Rebellion Day 4 Another day of highlights New Model Army Probably the band that I have seen the most, as well as a band whose albums and songs I have looked to for inspiration for almost 30 years. At Rebellion a snippet of a documentary about the band as shown, followed by a Q&A with singer, Justin Sullivan and art-work designer, tattoo artist, author and one, manager of the band, Joolz Denby. She described the process of managing musicians/creative people as not just herding cats…but herding headless cats! And that is the crux of the inter section of art and commerce….by both of their admissions, Joolz and Justin have no head for money….their focus is naturally on creating art and expressing themselves. The film looks great, although getting the human first-hand version of the story was even better. They are a disarmingly honest pair of modern troubadours…and it was interesting learning how the decision by Malcolm Gerrie from The Tube to put an unsigned independent band on the show changed the band’s fortunes. Every artist needs a break. I look forward to taking time. To watch the film when it is released next month…so much to be learnt for New Model Army. The Avengers and Penelope Houston were another eye-opener. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that The Avengers were one of those bands I knew I should listen to…yet never had! They were fantastic on the main stage. Tuneful, dynamic, exciting, vibrant and with so much to say about youthful possibilities and challenging orthodoxy. And this was a female-led band from San Francisco in 1977!!! It is funny how history coalesces around big names and chart bands….the strivers, the innovators, the pioneers get undeservedly forgotten. That is why a festival like Rebellion is so enlightening for me. The Q&A sessions are a big part of how I learn the secret history of punk. Theorem Peneople spoke about how small yet innovative and exciting the early SF punk scene was…and this was all pre-Dead Kennedys. To her, thee were no barriers to entry…anyone could do it regardless of class, colour, sexual preference etc. It was fascinating to learn how before the ‘codification’ that came with hardcore….punks rock was an open canvas! The Q&A is naturally enhanced by a good moderator…and the ‘battle of the Dead Kennedys authors’ hosted by Andy Higgins was fantastic. Alex Ogg’s book is, quite simply, one of the best books I have every read about music. It is funny and heart-breaking and full of lessons, not jus tab out the music industry and cultural files, but also about art, creativity, collective action and the law, I bought Michael Foley’s book, and have not read it yet but it promises to be excellent, covering the political and social context to the band in the tumultuous times of late 1970s San Fran. Foley spoke about how the band emerged from a highly politically city where young people were taking an active…and creative…stance in the democratic process. As a historian he placed this activity in the context of other social movements and concluded how the pivotal Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables album was one of the key documents/artefacts from American youth of the era. That is a remarkable legacy for a band who were formed with the idea of: ‘imagine if Crass were funny’, I felt very privileged to be in a room listening to Higgins, Foley and Ogg speaking with such knowledge and insight about the band. I only wish they had longer to discuss it. Ignite They were new to me…that exciting tight passionate intensity of the Revelation bands. Quicksand always have a special place in my heart. Anyhow, Ignite had plenty to offer musically and in terms of advocacy. The singer urged people to get involved in the political process and democracy. perhaps the legacy of the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys survives and thrives! He urged the audience to think about. The consequences of war, the reality of migration from war-torn places, and also about the conservationist group, the Sea Shepherds. In one of the most shocking moments of the festival, he dedicated the band’s next song to them and it was Sunday Bloody Sunday. Yes, a U2 cover by a tight and talented post- hardcore band!! And guess what? It worked. They pulled it off….dragging an 80s MTV staple into the punk present. It was surprisingly great…..the song really invigorated by Ignite’s classic up-to-date punk rock vision. And it made sense because punk has always been able to draw from its neighbours…to recombine different music in different ways and make something fresh and new. And here was a youthful and exciting Californian band who were inspired by One Way System as well as Peter and the Test Tube Babies….and also found something in early 1980s U2! I don’t think any band in Ireland