Paranoid Visions talk about Rebellion festival


One of the most-talked about events at the Rebellion festival this year was the collaboration between Steve Ignorant from Crass and Dublin’s punk stalwarts, Paranoid Visions. They took to the stage in front of one of the biggest crowds of the festival. For anyone who has been following Paranoid Visions since their early days this was an unlikely triumph. They struggled to get gigs in their home-town of Dublin when punk was a dirty word and punks bands were barred from just about every Dublin venue. Paranoid Visions persevered though and gained the respect of the international punk community. In fact, the band are largely responsible for the current thriving punk community in Ireland. I asked Peter Jones (P.A. Jesu) from the band some questions about the ‘Blackpool triumph’.

How did it feel playing in front of thousands of people on Saturday?

I was very nervous to be honest. Most of those songs have lived with me for almost 40 years so I know how much they mean to people, not least myself. What made it worse was we had opened a floodgate and the buzz seemed to be quite strong about the show. Steve holds those songs so dearly to his heart that he always wants to do them justice. But hearing the roar as we came out, listening to the “bomb tape” crass used to use live and kicking into Owe us a Living and just hearing the power of the live sound and seeing the delight on people’s faces calmed me within seconds. It was a really special 50 minutes I have to say!!! Those songs are deceptively difficult, crazy structures and dynamics and a very accomplished and original rhythm section!

 

Did it feel surreal considering how ‘far away’ punk felt when you went to that first Poison Girls gig?

Not really, over the intervening years we / I have grown into it and that initial introduction to the diy, no stars, no barriers approach of true punk is in my blood I suppose. But that being said, afterwards, I was thinking about it and wondering exactly how I had reached this stage!

 

How did the connection with Steve Ignorant first come about?

Steve always gets asked this too. And the answer is that we just kind of assimilated him! I promoted the Dublin gig for his Last Supper tour and we were supporting him in Manchester. We just kind of hit it off, he liked the clear chaos that surrounds us and we weren’t tongue tied around him so we are easy to get along with. We were asked to support in New York but when their visas fell through we were left high and dry with flights booked and only local gigs to do, so he felt obliged to pay us back with the support at the final show in Shepherds Bush.

After the gig we were chatting and I said we had a song (Split Personality) that needed his delivery style and we were struggling to get it right. So he said “fuck it, I’ll do it if you want”. So we arranged for him to come over and stuck him in a studio to do it and also suggested we did another one, “rock n roll n revolution”, for a single Louder than War records wanted from us. Done and dusted in 2 hours including tea break. Later that night he explained how he really enjoyed working with us like that as it reminded him of recording Stations of the Crass… get in, get it done, get out! And said any time we want to do more he’d be up for it. So then it just steam rolled…..the proposed ep became an album, one off gig at Rebellion led to tons of offers, many of which we turned down and continue to turn down if it doesn’t suit (we turned down a lot of money for Punk Rock Bowling in LA as Steve had 2 Slice of Life gigs already booked…. !). I think the relationship is long-term even after we all retire from live duties we will nestle in studios to create music together!

 

Can you tell people who missed it what you performed?

The idea was to do songs that encompassed Steve’s 40 years singing in punk bands plus a nod towards the scene he helped create through crass, so we have songs there from Crass, Conflict, Stratford Mercenaries, Schwartzenegger and with ourselves. Plus Poison Girls, Dirt and Flux of Pink Indians songs because we all loved them so much and thought it may increase the party/celebration feel.

Owe us a living
Securicor
Join the dots
Banned from the roxy
Hiroshima
Where is love
Charity begins at home
So what
What a shame
Berkshire cunt
No more running
Braindance
Persons unknown
Big a little a
Tube disasters

 

Yikes…..

I have seen the audience for P.V. grow every year at Rebellion, what was it liked playing there this year?

It was amazing. I thought our crowd might be compromised as we were technically overlapping with DOA, the Members, the Professionals and Slaves… plus we were playing the following day with Steve. But we jammed the venue to capacity. I don’t really know, but the reaction commercially and critically to the past few records has been better than ever so maybe the new breed of punk rockers are getting into us too or maybe its an audience outside the UK and Ireland that’s finding out about us.

