Having bought tickets for Rebellion 2020 back in 2019 and having held onto them through the pandemic it was great to finally get to use the tickets at this year's festival, a very welcome return to Rebellion, the organizers Darren and Jenny and there team deserve the thanks of everyone who attended, this always amazingly well run festival, alongside the brilliant staff at The Winter Gardens and in the R-Fest arena that was on the Promenade by the Blackpool tower this year for the first time, although we didn't go to the R-fest at all on Sunday. This review will feature some guesswork on song titles as do other three parts.
The Sunday started with a nice stroll on the beach on the one day the tide was in early, we then met some friends for cake who had to drive home on the Sunday, we paid a visit to the Punk Art show in the new extension, as usual there were some very cool pics on display, we got into the Ballroom in time to see The Cundeez who we always try to see at Rebellion for some high quality Scottish punk with bagpipes.
They opened with the bands traditional theme that went into Guns Of Dundee as the bands mosh pit started to grow, Terminus has some great guitar in it as well as lyrics I haven't a clue about, Peat & Diesel was in tribute to that band apparently, they then started singing about some Geezer or other before the bands big anthem Kilts On Taps Aff that had a great bagpipe solo and a truly mad mosh pit that included one of the kilted dancers dragging my girlfriend Jo into the pit for a good highland fling, by this time all I could see around us was smiling faces as they sang about a Hollow Yally before dedicating a song to the writer CG McGuinn, they closed the set as ever with their brilliant version of Echo Beach that had a killer bagpipe solo in it, a stage invasion by a couple of kilted Taps Aff backing singers, this was a great start to the day.
We then went over to the Pavilion for The Derellas whose current line-up now includes Jez Miller on rhythm guitar as a foil to Luca Comencini's lead guitar that sounded like he was stealing licks from James Williamson on the opener Strung Out In Sin City, they keep things fast and crunchy on Don't Tell me What I Did Last Night, Timmy's vocals were a little raw in places but he nailed Emergency.
20/20 had some blistering guitar work and they didn't stop moving throughout Freakshow as they made sure we all knew who the Hi Rise Superstars are. Both Underground Love and Soho Hotel brought up memories of great nights out in London and they got topical on Pressure's Gonna Get Ya, Detonate sounding like they wanted to blow the system up and let the punks take over as they got ready to Stick It To The Man, they closed with a cover of the Richard Gottehrer classic Night Time that slipped into Iggy's Bored for a couple of lines this was a great end to The Derellas usual Rebellion set.
We were back in the Empress ballroom for The Avengers to blow us away for the sort of Cheap Tragedies that will be the death of you yet, as Penelope Houston trod The Thin White Line she used to snort 40 odd years ago when The Avengers were all still Teenage Rebels. As things got suitably dark on Corpus Christi even though the band looked like they were having a whale of a time, Uh-Oh brought up the issue of consent and a girls right to say no and mean it, without it being a sign of Desperation as we all counted and chanted along to Second To None. They got all innocent sounding on Bottom Line even if the tale being told was anything but innocent, the crowd went mental for We Are The One with the pit soon resembling a Car Crash as they then covered Paint It Black in a good pop punk kind of way before closing with a rousing The Amerikan In Me, as ever it's a real thrill to be able to see The Avengers playing live.
We went back to the Pavilion for Resistance 77 usual set of Skinhead punk they were every bit as great as usual with added poignancy to a song like I Don't Wanna Die and added currency to Broken Britain as things fall apart, we all had to sing I'll Always Be A Punk as they got a bit thought provoking on No Escape as the need for a drink was made clear on Pass Me The Bottle. They dedicated Punk Rocks Not Dead to Anthony Spencer before taking us down the Kings Road for Chelsea Girl, they remembered everyone we had lost since the last Rebellion on Long Time Dead and had everyone's fists pumping the air on True Punk & Oi Will Never Die before closing with one of the songs that may have given the wrong impression about the bands intent back in the day The Spirit Of St George.