could openly admit to being influenced/inspired by the UK punk of the class of ’82 and play a U2 song without ridicule..or ridiculing it. Good on Ignite for their open hearts and open minds…they inspire me and make me feel that the future of punk is in great hands. And that is important when both Justin Sullivan and Penelope Houston spoke today about how in 1980-1982 punk began to have rules and restrictions placed on it…it was ‘codified’ as Penelope said….and here’s to the rule breakers….The innovators..long may they bring excitement to punk, art and life! Other highlights Snuff….one of my fave bands….a band I saw countless times back in the day…and here they were….with new members, granted, yet still playing barmy, brilliant, playful, tuneful funny and exciting songs….hooray for trombones and punk rock! Roy Ellis Always a highlight…..ska from a pioneer….fun fun fun. John Langford The soundtrack for young Niall McGuirk…and a big part of the soundtrack of my youth too. Very inspiring to listen to his songs about democratic struggles in Wales in the 1800s, as well as his songs about gamblers, outlaws and do men who didn’t ‘walk the line’. He played a song he wrote with The Sadies (who opened for Treble Charger all those years ago in Toronto) as well as X-Ray Style by the great late Joe Strummer, and even Waco Brothers and a Mekons’ song! Another pioneers at the crossroads of punk and so much more… Carly Slade No disrespect to all of the other acts that I saw over the 4 days…but this was the voice that stopped me in my tracks…incredibly beautiful. I only saw a little of her set with Josh Chandler Morris, but that was enough to make me want more….it didn’t sound like punk rock..maybe Americana is how it would be described…and maybe that made it very punk rock at the punk rock festival!! And finally….the night belonged to TV Smith the quintessential punk troubadour….getting hoarse by the end of the weekend yet still leading the singalong with veins on his neck bulging and his skinny frame straining in tie-dyed outfit. A prefect summation of all that is great about the Rebellion festival punk rock and music!
Maggie Byrne was in We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It and it was a nice start to the day to hear what she had to say of her time in the band and that they were talking about what was going on in Britain born out of the time and culture in The country back then. Equality was discussed and how punk didn’t care about people’s sex and sexuality. Punk rock facilitated allowing people to be different which helped Maggie form her band. This stage is refreshing as we get to hear real stories whether it’s Maggie letting us know of a cryptic set list or her witnessing a murder or the band reforming in 2010 and then the death of her sister Jo right up to the band reforming once more for a gig later this year. So many tales
Deia Russell smith took to the acoustic stage and sang strongly. Another plus for this festival.
I saw a few songs from the crows on Friday and thought they would be well suited to the acoustic arena. The stripped down sound brings a folk element out in the vocals and is the closest to English folk I’ve heard in the acoustic room all weekend
Vice Squad have been on the go since that second wave of punk commonly known as uk82 and had a strong Female presence in Beki Bondage as vocalist. Beki has long been an advocate of animal righrts and social justice and it came through today in the Empress Ballroom
Justin Sullivan and Joolz spoke of new model army and new documentary to be released in September. Joolz and Justin are very interesting people with honest and refreshing viewpoints. The spirit of being in a band should be more important than what you play. There are no rules, make music in any way you want. That’s the meaning of punk for Justin (a.k.a. slade the leveller)
Maid of Ace were new to me when I saw them last year and was very impressed by how good they were. Nice to see them still bashing away and a great crowd reaction to their loud punk rock and roll. Great stuff.
it really is to rebellions credit that bands like the avengers get to play. Msny of us are punk historians (or dinosaurs) and the avengers play an important part of that history so to be able to see them is an honour. They are from la and started in the mid 70s, sound wise it ramones style new wave but this is about more than what they sound like and as dead Kennedys have freely admitted they paved the way for political bands like them
HDQ are still banging away with their UK take on US HARDCORE. ALways great tunes and great spirit. The sound was poor enough though as hdq songs stop start and aren’t your usual hardcore sound, closer to scream than 7 seconds this was a blistering set nonetheless, nearly as good as mcgonagle in 1988.
