Rebellion 2019 – Day 2

Rebellion is a mix of 7 stages with bands playing from noon right through to midnight and beyond.  It goes form the small intimate room that is the Introducing stage, for bands who haven’t played before to the 2,800 capacity Empress Ballroom. Club Casbah isn’t far behind with 2,000 capacity and the smaller Pavillion and Arena have plenty of space for decent sized stage and crowd to move. The acoustic room is in the bar and the Opera House is a quaint theatre complete with vast stage and plenty of seats. It’s a very British theatre.

The opening band on the empress yesterday was Baby Seals and today Dream Nails are making a statement from that stage. A step up from the introducing stage they played on last year. As I walk in  a few minutes late it’s like being in a blackpool theatre as the audience is split into sections competing against each other screaming “do it yourself”
“This song is about smashing a patriarchal capitalist system”. Brilliant. A dream nails gig isn’t just about playing songs. It’s about making statements and showing solidarity with people who despite what may be professed are still not equal. It’s giving a voice to those who feel marginalized and some fine tunes to back it up.
Back to the introducing stage and my first visit there for the festival. Pretty phase rocked out a cross between Hagar the womb and the slits.
This is a vital part of rebellion for sure and the dopamines gave as much energy in the small room that introduces people to new bands that most bands on the vast stages of Empres or Casbah. They sing and scream with passion as if the words they express are the most important thing at that second. No idea if they are but that’s the energy they give off. Like vintage against me or latter man or iron chic. Deadly.
The link with the introducing stage continues as I caught a bit of Ragin Nathan’s. They played to a full room last year and have now moved on to the Arena, ironically my first trip to this venue.
Interrobang are incredible. It’s a real shame they are known by as many people as chum a samba are. They have great songs, catchy in parts, acerbic in others. Dunstan is still angry after all these years and still a great showman. I wish everyone knew this band. The world would be a better place then.
I, Doris remind me of a modern version of au pairs for some reason. Again a positive force for equality their songs are poppy and irreverent.
Pussy liquor we are a surprise for me which is the wonderful things about this festival. Always a band playing and always something new to see or hear a couple of minutes away.
Menstrual Cramps again were new to me last year as they played the introducing stage. In your face, aggressive and ready to challenge misogynistic views. Completely necessary in 2019 as we strive to fight for equality for all. Their set was an emotional insight into the lives of many women today. Such power. One song, nomeansno,  was a disturbing attempt to remind us how many women face attack every minute of every day. From the minute the singer came on stage draped in an anti fascist action flag right through to the end when she dropped the microphone after telling any people with racist inclinations to get out this was compelling, with an edge not felt by me since being in a band in the 80s. Essential.
The avengers sound was stripped bare last night as Penelope Houston took to the acoustic stage with 2 guitars. Tonight it’s the full band and they were rocking out in the 2,200 all seated opera house. There was a good crowd standing up the front enjoying the west coast punk sound from the 70s. It’s amazing how knowledgeable the crowd at rebellion is. Like fear last night I was aware of some songs by both these bands but they do not get regular airings on my turntable but it’s refreshing to see just how many people know these bands. Why wouldn’t they, of course, but it is one part of a huge punk scene that rebellion encompasses
I can’t keep saying how good ruts dc are can I? Im sure I’ve used up all the gushing phrases about legends, respect and love for this band. Tonight, once more, they were in top form. I can’t believe the festival doesn’t just stop when they are on stage and beam the set live to all 7 different venues. Empress is packed, there’s sweat everywhere, the heat is unbearable but everyone is entranced.
The membranes, too, were in top form. Brother Robb first brought his group of misfits to ireland in 1985 and whilst none are remaining from that original line up they have evolved into a sonic drone complete with choir singing along this was the days highlight. Membranes keep evolving and are always trying to do something interesting and innovative with their sound. It’s not the same old hits. It’s a smsifferent challenge every gig. John Robb’s stage show is like a workout in itself and I get tired even watching him move about. 34 years after we put them on in dublin
Leftover crack are fast, political and were stunning when I saw them a few years ago. Maybe after watching the membranes it didn’t feel right. Hardcore with some ska but it’s all by numbers and I wasn’t ready to go straight into that after seeing the marvel of the membranes and ruts dc
Alex wonk is a gent, pure and simple. Give him 20 years and he will be our ruts dc, or tv Smith, or Charlie Harper. I had to settle in early to the acoustic room to get my seat. I caught the end of Duncan Reid’s singalong and hobo jones full set. This acoustic room is a joy to behold when packed. Hobo spoke of their first time at rebellion 6 years ago (they’ve been back every year since) and how a small girl came up and asked them to play a ramones song. They did a version of one and now play it once a year. They dedicated it to the girl that came up to them all those years ago, she is now 12. When it came time tonthe chorus everyone in the room sang at the top of their voice “Sidney is a punk rocker”. Sheena from the ramones song became 12 year old Sidney and everyone clapped and cheered and sang to a girl (and her parents) they didn’t know existed one minute previously. That’s the beauty of this festival. One big family.
The night ended for me with a wonderful Wonk Unit, less Kenny on guitar, set.  Stripped down their songs are very catchy and even a few body surfers made it all the more bizarre in this most bizarre festival.

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