(review n pix by neil crud – follow me on twitter) (additional Damned pics by mic hewitt)
Day Two in the Rebellion House and Neil’s liver is already complaining… I needed to find a hairy dog (‘Plenty in Blackpool’ shouted the heckler at the back!). Tim felt the same and we needed to be indecently assaulted.
Cue, anarcho boys from the black (country) stuff Indecent Assault, who did just that, clearing the hangover with their very loud, generic basic shouty don’t let the bastards grind you down punk. The guitar was so distorted he didn’t need to play chords as it sounded like a chainsaw!
Over at The Bizarre Pavilion we stumbled upon Taurus Trakker, complete with a New York Dolls drag artist bassist, funny seeing the reaction on faces of people as they realised it was actually a bloke, and I myself was hoodwinked for a good 5 seconds, which is about as long as Boy George fooled me when he first sprang onto Top of The Pops.
Panto aside, Taurus Trakker made a great noise – rock ‘n’ roll, foot tapping rock and roll. A bit like Primus in parts, Tears Don’t Fall In Out Of Space was a ‘new one’ – they’re all new to me, and it’s a delight to stumble on a new discovery that’s really primal bluesy quality stuff, ‘I’m waiting for a rocket ship to take me to the planet hip.’ Yeah!
Continuing our habit of catching bands as they finish their set, Jak’s Caravan, an acoustic Billy Braggish duo wrapped up as we ordered another £3.30 pint. Also caught a bit of Liz Is Dead, who with a stand in drummer and a slurred vocal style played trashy punk.
On recommendation we caught Barb Wire Dolls (pic above) at the Empress. This Greek band were on some shite Greece Has Got Talent show as a soft metal act a couple of years ago and now they’re here (with serious financial backing) preaching anarchist revolution! OK, fake politics aside, musically they’re pretty dire and desperately need a bassist and it doesn’t matter if ten Steve Albini’s produce the album, IT’S NOT REAL, so don’t believe the hype!! It is however, visually very entertaining – a blonde bombshell is the obvious focal point, very sexy in a slutty way, like a good looking Courtney Love who gave an absolutely stunning performance. But that’s enough inches on this site for a manufactured band.
Would’ve loved to have sat attentively while Atilla The Stockbroker filled our minds with social-political humour and a descriptive image of Willie Whitelaw’s Willy, but the yellow shirts were at the entrance of the Acoustic Stage and in the interests of Ewlf & Safety we couldn’t get anywhere near the packed out room. So having shared a pint or two with them at Strummercamp a couple of years back, we thought it’d be rude not pay local goth horror girls Pink Hearse (pic above) a visit. They’re always good for a giggle, and with Nikki on vocals having more bollocks and attitude these days, they’re much better for it and far improved on the bumbling kids we saw in Manchester and the emerging group we saw last year. Pity the sound in the Olympia is pretty dire; they didn’t drape linen off the ceilings like they did last year and the sound in this huge room suffered as a consequence.
We were joined by Mic, and his first introduction to the world of punk rock was the ranting singalong fucked folk of Smokey Bastard, who write and play songs as if their lives depended on it. They were joined by Lottie on accordion, who’s been with with them for two years. The set had a lot of Pogue-like influences, ‘I fucking hate Pikeys,’ I muttered under my breath and thought about buying a caravan for my ma! Ha ha! Good fun… The band, not my Mum..!
It’s always good to wander and mingle, and to drop a few names. You can exchange insults with Captain Sensible, try and remind Charlie Harper that he and his UK Subs once slept on your living room floor, swap tales of shitting in tea pots in Colwyn Bay with Cockney Rejects‘ Stinky Turner, laugh with Crass‘ Steve Ignorant because he’s just had his pic taken with a Cockney Reject, see how many times you can call Goldblade‘s John Robb a cunt before he hits you, discuss the bad old days with Esso of The Lurkers, pass on regards from absent Anhrefn friends to TV Smith (Adverts), have a cup of tea with Vice Squad discussing Denbigh Boot Boys and have breakfast with The Misfits!
You simply wouldn’t get this at Download Festival, Reading or that now complete pile of shit V Festival. Ok, you might get a greet and meet having queued for hours to see your favourite star, and some of the cunts (and I mean Cunts) actually charge fans to meet them! What sort of cunt does that…? Here, at Rebellion you get to mix with your heroes, and they are heroes, each and everyone of those who come out to rub shoulders with we minions…
It was out of curiosity we ventured to see Hazel o’Connor. I have D-Days and Will You nestling amongst my singles, filed under O with Outcasts, Omega Tribe, Oasis, Officer Down and err… Roy Orbison. It turns out that probably over a thousand others shared that same curiosity and it was very cozy in the Pavilion, and very warm! Hazel told plenty of tales of the days of the film Breaking Glass, and was flanked by two very talented girls on keyboards and various instruments. Hanging Around was played and I remembered, once prompted that she did in fact sing this song on stage with the Stranglers when Hugh Cornwall was on holiday with HMP, so it was good to hear. She was almost apologetic for not being ‘very punk’ in her interpretations of her own ‘punk’ songs. No need to apologise at all, and despite being a million miles away from this morning’s Indecent Assault, you are as punk as they with your flamboyance, animation and charm.
