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Rebellion 2015 day 3 – the wildhearted outsider

Rebellion Day 3

The Boomtown Rats were Eire’s best ever popular music band…Eire’s Best Pop Band. That’s a bigger compliment that it might appear at first.

Few areas of human endeavour are more competitive than pop music. So mane people want a hit single or to be a pop star: so few get there.

Since it is so competitive you have to be single-minded to get there. And Bob Geldof embodies single-mindedness,

The Boomtown Rats were pop in the way that other brilliant tunesmiths of the punk/new wave era were: XTC, Squeeze and even Elvis Costello.

But the Rats were from Eire and Eire didn’t have pop bands…especially not pop bands with international appeal. That makes them really significant in Ireland’s culture. They broke with the past and the consensus: that makes them revolutionaries.

They were cranked up on Dr Feelgood and dug deeper back into the Blues of John Lee Hooker…and both are clearly heard in their set in a Blaclpool ballroom full of 40 years of punk survivors.

They also drew from Thin Lizzy’s pop smarts…Van Morrison and Springsteen’s late 20th Century troubadour style…the best of glam rock’s stomping beat in a ballroom blitz. And the swagger of Jagger.

Beyond Ireland that May not have seen remarkable…yet in Ireland it was transgressive and daring. Naturally being single-minded might lose you admirers as it wins you fans…and that is for another time.

The band were tight and punchy and went down surprisingly well for a band that don’t fit comfortably into punk history.

She’s So Modern launched a set preceded by Hugh Cornwall, half of whose really great set was comprised of Stranglers’ songs. The Rats then charged through hits including: Like Clockwork, Someone’s Looking At You, I Don’t Like Mondays (which featured a raucous singalong by the massed choir assorted generations of punks and skins and crusties! It also featured a literally heart-stopping moment in pop music terms: the band standing still and silent poised to continue, teasing the crowd..in control if the crowd…but only by the slightest thread!). Mary of the Fourth Form was also included before the set concluded with Looking After Number One and Rat Trap.

Can any other Irish pop band pull as many original songs out of their back catalogue and deliver them with conviction and intensity?

Being Bob and the Rats this was a show….the final burst was a pre-recorded chant of The Boomtown Rats over a pulsing dance-beat…very AC/DC meets X-Factor…perhaps ironic!

If the band got cheers they also got the loudest boos of the festival: Geldof yelled mid-set: we are the Boomtown Rats…we are Mega!…you (the audience) are dressed an in black uniform of t-shirts with shit bands written on them….I am wearing a fuck-off suit of fake snakeskin!

It was perhaps irony…yet what other performer would dare such an outburst at the audience?

In 1977 the Rats screamed that Ireland could be changed…more doubted them than believed them….40 years later it is clear that Ireland has changed…..beyond imagining….it appears the Geldof and the Rats were right after all!

Huge Highlights:

Goldblade…to me they are the very essence of what punk rock means in 2015: vibrant….relevant…funny…..really funny, yet capable of making the most serious points….serious music, serious fun, a seriously positive force. Brilliant in an afternoon ballroom whose history singer (and punk historian) John Robb recounts as he cavorts in a manner that would have the ballroom proprietors turning in their elegantly constructed graves.

They reminded me of a point so elegantly stated yesterday by Joolz Denby: young people have no idea how much fun it was going on marches…you didn’t feel like people were going to change their ways or policies just because you were marching…yet you were having a laugh and felt good and that you were at least trying,

Youth, youth, youth….wasted on most of us….Yet this dynamic four-piece full of energy and yelling, screaming, guitar-shredding passion and decent tunes draw ing from decades of (punk….think about it!) and other forms of rebel rock,

Louise Distra on the big stage as part of a three-piece band…no compromise…connecting with the spirit of Patti Smith as well as Riot Grrl rockers,

Barry Cain….great journalist and chronicler of the early punk scene…and one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the magnificent Radiators from Space…recalling when NME sold 250,000 copies weekly, and later when Smash Hits sold a million every fortnight! Astonishingly influential!

