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Rebellion 2016 – Day 3

The ruts take the opera house by storm

Rebellion 2016 – day 3

Nothing like a bit or raucous punk folk to start the day. I didn’t make it to black pitts but will catch them in Dublin soon I hope. Matilda’s Scoundrel were on the introducing stage and judging by the receptive crowd they weren’t being introduced to many. Accordion, mandolin, tin whistle with guitar, bass and drums drumming up some sing along punk anthems

Dunstan bruce has a very interesting story to tell and he is not only doing that on the literary stage he is in thee process of making a movie about it. The first phase of his Kickstarter campaign was successful but more funding is now required to get into the edit stage. Chumbabwamba played a folk set at rebellion just before their hiatus and Dunstan wasn’t around then but he is now back with his new band interrobang. Before their live set though he had a story to tell. Unfortunately johnny wah wah was asking the questions so there was little insight, it kind of feels like the questions are made up on the spot. Maybe the intention is to come across like two friends having a conversation over a drink and we did get to hear that chumbabwamba wanted to be a northern version of Crass whilst listening to the fall and the mekons.

imageDunstan started interrobang as he still feels the need to be part of something that wants to change the world, be part of a movement. Their sound does hark back to that post punk era Complete with loud hauler found at your nearest protest march. We get a brief break during the set when all three start screaming “I’m mad as hell. I’m not gonna take it anymore”. Dunstan even travels through the audience while we politely applaud. Great to see the evolving sound and message of wanting to change the world still being strong 30 years after I got a reply from my first letter to hin

Shot! were on the introducing stage. Rocky punk sound. Again the new band stage is shining, no inhibitions as bands give it everything in this small room. Rooms like this is where the bands playing on the larger stages in the venue all started out. This kind of energy too

One of the bands I was most looking forward to see as part of this festival was the spoilers. They are on new band stage clashing with Carol Hodge, channel 3 and hifi spitfires. But it doesn’t matter. They are nearly worth the admission price alone (it’s a lot of money just for one band). spoilers storm this rebellion introducing stage. They pop us in and punk us out. Catchy tunes that demand you join their gang. Bizarrely enough it was the worst sound that I’ve seen in that venue but still you could reach out and touch the power

Dick Lucas has now added artist to his repertoire as he has an exhibition in the punk art and even had some sold stickers on his paintings. The time culture Shock don’t play rebellion will find the festival with a huge hole to fill. Regular entertainers with their ska tinged punk filling the outdoor tower arena

I keep hearing and reading that there is a rebellion family and it is a great opportunity for people to catch up. I’m usually pretty introverted and love saying hello to people but after that start to struggle a bit. I’ve decided to try and work on this so go up and say hi to a few I see annually but had some connection with since playing in my first band in 1984. Socialising I think you call it :). It was great to catch up with people but meant I missed out on Jfa and the wall. I did get to hear the angelic upstarts as i stood on the road chatting and searching for wifi so I could see how the dubs were progressing in their football match. There was a huge turnout for the upstarts, a larger entrance had to be opened. I first saw the band in Blackpool in 1984 and they played many songs from that night, and played them just as well.

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So the next dilemma of stage time clashes!! Hard skin won out to louise distras, flat back four and the Newtown neurotics. I had to hear the between song banter of the second biggest anti fascist band playing here. I even got to hear some new skinhead anthems that hard skin have written, oh wait hang on – they weren’t new they were just written this decade. I think the north pier theatre in Blackpool are looking to book hard skin for a residency. Comic genius but an undercurrent of reality, the mark Thomas of oi..

Got three neurotic songs which was a real bonus, could have done without the effects on the vocals though

The weird and wonderful world of Spizz / Spizz energi / Spizz athletico 80 waqs next – definitely Spizz energi now and it gave me. chance to sit down, restore some energy and not worry about beer being thrown for a while. I don’t know what it is about gigs that makes people think they can just throw a glass with liquid in it up in the air. One sped past my head at hard skin and the goon that threw it just smiled and said sorry. Lucky for me I’m old and not bothered these days otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen anything other than a red mist for the rest of the night )and maybe even a+e after an inevitable defeat. Spizz took the stage in full make up, bleached blond hair and lights on his fingers and eyes. I wonder if he looks like that on his bus pass ticket? now that would be a statement. New wave music that only moved enough to make me leave so I could catch some cockney rejects before the last acoustic set of the day.

I stumbled across the end of the hobo jones acoustic set and what a sight. 350 punks singing along to sheena is a punk rocker with the lyrics changed for a little girl who requested last year they play a ramones song. It was the cutest request they ever received so they agreed to learn another one for this year. Of course they forgot until today and then charged it for Sydney. We all sang and clapped. Sydney danced and it was one of those magic rebellion momentsl, of which there are many

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Henry Cluney, acoustic set rebellion

Henry Cluney was the original guitarist in Stiff Little Fingers, a hugely influential band. Slf are playing tomorrow night and their influence can be heard right throughout the weekend. Henry is no longer playing with the band, plying his own wares in xSLF. His acoustic set is a joy to behold as he packs the room to the rafters. Again the respect is just oozing in the room. Henry is part of a huge Irish contingent over for the festival. Not just consumers of what’s on offer, like me, but many artists here this weekend. A long list. Those Slf songs sound as good acoustically and rebellion is a perfect avenue for this but is not its about what was happening in 1976, 79,82 or whatever wave was going on. Yep some bands are still playing this songs the same way but with the songs stripped down to the bare guitar and vocals cluney has the acoustic room in his hands, hundreds singing along dreaming of that other world we all thought was possible

Ruts are another that have evolved. Death has seen to that. But wow have they evolved. We are the flock and the ruts are our pastors. Each year they play an amazing set and throw in a new song or two, The Dub element in their sound is lessening bu us still prevalent. The newer songs hark back to their original day, If Rebellion is one big happy family then the rus are the relatives everyone opes will visit.

