Rebellion 2017 – Day 4

A Page Of Punk

And so it drifts to a close, we may want it to go for ever but most bodies can’t take the pace. There is a world out there to return to, families and friends to be cherished and minds to change. Again Rebellion has been a cracker, my years of animosity towards this festival were wrong for me. I spent a long time saying I didn’t want to see old fogies reliving their youth, but it’s great. The festival brings a community or, as Pete Stahl from Scream described it, a tribe together. We all have different parts to play in the tribe but it is ours.

I started late today, spent some time at the seaside, wishing the donkeys weren’t being used, before heading to see Pizzatramp. The venue was as packed as I’ve seen it for any on the intoducing stage. Pizzatramp are loud and fast. Their new drummer joined this morning which made for an interesting show. The blistering speed is fine if you’re used to drumming it’s only when bands decide to get cocky and include breaks in their songs. They even managed to play the same 20 second song 4 times.

Nicki Weller

John Robb’s chat with Jah Wobble co-incided but I head some of it. The literary stage isn’t there this year and it is a shame. The stories of punk rock are important and whilst we are there for the music it is necessary for the reasons behind it to be documented. Hopefully it will return next year. Barry Cain’s chat with Nicki Weller proves how important these talks are. Nikki spoke of managing the Jam’s fan club and correspondence they received. She was the curator for the From The Jam exhibition which made it to London and Liverppol and could yet travel to Amsterdam. barry cain sidetracked with his own stories but thankfully Nikki reeled it back in and told some lovely tales of her brother Paul.

Zounds were always trying something interesting when Crass and Conflict were challenging people with their lyrics and music. The arena had a huge crowd, many happy to rest their weary legs after 4 days but it was great to see Zounds on that stage.

Jon Langford is king to me. He would be my god if he didn’t eat meat so the see him Acoustic and with the Mekons was an honour. I don’t know what he eats but I do know he replied to a letter I sent as a 15 year old. I still have it somewhere as it’s the little things in life that can really matter. The Mekons were on stage with their original line up from 1977. songs like Fight The Cuts could have been written at anytime over the last 4 decades but it strikes me that we are back in those days, and it’s not nostalgia talking. Mekons were post punk almost as soon as they heard punk, they discovered country but always had the attitude of punk. It was, yet another, honour to sit and watch them play tonight. You’ve no idea how much.

I felt like a disloyal subject as I sneaked out of Jons acoustic set (sshhh don’t tell him) to watch a Page of Punk, but needed to. Japan know how to do extremes in music and A Page of Punk sure are extreme. This was a highlight of the unexpected. Incredible energy on stage and insane show. If ever you get a chance to see them please please do. The intensity of this band is phenomenal, everyone had a smile on their face.

Attila was back in the Opera House entertaining us all showing that there can be humour in the revolution. This splendid venue had hundreds of punks singing about prince Harry’s knob and the irony of it all wasn’t lost on Attila. The crowd in the acoustic room the other night were full of chat with their friends but opera house brought people in who wanted to see him and respected what was on offer.

Speaking of which Ruts DC burst the Almost Acoustic room yet again. You could slice the respect this crowd have for Ruts dc. Even though they can do no wrong they did everything right

Propagandhi were outside in the Casbah and were immense, in the rain. so much so that I barely caught the Skids but as I wandered home from Blackpool my dreams for 2018 had already started. To my tribe, thank you. Let’s keep on keeping on

Niallhope

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 2016 – Day 2

 

imageRebellion 2016 – day 2

Dublins I am a car crash provide the starting point today. Atmospheric rhythmic noise rock and sharing a drummer with paranoid visions which gets my head moving along nicely at this lunchtime.

I had to cut them short to go and see slice of life who certainly aren’t atmospheric noise rock. They have piano, acoustic guitar, bass and Steve ignorants voice. This is punk rock to me. Steve was in Crass, is collaborating with paranoid visions but this is a challenge, for those playing and not listening i may add It has a vaudeville feel (be it s punk version) at times with words that asks questions. This is what the crass war was for. The last time I saw slice of life at rebellion it was at the end of a long day for Steve and the beer had probably for the better of him. The crowd were there out of respect as it was a new enough project. We are now here for the bands songs and Steve puts his heart and soul into this performance as he raps along at times. “This world is full of hate but a bit of love is alright”

Wonk unit have their breed of London diy fun punk which is getting bigger by the year. They blasted the large stage of the Tower Arena and had a great community feel from them. Watching Wonk Unit it just seems like they are your mates on stage and at any moment they could either be dancing alongside you or your could be playing alongside them on stage.

Wolf Bites boy had the new band stage staged packed. Three piece punk oi anthems. Temperature in the room was hot, pavilion wasn’t much better with Loaded 44 on stage. Their sound has a rockier rezillos feel to it, guitar solos and all.

