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.
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.
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.
It’s not quite premiership weekend in Dublin airport but the punks have replaced football fans on the Manchester flights. There is a sense of excitement as we wait to board the myriad of plans descending on the north west of England this weekend. It’s early morning but there are legions of loyal supporters ready for the days trip.
Rebellion promises to be extra special this time around. There’s more stages than ever, an outdoor arena and the literary stage has moved to the fancy surroundings of the Opera House. Will we be able to fit in all we hope for? The next four days will tell but for now it’s the thoughts of a starting 11 of jennie russell, Geoffrey oicott, pears, Jaded eyes, flag, Billy liar, bouncing souls, lost cherries, tv smith, descendants and the pukes with a definite sub to come on in TSOL that has me excited
There’s a bigger buzz about Rebellion this year. Much larger crowd than previous opening days, outdoor stage that is blasting the likes of evil blizzard makes it a different atmosphere but a one way system for people in operation makes moving between stages that but more difficult
Pears play high octane hardcore with tunes promising to breakthrough but it’s an assault for sure.
Vicki viortex and the cumshots are of one of these band names. Singalong basic enough punk rock. Plenty of 1-2-3-4 along the way. They are on at the same time as Ted diabase so a select few songs from both bands was enough. Ted diabase is much more punk rock’n’roll but full of power like all the best three pieces. We all looked on bemused as Hundreds of Diabase pounds were spread into the audience
Jennie Russell is one of the brains behind rebellion so I really wanted to hear what she had to say. A great thing about rebellion is the literary stage. The stories of the punks who live through the past 40 years are related here. I really wish they could be recorded and stored as a document of our history but I suppose tongues wouldn’t be as loose that way. This years literary event is in the 2.200 seater opera house. Just one of 7 venues being used With a venue this big it takes a lot of filling and whilst the opera house was sparsely attended as jennie spoke of the history of rebellion over the past 20 years Jennie is bound by the questions asked and watching her I was wishing they were better prepared. No insightful questions but still a pleasure to hear her talk
I read about army of skanks in the latest suspect device so in a way it was luck riche rocker ran out of questions for Jennie as I caught a few of their songs. Tight enough punky sound.
Jaded eyes however brought it to another level. New band they aren’t really but they were on the new band stage. US influenced sound and I only cut the set short as it was a long trip round be one way system to see flag. Looking forward to listening to the new record i bought,
Not black anymore just stripped down to flag. They still made me leave jaded eyes and it the set proved me right. These are hardcore pioneers, it was worth being in the middle of a smoking area to hear such songs. Kind of weird listening to a band with the sun shining in my eyes though (another rarity for Blackpool. The sun was shining). If you’re reading this then chances are you have either got a black flag record or the bands you listen to certainly do. However after leaving the intimate surrounding of the new band stage I feel my punk rock belongs back there. Whilst I loved the flag set in the open air it is with jaded eyes I belong. Flags set seemed like a greatest hits yet the band had no hits. So many classic songs that have stood the test of time. Not that flag don’t deserve your attention. These people played the small rooms for years and trailblazed the way for other bands. It’s just that it seems so alien having them on a big stage seperated from us.
Svetlana from Russia have all the power of flag with an almost menacing feel. It grabs you by the throat and is full on attack. Raw power.
Mauro clash city rocker gave me a chance to sit down as he played acoustic versions of clash and Ramones songs. Sing along for sure and then when he got our attention he threw in an original song
I catch two songs from London band the duel. Maybe it’s me but I just don’t get it. I do get Billy Liar though. Scottish folk punk with a quirky acoustic style. Songs are reflections on life and are class.
It’s back out again for bouncin souls with poor sound. Still always nice to listen to 7 Seconds / Bad religion type songs.
I felt like i stumbled across a secret party with youth man on the new band stage. Huge energy, powerful sound. Post punk with the volume turned up. I’m glad to be part of this gang. Looking forward to the new ep, best band of the day. Check them out
youth man video
I then settle into the anarcho punk sound of lost cherries. I listened to these back in the 80s and still remember those idealistic days when anarcho punk was the soundtrack for what was about to change in the world, it just had to!! Lost Cheeres are still screaming about the rights of the voiceless. And long may they have that anger.
