Dealing with a tube strike, a lack of sleep and a nasty hangover that made me almost miss the bus to Blackpool, I finally made it to Rebellion Fest.
Realizing I missed Sick Of It All, I rushed past the crowd of Fred Perry’s and studded leather jackets in front of Winter Gardens to watch The Business. It would be my sixth time seeing them, and once again they didn’t disappoint with playing every song I wanted to hear with lots of energy and intensity. Though I enjoyed hearing them play “Mortgage Mentality” and covering “Do They Owe Us A Living”, I was lacking any energy and wasn’t dunk enough to properly enjoy it. So it was off to the store to get beer and a bite to eat. Apparently my friend Monica and I spent a little too much time drinking that we missed TV Smith And The Bored Teenagers. which sucked because I really wanted to see them. By the time I drunk the hangover away I stumbled in to see Drongos For Europe. The room was packed and they had some good songs so I watched them for a bit, then headed to the bar for some cider. As they finished I headed as close to the stage as I could get to see Red Alert. They also had a great set and the crowd went berserk as they covered “Razors In The Night”. This was only the first night, so it was back to the shitty room we got that looked like a crack head hooker with scabies died in. Walking drenched in sweat through the freezing weather to a night of very little sleep only to wake up and repeat for the rest of the weekend.
It’s Friday. Somehow I ended up going to Blackpool’s Alien UFO & Paranormal Exhibition, getting into a three hour conversation with the owner. It was disorienting and entertaining enough to have almost missed seeing Peter And The Test Tube Babies. Luckily I got out in time and met up with Monica and our friend Ika to get some beer before we headed in to another night of semi blurred drunken fun. Getting drunk on the sidewalk, I didn’t see that a seagull shat on the sleeve of my jacket. As I stood up, I wiped it off with a plastic bag and started the evening off with a smile. I didn’t come here to let a jacket crusted in bird shit ruin my time. Catching the tail end of Peter And The Test Tube Babies set was just as fun as the last time I saw them a few years back in San Francisco in what seems like the same Hawaiian shirt. When they finished I got another beer and waited till Subhumans came on. Half way through jumping around and singing along to “Evolution” it hit me how drunk I was and just gave in to the maniac I was to become.
At this point I went upstairs to check out the punk art exhibition which supplied a nice break between bands. Then, resisting the urge to look at records, I bounched back and forth from seeing UK Subs to Rezillos to Control to UK Subs to Rezillos and back to UK Subs. I swear, there was no way I was going to miss the indestructible Charlie Harper or pogoing and singing along to “Destination Venus”. But there was still The Damned, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Last Resort and Sham 69 to see and none of them disappointed. The Damned are the full package. Great songs, talented musicians, total showmanship and a lot of fun ( and Dave Vanian doesn’t age, looking like a sexy vampire rocker or the Captain for that matter). So the transition of going from them to Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was perfect. Hearing “I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU FIRE” live was memorable. They definitely had great showmanship as well. But somewhere between there and The Last Resort, I started feeling the wear and tare of a lack of sleep and the beginning signs of a cold coming. They were as amazing as I new they would be, but even in the room full of skinheads that were having the time of their life, I was enjoying it in the back with a bottle of water (usually I ask for water from the sink since it’s free, but apparently the water of Blackpool was contaminated). The same with Sham 69. I wanted to be up front in the crowd singing along to “Hey Little Rich Boy” and “Borstal Breakout”. Yet still I was in the back delirious, wiping the snot running down my nose, and enjoying every second.
Waking up on Saturday at four in the morning to a fire alarm going off in our room wasn’t my plan for starting off another day of the festival. After my anger subsided I was able to get fragments of sleep before going to see The Boys. Of course, we had to start the day off with beer and what seems like another seagull shitting on the other sleeve of the jacket that I didn’t notice till I was about to go in. In spite of another day of being a walking toilet target for birds, The Boys kept my toes tapping to their catchy songs. But wanting to see Demob, I left to The Casbah stage where they played their heart out . From there I made the mistake of buying records and shirts before The Adicts went on. This prevented me from being among the shower of confetti, playing cards and beach balls. Every time The Adicts play is a guaranteed punk rock circus of a good time. With records in hand I rushed back to the room to drop them off and rub one out quick ( a man has needs) to make it back in time for Hard Skin. I got there in time for a comical riot of a performance. The singer had my stomach cramping from the hilarious banter on stage. I urge everyone to check them out live next time they come to your town. Chaos UK were next. I’ve always liked them but I never realised how much I loved them till they started the set with the intro to their “Short Sharp Shock” album. Pumping my fist to “Lawless Britain” “Living In Fear” and Kill Your Baby”. They were solid and the drums were on point. Afterwards I was running back and forth from Newtown Neurotics and The Mob, enduring my worn out piece of shit shoes. It was worth the swollen feet to watch two bands that I was excited to see.
Taking a quick break to get another beer and walk around, I headed back to The Casbah to see Paranoid Visions with Steve Ignorant. A classic punk sound with a bit of sampling which had a slight industrial feel to those parts of the songs. I must have like them since I was trying to get as close as I could and more than willing to destroy my hearing in front of the speakers. As people headed to the bar I went to the center of the stage to watch MDC. In the middle of their set they let some guy on stage to propose to his girlfriend. After she said “yes”, they dedicated the song “Dick For Brains” to them. The tarp was leaking from the rain as they played their last song. Cutting the set short and turning off the sound, singer Dave tried to get everyone to sing along to a Brenton Wood song. I could be mistaken, it could have been Al Green. I was very drunk by the end of the night.
It’s three in the morning and the people outside our room wont stop arguing. Monica gets out of her bed, bangs on the window, pulls down her underwear and farts out the window at them, yelling “SHUT THE FUCK UP”. This was how I started my birthday on Sunday morning. Night after night, the lack of sleep and coming out of every show soaked in sweat and having to walk back to the hell hole of a room finally broke me down. With the sickness taking over the only thing to do is sleep. It was bad. So bad that I considered skipping out on the last day of the festival, but after waking up too late to see Vice Squad, I wasn’t going to miss The Avengers. Heading straight for the bar and right up to the stage, I was ready to enjoy the last day. Hearing “Car Crash” and “Teenage Rebel” livened me up and got things started off in a better direction. The time between them and The Sweet was a blur. I’m sure we did our daily ritual of getting drunk on the street. Once again, this made us miss the beginning of their set. I was shocked to see that of all the bands this weekend, they’re the ones who had the Empress Ballroom packed with everyone singing to almost every song.
At this point in the night I was ready to dance along to Roy Ellis. It was a nice change of pace to the weekend and I was enjoying him so much that I almost forgot about The Partisans. I think I went the craziest for them. Jumping around to “I Don’t Give A Fuck”, “Bastards In Blue” and pretty much every song. I had drained my vocal cords and all of my energy for the rest of the night. Of course after them I waited around to see Zounds. Hearing “Dirty Squatters” and “Can’t Cheat Karma” was the perfect way to end the last day of Rebellion.
With a weekend full of music and a belly full of beer, I contemplate coming back to Blackpool for 2016. If I do, I’ll be better prepared with a bottle of aspirin, comfortable shoes and a slingshot to kill every seagull in sight.
By Davey A Go Go