Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, 2-5th August 2012
Having attended Rebellion punk festival for many years and then duly produced the inevitable long and rambling review, I though it about time I went for somthing far more in keeping with this amphetamine fuelled style of music.
So here you have it, a middle aged punks take on four long days and nights of bands, bravado and Blackpool. Count me in Dee Dee....22.214.171.124!
Left Cardiff at 5.40am. Finished first bottle of wine by 6.30am. Arrived Blackpool North at 11.30, already knackered, rather enebriated and decidedly crotchety:
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS: Relatively new American band. Extremely loud to the point that the vocals were distorted. Consequently, hard to tell if I liked them or not.
THE FILAMENTS: OK if you liked Less than Jake 10 years ago. Every song sounds the same.
THE PUKES: Saving grace on the opening day. 18 strong (mostly girl) act playing cover versions on ukuleles - GLC, Dead Cities, Sex & Violence, Holiday in Cambodia, Because You're Young - Generally pleasing on the eye and a good laugh to boot.
SNUFF: Were funny once.
THE BUSINESS: I love this band, but with the same set list for the third year running, even I am getting a bit bored.
BUZZCOCKS: Too knackered to stay up to see their 12.45 start. What a f*cking old man I've become!!
Woke more refereshed and after a hearty B&B breakfast took in the sights of Blackpool seafront - none!
2nd DISTRICT: German band that look like a cross between Motley Crue and the New York Dolls. Only caught two songs, but one was a cover of Patrik Fitzgeralds "Safety Pin Stuck in my Heart", so was sold almost instantly. Will look out for them in the future.
THE MOB: Recently reformed 1970's anarcho punk band that were suprisingly good. Very dark and doom laden but an "unknown pleasure" for me.
CHELSEA: Gene October keeps on going. Borders on heavy metal vocals at times, but worth it if only for "Right to Work".
TV SMITH: Should be playing the best of the Adverts with the Valentines, but they are stuck in Frankfurt airport. Gutted! Plays his acoustic set with Leigh Heggarty of Ruts DC instead. OK but not the same as hearing an electric version of "Gary Gilmores Eyes".
THE PIRANHAS: Last heard them supporting the Jam in 1980 with a mate who sadly has since passed on. Thoroughly enjoyable set if only to hear "Waiting for my Boyfriend" and "Tom Hark" again. (John RIP).
BOW WOW WOW: Original line up (excluding recently deceased Matthew Ashman), so got to see the phenomenon that is Dave Barbarrossa on drums. Great to hear tunes like "C30, C60, C90 Go!", "Sexy Eiffel Tower" and obviously "Go Wild in the Country". Annabella Lwin is a pocket dynamo and has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand.
Normal service nearly resumed. Best day for band line up, so into the venue for a 2.00 pm start:
GEOFFREY OICOTT: Do you like punk? Do you like cricket? Then you're guaranteed to love these Northern monkeys. Great tunes and even had a streaker mid set! (If you look close enough the old git leaning against the barriers in the red Rancid t shirt is your intrepid reporter, trying not to look at the blokes meat and two veg!).
999 - Last time they were here they played to a couple of hundred, now the Empress Ballroom is nearly full. Then who can't warm to Nicky Cash and Arturo Bassick.
TV SMITH & THE VALENTINES - Probably the highlight of the weekend. TV Smith plays the best of the Adverts with a proper band. This is the sound of my formative years - "No Time to be 21", "Safety in Numbers", On Wheels", "The Great British Mistake", "Gary Gilmores Eyes", "One Chord Wonders". I could have cried. And to top it all Gaye Advert was stood about 5 yards away from me in the crowd. Please God take me now, life can't get any better!
DOWNTOWN STRUTS: New band from Chicago. Their debut CD "Victoria" is constantly being played in chez Bones. Short set but you can see they have all the attributes to go on to bigger and better things. Do yourself a favour and get this record.