One of the (many) things I love about rebellion festival is that the time of day doesn’t seem to matter. Empress ballroom was packed with anticipation for Reagan youth at 3.20 on a Friday afternoon. Let me say it again Reagan youth!!! Blistering set from the U.S. hardcore band. The songs weren’t really written for ballroom arenas but they still pack some power even if therms have only 25% of their original cohort (only guitarist Paul Bakija remains from the original line up)

Back to the literary stage for a bit of Pauline Murray talking about punk scene of the 70s. Fascinating stuff. Interesting take on the music business “every time I get involved in the music business something horrible happens” artists get treated really badly as it is all about profit motive. Bands are having to work harder for themselves which is difficult but that’s where it is.

Alex brindle was on next talking of punk rock today and his time in the flying medallions. It was an interesting juxtaposition comparing old with the current (can’t really call it new). The enthusiasm of Alex in marked contrast to Pauline’s cynicism. Johnny wah wah was the host but preparation seemed to be minimal

The not sensibles single I’m in love with Margaret thatcher will go down in the punk rock annals as on of the snottiness of a generation. Their rnb brand of punk saw the crowds flocking to the opera house. Vice squad were on in the outdoor setting of the Tower Street Arena at a similar time. Still sounding as good as ever these could well be the last rockers of rebellion as they blasted their tunes with the blackpool tower standing strong in the background.

imageSpeaking of the Tower, I managed to get my hans on a copy of Blackpool Rox 2, complete with cover of the Tower falling into the sea. Interviews with Simon Wells, Ted Diabase, Poly-Esters and Cock sparrer made for great bedtime reading.

The a heads bring it back into more basic punk rock mode. They first appeared on the Wessex 7″ on Bluurg records in 198, alongside Subhumans and it is to see them still screaming for change.

Attila the stockbroker has been demanding change since Joe strummer inspired him to pick up a ukulele 35 years ago. His audience treated him like punk royalty tonight. Technical problems meant it was back to the original rapping poet tonight, no music just one man and his angry words, and some pieces from his excellent Autobiagraphy.

This rebellion introducing stage is great. The x ray eyes were completely new to me. Not quite of the standard of youth man last night (that bar is very high) but this was a set full of energy in a garage pop punk kind of way. Another album I look forward to giving plenty of time to.

Penetration took on a different meaning for me after listening Pauline Murray earlier. They had some great songs on that first album and well worth hearing once more. Now that they are back playing they have a new record out with solid songs and a sound that carries through. Not the energy and excitement of x Ray eyes but still good to listen to.

I’d been told a few times to catch the dictators so it was for other people that I went to see them. Rightly labelled as the “corrective tissue between stooges, mc5 and the punk scene” dictators still have a lot of hair on show. More rock than punk but songs that resonate around the vast expanse of the empress ballroom.

Brix Smith spoke on the literary stage and told us how she changed her name from laura to brix after the clash track Guns of Brixton. Brix liked to speak so I’m sure that made it easier for the conversation with john Robb to flow. And flow it did. Brix read out a chapter from her book, her take on her arrival into manchester. It was some culture shock for the u.s reared woman. With a kitchen the size of her freezer at home in Chicago.

As I was comfy i stayed to hear johns in conversation with Peter Hook. There was a great moment when Peter hook came on stage and took a picture with Brix. The crowd were ignored for a few minutes as what seemed like two old friends catching up. There’s a book coming out on new order that Peter hook has written, all 700+ pages. Sounds like it could be a new order encyclopaedia. Peter tells us about joy division being formed as they were walking out of the pistols first gig in Manchester and how he still can’t play bass. It was the attitude of the pistols that changed these Manchester lads, “knowing that anyone can get up and stage and play a gig. You didn’t care what anyone thought, you just believed and went up there and did it ”

imageA quick run into the acoustic room then for Swill from the men they couldn’t hang. This is a perfect surroundings for swill. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a companion on stage this was country shining through but sing along and inclusive. I feel at home in this room, my reclusive self can smile as there’s a sing song going on

Seeing swill meant that I missed the start of paranoid visions but when I got to the pavilion it was on fire. Perfect surrounding and a great set from my home town boys. The visions are very much part of rebellion, like tv smith but a outburst of energy like a zit being forced off your face. They have a menacing almost haunting feel. The sound has opened out and the killing joke influence seems stronger than ever. Of course for any band that has been playing on and off for thirty years you can’t really take the lazy option and state their influences. They are the influencers now. Paranoid Visions want to challenge you, I’m reminded of the first time I saw them. I was terrified and completely captivated. The fear has now gone as I’ve gotten to know them but the captivation still holds true

imageAs my formative years in the 1980s were spent listening to punk rock, you could call it an education of sorts. The Newtown neurotics were a semester (we call them terms back home) the neurotics and Attila were going to travel to Dublin but then realised the ferry cost was too prohibitive. We nearly had them but had to make do with listening to the brilliant live album instead. Miscalculations on time meant I missed the q*a with Steve Drewetr earlier. A shame to miss it as his band were very important. Now I’ve seen him live a couple of times. I came to rebellion specifically to see the neurotics a few years back (after travelling to Harlow to see them too) so I’m completely biased. Steve is getting more acclimatised to acoustic gigs and has his daughter back up on stage with him but the damn treble is still turned up in the guitar. We sang along to Kick Out The Tories and wondered if the new empowered Labour Party will make the breakthrough they are promising to and what i can achieve.

