(review n pix by @neilcrud – follow me on twitter)
Wow, writing this five days on from Thursday and it seems like a lifetime ago. I now truly understand the meaning of the word Shellshocked… The dictionary will explain that it is a loss of the senses from psychological strain during prolonged engagement in warfare. It should also have a second definition: loss of the senses from psychological strain during prolonged engagement in Rebellion Festival.
By the time I stood there on the fourth day watching Geoffrey Oicott hit all the reds in the sound meters, I was stunned, I was numb, my senses had gone, I had been hit by a tank. Add 3 days of serious drinking and very little sleep into this equation and you are seriously shellshocked. The revolution starts at closing time, only this pub never closes…
So this was only my third Rebellion – I had put it off for so long; sticking to my guns of seeking out new bands in our decaying civilisations, and dismissing the ‘old bands’ merely as bandwagoneers, in it for the fast buck. How I so regret not seeing the Sex Pistols on their comeback Filthy Lucre tours (at least they were honest as to why they did it); being far too young to have caught them in their original prime. Sometimes you can be too much of a stickler and spiting your face by cutting off your nose and missing out on all the fun. Although I must stress, the day I start enjoying covers and tribute bands is the day you can shoot me. And the day Rebellion start putting on these kind of Clash clones, Pistols Experience bollocks is the day punk is finally dead…
Right then, let’s get stuck in… You have 240 bands to choose from, you’re gonna be lucky to catch 10-15 a day, so there’s gonna be disappointments… You’ll set your stall out, you’ll have a tick list, a wish list, a must see list, but you’ll also stumble upon some great acts you’ve never heard of before.
I brought Tim along for the ride, a guitar hero at heart with signed Slash photos adorning his walls, and I sought to exact revenge on him for TWICE making me endure a three hour set by Metallica – Revenge was gonna be as sweet as the Blackpool Punk Rock that is sold in the shop down the road from the Winter Gardens.
I do like the Thursday at Rebellion, it’s different to the rest of the weekend, as everyone is fresh faced, eager for some punk rock and you also get to see a few new bands who, Note: ARE THE FUTURE OF PUNK ROCK – for when our heroes are dead and dying, new heroes will be needed…
I’m not saying that Copasetics (pic above) from York are the future of punk rock, and with their sound rooted in punky-ska with the emphasis on keyboards and brass, they’re a million miles from let’s say our friends Varukers. But their ethics are pretty much the same. Two very young girls and boys were pretty spikey and they hoped we got fucked by the death that we dealt, well not us personally…
Arguing with a parking meter ate into Bite Back at the Arena time, and we legged it down the stairs just to catch them saying ‘Thank you Blackpool, goodnight!’ – This was to become a familiar pattern across the weekend with seeing bands.
We did stop for a swift half with Paul Carter (left) at the Acoustic Stage and he treated us to Yaketey Sax (Benny Hill theme tune) on the Gazoo, Dr Granville and on a more serious note Living In The Past, a song about people who only come to Rebellion and don’t go and see new bands the rest of the year, ‘Support live music, support new live music, it’s our future,’ he shouted… There’ll be no truer words spoken all weekend.
I’m not sure who the next band we saw were, possibly Fire Exit at The Arena, only caught the last two songs, but they were really good – thick Scottish accented fat bovver boy on vocals sweating like a cunt and drinking from a bottle of pomagne (ace), he screamed ‘Religion is the biggest killer of them all’ – don’t get me started or I’ll be here all night ranting about how fucking thick the human race really is – hey we can see it, and we’re supposed to be dumb punks right? On a lighter note they finished with a brilliant singalong version of The Boys‘ chart single The First Time, a song I’ve not heard since being a school kid and having taped it off my mate’s compilation album ’20 Hits of Another Kind’ (that was a great album), and this was a fine finale.
Headliners on the criminally closing at 8pm New Band Stage, were Dundee nutters The Cundeez (pic above). Bagpipes with distortion, a kilt and little else other than brick wall muscles and a look of a complete psycho, you wouldn’t fancy meeting this guy on a well lit street, let alone a dark alley; but great entertainment. Had a song called Saturday Night, but I couldn’t hear the drums, I scowled at the sound guys, felt like suggesting they paid attention rather than chatted, but felt it wasn’t my place to do so. Vocals were clear enough though, but couldn’t understand a word through that thick Dundee dialect!! Fucking really entertaining though!
Caught a bit of The Straps (left), who have been around for at least 33 years, I’ve seen their badges, read about them in ‘zines, seen the name around, that distinctive logo, but never heard them, and coming from Cornwall, my chances of seeing them live back in the day would’ve been pretty slim (unlike the band’s waistlines ha ha!!).
