Rebellion 2017 The Sophie Lancaster Conversation: Dead for Being Different

Some things in life are difficult to think about, you’d prefer they weren’t there, that you could turn your head away.

But life isn’t simple, it isn’t right, it certainly isn’t fair.

It might seem like an odd thing to have at a festival, but it says so much about the punk community that space was given to a heart-breaking conversation between John Robb and the mother of Sophie Lancaster, who was brutally killed for doing nothing wrong. She was killed for ‘being different’.

This can’t have been an easy conversation, so I have a lot of respect for both John Robb and Sophie’s mother for doing it, and being so sensitive.

We’ll put a link up on the site with more information about this tragic case. One of the positive outcomes is that people are being educated about hate crimes. As Sophie’s mother pointed out, as a society we have made great strides towards tackling racism and sexism but it is still easy to slip into lazy ways of thinking, of taking things for granted. How easily we make human beings who we don’t see as ‘being like us’ into OTHERS. And that’s a narrow way of looking at the world, and as Sophie’s death proves, the consequences can be tragic.

http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com

Michael

 

Rebellion 2017 Interrobang

Interrobang

A plush theatre in the North West of England. A new band, an audience of punks in a room full of history.
There is a sense of excitement. I certainly don’t know what to expect, except that Dunstan from Chumbawamba is involved.

Naturally, being creatures of habit, we look at the stage……then from behind us comes a voice, through a megaphone, it seems to say: I’m so taciturn I got to answer a question on the radio!

Odd, and it makes me want to know more. It’s good when you don’t get all the answers immediately.

Interrobang are amazing, a beat group for the beaten generation. Sharp suits and talk songs with a great two-piece backing band……this is the true spirit of punk…..vibrant, creative, entertaining and thought-provoking.

The sound contains The surprising elements of Gang of Four and Wire…..even a bit of the intro to Staring at the Rude Boys was smuggled into the mix. They represent a fantastic transition from Chumbawamba….who will never be forgotten in the Dublin DIY community for their brilliant eccentric, and pointed performances most notably in the SFX with Fugazi.

The set ended with a mantra of: I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more.

Personally, I can’t wait for more from them.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 Youth Man

Youth Man

They were promoted, quite rightly, from new band stage last year. Youth Man are a Birmingham three-piece who play fast and furious rock with a mighty girl guitarist who trades vocals with a male vocalist who played bass and wore a Smiths t-shirt…how cool is that!

An absolute highlight of the festival for me. This is what punk rock is all about, unexpected, surprising, energetic and inspiring. They don’t fit neatly into any of the punk rock tribes, and personally that’s one of the reasons they are a favourite new band of mine. They are harder to categorise because they are original.

Their songs were full of tight tension and coruscating release, a bit reminiscent of moments of Sonic Youth but are genuinely genre-defying. Maybe that’s why they feeling like something new stirring in the punk universe…

One of the best bands at the festival.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 Matilda’s Scoundrels

Matilda’s Scoundrels

Celtic punk is alive and well and full of energy…..that makes me realise just long ago I first saw the Pogues opening for the Shillelagh Sisters in Camden’s Irish Centre.
I am old, and that’s OK…..as the t-shirt says: ‘I’m Old But I Got to See All The Good Bands’ well almost most of them.

Matilda’s Scoundrels are a six-piece including mandolin, banjo and accordion. I still think that Celtic Punk brings a great sense of colour and diversity to the punk scene. The singer had a gravelly maritime voice; think Slade’s Noddy Holder after spending a decade on a pirate ship.
The band played sea shanties for the Blackpool rockers and announced a new album coming out on September 8.

If you like the idea of a more grizzled The Men They Couldn’t Hang high on the high seas or shipwrecked off the coast of Newfoundland, the Scoundrels are the band for you.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 Brain’s All Gone

Brain’s All Gone

Sometimes you come across a band that stop you in your tracks and make you go: “how come I didn’t know about them before?’
That’s what I felt watching Brian’s All Gone a rockin’ female three piece. I think they are from Poland…but I could be wrong.