Is this the most stable line-up the bad has had? To me it feels like the most vibrant/powerful.

Absolutely. We’ve always been a bit of a revolving door. We have traditionally had adequate musicians who really understood what we were doing, or great musicians who didn’t, or in some cases musicians who had no concept of what we are about…. But for 5 records and 4 years we have had the perfect combination of terrific musicians who completely understand what being in this band involves and why we do it. They also embrace the musical diversity and have a style of their own which fits really well. It’s the best and most stable line up we have had. And that shows in the records and gigs we’ve done.

 

What other bands were highlights for you this year?

Interrobang continue to prove they are the best band in the UK. Slaves blew me away. TV Smith, UK Subs and Ruts DC were as astonishing as ever. Bad Religion are amazing and I was so pleased to see them for the first time.

 

What’s next for Paranoid Visions?

We are writing the next album “Dog Eat God” for 2018 release. Pushing the ante even further with this one. One track, Alphabetti Spaghetti will have 26 guest vocalists. We cut down on gigs this year and will continue this practice next year so everything we do feels like an event. We are also working on plans for a short tour with Steve and are entertaining offers from several territories before deciding which to do!

 

What’s happening with the new punk bands in Ireland?

Lots of great local bands as always. The Lee Harveys, the Black Pitts and I Am A Carcrash continue momentum and will all likely have releases over the next year. We are also starting a series of singles called “No Romance” (continuation of the Advance Records and Dando Sessions themes). This will consist of a 4 band 4 track split ep to serve as an intro to the individual 3 track ep releases by each band to follow in the wake. Volume 1 will have Audible Joes, the Turn, the Gakk and the Nilz on it. We are talking about a UK bands one afterwards. There will be a common theme throughout for artwork and presentation so they become collectable.

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 Slice of Life

Slice of life

Here we have Steve Ignorant of Crass with an interesting piece of theatre. And by interesting I don’t mean crap/self indulgent. This is raw emotion with a lush background of keyboard, acoustic guitar and bass from a cracking backing band including beautiful male female harmonies.

It’s a reminder that Crass’s gift was to inject punk with a healthy [over]dose of sixties subversive theatre.
Instead of Crass black this is a white workingman’s shirt with boots and braces show, it reminds me of Yoko Ono’s primal screaming. A good reminder that the counter culture of the sixties didn’t end in a full stop.

There’s no middle ground here, take is love-it-or-hate-it no prisoners raw theatre. Ignorant performs as a deranged 1930s [hard]workman. And Ireland’s own hardest working man in punk, P.A. Jesu from Paranoid Visions formed a spontaneous choir in the audience during tonight’s performance, proving there is no barrier between artist and audience.

Ignorant was a true anti-star and tonight he spoke of Las Vegas but this was Blackpool vaudeville with the ghosts of the men and women who were never given their own show, their slice of the spotlight.

Rebellion 2017 – Day 1

Rebellion 2017 day 1

Simon and Carol captivate the acoustic room

And so we return. A little greyer, mostly a little bigger but no less enthusiastic. Blackpool 2017 for this first weekend of August is less kiss me quick and donkey rides and more punk rock nostalgia as the home of the 80s political conferences is taken over by the punks. 7 stages kicking off with bingo from max splodge of splodgenessanounds. Max regaled us all on top of the pops with two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please and now he is in the bar calling out numbers for bingo and that very same order over and over again.

Today’s festival began with a race against time. Four full days of live music ahead and my 10.35 plane looks like it won’t get there on time. I will mix Max’s bingo and Geoffrey Oicott. But I wait in hope that I can catch Epic Problem, the spoilers and the tuts.

One issue of having 7 stages is there are bound to be clashes. They usually work out as 4 songs from a band you want to check out is far better than never being in the same room as them but this three being on different stages at the same time was always going to prove problematic. It was a problem I didn’t need to give thought to as trains and planes conspired against me and time was the winner, or lack of it.