TV smith warmed me up for the double highlight off the night. Tim is as essential to rebellion as rock is to Blackpool. His acoustic sets are legendary but tonight he moves to the larger opera house capacity. It’s no problem and we are treated to a set of TV Smith with various guests blasting out classics over the past 40 years, including a new song too
Due to time clashes I caught half sets from the descendants and the membranes. The descendants are much lauded for their pop hardcore speed, almost leaders of that social sound. I was willing to skip the Membranes as I will see them again in December but there was something missing with the Descendent, maybe Milos voice or maybe that big stage is just too big. Maybe you need to be right up the front.
The sound in the Opera House is spot on for the half Membranes set I catch. Guitar assault backed up by the steady bass fuzz of John Robb and Rob Haynes solid drums the Membranes are an all inclusive group of troubadors. Robb tries frantically to get people on stage, seeking out scientists. I just wanted to sit and watch at this stage.
Finished the day off with the pukes ukelele fun, 13 people on the Opera House playing punk classic with their ukeleles, whats not to like there.
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!
Rebellion 2015 – Day 4 it ain’t over til it’s over
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.
Book Of The Year
Punk Rock TOur Diaries; Volume Five
So when the Stranglers wrote about No More Heroes they didn’t really want us not to have heroes it was more a statement that there are none to worship. Of course, when Glen Friedman brought out his book Fuck you Heroes it was more a statement of equals. People only fall off pedestals eventually.
However in the punk rock world there are evermoving pedestals and while TV Smith may not seem like a prime candidate he is well deserving of one. He is a man that just can’t say no. Many will remember the Adverts and that hit, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”. I sure do, I even remeber them being on Top Of The Tops. That first album, ‘Crossing the red sea with the adverts’ is one of THE classic punk records. My tape of it was well worn out by the time I had left my first office job. We had a lucky corner in the top of a four story building full of glass but no windows that you could open. Our doors were closed and once our work was being done we could listen to whatever the hell we wanted. Being an all-inclusive unit we each agreed to one tape each and harbour hotel on the radio each lunchtime. That was the signal to down pens, I still remember that radio soap with great fondness.
ANyway my double side tape had The Adverts, The Rezillos on one side and Burning Ambitions, A history of Punk on the other. That competed with ACDC and Guns and Roses and I eventually recognised with small fondness some of the riffs in those songs, however the adverts were the real winners. TV smith went on to continue releasing music post Adverts and as with many 80’s casualties it gets ignored in the history writing. He eventually realised that he could make do with his guitar and wrote some great solo albums. In the interim festivals like Rebellion reinvigorated old school bands and people were looking for the adverts songs once again. They were admitting their fondness for the classics.
TV keeps bashing away releasing his own records, playing DIY gigs, talking to people and being accessable. He has no pedestal to climb onto but his music pays his bills and the people who assist are therer to be thanked not frowned at. This book is his tour diary for 2013, where he could have had his passport stamped in Argentina, Austria, Basque Country, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finaland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland and Uruguay as well as him home nation of the UK. It tells of how gigs come abiout and how he can’t really say no when asked to play a gig. it is not a rock’n’roll tale but more a sstory of the possibilities of dong it yourself. It isn’t a celebration of DIY just a plain tale of what can be achieved.
It’s fascinating reading when taken against the world of rock’n’roll that the adverts temporarily gatecrashed. Them, along with bands like the Clash and the Buzzcocks rallied against a system and an industry that ultimately put them on the pedestal and kicked it off. Most went back to DIY, probably more to do with necessity as A+R people stopped calling. TV Smith hangs out with the audience at most of the gigs he plays in, they are the ones after all that he wants to buy his merch to pay off his next bill. They are the ones who listens to the heartfelt words he sings and want to talk to him about. They are the ones he can’t say no to
And so it continues, the streets around the Winter Gardens have been magically cleaned and the seagulls had some treats for breakfast, It all kicks off just after midday with Max Splodge the MC for a game of bingo, when in rome and all that.