SPIZZ ENERGI: Incredibly camp. Incredibly.entertaining. Incredibly enjoyable. First time I'd see him live and a pleasure to hear "Soldier, Soldier", "Spock's Missing", "Virginia Plain" and the show stopping "Where's Captain Kirk?". Brilliant, if at times slightly disturbing.
VIBRATORS: Solid set. Not thing spectacular,
RUTS DC: Expecting a trip down memory lane with all the favourite Ruts numbers from the late 70's. Unfortunately they now appear more of a reggae band. Jumped ship after a few numbers, but I'm reliably informed they did do "Staring at the Rude Boys", "Babylon's Burning" etc at the end but more in a dub style. I suppose they never could replace Malcolm Owen.
MONOCHROME SET: Disappointingly sparse crowd for one of the most underrated of post punk bands. Still great chance to see another 2 ex Adam & the Ants Andy Warren and Lester Square in action. The set even finished in a punk style with lead singer Bid throwing his effects pedal into the amp and cussing out the sound engineer and a heckler!
At this point I should have been off to see JOHN (ROTTEN) LYDON and PIL. However the empress Ballroom was over capacity and I couldn't be bothered to wait to get in. Apparently people were chucking butter at him and a fair number left after a few songs, presumably because the band don't play standard three chord punk or Oi!. He had a better reception on Question Time!
THE LURKERS; Safe to say you know what you're getting with this band. All the standard numbers -"Pills", "Shadow", "I'm on Heat" etc were here, a genuinely a great live band.
MENACE: Quarter past one in the morning and I'm still going strong. Maybe I'm not as much as old git as I think! These were the surprise package for me last year and they didn't disappoint again. Great songs from back in the day - "Carry No Banners", "Last Years Youth", "Insane Society" and the anthemic "GLC". Great way to round off the day.
Last day and well into my stride. I could do this for another week. Perhaps I should ring the Mrs and tell her I'm not coming back, although I wouldn't want to get her hopes up too much!
BOOZE & GLORY: Half English and German skin band. Weird to hear the singer eulogise West Ham in a very Tutonic accent. Not bad, but straight ahead OI band.
SEX PISTOLS EXPERIENCE: I leave the Winter Gardens to travel to a local pub to see quite frankly the best tribute band in the world. Perhaps they should have replaced PIL last night?
LAST RESORT: More Oi related punk rock. Noticed how many more skins are at the festival than before. Sadly missed "Violence in our Minds" which is the only song of theirs I can say I really like. Guest vocal by Lars of Rancid on "King of the Jungle".
THEE SPIVS: Bought their debut CD. Enjoyed it immensely, sounding like many of the early bands that largely went on to have very little success. Hopefully the same won't happen to this band.
NEVILLE STAPLES: Rammed Empress Ballroom. Floor moving up and down to the happy summer sound of the Specials. Ideal for a barmy summer night in Blackpool. "Too Much Too Young" , "The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum", "Gangsters" etc. Rocksteady.
UK SUBS: For me a bit disappointing. Whilst you can never have too much of Charlie Harper and the Subs, I found the setlist a bit erratic. Still at age 68 I think he can have the odd off night!
RANCID: Headliners and the biggest band to ever play Rebellion. Tim Armstrong now has a beard, Lars is trying to hijack proceedings and turn them into an Oi band. Matt still hardly moves or says anything and they've got a (relatively) new drummer. A recipe for disaster? F*ck no!!
They have a back catalogue as long as an elephants dong and they dip in and out of all their 7 albums, stretching back over the 20 years of the bands existence. So for 31 songs (!) they take the place apart with classics such as "Radio", "Roots Radicals", "Maxwell Murder", Last One to Die", East Bay Nights", "Hooligans", "Nihilism", "Bloodclot", "Olympia WA", "The Wars End", "Fall Back Down", "Time Bomb", "Tenderloin" and "Ruby Soho" to name but a few.
It's difficult to imagine how the festival will top this next year, but I for one will be back to find out!