Bratakus were the first band I caught. Two piece abrasiveness from Scotland. Some racket for two people, excellent stuff. In evil hour were on in the empress and played to a large crowd. Strong solid rocking punk tunes

Simon Wells and Carol Hodge came over to Ireland last year to play our We Shall Overcome festival and delighted the crowd. They were back today in the acoustic room as simon played tracks from his new album, songs that are usually played with a fuller sound and lots of noise. It’s great to hear them stripped down bare and raw. Heartfelt music that is very special. Simon greeted nearly everyone personally from stage and we welcomed him and Carol from our seats. The set as mixed with some of Carols haunting yet soulful songs which added spice to the mix.

Carol played again later with Slice of Life.

Slice of Life. Rebellion 2017

There are a few people who can do no wrong with the vast majority of the rebellion crowd and Steve ignorant is one of these. Steve will be singing some songs with paranoid visions later in the festival, a selection of songs that influenced so many. For tonight he is living in the now and it’s a good place to be. Steve can’t avoid the fact that he was in one of the most influential punk bands. A band that could easily be described as one that maybe not led a generation but guided a community. It was an accident and he is humbled by it all he wasn’t trying to lead anyone he was just being one of us. And still is.

The pukes were a trimmed down version of their usual selves. 4 ukuleles and some washboard rhythms playing punk classics. They had a huge crowd in the acoustic room singing along and wondering when would they learn. There was something missing from the band on stage and when i did that head count I realised that Lorna was missing. Her infectious enthusiasm is a beacon on stage but the colourful tunes still brought a smile to us all

This was my first time to see Bar stool preachers despite them being perennial visitors. Sing along punk ska anthems that had the crowd singing along and me wondering what the words were so I could join in

Reletics were the only and I saw on the introducing stage. Powerful punky rocky sound. They proudly sang about being an anti fascist band which is worth proclaiming time and again.

MDC are one of those bands that just keep going but in reality it is just singer Dave Dictor. Dave, like many others here this weekend, pretty much acts the same as he did in the late 80’s early 90’s. There’s been hospital visits and scares along the way but he is still screaming, even at the acoustic show tonight. The acoustic shows leave singers with no place to hide and dave coped very well stripped down to a bass and an acoustic and those songs about Reagan and the crazy state of the world growing up in the 80s seems as relevant as ever, maybe more so.

Zillah minx from Rubella ballet is like the offspring of Toyah Wilcox with attitude and politics thrown in. Toyah flew a flag for women in a time when women were solely objectified in music. Rubella Ballet brought colour to an anarchist punk scene full of black with some red for good measure. Both played this evening in the seated arena. Rubella ballet competed with the Puke’s for most colourful band. Maybe an anarcho spizz energy complete with illuminious dancers. I never really listened to Toyah before and couldn’t tonight as there were no seats in the house spare for her performance.

I also never really listened to good riddance. Not sure why but alongside Strike Anywhere they are on my list of “must find out more”. That list is increasing al the time but after tonight’s energetic explosion of hardcore I can strike them off.

Roddy radiation had everyone skanking as if the specials never stopped. Ska and reggae in an original Style. While roddy was skanking tv smith was punking. Tim is in the same mould as Steve ignorant. A legend of a musician and still playing those adverts songs as if it was his first time. Only two words to describe this set. Tv smith. That first album is a classic. I defy you to say otherwise. Tv smith is the boss.

Leftover Crack are in Dublin on Saturday. This may not be a warm up for that show but if it was, then the gypsy rose will he on fire. Hard hitting political us hardcore punk band. They were on top form tonight.

sem futuro showed you don’t have to be North American to have that punky hardcore sound. These Brazilians sure did create a racket, can’t say if the words were politically motivated as my Spanish is pretty nonexistent

Penny wise and bad religion brought the tunes back in. It’s amazing to see Bad Religiin still filling out halls and better again to see over 2,500 people singing along. Flying end to the first day, despite my disappointing start of clashes and ultimately missed sets.