First bit of music for me is the Uk based but US influenced sound of 4130;s. I’ve played them a few times on my radio show. Speedy and tuneful just like bad religion only with less words.
Johnny wah wah curates the new band stage which takes place on day 1, he also is one of the main interviewers on the literary stage as well as singing in on trial UK. Distorted Buzzcocks tuneful songs.
I felt like I’d gatecrashed a secret party gathering when going into see in evil hour. Fairly packed empress ballroom with hundreds of people sing along to the power punk on offer. It was a good secret and a good surprise however I still can’t get into guitar solos, any chance rebellion could ban them?
The Crows are regular features at rebellion but this was my first time to se them, tuneful punk that started with an accapella version of homophobia. What more could you ask for?
Every year I run a competition in my head for most popular band t-shirt. I will be amazed if gimp fist don’t win it for 2015. Biggest queue at a March stall for over an hour before they even played. Don’t quite get it myself
Paul Haslam on the Literary stage told us of his time getting into publishing books. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a Friday aftrnoon than listening to tales of punk rock by people who were involved, Paul co-edits street sounds magazine with Gary Bushell and owns countdown books. His upbringing was soul and mod and he dj’d at 100 club. He has a big connection with the oi scene but this talk ended up being rushed through due to him arriving late. Rebellion runs on a very tight timescale and its timekeeping is usually immense.
Cathi Unsworth reminisced on her days and her 5 books. Her journalistic career started with articles for sounds. And as I sat listening the lightbulb appeared above my head. I have read many reviews from Cathi down through the years. Sounds helped me discover some great bands in the 80s and Cathi (along with John Robb and Gary Bushell) helped with that soundtrack. Joolz then spoke of tattoos, writing, art her background, New Model Army and pretty much everything in between. Some sad tales of the removal of artistic freedom for people in bands. Both Joolz and her interviewee Rhona Dakar asked that people off all ages need to support diy and that is the way forward for all artists. Joolz had a tough upbringing and if she had of dropped a pin during her explanation of her youth it would have created a thunderclap noise. We sat motionless and stunned whilst we hear of the agony that men inflicted on her as an adolescent
One thing that strikes me so far is that there are so few all male bands or events. Striking in that it shouldn’t matter but with so much make aggression in punk rock it is heartening that women are involved and rebellion is not behind in pushing that forward.
Seggs and Ruffy from Ruts DC go into more detail about their new book. A book they introduced to us last year but has been five years in the making. It is now published. The band that don’t want to complain any more they want to provide answers. The message they want to send out is “people unite” How refreshing is that?
Paranoid Visions are gathering huge momentum and respect. Part of the furniture here, their accommodation becomes home to Irish Punk for the weekend. The flag literally flying in the front window of their, what Blackpool can only get away with calling a,hotel. The current line up is their tightest for years and songs new and old go down a treat. They are getting better with age and it was a dilemma that they clashed with the chat with ruts chat.
Cyanide pills are on damaged goods who always seem to pick out good tuneful catchy pop punk rock bands straight from the garage. I got their album after seeing the last year, well worth a listen.
We were treated to more stalwarts in the guise of Subhumans then. I’m never disappointed listening to their set even if Bruce doesn’t seem to be playing guitar. .
TV Smith played his own songs tonight rather than the Adverts classics of last night. It’s positive that so many people don’t just attend rebellion for nostalgia purpose. Sure the majority of people are here because of their affinity to a genre they lived and loved in a different century but they are still willing to open up to new songs, which is what Billy Liar and Louise Distras do in their seperate well attended acoustic sets
Ruts DC however are a different story. I think the best band I’ve seen here, the songs are incredible and the respect people have for them is immense. For many bands it can be a case of seeing a few songs and good and all as they may be you move on. Their is always someone else to see. For the Ruts DC my feet while not firmly planted on the ground (how can you fail not to move and be moved by In A Rut?) weren’t going too far. They played 2 sets tonight, electronic and acoustic and they made the trip worthwhile regardless of what other wonders the weekend might bring. They even do something the subhumans would never dare, play a new song. The respect the crowd have for the ruts is unequalled anywhere else. If Rebellion was a football team the ruts DC would be its star player. The one that can do now wrong and kisses the crest with meaning.