My last band for the day are Paranoid Visions playing with Steve Ignorant. WIth Steve on board the visioins play a more straight forward punk set. It’s a packed stage, chaotic and powerful, they even sneak in a cover of a crass song at the end. Do they owe us a living? Well do they? Top class

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Blackpool Day 4

Altered Images had a really enjoyable and buoyant brand of pop music when they emerged from Scotland. They cancelled a scheduled appearance in Dublin at some ball or other in Trinity at the height of their appeal. Thankfully for us pop fans Teardrop Explodes who played in McGonagles that week were persuaded to stay a few extra days to entertain the students. This may be a gig attended by Courtney Love.

At my first expedition to a music festival in England I stopped to do some record shopping. I bought the Altered Images 12″ which came with a free transfer. I had dearly loved their debut single Dead Pop Stars and Happy Birthday was no disappointment even as it strayed deliberately deeper into pop territory
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And tonight there was Claire Gogan every bit as expressive and evanescent as she appeared in videos all those years ago. Rather than playing at being girlie and playful she revelled in the role. There was no pretence about reality though, she reminded us that we were all adults now; that she didn’t get out that much anymore; and seemed absolutely delighted to be playing songs she enjoyed to people who enjoyed hearing them.

Her personal narrative punctuated her set and made it all the more enjoyable and poignant. She described the huge inspiration she got from Siouxsie Sioux. And how she wanted to be Siousxie until she found her own voice. Songs like See Those Eyes, and Happy Birthday were performed with aplomb. She described how rehearsing Dead Pop Stars at home made her family worried. She was fully of buoyant good humour telling us how she asked her husband if he wanted to journey to Blackpool with her. He declined in preference to watching Andy Murray on TV. Despite it being their wedding anniversary she travelled solo. She good humouredly quipped that she should have guessed this outcome considering the first song they wrote together was ‘Don’t Talk to me About Love’. Covers of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and a little bit of soul performed by her all-girl band aided and abetted by a little technology made this a show impossible not to enjoy.

All this on a stage recently graced by the menace of the Outcasts. The Belfast stalwarts were intense as usual. Frontman Greg Cowan’s dry humour made for a really enjoyable show.

Neville Staple also punctuated his gig with references to his family, in his case with frequent mentions of his daughter. It was her first punk gig he told us, and later joked to her that now she could see why her dad still performed music. The Specials’ man received rapturous reception for his storming set of songs drawing from the nurturing wellspring of reggae and, in particular, ska that enriched punk. One standout was ‘Doesn’t Make it Alright’ a living reminder of an era when songs attacking racism graced the pop charts.

This sentiment and moment in time was loudly and passionately evoked by Ireland’s Own Stiff Little Fingers who also recorded a version of the song. Tonight they were loud and proud in the depths of the …with a couple of thousand fans joining in with their passionate punk anthems. It is amazing that Ireland provided one of the sustained successful careers stemming from the punk era.

The Blackpool-Everton friendly was a perfect bonus by the seaside. It was completely enjoyable getting to see some of the players who will grace the Premiership and Championship next year. Dedication and coordination, and despite the stereotype many of them seem down-to-earth diligent professionals. The only downside was missing the always dependable incendiary Goldblade. In a way Goldblade, TV Smith and Los Fastidios embody the essence of the Rebellion Festival for me. You know can depend on them; yet they always surpass expectations. They never let you down, yet every time I see them I feel more and more privileged and inspired.

TV Smith was inspired indeed. He played a fantastic set of recent songs to a packed Almost Acoustic stage. The reason people pay so much attention even to his unknown songs is that he delivers them with the enthusiasm, passion, devotion and obvious care for a better, more conscious world. The veins bulging on his neck when he sings appear to course with hope.

Punk nostalgia always seemed ridiculous to me. Even the success of Green Day seemed like a cartoon copy of something that was important to me because it was original. Going to the Vans Festival in the States and following the success of Green Day made me check myself though. It was better that these bands were inspired by the Clash and the Pistols than Van Halen and Cinderella. Now I admire the sense of community and the pleasure of knowing people enjoy playing the songs they wrote or performed years ago. They are still alive and still apparently enjoying it. It is a pleasure to witness.

I also like that punk spawned so many little enterprises. In my mind even one of these bands is an enterprise. Enterprises can be run for profit, for fun or even to make a point. Some of these bands/enterprises combine this pursuit in different ways. Yet they are all still doing it and meeting people. Making connections. And that is inspiring.

The final image of the Rebellion Festival was the queue of punks in the sweet shop this morning. They were all politely waiting for their Blackpool rock. A special Rebellion Festival rock has even being offered. For some of them future Rebellions may be toothless yet sweet!

 

The Wild Hearted Outsider

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