My Favourite Gig – The Shend

This is the ninth in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

This week it is the shend from the cravats

Last Supper
London 2011

The Cravats have existed since 1977 but playing live was not a favourite pastime of mine in the early days due to finding it near im-possible to sing and play bass at the same time. Since Svor Naan (Cravats sax behemoth) and I recruited new members and reformed for the Rebellion Punk Festival in 2009, I have loved doing the darned things and playing the final, ‘Last Supper’ Steve Ignorant Crass gig at Shepherds Bush O2 on 19th November 2011 was a particular highlight in the Cravats journey.

When we were asked to appear as special guests I was somewhat surprised. The Cravats, had never really slotted with ease into the Crass roster of bands. We were silly, jazzy, and peculiar but Penny Rimbaud had always been a huge supporter of the band and had, almost, single-handedly mauled our sound into what it had become.

Although well rehearsed, I think it was on the drive up to London from Brighton that the ‘fear’ set in. What if the sold out crowd decided we weren’t suitable entertainment for this final Last Supper show and hurled abuse from our opening chord to the final feed-back racket of ‘I Hate The Universe’? Or worse still, stayed in the bar.

After Andy T and Paranoid Visions had shown how it should be done, we walked out onto the lovely old theatre stage of the O2. It was ruddy packed to the gills and I could see from the smiles that it was unlikely we were going to be machine gunned by indignant punks that night. Never had I witnessed a reaction so glorious to our noise but it was a special night and there was a lot of ‘Crass love’ in the air. Folk were happy and felt a part of the unique channel that Crass had created all those years ago.

Our actual performance passed in a fuzzy, joyous cartoon blast that left us all shattered and chuffed. We went down a storm and still had the pleasure of seeing Penny and Eve do their stuff followed by Steve Ignorant and friends show why those Crass songs had meant so much, to so many, for so long. Top night.

Rebellion 2016 – Day 3

The ruts take the opera house by storm

Rebellion 2016 – day 3

Nothing like a bit or raucous punk folk to start the day. I didn’t make it to black pitts but will catch them in Dublin soon I hope. Matilda’s Scoundrel were on the introducing stage and judging by the receptive crowd they weren’t being introduced to many. Accordion, mandolin, tin whistle with guitar, bass and drums drumming up some sing along punk anthems

Dunstan bruce has a very interesting story to tell and he is not only doing that on the literary stage he is in thee process of making a movie about it. The first phase of his Kickstarter campaign was successful but more funding is now required to get into the edit stage. Chumbabwamba played a folk set at rebellion just before their hiatus and Dunstan wasn’t around then but he is now back with his new band interrobang. Before their live set though he had a story to tell. Unfortunately johnny wah wah was asking the questions so there was little insight, it kind of feels like the questions are made up on the spot. Maybe the intention is to come across like two friends having a conversation over a drink and we did get to hear that chumbabwamba wanted to be a northern version of Crass whilst listening to the fall and the mekons.

imageDunstan started interrobang as he still feels the need to be part of something that wants to change the world, be part of a movement. Their sound does hark back to that post punk era Complete with loud hauler found at your nearest protest march. We get a brief break during the set when all three start screaming “I’m mad as hell. I’m not gonna take it anymore”. Dunstan even travels through the audience while we politely applaud. Great to see the evolving sound and message of wanting to change the world still being strong 30 years after I got a reply from my first letter to hin

Shot! were on the introducing stage. Rocky punk sound. Again the new band stage is shining, no inhibitions as bands give it everything in this small room. Rooms like this is where the bands playing on the larger stages in the venue all started out. This kind of energy too

One of the bands I was most looking forward to see as part of this festival was the spoilers. They are on new band stage clashing with Carol Hodge, channel 3 and hifi spitfires. But it doesn’t matter. They are nearly worth the admission price alone (it’s a lot of money just for one band). spoilers storm this rebellion introducing stage. They pop us in and punk us out. Catchy tunes that demand you join their gang. Bizarrely enough it was the worst sound that I’ve seen in that venue but still you could reach out and touch the power

Dick Lucas has now added artist to his repertoire as he has an exhibition in the punk art and even had some sold stickers on his paintings. The time culture Shock don’t play rebellion will find the festival with a huge hole to fill. Regular entertainers with their ska tinged punk filling the outdoor tower arena

