Rebellion Festival Review

*****

Finally we’d arrived at the festival that we’d been counting down to all year! It was Rebellion’s 20th year as a festival and Punk’s 40th anniversary from 1976 to 2016. As we drove up the country from London to Blackpool, we hashed through our collection of punk mix CD’s sharing stories about gigs, Rebellion festivals in years passed and what bands we were seeing this weekend. I remembered back to meeting Eve Libertine and Penny Rimbaud of Crass for the first time, almost getting into a row with The Selector’s Pauline Black over a curry, interviewing Charlie Harper and a backstage food fight with psychobilly band King Kurt.  Reflecting on the last time I went to Rebellion and how it changed my mindset and attitude, I felt anxious with excited for what was in store this year. Anything could happen and it was going to be cherished. Bumping into more and more punks at each service station, we knew we were getting close.

Arriving at the B&B in Blackpool (you have to book one as it’s an indoor festival with no camping), we threw our bags through the door and legged it off to The Wintergardens for 4 days of punk bands, dancing, mates and beers. I walked into the Winter Gardens and was hit with a sea of unfamiliar faces, totally overwhelmed by how many punks were there and how big the place was. We head to the bar and took it easy. Before long we bumped into loads of people we knew. The punk scene is very close so you’ll bump into friends you met at a 999 concert in Margate or the drummer from a Reading based band even though you’re up north. I was lucky enough to catch up with  Jon Robb (The Membranes) who was holding the fort at his merch stall. I’ve written a few times for his magazine Louder Than War. Then we had a walk round the pavilion and I bumped into Jim Sharpes, editor of Vive Le Rock magazine filming Charlie Harper from the UK Subs for a new documentary. It was good to see these two and get a picture together. The day was already off to an epic start, and then the bands began…

Thursday

Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs 6:35pm, Opera House Stage

These guys are excellent, armed with only a washboard, washtub bass and acoustic guitar they covered songs from Led Zeppelin, Green Day and even turned Cold Play’s ‘Yellow’ into a song about band member Wino’s pants.

Peter and the Test Tube Babies 7:20pm, Tower Street Arena Stage

An electric set from these guys. Check them out and listen to the guitarist Del Strangefish’s weekly radio show on Brighton’s Radio Reverb.

The Bleach Boys 8:20pm, Arena Stage

I’d never heard of these guys before but they blew us away. Excellent band who mix punk with surf rock. They’re worth checking out.

TV Smith 9:50pm, Opera House Stage

TV Smith was beyond brilliant with his punk rock hardship lyrics and the thrash strumming of his acoustic guitar.

The Membranes 11:00pm, Opera House Stage

This band are incredible and you have to hand it to Jon Robb who fronts The Membranes and on the side, masters other bands records, writes the Louder Than War blog and runs his own merch stall before and after gigs! I lost my mind when they played ‘Do The Supernova’ and Jon jumped down from the stage to give me a huge sweaty topless hug.

The Pukes 12:15am, Opera House Stage

This gig was excellent, a stage filled full of punk rock women pogoing with ukuleles whilst another woman walked up and down the seated isles of the theatre holding a tray of red and white striped bags reminiscent of a 50’s popcorn girl. She was actually handing out ‘Puke Bags’ containing free stickers, a fanzine and a CD of The Pukes. Genius!

Later that night we also bumped into legendary punk and reggae DJ Don Letts and had a photo. Then I ran off with the t-shirt merch man and saw 4 more bands at some pub.

Friday

Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life 1:30pm, Opera House Stage

Steve Ignorant of Crass performing in a new band with acoustic guitar, bass and piano played by the magnificent Carol Hodge. This set was truly stirring, with very real lyrics and a boundless performance. We highly recommend Slice of Life!

Wonk Unit 2:20pm, Tower Street Arena Stage

These guys are hilarious in their slacker style punk rock. Alex was telling the crowd stories behind all of the songs and the drummer was ribbing the session keyboard player for his history in Ronan Keating’s band.

Pauline Murray Interview 3:25pm, Opera House Stage

This interview was with Jon Robb. It was pretty decent but I would have asked a few more pressing questions behind some of the lyrics and how it felt being a female thrown into the limelight in the punk world.

Alex Wonk Unit Interview 4:00pm, Opera House Stage

Very funny!

Sub Humans 4:30pm, Tower Street Arena Stage

Excellent set as usual!

