Rebellion Festival Day Zero
There’s something magical about travelling. Holidays can be a time where you step off the travelator you are on and figure out just why you are on it.
Today I’m on a ferry. The green green grass of my home fades into the distance as I cross the Irish see and sea the green grass of home the song was sung about. Holyhead in North Wales on one horizon. Dublin in the other. I’m stuck in the middle with them listening to A Lazarus Soul and the Sons of Souther Ulster. Both bands singing of an era they grew up in. The 70’s and 80’s being well represented. It’s poignant and touching that I listen to these as I make my way to Rebellion Festival.
Travelling by train really is a wonderful way to get around. Through the fields, seeing the different terrains of the countryside as you slow down to go through derelict stations or even better blink and you’ll miss them as the high speed of the train hurtles along. I look out the window at windmills, fields of growth and supermarkets and wonder at the world. Why do we need to import so much food when we have the land to do it on either side of the train tracks? I guess I’m too simplistic. Welsh travel is extra special as it is bilingual. I pass the border and the signs are now smaller and more straightforward but if truth be told not as nice.
I decided to catch connecting trains to make the journey more interesting. 3 changes later and I’m in Preston. Suddenly I’ve entered a different world, a parallel universe. Where the trains were stoic and quiet they suddenly upped a noise level and black t-shirts took over. Some leather, some studs, lots of bristle but very little acne as hordes of punks made their way to Blackpool North. I look around at the people littering, drinking cans of alcohol and making a racket and wonder about my family!! Guess we all come from disfunction!!
And so we arrive in the Winter Gardens. This year is different there is a new look to the rear of the vast Conference Centre. A new furniture smell. I wonder how long this will last as the punks descend on the punk art exhibition. To celebrate the opening Dischord play an acoustic set. One of my “family members” from the train jumps onto a row of seats, he falls through them and chairs go flying.
And we are off.
Acoustic sets of normally electric songs can go one of 2 ways, thankfully Dischords tunes work well stripped down. Dischord are local punters who normally play loud rocking punk songs so it was interesting to see the songs cope well stripped down complete with tambourine. To their credit they try and engage the crowd in a singalong and pit one side of the audience against the other “peace or war” v “war or peace”. We sing along shyly as we try and regain our voices.
I missed homersapien but managed to buy a badge from the young kid. I believe he did a duet with Charlie harper. Charlie, now 78, meaning the total age on stage was nearly 90.
Sally pepper up next with huge energy. Acoustic energy alright but every song full of optimism and life “don’t believe the lies they tell. You’ve got mouths to feed and they don’t care” is a singalong reminiscent of the neurotics “Kick Out The Tories” in sentiment. Things just don’t change eh? Or maybe they do but we move with the changes.
Jess silk is in a similar vein. Upbeat and acoustic. Jess uses her voice in a different way to Sally but again songs are about things that matter and “we’ve gotta keep on fighting when it seems like everything’s gone wrong”. Her voice fills up the room as her friends shout up what songs to play next. I’m sure it won’t be the first time we are faced with the fact that many of the ticket holders for this weekend bought their tickets three years ago. Jess wrote her song “there’s a bar at the end of the world” when we were deep in lockdown and wondering if we would ever get out of the tunnel. Of course we did but tonight is a poignant remember of what we have been through.
It all went electric as I traipsed over to the tache for a “fringe” gig or whatever you might call it. Dublins Vulpynes we’re on so a good number of the Irish contingent turned up to lend their ears and support. Two piece Vulpynes make enough noise equivalent to any band. Molly strums and sings. She barely goes beyond the top four strings in a mix of chords and riffs and spits out the worlds while rocking out. Kaz bashes the drums with vigour, screams along to every word without a microphone and it makes for a great spectacle. Complete with stage diver who dived straight on to the floor. Bizarre.
Litterbug sped through their set in a power popped frenzy. Barely time for a breather between songs as the rhythm section tightly moved from tune to tune.
Finally (for me) Suzi Moon hit the stage. They had time for a quick sound check and Suzy then departed the stage so she could make a grand re-entrance. All a bit bizarre for me but many of the middle aged men firmly operating their camera phones might beg to disagree. Their songs are pure tight punk rock’n’roll. Not a note dropped through the sneers and sweat.
And that was me done. Like a marathon runner pacing himself I bid adieu to the punks in full flow. Let’s see who is still going on Sunday !!!