I keep hearing and reading that there is a rebellion family and it is a great opportunity for people to catch up. I’m usually pretty introverted and love saying hello to people but after that start to struggle a bit. I’ve decided to try and work on this so go up and say hi to a few I see annually but had some connection with since playing in my first band in 1984. Socialising I think you call it :). It was great to catch up with people but meant I missed out on Jfa and the wall. I did get to hear the angelic upstarts as i stood on the road chatting and searching for wifi so I could see how the dubs were progressing in their football match. There was a huge turnout for the upstarts, a larger entrance had to be opened. I first saw the band in Blackpool in 1984 and they played many songs from that night, and played them just as well.

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So the next dilemma of stage time clashes!! Hard skin won out to louise distras, flat back four and the Newtown neurotics. I had to hear the between song banter of the second biggest anti fascist band playing here. I even got to hear some new skinhead anthems that hard skin have written, oh wait hang on – they weren’t new they were just written this decade. I think the north pier theatre in Blackpool are looking to book hard skin for a residency. Comic genius but an undercurrent of reality, the mark Thomas of oi..

Got three neurotic songs which was a real bonus, could have done without the effects on the vocals though

The weird and wonderful world of Spizz / Spizz energi / Spizz athletico 80 waqs next – definitely Spizz energi now and it gave me. chance to sit down, restore some energy and not worry about beer being thrown for a while. I don’t know what it is about gigs that makes people think they can just throw a glass with liquid in it up in the air. One sped past my head at hard skin and the goon that threw it just smiled and said sorry. Lucky for me I’m old and not bothered these days otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen anything other than a red mist for the rest of the night )and maybe even a+e after an inevitable defeat. Spizz took the stage in full make up, bleached blond hair and lights on his fingers and eyes. I wonder if he looks like that on his bus pass ticket? now that would be a statement. New wave music that only moved enough to make me leave so I could catch some cockney rejects before the last acoustic set of the day.

I stumbled across the end of the hobo jones acoustic set and what a sight. 350 punks singing along to sheena is a punk rocker with the lyrics changed for a little girl who requested last year they play a ramones song. It was the cutest request they ever received so they agreed to learn another one for this year. Of course they forgot until today and then charged it for Sydney. We all sang and clapped. Sydney danced and it was one of those magic rebellion momentsl, of which there are many

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Henry Cluney, acoustic set rebellion

Henry Cluney was the original guitarist in Stiff Little Fingers, a hugely influential band. Slf are playing tomorrow night and their influence can be heard right throughout the weekend. Henry is no longer playing with the band, plying his own wares in xSLF. His acoustic set is a joy to behold as he packs the room to the rafters. Again the respect is just oozing in the room. Henry is part of a huge Irish contingent over for the festival. Not just consumers of what’s on offer, like me, but many artists here this weekend. A long list. Those Slf songs sound as good acoustically and rebellion is a perfect avenue for this but is not its about what was happening in 1976, 79,82 or whatever wave was going on. Yep some bands are still playing this songs the same way but with the songs stripped down to the bare guitar and vocals cluney has the acoustic room in his hands, hundreds singing along dreaming of that other world we all thought was possible

Ruts are another that have evolved. Death has seen to that. But wow have they evolved. We are the flock and the ruts are our pastors. Each year they play an amazing set and throw in a new song or two, The Dub element in their sound is lessening bu us still prevalent. The newer songs hark back to their original day, If Rebellion is one big happy family then the rus are the relatives everyone opes will visit.