Back to reality and some comedic relief from Captain Hotknives before another nostalgic trip with the Rezillos. I spoke yesterday of that cassette I had in work, Crossing the red Sea wih the Adverts and I can;t Stand The Rezillos. Well the original pop punk band were bashing them out here.
More old scholl tunes from the Damned but to be honest that was just keeing me awake for another highlight. However the packed out Empress Ballroom were on a different wavelength as they jumped and sang and very nearly did as as It Up. Gang Of Four, I don’t know how i did it but i stayed awake over 13 hours after max kicked it all of with his bingo, caught the entire set and smiled my whole way home, not so much at Gang of Four and their incredible rhythmic angular songs. They could easily be Gang of one seeing as Andy is the only original member left but I am marvelling at the excellence and humility of ruts DC
I don’t look like a punk, so perhaps I am not a real punk in the sense of living and looking the part. Yet punk has had a profound impact on the way I see the world, and even on the decisions that I make. If I am not a punk…punk and punks are a source of fascination to me.
So here I am back in the strange and wonderful place called Blackpool…in a sense the perfect place for the gathering of the disciples of punk.
Two acts today define what punk means to me: T.V. Smith and Andy Higgins.
T.V. Smith proves that songs that sounded brilliant, exciting, meaningful and insightful in 1977 are still just as vibrant and relevant today. Smith’s energy and enthusiasm make him the perfect statesman for punk with a message: think for yourself…and just do it!
Andy Higgins delivered a passionate performance on the acoustic stage that will have given Pavarotti little cause to concern in the vocal stakes. He may never win Britain’s got Talent yet Andy asks pertinent questions about how things work….why power is concentrated in certain hands, and what that means for all of us. Andy ran a very creditable campaign in the last general election in England: he doesn’t. Just talk and sing about the concentration of power, he rolls up his sleeves and gets involved. That is perfect punk to me.
Musically Neville Staple delivered a wonderful and joyful set of reggae, ska and Specials songs. The mass singalong in the big booming ballroom showed what a vibrant community sprang up with punk and its exciting offspring, post-punk.
And post-punk received another injection of power and passion with hardcore from the US, and tonight Sick of it All reminded me of how exciting hardcore was when I first heard it in suburban Dublin.
Elsewhere, David Schall delivered a really evocative about growing up punk and going to see bands like Theatre of Hate. It says something about punk that memories of gigs almost 40 years ago now inspire people to get up, do something, make art, and have fun.
Time is mystifying, I try and live in the moment and have crystal clear memories of the finish of rebellion festival last year. The empty winter gardens strewn with litter where people filled that space over the previous four days. I vowed straight away to return, picked out a plastic glass and started saving for the next fest. Here we are 12 months later and I have returned. I wasnt expecting sterling to be so low against Euro as i went to change currencies, so that means less purchases this time round but first world problems and all that.
Unfortunately there were no flights directly to Blackpool from Dublin so my journey starts early with a trip to Manchester, gives me time to do my homework and I had a chance to make plans for the following 4 days of punk rock. Like an excited child waiting for Santa Claus I could barely sleep, I twisted and turned in my sleep and thought of festivals gone by and anticipated this one. Rebellion is my world cup for punk, the best bands don’t always get on the bill but the event is some celebration of punk rock.
Todays initiation is the masked power of Evil Blizzard. It commences for me on Thursday afternoon at 4.15. The mobility wheelchairs are in full flow on Backpools prom down the road and bingo callers are screaming at the top of their voice by the sea but inside the WInter Gardens, home to Ballroom Dancing and the Darts Word Championship there is a counter culture screaming to be counted. Evil Blizzard make some noise. It almost peels the skin off your face, maybe thats why the band wear masks. It is menacing, powerful and completely bizarre for Thursday afternoon at 4pm. Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man have a speed to their songs that match any US hardcore band.