I wasn’t disappointed. They were here for the pure sake of entertainment, and entertain us did they! It’s simple punk rock with a Steve Jones (Pistols) style vocal if you get what I mean, and they had plenty of friends / fans here to watch them.
We took some time out and wandered upstairs, through the quaint antique stalls, tattoo corner and cinema (this is such an ace place) and into the art gallery, where various artists / musicians had their works on display and for sale. Clocked a cool photo of Wayne (Stuntface / Vice Squad) and chuckled, felt tempted to write ‘Wanker’ on it, and should’ve done as his friend later bought it for Wayne’s mum!
Selling his books and God’s Lonely Men CD was legendary drummer, once of The Lurkers, Pete Haynes (above left), perhaps better known from the sleeves of all those singles as Esso. He was very approachable, and very friendly, taking the time out to chat, ‘I like the Kinks for God’s sake!’ he said, referring to punks’ old guard and how punk is interpreted by some. ‘We perhaps didn’t fit into the uniform punks manifesto, we didn’t do political stuff, wouldn’t play the Rock Against Racism gig or for the NF idiots for that matter.’
On their name, Pete said they were originally called The Chains, but because they kept themselves to themselves, people used to called them The Lurkers as they always lurked in the shadows.
I expressed my dismay at Arthur going on the road as ‘The Lurkers’, which is why the original members have had to record under the name God’s Lonely Men, ‘They’ve diluted the name, really,’ explained Pete. ‘Don’t get me wrong, Arturo is a mate, but they have become an end of the pier type band.’
I’ll review Pete’s book ‘God’s Lonely Men’ – and the album in due course…
Our first visit to the splendid Empress Ballroom was for Leftover Crack (above). Tim had seen the aforesaid Slash here a couple of months ago, and pre-Rebellion I saw Pulp bounce up and down on this springy floor – I wonder how many here to see Leftover Crack had seen those gigs too..? I’m guessing… none…
I’ve seen the patches sewn on jackets for years, and relatively speaking, Leftover Crack are a very young band by comparison with the ‘old guard’ (as Esso put it). Musically they are a Dirty Weekend (North Wales Punk Festival) type band, here comes the new punk, the ‘new guard.’ Tinge of ska, here and there, but fast without being hardcore and plenty to say.
Lots of USA vs UK jokes inbetween songs about Americanisms and UKisms, ‘This is a song about school shootings, something you’ll learn in about ten years time in the UK.’
Great to see a lot of people here enjoying their stuff and they were really good when they stopped fucking about between songs.
Niall Hope does a great little blog called Musings On Music, Books & Life, and of Leftover Crack said, ‘I’ve seen 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 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 ten second solo?’
The original rudeboy Nev Staple was up next, and hobbled on with a walking stick, but soon got into his stride. ‘I’ve had a stroke,’ he apologised, and took offence when a plastic beer glass landed on the stage and looked close to stopping the song, it might be a punk gig but it doesn’t make it alright. The hits came thick and fast, Message To Rudi etc… it was good stuff, but it was (understandably) better last year.
New Model Army closed proceedings for Thursday night at the Ballroom, and are a fine example of the diversity this festival can offer. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and they still had the loyal clog crew with them, not high in numbers, but enough there to piss off the punk weekenders with their slam dancing. My sister Jane used to hitch hike the length and breadth of the country for a bit of New Model Betcha. I remember once doing the same thing, but going to see The Hard Ons in Leeds. I crashed at a mates and headed to the motorway slip road to discover NMA had also played in the city the night before; there must’ve been about 50 of the fuckers all stood there trying to thumb a lift… Took me all day to get back to Colwyn Bay – bastards!!
I did actually see New Model Army in Bangor Uni sometime in the late 80s, it was an explosive performance, enhanced by Ed Alleyn-Johnson running on with his purple electric violin. Tonight it was far more subdued, yeah I know there is no rest for the wicked ones and human pyramids were aplenty as was lots of choral singing. I just felt like I was outside the house watching someone else’s party, which, in essence, I was…
Niall, however was invited to that party, this was his take on it…
‘What can I say about the Modellers? I have a vested interest as I have a vivid memory of buying their first 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, and 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, eleven albums but what a brave decision to start with two new songs from their as yet unreleased twelfth.’
That was it for Tim and myself and Day One, it was raining outside and we ventured into town, we got done over by a curry (it was pretty expensive for what we got), there were blue lights and lads in white shirts in a melee up the road, we helped some drunk woman who had lost her Hen Party up off the wet pavement, and she staggered off pulling her undersized skirt back over her oversized arse… That’s the real Blackpool…