My last band for the day are Paranoid Visions playing with Steve Ignorant. WIth Steve on board the visioins play a more straight forward punk set. It’s a packed stage, chaotic and powerful, they even sneak in a cover of a crass song at the end. Do they owe us a living? Well do they? Top class

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

Hope Show 112 – the lowdown

Hope Show 112 the lowdown

1. The Specials – Racist Friend
2. The Men They Couldn’t Hang – The Ghosts of cable Street
3. Chumbawamba – The Day The Nazi Died
4. New Model Army – Better Than Them
5. Steve ignorant – If this is the way things are
6. Four Letter Word – Johnny Foriegner
7. Funeral Oration – This Punk Thing
8. Fifteen – Punk Song
9. Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come
10. Francis Black – Legal Illegal
11. Mike Park – Korea is so far away
12. The Hanson Brothers – Brad
13. Toxic Waste – Burn Your Flags
14. The Restarts – Jihad

Starting off tonights show with a few songs around racism and the feeling that somehow some people are more superior to another depending on where they are born. I was born on the North side of Dublin and grew up playing football. I still go to games and have friendly rivalry with people from other areas. There is no way that can and should be confused with any feeling of superiority. We are all here by virtue of birth and pure luck as to what land you land on

The Specials sang “If you have a racist friend, now is the time for that friendship to end” while the men they couldn’t hang sang about the time Fascists took the streets in the UK. There was a battle of Cable Street with people willing to stand up to those spreading hate.

Hate was trying to spread itself in the capital of Ireland today and hundreds of people were out to show that we wouldn’t blindly accept prejudice. At times it was a bit intimidating as Garda Special Riot squad drew their batons in an effort to prevent those standing up to hate mongerers from getting near those peddling racism. I thought of this song as it seemed like us, with our families, were going to be attacked and then thought of Chumbawamba’s the day the Nazi Died and wondered why those who look at history don’t see that hate is wrong.

“We’re taught that after the war
The Nazis vanished without a trace
But battalions of fascists
Still dream of a master race

The history books
They tell of their defeat in 45
They all come out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

They say the prisoner of Spandau
Was a symbol of defeat
Whilst Hess remained imprisoned
Then the fascists they were beat

So the promise of an Aryan world
Would never materialize
So why did they all come out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

The world is ridden by maggots
The maggots are getting fat
They’re making a tasty meal
Of all the bosses and bureaucrats

They’re taking over the board rooms
And they’re fat and full of pride
And they all came out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

So if you meet with these historians
I’ll tell you what to say
Tell them that the Nazis
Never really went away

They’re out there burning houses down
And they’re peddling racist lies
And we’ll never rest again
Until every Nazi dies”

“Truth is only what we need it to be” Said Justin Sullivan when he was writing Better Than Them for New Model Army, at times we may feel that way but truth be know we are not. We all have doubt but we need to show humanity

“We are not like them” and “I know where I stand”. I stand with people who are trying their best, people looking to make the world better for all, people willing to work together regardless of colour or creed. Thankfully we outnumbered those who opposed us today.

Four Letter Word were from Wales and were singing abot “Johnny Foreigner at the turn of the Century, trying to highlight peoples ignorance.

I moved on to a set of songs with Punk in the title, just to make sure you are under no illusions where this shows heart is.

Funeral Oration were from the Netherlands, Fifteen were from the Bay Area in San Francisco who say the “only thing that matters if you’re in a band, can you successfully divert the next generation from accepting racism”. Exactly.

Refused were from Sweden, their “Shape Of Punk to come” album was hugley influential at the time. Their gig in Dublin on a Saturday afternoon was the shape of memories to come, for sure

I mentioned last week about the new Songs Of Solidarity and Resistance compilation which proclaims that “Written history is nothing more than the propaganda of the victors. If you want the real history you’ll have to go to the folksong” Ewan McColl has written his version of modern history and here Frances Black takes on his Legal illegal, “Don’t upset the oul’ apple cart”

Mike Park has upset many in his day. His Asian Man record label has highlighted many freat us hardcore and ska core bands. Indeed Mike was in and has toured the world many times. His acoustic warblings always make me smile.

Nomeansno were another seminal Canadian band and are held in huge regard in punk circles. I’ve seen them many times and have always been astounded at their sound. Their offshoot, Hanson Brothers, were the ramones playing ice hockey arenas. Brad is the hanson brothers covering nomeanso, Confused? You will be.

Toxic Waste were from Belfast, never interested in borders or hate. Burn your flags exactly.