While the neurotics had a whole semester I most definitely took a few classes on the men they couldn’t hang. They toured ireland and we went to see their folk punk rebel songs songs a few times. It seemed fresher at the time than many of the oi bands that I was listening to. Intelligent lyrics doesn’t just have to come from the spiky or skinhead punks, it’s all about the spirit and the men they couldn’t hangs set was definitely full of punk spirit without a spike to be seen anywhere. As I stood here beside Atilla the stockbroker watching him mouth every word as swill spoke about hanging around afterwards to talk to everyone I’m reminded why I’m indeed part of this community. We are all equals and we are mainly in it for the right reasons. Sentiment along these lines was stated when shirt of blue was dedicated to all those fighting for union or human rights throughout the world. The battle continues

niallhope

Before the men I listened to Dick Manitoba’s talk about the New York scene and his time with the dictators whose album was released a year before the ramones debut. Of course this being rebellion dick had to be asked about the bar he runs in New York, his own place. He has photos all over the walls of New York and uk punk. Sounds like aa aesthetically pleasing place. There was confusion over his next steps when Richie asked about an upcoming book. Turns out it’s a comic book!! Might be a book on the way of money can be got.

I was hanging on for dear life at this stage but was determined to see Naked Aggression. The men they couldn’t hang express their anger through folk music but naked aggression use it through all their power and force with electric guitars. In the smaller arena the songs still sound a s aggressive and relevant as ever. I wonder if Reagan youth had of played in a smaller room on a smaller stage would it have been different. Naked aggression songs Janet lost their anger. Full on assault, just what’ you need at the end of a long day. I2 hours after the first band of the day I didn’t have the stamina for dublins lee Harvey’s. Next time

Attilla The Stockbroker – Arguments Yard

Atilla the stockbroker
arguments yard
Cherry Red books

http://www.attilathestockbroker.com/argyard.php
attilla
I’ve often said that auto biographies are strange beasts. Maybe it’s my country of origin and how we are known as a nation of begrudges. I am conscious of that when I see my fellow troubadours doing what can only be perceived as “well. ” I wish to support that success in the first instance. Do when lynched appear on TV I’m happy. Not beside their appearance vindicated them as a band and certainly not because their being there vindicated the show. Just because they genuinely seemed happy to do that and to participate.

Has this relevance for an autobiography? Yep? To write ones own story will involve some participation in that historic sport “blowing your own trumpet”. Generally speaking I’m not on the side of those who excel in this game as people’s achievements are recognition of their efforts.  However in a book that details your life both good and bad well then you have to proclaim the achievements.

For any person who has made poetry their living over 35 years with no assistance from arts council grants and from hanging around the punk rock works well then there will have to be achievements. But this book is more that that. Attila has always spoken up for those that are deemed voiceless, he has been to the forefront of street protests and political campaigns. This is a story of many of these campaigns. We hear of the miners strike, printers strike, war on Iraq., poll tax protests and more. They’re not victories or tales of achievements just stores of the day.

I remember all these fights as someone living across the Irish Sea and looking into the distance. Bands like the neurotics, some men they couldn’t hang, Blyth power and billy Bragg all get pride of place here and you can tell the pride of which Attila writes about. These bands are part of my soundtrack and I’m proud to have been at their gigs and written to some of them too

Datblygu and anhrefn fly the Welsh flag in the tale of activism and many failed protests. Anhrefn, who played a big part in our own story of the hope collective. I have often though of the letters that went between myself and Steve drewett from the Newtown neurotics about the possibility of themselves and Attila coming to ireland. Plenty of plans were hatched but my final letter from Steve spoke of how they just couldn’t afford the ferry fare. There would be no advance from us in ireland and that dream ended. Attila doesn’t write of that but tells us of sharing a roof with Steve and many gigs with the neurotics. He writes of his first trip to ireland but sadly it was not of our efforts.

I never knew Attila was the catalyst for TV smiths solo career but we are regaled with story. And there’s many others too, all expertly written in an easy going light way

In his 35 years of protest poetry atolls has always tried topic in some humour and that isn’t far away in the pages of this book. I couldn’t put it down for a couple of days and always looked forward with great anticipation for my next few spare minutes. My instant reaction on finishing it was to put these words together. It doesn’t matter what I say about arguments yard but it does matter that you try and get a copy

 

niallhope