We then went out for our dinner break and suitably refreshed we got back into the ballroom in time for the Uk Subs traditional slot and with the bands new drummer counting them into You Don't Belong which was the exact opposite of how everyone felt in the ballroom where we all belonged to Uncle Charlies tribe, we all wanted to be Down On The Farm with him and Alvin, Endangered Species sounded a bit thinner than usual as we had another case of Emotional Blackmail to get the entire ballroom singing along, sadly the pretty girl Charlie was singing about was Barbies Dead. They still sounded angry at the thought of Pay To Play and as ever got rather Twisted Over You, that left us in no doubt it would be unlikely that you'd be Tomorrows Girl even though that was one of the best songs of the set. Warhead although a massive sing along sounded less angry than normal which considering what's happening in Ukraine seemed odd. Still the Riot Squad got the kicking they deserved and Charlie still had a Stranglehold on the ballroom as he invited us all to a Party In Paris. C.I.D. flew by and the current economic crisis was covered in Living In A Car as they made sure we all knew we should Keep On Rocking as they left us wanting whatever Disease it is that keeps Charlie going strong.
We stayed in the Empress ballroom for Ruts DC who opened with a new song Faces In The Sky that was a full on punk assault, before as usual they got us with SUS, West One (Shine On Me) still sounds great and Segs let us know he still has a Dangerous Minds. Segs dedicated Your Just A Liar to all the politicians, Another of the new songs Whatever Happened To the Counterculture was next and fit in nicely with the bile tempered by Mr Ruffys pinpoint drumming.
While everyone is Born Innocent we have all fallen for some mind control. Jah Wars got a huge sing along skank going on, before they tried to Kill The Pain with loud dub punk once more. Staring At The Rude Boys was a big highlight as normal as the greatest hits continued with In A Rut that now seems to sum up 21st century Britain perfectly as indeed Babylon's Burning once more and things fall apart in time for them to finish with Psychic Attack at the end of another classic Ruts DC set.
We then went to finish out Rebellion in The Pavilion first with Citizen Fish whose trumpet player opened the set by paying homage to Bob Vylan and suggesting the audience join them in some stretching before they kicked off the ska punk madness with Feeding and Dick Lucas stalking the stage singing about some of the Habits he may not approve of. They were soon Working On The Inside and blasting us with the brass section at full pelt as they started skanking with us Face To Face. Dick made sure we knew we were entering the Discomfort Zone as he wiped the sweat off his microphone once more, they were fearless as ever as they told us to Turn It Off, yes put your phones down and do something real. As times get more fraught A City Riot becomes more likely but What A way To Go it will be as the righteous fury and bile they bring to the Meltdown as they try to get rid of the Regulations and those horns just kept us all dancing. Dick encouraged us all to get rid of our credit cards and cash and just barter for all we need on We'll Swap before they closed with Wake Up as they try to get us to engage properly with the change we need.
It was then time for the last band of the festival this year The Membranes featuring hometown hero John Robb and a rather slimmed down Membranes who were a 4 piece this time, as they didn't have a choir with them. They opened with The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light easily the most unwieldy song title of the festival, but it got everyone going and the bands keyboard queen was dressed like she wanted to take over from Julianne Reagan in Gene Loves Jezebel. They soon filled the room with Dark Energy that was just the kick this tired crowd needed to start dancing some more, as we all found time to Do the Supernova with them and marvel at the Guitarists leg that was in a cast as he'd broken it, but of course the show must go on, the only thing that would stop this lot would be if they were In The Graveyard that had a good dark goth punk edge to it. They kept it goth Punk on Black Is The Color before going a bit more psych on Snow Monkey as John Robb thanked us all for still being standing and coming to see them as they took us all Deep In The Forest Where Memories Linger of top notch sets like this one, they ended a fabulous weekend for us with Myths And Legends and I hope a few more were created at Rebellion this year, this was a great set and we left the Winter gardens as ever a bit sad to be leaving and with time for one more lot of donuts on the front. I can't wait to be back for Rebellion 2023.