Steve Drewett from the Newtown Neurotics rocked the acoustic stage…and was superbly assisted by his daughter. She was fantastic and it was quite a thing to hear a young person who might be half the legal voting age, urging the old punk rockers to vote, take hope and change the world!

The Buzzcocks were majestic…..so many bright, brilliant and energetic songs….how many bands have so many singles of that calibre? It fills me with joy every time I see them! Funny to think that when they came to Dublin in the first rush of ounk that the authorities forced them to play practically with no amplification!

For some…noise annoys…for some of us noise is truly inspiring. What a day..what music…what memories!

wildhearted outsider

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Rebellion 2015 – Day 3


Rebellion 2015 Day 3

I said it was a marathon and whilst Wonk Unit may have just arived in Blackpool this is the start of my third day. It’s a great start for me though as I get to see a band I’ve been hearing and reading about for a couple of years and have been following their own Wonk Fest for the past couple of years. They have an new member in Jess who adds a keyboards and screams to the ska tinged hardcore sound or joke core if there is such a term

Louise Distras’s acoustic set last night was a highlight and she has beefed out her sound now with a band. My introduction to Louise was at rebellion and was always solo with her guitar. I delighted in the fact that an independent woman would get up on stage and rail against the world, rallying the troops. I wasn’t expecting such a powerful set on offer from the three piece. Almost as good as the acoustic. Almost, still damn good.

AMI are from Brighton and the collective age of the four piece may not be equal to Charlie Harper from the UK subs who was standing in the from row for most of their set. Good power slightly rock sound. Singer had a descendents t-shirt so the future is bright.

Goldblade early on a Saturday afternoon on the first day of the new football season. I could have made my excuses and watched the scores but how can you miss this? Complete with oyston out banner in support of the local football team gold blade are the underdogs band and they will scream at the top of their lungs for that underdog. We will rejoice with them.

Nic Austin on the Literary stage gave us a chance to sit down and take in the stories of his time in Chelsea and his spell with Generation X. Nic is still playing, not only in Chelsea but has a new record out too, church of eon

The Boys played some acoustic versions of their early pop rock sound. Pop punk means so much more than Green Day or other sped up tuneful bands. The original wave saw bands wih basic tunes and an atitude play some great songs. The Boys had these and it is great to hear them stripped down.

999 were a punk band from my youth but I wanted to hear what Barry Cain had to say about his book sulphate street, his time as record mirror journalist and then publisher of flexipop magazine.

A-Heads were part of the anarco wave that showed that not only was diy possible, it was imperative. Say and sing what you like.

MDC certainly said and sang what they wanted. Unfortunately after sitting and waiting 15 mins we were informed they hadn’t arrived. I was hoping for this to be my chance to she’s them as they are due on last tonight. It gave me a chance to listen to monkey from the addicts and his take on performance and punk and being happy to be part of a community. Hard to believe they have recorded and released over 200 songs, must make it hard to think up a set list, I had to leave when I heard they played Israel, hugely disappointing.

Peter and the test tube babies always seemed like a band with interesting tales and it was nice to hear some of them. The literary stage is a hugely imortant facet of rebellion. We get to hear first hand accounts of what was going on with all these bands. It’s great for someone like me who was living in a different country and buying the record but not really expecting to ever be in a position to see them live. It wasn’t Peter on stage but Del from the band had some stories to tell anyway.

Steve Drewett is one such person I wrote to and wondered if I’d ever get to see him live. I have now seen him or his band the newtown neurotics 6 imes and love it every time. I had never seen him on stage with his daughter rosa before as she accompanied him on 6 tracks. It’s such a privilege to be here listening to bands that played such a part in my formative years. It’s 30 years later and life keeps moving on. We realise that but at the same time it’s always good to take stock of where we come from. For many that is the community or area they grew up for me I grew up in the punk community and the neurotics were very much neighbours, along with Ruts DC and so many more this weekend.