They had great changes in tempo and rhythm, and we’re certainly not indentikit punk. They could appeal to the rockers just as much. They reminded me of Babes in Toyland and L7, and how much those bands brought to the punk scene by injecting a dose of female energy.

Brain’s All Gone have a really solid musical foundation with a strong front-woman who was also a fine bass-player.

Their CDs were sold out, no surprise there, they’ll impress music fans anywhere.
They even took a bow towards the end of their set…..and it was well deserved.
Their lyric, You Seem to Love your Enemies, made me think.

Despite their name these are serious young women, confident and capable despite their singer saying ‘we don’t have anything to say’..that’s ok they let the music do the talking for them.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 – Day 3

Rebellion 2017 Day 3

My introduction to los Fastidios came a few years ago. They had just finished an Irish tour that I missed out on. Their background is in oi music. They proudly proclaim football as an interest but also are anti fascist and animal rights exponents. Sure what’s not to like. Sing along intelligent anthems from Italy were the perfect post lunch punk tunes and as the new album proclaims the sound of revolution.

My journey to Rebellion music festival started when my brothers were bringing home/ punk records in the late 70’s early 80’s. I then started buying my own tapes and records and wrote to as many people as possible. AOA were one of the bands I wrote to. 35 years ago. I did an interview with them in my fanzine at the time and here they are now, singing anarcho punk songs to us. The topics they sing about are still the same with words being screamed on stage that none of us have any chance of understanding. Thankfully they talk between songs and have information on their records.

Radical Dance Faction were regular visitors to Ireland in the 90’s, amazing night how it doesn’t seem all that long ago. They are still banging out their white reggae whit lost post punk vocal.

The rhythmites played with nomeansno in mcgonagles, their reggae beat being the equivalent of what major promoters used to play through the speakers before the main band would come along. We decided we would provide our own soundtrack that night with nomeansno and rhythmites are still dancing to the revolution

The GAKK are from Dundalk and had their travelling home crowd out, complete with Dundalk fc flag. They play 77 style strong punk rock, lots of clash and ruts references. The travelling crew all ventured along to see Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, but three days on veggie burgers meant I needed to get something else to eat. Amazingly Blackpool now has a vegan restaurant and top quality too. It meant missing out o. A selection of classic Crass, flux and Poison Girls songs being played by Paranoid Visions with vocal assistance from Steve a Ignorant. Some things you just have to live to regret.

My interest in bands like AOA slightly decreased when hardcore bands from Washington DC hit my radar, Scream being one of them. Today was special day, seeing Scream up on stage. I have been suspicious for years about bands reforming for events like this but as an attendee I sure am glad Scream are back. So tight, so good and with audience participation and a Bad brains cover to boot. Dave Ruffy, from The Ruts DC, will face competition for “drummer who makes it all look ao easy” as Kent played at breakneck speed right through and didn’t look like he broke a sweat. This was a lesson on hardcore history and I could quite easily have gone home content after this set

It was a huge contrast seeing the Tuffragettes. These, along with Brattakus and Petrol Girls are vital bands for our day. These are modern day Scream, they sound nothing like them but the energy and enthusiasm as shining. Synth punk smashing the stereotypes

Louise Distras played two sets tonight, her electric show last time was in the main Empress Ballroom but it was good to see her on the smaller Pavillion stage as well as acoustic. Tonight louise asked us all to fall in love and don’t fall in line. Wise words indeed that we all sang along to.

Ruts DC need no explaining. Part of the rebellion furniture at this stage, as vital as Steve Ignorant and TV Smith and as revered and respected as Cock Sparrer or any band that plays here. SUch good songs that have stood any test time may want to pass on. I danced and danced and delighted in the fact that I was here and this was happening.

