Rebellion Festival at Blackpool Winter Gardens with The Pukes.
7 stages of punk bands, 13 hours a day for 4 days.
Day 1 – Thursday
We were the closing band of Thursday night on the Opera Stage.
In the backstage dressing room there are tour posters for comedians from the 80s, strip lights around the mirrors and a sign on the sink that says “no food washing – this sink is only for wigs”.
The stage is enormous.
It was massive amounts of fun to play.
We all stayed sober enough to play (even drummer Saul), we played well and to a good crowd, sold almost all of our special Rebellion Puke Bag CD/’zines, gave away loads of vodka jelly shots, made new friends, met old friends and had a fantastic night of over-excitement.
Here’s our hard working merch man Adam, selling our t-shirts and ‘zines to pay for our next album. Sitting next to the stall is Swiss Rebellion-friend Andrej Guly.
This year’s Rebellion had a good scattering of not-all-men bands and crew. Each stage had at least a few women performing every day, and in my mind, the most impressive bands had women in the line up, so this year I drew mostly not-all-men bands.
I caught an early train and came straight from the station to catch Werecats at 2pm on the Introducing Stage. I play in The Pukes with Cil, and in Rabies Babies with Mike and it is beautiful to watch them in Werecats. Cil and Pip play off each other’s harmonies and inter-song chat, and they play fun and fantastic mid-80’s pop-punk with fuzzy guitars, smiles and fuck-you attitude, like in the days when pop-punk was great.
I spent most of the afternoon hanging around The Pukes’ march stall, and went back to the Introducing Stage at 6.30pm for The Svetlanas, a tsunami of hair and hardcore, and at 8pm to catch The Tuts. If I was 18 and in a band then I would definitely want to be in The Tuts. They are energy, humour and fantastic pop punk tunes.
Day 2 – Friday
On a sunny day Blackpool is a beautiful place.
I had midday drinks with friends in the bar at the end of North Pier. The organist entertained us with seaside hits and 80 year old couples waltzed.
I wished that I could waltz.
At 1.20pm Maid Of Ace played the new Tower Street Arena open-air stage. They rocked tough and fast. I bought both their albums afterwards.
I met up with Aston of Boss Tuneage Records at the Tower St Arena, “I’ll be easy to spot – I’m the one in the black t-shirt” he said.
The Winter Gardens felt hot and stuffy so I went back to the seafront to eat an M&S salad (thanks Karen Hag for the top-tip!), and while I was there I came across this photoshoot (with lights!) of a punk and two old ladies. Later on I bumped into the punk. His name is Andy. The photographer asked him to pose with the ladies. He didn’t even get a quid for it.
I got sunburn after a while, so I headed back to the Winter Gardens and caught a few bits of bands, had a couple of beers, and then went to hear Brix Smith being interviewed by John Robb on the Opera House stage. I learned that Brix Smith wrote one of my favourite Fall songs, Hotel Blodel, and she told entertaining stories of music-obsession, manchester & ‘merica. She returned to the Opera stage a while later to perform an awesome set with her band. Their performance was my favourite of the festival. I LOVED every second of it. I felt the nostalgia of being a teenager in my bedroom listening to Perverted By Language, and loved the new songs they played.
Ramones tribute band Ramonas played the Empress Ballroom at the end of the night. This room is enormous with a sprung dance floor. Very few bands can get away with playing the Empress. The Ramonas OWNED the place. They were easily the most professional, tight and deadly band of the weekend. They didn’t pause for breath. They pretty much did ‘It’s Alive’, as the Ramones did it, but better. They are Ramones-plus. I am still in awe of the musicianship of these women.
Day 3 – Saturday
The day begun with The Pukes’ Blow the Roof Off Rebellion – Biggest Band of the Festival workshop. It was as fun as ever with around 30 people taking part. Two people during the festival told us that they had done our ‘Here’s 3 Chords Now Form A Band’ workshops in previous years and had gone on to form their own bands. Total Punk.
Favourites bands of the day was oi-pin-ups Hard Skin and fab M.D.C on the Pavillion Stage, and on the Introducing Stage, Shot! a multi-nationality London US-style hardcore band, and Amsterdam squat band Cracked Up.
Day 4 – Sunday
Highlight of the day was listening to Dave Dictor being interviewed and read from his book: MDC: Memoir From A Damaged Civilisation.
When asked about sexism/equality in the punk scene, Dave tells that on their current 40+ date European tour they have only come across one band with a woman in (Svetlana). I love Dave Dictor for noticing and caring.
I had a good wander around the Punk Art, and met new favourite printmaker/artist, Zoe Girl Shit. (check out her stuff – it rocks).
My Rebellion was cut short to catch the 8pm train home, but before I left I had a couple of anarcho treats on the Arena Stage. Anthrax UK followed by the best finale imaginable – Hagar The Womb. I love this band so much. They are funnier than Hard Skin, more punk than anyone, and were possibly the only band who were drinking chocolate vodka on stage.