There have been two books released on the Dead Kennedys in recent years and today we saw a battle of the two authors. The debut album, Fresh Fruit For Roting Vegetables got dissected and the duel was friendly. I read Alex Oggs book last year and am now looking forward to Michael Foleys one.
tthe Pukes have a great stage presence, ukeleles, punk and lots of fun. Plenty of colour was in display, I wonder has bob geldoff comment about black trousers and band tsarist sent a message to the coolest uke punks around
How to explain Snuff in a paragraph? Impossible. Pure magic that made me wish it was the original line up which it tragically can’t be. Am I wrong in thinking it’s refreshing that snuff were the only bad to play in the empress hall (capacity 2800) not to have a merchandise stall and that had no roadie to organise their own sound. I was on my way to the front when a glass of beer was thrown up, moved back and more beer was being spilt than drank. I bet the winter gardens management are loving this. Increased bar sales for a mop of the floor. Anyway snuff are immense, you should drink your beer to them. Wonder how many bands played their set without a set list too?
Roughneck Riot clashed so i had to make do with buying a copy of their new record.
I still have my first postcard from Jon langford, a prized posession in my house. His journey to country started in Newport but he is very much based in Leeds punk, He was and still is in the mekons and three johns. His set was a collection of more mekons style as that is what his solo records are like. When he covered the mescaleros x Ray style I was close to tears, it’s nostalgia but those memories….
Dik Lucas has sang n three bands at Rebellion, all tight and great sets. i would love to hear some new stuff from him as he has kept playing all trhought the various governments he has been rallying against
TV Smith is a master at rebellion. There is a lot of respect shown at the festival but TV commands so much of it. His acoustic sets are always massive and enthralling and standing ovation he receives at the end is testament to that.
Blackpool heroes and local agit popsters the membranes were on in the Pavillion. Still making a racket and challenging your ears even if the line up looks very like Goldblade. We had them over to Dublin in 1986 and have been firm friends ever since. The sound is fuller now but nick and john from the celebrated line up are still there and the new album is as good as ever.
Less Than Jake are the last band on in the Empress as the festival winds down, with some uptempo brass backed hardcore. Brasscore anyone? Zounds were finishing off the Casbah stage and the Warriors in the arena as the stalls that were a hive of activity over the previous 4 days are packed off for the next leg of their journey. Maybe back to mail order, maybe some shops, some small businesses and maybe to spme other festival. But there still is the no small measure of the remarkable three johns in the Pavillion.
Rebellion is about memories and the three johns hold huge ones for me. I finish sad that it is over for another year, privileged to have been here and amazed at how good some of thw music was.
Hope SHow 37 the Lowdown
Pre-All Ireland Football final nerves
1. Brier – Fields of Athenry
2. Luke Kelly – Dublin IN The Rare Oul Times
3. Jinx Lennon – Big Protest Day
4. The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Ghosts of Cable Street
5. Beastie Boys – Sabotage
6. Minor Threat – Salad Days
7. Great Western Squares – Ace Of Spades
8. Chumbawamba – Bankrobber
9. Tommy McCook – Heatwave
10. Operation Ivy – Take Warning
11. Snuff – Do Nothing
12. The Damned – Neat Neat Neat
13. Damien Dempsey – Patience
It’s the night before the all-ireland football final, i have to mention it. Football plays a huge part in my life. On New years Day this year my dad, my 2 sons and I went to see Dublin play in their annual blue stars game. We have been at every one since and tomorrow is the last of the season.
I’m so emotional I could play Aslan. There has been some grerat times along the way but none of them avoided the reality that the system stinks. It didn’t take away the hurt of what is happening but it helped bring a smile to our face.
Jinx Lennon has some great protest songs, he has been kicking against the pricks for a number of years now.
I played the roughneck riot 2 weeks ago and said they remind me of the men they couldn’t hang. Well I’ve finally got one of their songs in digitla format. Punk it up and you’ve got the roughneck riot (well not really but they are two great intellignet bands). Wonder if they would get caught up with a football game??
I wouldn’t say the Beastie Boys would, but I’m happy damnit. Sabotage makes me even happier. So do Minor Threat, indulge me will you.
