So, 53 weeks (I know, whats’s in a year?) after last years event the annual punk rock shindig returns to blackpool. The punk rock is on sale in the local rock shops as 5000 punks submerge on blackpool to keep this decaying seaside town going. Local hoteliers greet their spiky friends with open arms and even the local police welcome the anarchy warriors as rebellion comes to town.

This year there seemed to be more bands than ever and the winter gardens was bustling nearly as much as when the recent world darts series was on. 8 seperate venues under one roof, all with a selection of music that somehow has it roots in punk rock. Some connections are more tenuous than others but from 11.45 am when max splodge kicked off proceedings with bingo it was all systems smashed (sorry go!!)

Due to the Irish Sea being between me and the winter gardens I missed Max’s take on the numbers and arrived just in time to see The straps play Punk rock and roll. I don’t know them at all but hey did announce “this is from our 7″ released in 1980″ so they must be around a while!!!

The acoustic stage is a winner for me. You get to sit down and see old and new punk steps wrestling through the noise on acoustic guitar. Wayne lost soul had tons of energy and went down positively with the well attended crowd. Not unlike tv smith he bashed at the guitar and had songs that meant something.

Vic ruggeiro from the slackers was up next with his bluegrass country but he managed to get us all singing along to the clashs rudie can’t fail so it was memorable for me.

I then wandered into the arena venue and came across Slime. Again new to me but they seemed to be around a while, it was lost punk to my ears. I am always uncomfortable when a band announces from stage that their new single is amazing. Of course they will think its good but I prefer if they play it and let the listener decide i left slime before making a decision on their new record as their singer informed the audience how rockin’ it was. I did leave so I could get a good spot to see leftover crack. I’ve sen them a few times now and have enjoyed their blitzkrieg attack. Tonight was just like Stza crack all stars. Stza is the singer and the one constant in the band. it was a bit bizarre at times as he spoke about but unifying hardcore. however it is more than rocking out with a ska beat and should be more than just introducing your band to the audience. I find it strange that so many bands do that, surely punk rock is not about letting people know the names of each member of the band as they play a pointless 10 second solo?

Neville staple skanked to the frailties of human life as he used the mic stand as his walking stick. Neville recently had a stroke and I’m not sure if this is what the doctor ordered for him but its fine medicine for the audience. There was a certain sadness as Neville sang these classic ska songs as best he could. He tried to move across the stage and it was visible he was just not able for it. It was still brilliant and we all sang along and enjoyed ourselves.

The ramonas are four women playing Ramones songs. A cover band basically, not a great one either. I didn’t stick around for too long as I wanted to catch a bit of Walter lure. I have no doubt was hanging around with Jonny thunders, maybe if I played in the Golden Horde I would have got him. As it was, it was late and new model army were about to hit the stage

What can I say about the modellers. I have a vested interest as I have a vivid memory of buying their fist album, vengeance, in base x records in Dublin in 1984. Music is a magnet for memories and played such a huge part in my youth, for a portion of that new model army provided the soundtrack. I sat watching them tonight and closed my eyes and could almost smell those double 12” as I sang along to no rest for the wicked. They have such a huge back catalogue , 11 albums but what a brave decision to start with 2 new songs from their as yet unreleased 12th.

No rest for thousands tonight in blackpool as we trooped home in the rain after 2am


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