The real beauty of rebellion is finding new acts, new artists and people documenting our movement that were unknown to me previously. Joe England is one such person. Editor of push magazine and West Ham Utd fan, his story is one worth hearing and he share some thoughts with us on the literary stage.
A quick trip into the arena gives me a sight I’ve never seen before a Japanese oi band. Powerful sing along street punk from anger flares
System Of Hate are a punk band from Barnsley, with the enthusiasm of Dublin’s Paranoid Visions they play fast basic punk tunes and want everyone to hear them.
Sick Of It All were never really on my radar, I always found the agression as something i didn’t need to hear when listening to music. Aggression if aimed towards righting an injustice is alright but when it’s trying to display just how hard people are I can leave it. However there’s no denying their power and my real surprise was that 1.000 people were ready to mosh along just after 6 in the evening.
Any aggression in Andy Higgins set is aimed at pointing out injustice and Andy has ben doing his for many years. He is the person behind Just Say No To Government Music and has a new fanzine out for Rebellion. As a Blackpool FC fan he is always railing for the underdog and his acoustic set is a collection of covers tailored to discuss the plight of the Seasiders and the tragic. Take of how one person can profit from running a football club with seemingly no real repercussions.
TV Smith is similar, he is part of the furniture here at Rebellion and is always ready to talk, to play and share that enthusiasm. TV has been playing since the Adverts in 77 and prior to that but he still displays that youthful abandonment nearly 40 decades later
Neville Staple was also playing 4 decades ago as part of the Specials, it’s not his first time here and he seems to have gotten over the fear from the stage of his daughter being surrounded by a gang of punks at the front of the crowd. We danced and sang and smiled as we remembered those old classic ska songs
AntiFlag upped the tempo with some political charged hardcore. We sang and screamed at the top of our voices. The world needs peace but that plea is being ignored. Anti Flag are doing their best with that rallying cry, a fitting end to an eclectic day. Remember this is a marathon so we have to pace ourselves over the 4 days and with that in mind I had to give the Misfits a wide berth and troop back to bed
I had a good chat with el presidente yesterday. He was up for the tv smith gig as we reminisced and discussed world affairs as we prepared to our ears for the sounds of TV Smith playing some Adverts songs. That first Adverts album is an absolute classic. Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts. It should go into any end of century lists. While it may not have the anger fuelled passion of The Clash it compares to pretty much everything else that spawned form that era. Criminally ignored.
So we spoke about that and Irish punk as we listened to the Lee Harveys. They remind me of a Good Vibes era pop punk band, el presidente says its more the Lurkers or the Members. There’s similaritaries in them there descriptions. It was good to chat with el presidente. we spoke of community resistance and how politics is more relevant when communities are empowered. be that in South or Central Americ where it can happen frequently or in paces like Marinaleda in Spain. There are communities like Ballyhea or Rossport in Ireland that are speaking up. Little buds are growing throughout the country as the water tax protest gather momentum. We agree it’s not just about water but hopefully this generation will have a different body politic when they are discussing times gone by in twenty years.
We were trying to figure out when we saw Paranoid Visions for the first time. For me it was the ivy Rooms, ironically where Fibbers now stands which is where we were. El presidente isn’t sure, maybe the Project. We both agreed they were chaotic and fearful events. Tonight the chaos is gone, the fear has imploded but there is still something there. Some anger and some great songs.
It was easy for us back in the 80’s to get drawn into music and poitics. There was a culture of it. Kids have different genres to cling on to, be that rude boy, mod, punk or hippy. We wondered what this homogenised generation do? Anyone know? I’ve asked my teenage kids and it really seems to boil down whether what size heel you were, all the rest are the same. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the young punks of todays are the teddy boys of my generation. There was a few Elvis fans when I was a teenager but they seemed so irrelevant…..
TV Smith is not irrelevant, to us anyway. He is still bringing out music, doing it his own way and hoping yu might join in. The Bored Teenagers are named after a song from the adverts first album. Imagine their delight, as three young men from Barcelona, when asked to join tv on a tour playing those songs they love. No Time to be 21, Gary Gilmores Eyes, Bored Teenagers. great, great songs. Even better when they played some songs from tav smiths excellent new album.