the release of their debut EP. As many a wise person has said though, “all good things take time” - and that is certainly what has happened with the punk trio.

Fast forward to June this year and I’m standing in the crowd in North London with a packed venue of kids bouncing off the walls (myself included). So how does a band from Adelaide wind up touring the UK and playing a set at Glastonbury?

Glastonbury came about thanks to the Joe Strummer Foundation in England. They heard some of our stuff a couple of years ago and dug it, they offered us a chance to play on their stage at Glastonbury for 2016.”

“It was too late notice for us, but luckily the offer was still there for 2017, so yeah fucking oath a huge thanks to them,” explains Ant. “We definitely haven’t taken it for granted and feel nothing short of privileged at getting to play there.”

“It was surreal to be there and see the sheer size of the place let alone getting to play our tunes. There was definitely a ‘what the fuck am I doing here’ moment up the top of the hill from our stage overlooking the entire festival.”

It was an opportunity that the guys have since seized with both hands. On the back of their first complete national tour and releasing a new single, ‘Wasting Time’, at the start of the year, the band has since gone on to add a UK tour under their belt solidifying their ambitions to push the band as far as it can go.

The boys are taking a more sedated approach to their return to Oz with a show the other weekend at the Crown & Anchor and a solitary show in September. Due to the need to get back to work (touring ain’t cheap) and also since the band hasn’t really stopped playing shows for the past two years.

“The big aim at the moment is to write an album or at the very least an EP!” remarks Ant. “Since I joined the band, we’ve been smashing the shows so we’ll pump the brakes a bit on that and knock off all the half-finished songs we’ve got laying around while writing some brand new ones.”

A common theme throughout the band's history, lyrically at least, has been social commentary. In particular, taking things with a healthy level of scepticism and the pursuit of your own happiness. Using your head instead of following the rules blindly.

“A big part of society certainly follow what they believe to be the ‘rules of life’, which means the clock is always ticking on achieving life’s goals; getting a degree, getting the wife/husband, the dog, the house, the kid. If that’s 100% what people want then I couldn’t be happier for them and (they) should pursue that!”

“Contrary, it’s important that people realise there are no rules to life and that the only rule they should follow is doing what makes you happy and what actually means something to you, not what is expected.”

“We’re always told and reminded of how much freedom we have in Australia, which is true in a lot of ways, yet when you travel to Europe you realise how much more progressive they are in certain areas. Logic is used over there, live your life however you want and if you’re not putting anyone in danger or being a dickhead then carry on.”

From taking on the crowds at home to taking their brand across the world, the band is making massive strides both with the quality of their performances and their commitment to the job at hand. A return home spells a return to the studio and we can expect big things from here on out for the punk lads. As far as scepticism goes, is the world flat?

“Don’t be silly. Of course it is”

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