If you put it about enough then someone will take notice, and Radio Dead Ones (left) certainly put it about. Their flyers and posters were everywhere, so we gave this filthy government some more tax through beer and headed down to see what the fuss was about. They were good looking guys playing like a faster, harder Ramones. No shoe gazing here, total connection with the audience, loving every minute of it, and that’s what it’s all about – you’re here to entertain, we’re here to be entertained. It was a match made in Rebellion. Strange name tho…
Although Rhys Mwyn of Anhrefn put Crass on in the outbacks of North Walian hell in the early 80s, we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook to find out about such events.
Also, being about 14 from a poor family and living in a shitty no horse town (Denbigh) with no form of transport meant I never found out about the gig. So to meet Steve Ignorant and have him apologise for a fit of laughter and say, ‘I’ve just had my pic taken with a Cockney Reject!’ was perhaps not what I thought he’d ever say to me, but this unassuming anti-hero, this relectant leader of an entire movement was a mentor to tens of thousands of people now my age. Crass were my education, and although I kind of leant more toward how Conflict ‘dealt’ with issues (and certain people), Crass were always at the forefront of how I should be ‘unto others’. I didn’t agree with the ‘Hate The Exploited, The Clash‘ etc stuff, I just loved all things punk. If the Rejects wanted to smash someone in and Crass wanted to love them instead, it was all fine by me..!!
So just to watch Steve Ignorant stand on a stage and rant along with Paranoid Visions was enough for me. He looked nervous, not sure of when to come in with a verbal blast, and occasionally got it wrong… Not that you’d notice, as again, the sound was bouncing all over the fucking place and a lot of what should’ve been a good set was spoilt by this. Two great looking girl singers flanked by two ugly buggers made up this 9-piece ensemble, and I must catch them again somewhere with less unwanted reverb!
In the darkness of death / There’s no light in your eyes / A cross in your grave / Your time has arrived…
Those are the spine tingling lyrics during the spine tingling moment of one of the most spine tingling punk songs ever written… And I mean EVER… For the ignorant ones amongst us (Hi Steve !!) it’s Subhumans and their single, and final song tonight Religious Wars. I wrote on my scrappy little pad, ‘Subhumans, the ultimate punk band?’ I was drunk, but in the sober light of day it’s no longer a question but more of a statement, and I think it can quite possibly be correct. They have everything you need, the complete animated frontman in Dick Lucas, great voice with plenty to say, not really preaching, just relaying his observations, his take on the world that you find yourself agreeing with time and time again. Behind him is a band to die for, there’s no fucking about here, these are serious musicians without egos, they come in they do the job properly, they go home satisfied and we go home gorged on the delight they give us… yeah, the ultimate punk band…
Only caught the last song as The Restarts (above) wrapped up their set in The Arena, the ever popular shouty bastards packed the place out. Had a beer and a chat with Ray and girlfriend once of Red Letter Day now in Torpedoes, before heading to see my old friends The Damned.
I’m usually too drunk to remember their set and too blissfully unaware that I’m pogoing and singing like some idiot to take any notice of what’s going on around me… Only this time I was brought down to earth half way through the set when some big bloke moshing, really hurt me, and I mean knocked the stuffing out of me. You do momentarily feel like pushing his nose into his skull, then with pause for reflection as I saw Mic and others getting hurt too, by (doing the Crass thing and) reasoning with him, and saying, ‘C’mon mate, you’re hurting people here, we’re all supposed to be having fun.’ – I did neither and stood back, licked my wounds and enjoyed the show.
Oddly enough, the short set was a pre-1984 one, with nothing written beyond those years being played. If memory serves me right, and in no particular order, we got Love Song, Second Time Around, Neat Neat Neat, Plan 9 Channel 7, Melody Lee, Stretcher Case, History If The World, New Rose, Disco Man, Stranger On The Town, Ignite, Smash It Up.
‘I’ve still got it!’ Sensible was heard as he came off the stage. You certainly have Mr, and I’ll see you at The Tiv in Buckley in December.
The first time I missed Exploited I was 13 and it was because they didn’t show up in Colwyn Bay, so we threw things at Black Flag instead. The second time I missed them was because I was too drunk to realise they were on, that was tonight… I saw Buzzcocks spurn my natural emotions, they made me feel like dirt and it hurt. But I knew if started a commotion I’d run the risk of losing them and that’s worse. It was good (I think), it was a harmony in my head…
Onto The Tache next for an aftershow gig with RSI… but that’s another gig review…