Finishing off tonight with the Restarts and Jihad. Don’t forget evil is evil, bad things happen in many countries.

Peace

niallhope

Rebellion 2015 – Day 3

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Rebellion 2015 Day 3

I said it was a marathon and whilst Wonk Unit may have just arived in Blackpool this is the start of my third day. It’s a great start for me though as I get to see a band I’ve been hearing and reading about for a couple of years and have been following their own Wonk Fest for the past couple of years. They have an new member in Jess who adds a keyboards and screams to the ska tinged hardcore sound or joke core if there is such a term

Louise Distras’s acoustic set last night was a highlight and she has beefed out her sound now with a band. My introduction to Louise was at rebellion and was always solo with her guitar. I delighted in the fact that an independent woman would get up on stage and rail against the world, rallying the troops. I wasn’t expecting such a powerful set on offer from the three piece. Almost as good as the acoustic. Almost, still damn good.

AMI are from Brighton and the collective age of the four piece may not be equal to Charlie Harper from the UK subs who was standing in the from row for most of their set. Good power slightly rock sound. Singer had a descendents t-shirt so the future is bright.

Goldblade early on a Saturday afternoon on the first day of the new football season. I could have made my excuses and watched the scores but how can you miss this? Complete with oyston out banner in support of the local football team gold blade are the underdogs band and they will scream at the top of their lungs for that underdog. We will rejoice with them.

Nic Austin on the Literary stage gave us a chance to sit down and take in the stories of his time in Chelsea and his spell with Generation X. Nic is still playing, not only in Chelsea but has a new record out too, church of eon

The Boys played some acoustic versions of their early pop rock sound. Pop punk means so much more than Green Day or other sped up tuneful bands. The original wave saw bands wih basic tunes and an atitude play some great songs. The Boys had these and it is great to hear them stripped down.

999 were a punk band from my youth but I wanted to hear what Barry Cain had to say about his book sulphate street, his time as record mirror journalist and then publisher of flexipop magazine.

A-Heads were part of the anarco wave that showed that not only was diy possible, it was imperative. Say and sing what you like.

MDC certainly said and sang what they wanted. Unfortunately after sitting and waiting 15 mins we were informed they hadn’t arrived. I was hoping for this to be my chance to she’s them as they are due on last tonight. It gave me a chance to listen to monkey from the addicts and his take on performance and punk and being happy to be part of a community. Hard to believe they have recorded and released over 200 songs, must make it hard to think up a set list, I had to leave when I heard they played Israel, hugely disappointing.

Peter and the test tube babies always seemed like a band with interesting tales and it was nice to hear some of them. The literary stage is a hugely imortant facet of rebellion. We get to hear first hand accounts of what was going on with all these bands. It’s great for someone like me who was living in a different country and buying the record but not really expecting to ever be in a position to see them live. It wasn’t Peter on stage but Del from the band had some stories to tell anyway.

Steve Drewett is one such person I wrote to and wondered if I’d ever get to see him live. I have now seen him or his band the newtown neurotics 6 imes and love it every time. I had never seen him on stage with his daughter rosa before as she accompanied him on 6 tracks. It’s such a privilege to be here listening to bands that played such a part in my formative years. It’s 30 years later and life keeps moving on. We realise that but at the same time it’s always good to take stock of where we come from. For many that is the community or area they grew up for me I grew up in the punk community and the neurotics were very much neighbours, along with Ruts DC and so many more this weekend.

Culture Shock I have seen nearly as much as the neurotics and they would have lived around the corner in that community, newcomers though :). Upbeat punk and dick is in great form tonight.

The literary stage was buzzing today, nina antonia spoke of her book about Johnny thunders and her musical upbringing listening to Marc bolan

It then became time for the big guns. Hugh Cornwall from the Stranglers, Peter Perrett from the Only Ones and Steve Lake from Zounds set us up for the Boomtown Rats. I was amazed at the size of the crowd for the rats. Full to capacity but was it in anticipation of the music or was there an ‘intrigue’ factor? The crowd weren’t jumping around or celebrating each song in dance and it was thinner by the end of the set but I had to leave anyway for the neurotics and the mob that’s more my punk rock anyway. The amount of Merch the boomtown rats brought in and out was phenomenal. Signed CDs and DVDs galore. I guess autographs are important to some punks. Me? I prefer memories.

