The stamina of some of the punks is unreal, either that or they are sleeping outside the winter gardens. Statics were on at 2.30 so that was my starting time but rebellion had already a big crowd in attendance. Los fastidios, from Italy were on in the empress Ballroom at 2.25 and they brought their usual large crowd. I love watching these Italian skins singing about anti fascism and animal rights. We can all sing along for animal liberation and how the workers of the world must unite. But unfortunately I owed it to the statics to watch them so missed a bulk of Los fastidios.
That’s the great (and sometimes bad as I completely missed Geoffrey oicott due to scheduling) thing about a festival like this. You can easily dip your toe in and out of bands. So I got to see a bit of penetration, Spizz energi, monochrome set, vice squad, blood or whiskey, neck, the only ones and choking victim in between the fuller sets.
Also on was John robbs excellent series of interviews. I caught the ones with mick and Wayne from slaughter and the dogs and also viv albertine formerly of the slits. It would be great if these were recorded as they provide a fascinating insight into the history of punk rock. Slaughter gave a great account of the manchester scene and growing up in that time. Viv spoke of squatting in London in the 70s and hanging out with mick jones, sid vicious and the start of the punk scene. She also spoke of her time with the slits and the eccentricities of people. Fascinating.
I left to hear the now englands biggest anti fascist gay oi band. Hard skin announced themselves on stage and blew us away with their ironic oi anthems. Im in on the joke so I can gladly sing along to “we’ve still got beer” as I raise my glass of water. A great laugh and in many ways summing up rebellion. Decent people not to be taken seriously.
Next full set was paranoid visions in the Olympia. It’s a long way from fibber magees that’s for sure. you could probably fit 10 fibbers into this place. It’s massive and must have been daunting for the 8 visions on stage. Tv smith even joined in for a song.
I vaguely remember Patrik Fitzgerald from way back. He had a guitar a unique voice and some quirky songs. These were all in fine fettle tonight. For some bizarre reason I thought of frank side bottom as i closed my eyes listening to Patrik. Frank, without the paper mâché head and the keyboards and the cover version, maybe you get my drift!!! Let’s just say he could be a relative with THAT voice.
I was completely blown away by ruts dc preceding patrik. They played to a huge crowd and it was a blistering set. The ruts hold a special place in my heart. I remember Malcolm Owen dying. As a young kid I could almost feel the pain that Malcolm was going through. His songs in the ruts were stories about his life. His experiences of trying to give up drugs and subsequently loosing that battle in the bath in his parents home exude sadness to me. I wrote about him in my first zine in 1983 and still have that sadness over me when thinking about how his life was wasted. I loved the ruts so excitement was pretty high for me. They kept going for a while under this moniker after Malcolm’s death but their records never captured the same excitement as the ruts. Tonight started off slow enough. I was enjoying their white reggae / dub sound but was hoping for a bit more. This I certainly got in spades. They reworked some of their classic songs and still seemed heartfelt. Staring at the rude boys and jah war were the standout moments of the festival for me. It wasn’t just the songs on the night, it was the history. Brilliant.
P.I.L. finished the night for me, considering I didn’t go see them in Dublin recently I wasn’t expecting too much. I got what I expected and I had to queue in for the pleasure as the ballroom was so packed, it hadn’t seen a crowd like this since the darts!!