Angelic upstarts had a huge crowd in the empress. Working class spokespeople and the 2,500 people were ready to give the fox a gun in any effort to bring back hunting. The upstarts have been on the go since 1977, 2 years prior to scream’s inception. Their tunes are more direct and as I wondered about the difference between the two bands I heard Mensi proclaiming from stage he will be the next James Bond and how surprised he was that “the lasses weren’t all rushing to the stage”. Their debut single “Teenage warning” came on and I then thought I noticed pete from gold blade and the membranes on guitar. I got confused as he was announced on stage as Neil. My eyesight is definitely going At least Louise distras calls it the Louise distras band and maybe the upstarts should really be the Mensi ensemble as he is the sole remaining original member

Bnorthen Irish punks took over in the form of Outcasts and Defects and we popped and pogoed into the late night

 

niallhope

Rebellion 2017 Poly-esters

Poly-esters

Another new band to me, a female 4 piece, who reminded me of the Runaways, and that is high praise indeed. They are a hard rocking group with the magic 1960s Motown/soul oooh ooh oohs.
The front woman has a gravelly voice and the classic skinhead style. These are Not just women who can play,these are women who can play really well.
Their songs had great changes of tempo, and they are more hard rock than punk rock, and that demonstrates why punk provided such a boost for rock and roll.
Great stuff.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 Kenneths

Kenneths

Kenneths were new to me but they had a great backdrop…their name in blocks, that also made for a great patch.
They are a young 3 piece, with a female drummer/co-vocalist and a singer with the classic low slung guitar. The bass player would have fit right in with early Corrosion of Conformity. So there’s lots to like there.

Their songs veered towards the Ramones-y heartbreak pop lyrics, one outstanding example is their song, I don’t want to go out with you, which might be my favourite Kenneths’ song. With lyrics and sentiments like All Cried Out they proved that introspective, even plaintiff lyrics, can be paired with a grinding sound to make a great impact. Viva the punk contrast.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 – Day 2

Before every trip to Blackpool I sit down, pore through the lineup and pick out the must see and the nice to see. I have a problem today. 34 bands are on the list. That may not have been an issue for 18 year old self but it is a problem. It will sort itself out over the 13 hours.

The way I see it is that I’m a sponge and rebellion is my education. I may never see some of these bands again, we may never be in the same country together so I want to make the most of it. Let’s go for 34

Poly-esters were new to me. Playing in the huge empress ballroom, home to Darts, they engaged and rocked the lunchtime crowd.

I’d been looking forward to seeing Petrol Girls. There’s a scene of bands out there that have wiped gender breakdown away. Of course it doesn’t matter what gender you are playing in a band but Petrol Girls are screaming out about misogyny and sexism and their toe tapping noise is a glorious soundtrack to that manifesto. Petrol Girls are top of the pile throwing away the punk stereotype and ready to challenge you if you’re too comfortable.

Matilda’s Scoundrels from Hastings have that folky punk sing along feel. You want to be in their gang. Im struck by the fact that they seem to be the first band not selling merchandise as the 6 piece take over the stage.

I guess the real mackenzies are a Canadian version of Matilda’s Scoundrels, it seems bizarre to me but Canadians in kilts singing about drinking and playing bagpipes is something I’ve missed out on. For years though I ignored drop kick Murphy’s and am now a convert so maybe there’s hope for me for the real mckenzies. To be honest I hope not

Interrobang are taking music and adding some theatre, trying to unsettle the crowd but playing angular music. It’s not in your face but they are looking to reach into your heart. Dunstan sings like he is starting in Chumbawamba once more and he is still angry after all these years and will never calm down. We need bands like interrobang telling us they as mad as hell.

I’ve been communicating with Doug from flies on you in various guises over 30 years it all started when he was bass player in nerve rack and talking about playing in ireland. That never happened and decades got lost. Now he is on the “new” band stage with flies on you who have two great albums out. Doug has dropped the bass but the acerbic sound remains and it’s a fall-esque sound, well starts with the fall and nerve rack and mixes a whole lot more in. Great to see them on stage.

The featherz brought some glam to the day, at least for the three songs I caught. Nice change to the wall of noise on offer elsewhere.

Dave dictor tempted us last night with acoustic versions but tonight was the turn of the powerful MDC, more relevant than ever.