Hard Skin are one of the few bands that get away with verbally abusing the audience. Like an Oi version of Captain Hotknives they don’t take themselves seriously but realise the world is a serious place. They play in the casbah which is outdoor and a realisation for me that so many punks still smoke. We have become so accustomed to smoke free zones entering one for a gig is a real step back in time, not a better time though. Hard skin don’t care, they only care if there are fascists in the building, no room for them in our scene. A belter of a set from everyone’s favourite obnoxious wannabe skinheads

The Mob were one of the best sets a couple of years ago and tonight compete again for it. Steve lake guested and tried to remove the menace but the casbah was rocking and this was another highlight.

Buzzcocks don’t need an introduction and the songs sound like they could have been written yesterday. Such good tunes but maybe it’d be better if Steve Diggle hadn’t turned out to be such a good guitarist. These songs are too easy for him to play so he admonishes them with solos.

Steve Ignorant’s album with Paranoid Visions showed how these stalwarts can still be relevant with their new songs. Tonight’s set was a mixture of that album and some older songs that Steve had written. They also won the prize for biggest self publicists or band that wear the most of their own band tshirt

I was asleep for MDC as it is hard to sustain 14 hour punk rock days, has no-one heard of the working time directive? I did have a wry smile when I saw the line up of stalls in the casbah venue. U.S. Hardcore band with strong links to the UK anarchist punk scene competing with all the madmen records, home of the mob competing with Steve ignorant from Crass competing with hard skin whose musical roots are in that anarcho punk scene. All separate stalls, no chance of one big one in the main area next year????

Dave Cain talks about his book Sulphate Strip
Dave Cain talks about his book Sulphate Strip
MDC no show for acoustic set
MDC no show for acoustic set
Steve Drewett and daughter Rosa
Steve Drewett and daughter Rosa

Slice Of Life – Love and a Lampost

Slice of Life
Love and a Lampost
Overground Records
slice of life

Steve Ignorant finally gets to sing, under the studio microscope. I’ve listened to him in various formats over the years, Crass and Schwarzennegar being the main two. Steve’s vocals have always been covered by the racous noise of Crass or the electric sound of Schwarzennegar. It is now stripped bare with acoustic accompaniment.

I have seen Slice of life live a couple of times and Steves anger and passion is to the fore (and sometimes an alcohol abetted voice and attitude), however there’s nothing to hide behind here. No Deko to counteract or PA’s guitar cutting in like when he did the album with Paranoid Visions.

And it is still spoken in many parts, prose poetry and art. There’s piano, acoustic guitar, upright bass and even a trumpet.

History has put many people up on pedestals, usually with an alternative version ready to knock them down again. Since the dawn of time many garden paths have been well worn with peoples footsteps being brought up them, and left. Abandoned. Thinking, “we were nearly there”, wondering “If only”. Music and culture changed the lives of many of those troubadors. We are the vegans, vegetarians and souls that were changed. Meat Is Murder, Coal Not Dole, Red Wedge or There is No Authority But Yourself are all clarion calls from the 70’s/80’s. It is a period in history that may be remembered for revolutionary statements on vinyl. Today our cassettes are on mp3, our fanzines digitised by blogs and some people on the edges are running ethical businesses.

Many of the venues that remain open are still driven by profit and alcohol, many of the promoters are using music as a means to pay their bills and few paths are being laid. We looked to bands like Crass and Fugazi to bring us on a different route which some of us took. Slice of Life have taken that musical route. The message is strong and the sound is pleasant. Ideally this band wouldn’t be looking to the mainstream venues and we would have an alternative built over the past 30 years. That doesn’t exist as we co-exist with those we rally against.

If only eh?

Time has moved on and it is good to hear Slice of Life bringing a sound forward. Long may that wheel move forward, open your mind and give this a chance punk.

niallhope

slice of life1