Penetration 6:50pm, Empress Ballroom Stage

EXCELLENT SET. Pauline Murray’s voice was on point.

X-Ray Eyes 7:15pm, Rebellion Introducing Stage

Great new band, great sound. These are definitely ones to watch!

UK Subs 9:30pm, Tower Street Arena Stage 

Amazing as always. They had a new guitarist and the crowd were chanting his name. Jamie was a power house on drums as always.

Peter Hook & The Light 11:00pm, Opera House Stage

Totally packed out. I think this should have been in the ballroom because security were stopping people from entering the Opera House due to capacity restrictions. The show was heavy and the songs sounded incredible but Hooky will never give justice to Ian’s lyrics. I’m sure he knows that.

Menace 1:15am, Arena Stage

This was by far, one of the highlights of our weekend! Menace were insane and the venue was full capacity despite the band going on at 1:15am. They even invited a bunch of fans onstage and we got up and moshed with them for a couple of songs. It was the perfect ending to our day and was caught in this video…

  • Then I ended up in the All Night Bar with Lee, drummer from Chelsea and Paranoid Visions singer Sarah Vellum. Later I was walked home by a blonde guy claiming to be a love child of the front man from Menace. I called him Menace Jr.

Saturday

Interrorbang 2:55pm, Pavilion Stage

9481814294_1c90733db3_bGreat band bringing a mod edge and snappy dress sense to the scene. We love Interrorbang. At one point during the set they all put down their instruments and got into the audience shouting ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gunna take it anymore!’. Their guitarist has a great playing style and the singer has a bit of a Morrissey thing going on which is captivating.

Channel 3 4:55, Empress Ballroom Stage

They’re just not my bag.

Jilted John 7:10pm, Empress Ballroom Stage

Great gig and it went off when they played ‘Jilted John’, as you’d imagine!

Spizzenergy 9:40pm, Opera House Stage

Excellent performance and yes it went mental when they played ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’

The Damned 10:50pm, Tower Street Arena Stage

Raucous energy and thrashing chords. This band were distorted and disorderly and I lost my mind when they played ‘New Rose’ – the first ever punk single to be released.

Steve Ignorant & Paranoid Visions 12pm Pavilion Stage

By far this was one of the highlights of the weekend! To actually see Steve Ignorant of Crass performing Crass songs including ‘Banned From The Roxy’ and ‘Do They Owe Us A Living?’. I was born in the 90’s and adore Crass but resided to the acceptance that I would never have the chance to hear these songs live as Crass split in 1982****. But here I was, in 2016, moshing and screaming my heart out right back into Steve Ignorant’s face. No words. Just no word!

  • All Night Bar

Sunday

Bingo with Max Splodge 12:45pm, Almost Acoustic Stage

This guy is hilarious. One guy drew a house on his bingo card and Max gave him a prize. A little girl won the bingo and he tried to fob her off with a stack of last years flyers from a Bad Manners tour.

Popes of Chillitown 3:55pm, Pavilion Stage

This band are so insanely good and their front man is totally on it. This set was pure crazy energy and there was even a guy dressed as the pope in the mosh pit.

The Nightingale 4:30pm, Opera House Stage

Fliss on drums ❤

Rage DC Acoustic 5:00pm, Almost Acoustic Stage

The drummer was playing a flight case for a bass drum. That’s pretty DIY. This band are always great and their performance was really high energy and got the packed out pub dancing.

Fire Exit Acoustic 7:00, Almost Acoustic Stage

Great two-piece band, very upbeat.

The Minority Rule 7:15pm, Rebellion Introducing Stage

Awesome band with a lot of anger, check them out!

Slaughter and the Dogs (Original Lineup) 9:25pm, Empress Ballroom

Excellent set from these guys.

The Adicts 10:55pm, Empress Ballroom

I have to be honest, I’ve never paid attention to this band before but I found out about them in the most perfect way by going to this gig! The Adicts are seriously amazing. They take a punk rock sound, merge it with A Clockwork Orange look and have a ringmaster clown for a lead singer. The band have some incredible sing along songs too like ‘Viva La Revolution’ and ‘Never Walk Alone’. At the end of their set the entire ballroom exploded in a clowd of confetti and beach balls rained down into the crowd. As the band left the stage, they played Beetoven’s 5th symphony and suddenly the room was filled with punks ballroom dancing in complete spontaneous unity.

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