I missed the FU’s when I started listening to American Hardcore. Boston punks exploded on the stage tonight. Even treating us to some straw dogs sings which is what some of the FU”s became for a while.

Subhumans never change, even if some of the personnel do. They are still as good as they were, and playing many of the songs they played in, the youth expression Centre in an early 1980s dublin. These are another necessary feature of Blackpool. Again more relevant now as our political structure becomes more similar to the 80s.

Same with DOA, Canadian punks screamed for change in the 80s. Lead singer Joey keithley ran for office. They wanted a better future. They got a different one, better in many ways but the question remains was it worth it? This three piece were are as fast and powerful as anything else today with some tunes there screaming out

 

Attila The Stockbroker is on great form. Not just politics but emotions too. It must be so frustrating for any artist with all talking going on in the background in the acoustic room as people settle in for a drink and a chat. Attila defied them and told us all about the band we should form called “winter vomiting bug” which was dedicated to the band sick on the bus. He gave some newer poems which detail how working class people are still second class citizens despite all the years of words

I never saw or listened to Frank Carter before except when he was in gallows who I didn’t enjoy that much. At one stage he got a circle pit going right round the hall and just like the junior b hurlers they ran and ran badly in that circle

It’s been an interesting festival as the politics of today has lead to a lot more statements from bands on stage. If we can’t talk about what’s going on what can we talk about?, and bands grasped that. They have also reached out to those struggling with mental illness and this punk rock community should know it’s ok not to feel ok and just talk if things are getting to you. We are all in this together, whatever this may be. Frank Carter reminded us of words Petrol Girls had spoken earlier, it’s fine to be down just share it and let’s look after each other.

Membranes are special to me. This is their home town, well it’s not really but it’s the original bands birthplace and singer john Robb, is the sole remaining original band member. They have diversified in recent years and the post punk sound is still there but drone and power are the main traits on display. Tonight they have the backing of a choir which just adds to the sense of surreal spectacular in this car park stage

Wonk unit are increasing in popularity by the day. Each gig sees them getting more popular. Second last band on the empress tonight and Earlier they played a stripped down version of their set in the acoustic room. Not even room to stand. Empress crowd weren’t left standing, we were too busy moving our feet.

Their good friends slaves followed them. For a two piece they can sure fill out a stage. For a drummer with two drums and 2 cymbals there is some sound on stage. At times it felt like maybe, just maybe, they were trying a tad too hard but the power was something else, as was the visuals

I wasn’t sure if their style of humour would suit that big stage. But it did. Alex treated the crowd as if we were visitors to his regal home, sticky dance floor and all. Wonk unit have been described as a modern day snuff and that’s not far off. They will play any gig, won’t get lost or worried in the trapping of success. And they listen to punk rock and know they are no different to us watching them. Perfect.

Kiss my acid were the first of many Irish bands for me to see today. Snotty abrasive tunes with green day playing grunge feel.

I am a car crash are gaining interest. It’s easy to see why, more rock than punk and more post the pre, it was great to see the dublin lads on the big arena stage.

Protex played the opera house. It gave us a chance to sit down, relax and enjoy their power pop tunes.

Lee Harvey’s have a 1978 feel to their sound but with power. Close your eyes and they could almost be part of that northern Irish good vibrations scene. Great set.

Paranoid Visions pack some power. Deko says they are tjebhate of the city’s well there’s a certain section thaysboroud of them. Singing and powerful as if killing joke had attitude for dinner. There is a large Irish contingent at rebellion playing and spectating. Most of these were in the large pavilion crowd tonight as the visions played more recent material and are as strong, prolific and valid as ever

Ok I didn’t quite make the 34 but managed to squeeze in songs from Godfathers, the Professionals, and Bono too

Niallhope

Rebellion 2017 The punk and the seagull

I promise this really happened, although it sounds like I am making it up.

This was an actual conversation I overheard as I was walking by a punk hunched over a plastic bin eating his takeaway chips.

Punk: You’re a cheeky little fucker aren’t ya.
Seagull: *embarrassed but dignified silence*