Culture Shock I have seen nearly as much as the neurotics and they would have lived around the corner in that community, newcomers though :). Upbeat punk and dick is in great form tonight.

The literary stage was buzzing today, nina antonia spoke of her book about Johnny thunders and her musical upbringing listening to Marc bolan

It then became time for the big guns. Hugh Cornwall from the Stranglers, Peter Perrett from the Only Ones and Steve Lake from Zounds set us up for the Boomtown Rats. I was amazed at the size of the crowd for the rats. Full to capacity but was it in anticipation of the music or was there an ‘intrigue’ factor? The crowd weren’t jumping around or celebrating each song in dance and it was thinner by the end of the set but I had to leave anyway for the neurotics and the mob that’s more my punk rock anyway. The amount of Merch the boomtown rats brought in and out was phenomenal. Signed CDs and DVDs galore. I guess autographs are important to some punks. Me? I prefer memories.

Hard Skin are one of the few bands that get away with verbally abusing the audience. Like an Oi version of Captain Hotknives they don’t take themselves seriously but realise the world is a serious place. They play in the casbah which is outdoor and a realisation for me that so many punks still smoke. We have become so accustomed to smoke free zones entering one for a gig is a real step back in time, not a better time though. Hard skin don’t care, they only care if there are fascists in the building, no room for them in our scene. A belter of a set from everyone’s favourite obnoxious wannabe skinheads

The Mob were one of the best sets a couple of years ago and tonight compete again for it. Steve lake guested and tried to remove the menace but the casbah was rocking and this was another highlight.

Buzzcocks don’t need an introduction and the songs sound like they could have been written yesterday. Such good tunes but maybe it’d be better if Steve Diggle hadn’t turned out to be such a good guitarist. These songs are too easy for him to play so he admonishes them with solos.

Steve Ignorant’s album with Paranoid Visions showed how these stalwarts can still be relevant with their new songs. Tonight’s set was a mixture of that album and some older songs that Steve had written. They also won the prize for biggest self publicists or band that wear the most of their own band tshirt

I was asleep for MDC as it is hard to sustain 14 hour punk rock days, has no-one heard of the working time directive? I did have a wry smile when I saw the line up of stalls in the casbah venue. U.S. Hardcore band with strong links to the UK anarchist punk scene competing with all the madmen records, home of the mob competing with Steve ignorant from Crass competing with hard skin whose musical roots are in that anarcho punk scene. All separate stalls, no chance of one big one in the main area next year????

Dave Cain talks about his book Sulphate Strip

Dave Cain talks about his book Sulphate Strip

MDC no show for acoustic set

MDC no show for acoustic set

Steve Drewett and daughter Rosa

Steve Drewett and daughter Rosa


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Louise Distras – Dreams from The Factory Floor

Dreams from the Factory Floor cover

Dreams from the Factory Floor cover

Louise Distras
Dreams From The Factory Floor


“I don’t view myself as a protest singer, I view myself as a young woman passing on a message for the next generation.”

or so Louise proclaims but this is a record full of what seems like protest songs. But then on further inspection they really are stories or appeals.

It will be impossible to review this record without mentioning the message behind it. That’s what really adds to it. One woman and her guitar is how Louise normally plays it but there’s guests on the recordings here that serve to beef up the songs but at their most bare they are most powerful. The website states that these tracks are twelve clenched fists full of fury aimed squarely at consumer society, sexual discrimination, and the ‘chosen few’ who run society in their own interests. That sums it up remarkably well but within the clenched fists and the anger are well crafted songs that you will wish to return to. Sing along parts will haunt you for days. I’m finding myself cycling along singing parts of this album at all times. The kids are getting tired of me shouting to them “Open Your Eyes What can you see, closing your heart won’t set you free” or “Never let the hand you hold, hold you down”

I have been writing reviews in various formats since my first zine in 1984. Every now and then a record or an artist comes along that I want to believe in. Someone that wants to make this world a better place and is using music as ingredient in this change. Louise is one of these people. Please support her.


