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 – 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*

 

 

Rebellion 2017 Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington

Talk with Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington

 

This was one of the most interesting and illuminating chats about entrepreneurship I have heard in a long time.

Two young people who loved music, style, culture and having fun opened a club, The Roxy, that four 100 days provided an outlet for the emerging London punk movement.

Both Andrew and Susan had fascinating stories to tell, about managing/nurturing/being around the Damned, Chelsea and Generation X.

The club itself sounded like a typical toilet venue that most people would avoid, yet in this case it hosted the likes of the Clash and the Heartbreakers and launched thousands, perhaps millions, of dreams.

I had a brief chat with both Andrew and Susan afterward and they were incredibly nice. They stressed the idea that you should follow your heart in your early career, do things you enjoy, work with people you find interesting, and always be open to opportunities.

They have recently published a couple of books about those 100 gigs, one is a collection of evocative photos and one provides details (and for me, inspiration) of the early DIY spirit that launched punk into the public consciousness.

It was also a good reminder of the Irish presence in that early punk movement…..the band Chelsea’s lead singer Gene October was originally one Gene O’Hara….and one of their early gigs was billed as ‘The O’Haras’.

Rebellion 2017 Barstool Preachers

Barstool Preachers

These raucous Londoners remind me a little bit in places of Yellowcard, one of the best of the Warped post-2000 acts.

They play an audience-pleasing blend of Pulverising anthemic punk rock. The So Cal punk sound repurposed for English singalongs.

I really like the ska bursts in their set with the organ giving the tunes that authentic ring.

A dynamic six-piece who seem to attract bigger crowds every time they play here…and with those ‘Hey hey hey’ choruses, what’s not to like?

Time to down tools and party.

Rebellion 2017 Soap Girls

 

Soap Girls

The most under-dressed act. Not surprisingly many of the older punters seemed to like that.

Some members of the audience felt compelled to walk up and slap them on the bottoms…the price you pay for art these days?

The type of act most people would rather see than listen to.

Enough said.

Rebellion 2017 The Pukes

The Pukes

The Pukes always make me smile. They are the perfect band for a good time.
And the acoustic stage can be a great venue to appreciate bands who can make a point, raise a laugh and even inspire a good old fashioned pub singalong.
They played ‘Johnny got himself a wife’ ‘Down by the Pier’ and had some funny banter about how we were missing Peter and the Test Tube Babies by watching them.
They joked how they had written a song for the new Test Tube Babies album but it was too good ‘so we stole it back’.
How cool would that be?

They are such a buoyant dose of fun, flowers, stripes, ukuleles, sublime harmonies, and punk rock.
A highlight was their cover of one of the best and most under-appreciated punk songs, I’v Got a Safety Pin Stuck in my Heart by Patrick Fitzgerald.

Rebellion 2017 Toyah

Toyah

The punks were out in full force for this one; proof that Toyah has a lasting appeal for the people who were teenagers when she was at her commercial peak in the early 1980s.

The Opera House venue was packed, and there was something very appropriate about Toyah playing for the punk gathering in Blackpool. She was always theatrical and maybe even ‘music theatre’ was her genre with a punk/new wave sense of style and fashion.

She bounced onstage and seemed delighted to be there performing to an appreciative crowd. She announced that the last time she was onstage in Blackpool it was in the musical Calamity Jane, and that made sense. Although she said that some young member of the crowd then was telling her to f@@@ herself or words to that effect. The punks were far more polite and she launched into We Are, a piece of sci-fi pop followed by Good Morning Universe. To me, Toyah possessed the energy that wasn’t present in Gary Numan and the other early electronic pop/crossover acts. In place of his composed seriousness she seemed to revel in a wild freedom. Her songs seemed perfect for a space age stage show, a piece of musical theatre like War of the Worlds featuring warrior women wearing stylish make-up. Maybe it’s time for that musical….the punks tonight seemed ready for it.

That said, the synth sweeps tonight threatened to overwhelm the sound. But if Toyah’s early success, and she was a star after all, seemed like a fluke, there was a packed theatre tonight who seemed to swoon in their leather jackets to her operatic/little girl shrieking voice. Teenage dreams are hard to beat. And as she danced in her tinfoil dress to the Martha and the Muffins’ song Echo Beach, the punks were basking in sci-fi nostalgia. But for me it was my nostalgia for the era was more MDC than Toyah.

Rebellion 2017 M.D.C. Acoustic

MDC

Hearing MDC always takes me back to the days when I first came across them with Mick ‘Mohawk’ McCaughan and Barry Cooke. They were one of the bands I listened to most when Mick was the Ents Officer in Trinity in 1984-1985. They proved that low-resource black and white photocopied punk (think fanzines/Maximum Rock’n’Roll) could deliver hard-hitting topical songs with humour. MDC sang about many of the same topics as Crass but did it with a sassy humour. There was not just one way to do underground punk.

It made me smile, then, to see Dave Dictor singing those songs in an acoustic setting with a playful country twang. This was the music of his community as he made clear in Soup Kitchen Celebrity which detailed the early 80s in San Francisco where all sorts of people could dine thanks to charities.

The animal rights message in Chicken Squawk is perhaps even more relevant today as Dave pointed out. He is keeping MDC current by singing and writing and ‘Trump and Putin’ and it was great fun to hear John Wayne was a Nazi, Corporate Death Burgers, as well as Dick for Brains. He gives details of his life and the backgrounds to those songs in his excellent autobiography which is well worth a punk rock read.

For someone growing up with a love for punk rock in suburban Dublin, Ireland, MDC were torch bearers.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 TV Smith Adverts

TV Smith plays the Adverts

TV Smith is always a complete and total highlight of Rebellion for me. Tonight he doesn’t disappoint even though he is playing the outdoor stage where naturally the sound is not as condensed as the indoor venues. I completely love the first Adverts album. Funnily enough, it reminds me of the debut from the Radiators from Space. Short snappy to-the-point songs about society/community, anxiety about the media and the joyful abandon of being young or having a cause.

Bored Teenagers, Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, One Chord Wonders rang out into the dark Blackpool sky and shone as brightly and powerfully as the city’s electric illuminations.

Michael