Great Western Square is a lovely place in Phibsoboro’ Dublin, maybe that place will be hopping tomorrow night. For now I will play a song from the band of the same name. Their cover of Motorheads Minor Threat
I can’t play Joe Strummer or the Clash every show so I’ve gone a step away, a small one in Chumbawambas cover of the classic bankrobber.
I was at a game earlier today and man it was warm. End of September and all anyone wanted to do was get water into them when the game brokedown. Will it be that warm in Croke Park?
Take Warning say Operation Ivey, but who shall heed that?
Do Nothing say Snuff, but who and why
The Damned are Neat Neat Neat but is there a reason
And finally Damo, he’s Northsides favourite son. It was either him or Aslan!!!!!!
Up the Dubs
YO YO records
It is Southports third offering and they have bucked the trend for those bands who offer their first as the most memorable. Whilst trying to make things easy for you the reader by giving comparisons, Midway Still sprang to mind. I then read further and saw that Dec Kelly was the drummer in that aforementioned band is a member. It is glorious pop punk that really deserves to be heard.
The songs linger in your head forever and make the sun shine on these cloudy summer days. 10 Songs that blend so well together and have tunes that will be making you wonder what bands have to do to be heard. I can’t understand why Southport aren’t been spoken about in larger circles. Best album of the year.
Where do I start with rebellion? If its new to you check out www.rebellionfestival.com it’s an annual gathering of the punks to blackpool. Blackpool is such an apt location for it as its a city stuck in the 70s with bits of modernisation but very much old school. Rebellion has over 200 bands playing during its 4 days and I’m here for the weekend, here’s a snippet of Thursday’s action
First up for me was the tea time antics of max splodge (yes of splodgenessabounds). He was compering bingo later (it is Blackpool after all) but for now it was an acoustic set ably backed up by 2 men in drag running around the room.
I ran up to the art exhibition upstairs which had been home to a q and a earlier which saw the mercurial John robb in conversation with mickey fitzgerald from the business. It’s a great concept and I vowed to do my best to catch it tomorrow. Anyway the art was surprisingly good. Knox, from the vibrators. Charlie harper, from uk subs. Gaye black from the adverts all had work on display. One notable exhibitor was David worth’s punk rock cartoon. Www.punkrockcartoons.com. I only wished I had of stuck with my ferry plans for travel as I could carry so much more.
Back to the music and off with their heads were banging out some anthems. It’s my kind of sound, loud tuneful, heartfelt songs.
Different to Jim sorrow who was doing an acoustic set but no less heartfelt. Hull troubadour Jim was strumming that banjo like it was his Gibson sg. He also plays in freaks union. I couldntvstsy for more than three songs as the filaments were on in the empress ballroom ( yes the same venue that hosts bale rom dancing and darts competitions). It was upbeat, fast with a manic trombone player. Great to hear an openly anti fascist song as its amazing how unnerving it is seeing so many people in the crowd with short hair and union jacks.
After the Filaments shredded it was back to the acoustic room for Lucy ward. Lucy is a regular on the folk scene and this is her first rebellion I think she’ll be back especially if she keeps throwing in an odd clash song.
I couldnt pay too much attention as the excitement of seeing snuff was about to explode. I remember first seeing snuff in Belfast in 1988 (I think). They blew me away that night and have been a regular on my playlists since. They only have Duncan from that line up but are still amazing. The songs are so good. They didn’t (maybe couldnt) play I’m not listening anymore but more than made up for it in their 45 minutes. Class
I think because it was a further two hours before the buzzcocks were due to go on stage that it became a struggle. I suffered through Rory McLeod and his acoustic, spoon led warblings. I wondered if the Newtown kings were the commitments of ska or maybe the resident wedding band for rebellion. I found demob, the heavy metal kids and the business pretty painful. They signified to me what is bad about these events. Sometimes there’s no need for middle aged men to get on stage. Maybe if they meant more to me back in the day!!!
Speaking of middle aged men, the buzzcocks finally played to a packed empress. Those songs are so good, songs like boredom and what do I get with shelleys trademark tones. The huge crowd lapped it up and I sat there happy that I started my journey 22 hours previously to get to this point