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Rebellion 2014 Day 4

Rebellion 2014 day 4

Steve Ignorant

It’s always good to talk and listen so Ian glasper told us his story around his punk books. Great to hear the tales behind the book and its reason for existence

joey shithead is with terry chimes and Patrik Fitzgerald so missed his interview but I got to see 16 guns blast out their punk rock. Not sure of their history but they had a good crowd in the arena

One of the few bands I have watched a full set by is epic problem. The light show nearly prevented it as flashing lights on a Sunday afternoon don’t do a lot for me. Epic problem are worth it. Leather face with a street punk sound. Frenetic tunes from the north east of England. It made me think of all those good new bands like bear trade, Stay clean jolene, dauntless elite and holiday who are missing from the festival

Maid of ace are 4 women blasting out a rocky punk sound and a full on sound it is too.

The literary sage saw Seggs and ruffy from the ruts talking about everything they do is a tribute to malcom and foxey. They had to make light if the tragedy that befell the band but it is a story that needs to be documented

Garry bushell has a lot to say but needed better questions

It’s amazing how the ageing process takes us. Every day we change ever so slightly. I ventured into the empress ballroom and had a double take when I saw snfu on stage. La hardcore legends with that tuneful speed sound, visions of young skateboarders come to my mind when I think of snfu it’s all grey beards and long hair now, exactly how I would look if i grew my locks but to see it on a big stage, kind of like wizard

I love my Hagar the womb records. Played them to death as a kid. Its great to see them on stage having a ball and sounding as good as ever

Rhoda Dakar was in the body snatchers and did some guest vocals with the specials. She was a punk in 77 but you wouldn’t know by listening to back to the stage. 12 bar blues riffs, thankfully I didn’t need to stay

Old form casuals are just that, new signing for the day on drums. Popular street punk from Boston, not England but USA. They must get prize for biggest crew in the side of the stage tooy6

Walking into captain hot knives I’m the pavilion was like staking across a secret party. A packed room for one man and his guitar playing quirky songs about safety or whatever (usually drug related) Like a comedic Patrik Fitzgerald

Joey shithead from doa was backed up with 2 fellow band members. Stripped down doa songs still had the melodies and suited the ambience

A quick run to the pavilion then for the defects from Belfast. Every yearn I do this thing in my mind to see who has the most popular t-shirt the defects are up there this time. Their songs are about life growing up in Belfast during a warzome which most of snob the west will never comprehend. Strong Belfast punk

Sandwiched between 2 Belfast bands was Steve ignorant. He had already done a set with paranoid visions but his slice of life stuff is far more interesting to me It’s a step away from crass and is just are with some guitar, double bass and keyboards. Still singing about relevant topics but taking it to a different dimension. I only wish he would play non mainstream venues all the time. That would make it so more relevant. Unfortunately it had been a long day for Steve and we didn’t catch him on one of his great nights. Great songs though

I’ve been really looking forward to Louise distras all weekend. A young tv smith with a great sound and songs that mean something. all acoustic bar some rants. Good enough for the first encore of the four days. New album out too

I didn’t catch doa electric as something had to give but caught some of original sex pistol glen Matlock with his philistines. It was said earlier this week that the pistols lost it as a band when glen Matlock left. He was the musician to sids comedian and he can sure play. Their set is a mx of original and covers with a rockabilly slant

Nofx played Dublin in 1990. We put them on twice and I always enjoyed their sets. I was unsure of their onstage antics and nothing has changed. Plenty of banter, lots of innuendo but the music is catchy and fast as hell

It is totally apt that the last band for me to see is ruts dc, mixing absolute classic ruts songs with their dub inspired sound. It is often said that we renewed our more recent memories best well thankfully this was a send off rebellion deserved. Poignant in the ruts dc remembering rebellion friend sharkey who passed away earlier this year. As I left the pavilion the empty spaces were the stalls were heaving over the past four days greeted me. It was a poignant moment, rebellion i will be back next year, if only our dear departed could be with us


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