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, always an 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. As ever apologies for any liberties taken with song titles.
Day 2 began for us with a traditional walk along the beach and with the tide out we walked around the end of the central pier before wandering in search of some coffee and cake to get us going, having managed that we got into the Winter Gardens and down into the Empress Ballroom a little after The Bolokos had started playing.
The Bolokos are a trio who had come all the way from Goyave in Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles and who played Caribbean ska punk while performing in Gwade voudou make up, the first song I heard was about the Poisoned Land. They had a bit of a skank going on for Tigano and they sounded suitably in awe at being the first Guadeloupian band to play Rebellion, before they asked the age-old question of just why you are a Tropical Rude Boy. They closed there set with a good old fashioned drinking song White Rum that was a great fun way to finish the day's opening set.
We then wandered down to the Promenade and the R-Fest for The Vapors who appeared to open with So Long To You that had the bands urgent poppy punk sound. I think it was during Jimmie Jones that it started to rain just to make sure there was plenty of vapor in the air, either way this song is one of many about the doomed cult leader Jim Jones and sounded great. They then recommended we all take some Novocaine and I'm sure there were plenty of takers. They then chose to see how many people were there for the hit by playing Turning Japanese in the middle of the set, thankfully not that many people left straight after, as they carried on with a very early in the day version of News At Ten and closed with the rather brilliant Letter From Hiro proving they are still well worth seeing live.
Next up on the R-Fest stage was Jilted John who has now spent 44 years moaning and complaining that he's Still Jilted John that opened his set, that was every bit as funny and poignant as youâ€™d hope it would be, as he stalked the stage while taking us through his teenage diaries as he fantasized about Mrs Pickering and let us know what went down at Baz's Party the huge crowd loved every bit of it. Telling us he was so lonely he had Fancy Mice as companions, who were far more faithful than any of the girls he tried to Go Steady with. As John paced the stage all the worries he had as a Paperboy consumed him again, as he dreamed that things went better with Shirley than they did or that he didn't say Goodbye Karen, that she might have appreciated his Melodica sound although she may have objected to the girl playing it. The place went mental as he reprised I'm Still Jilted John that obviously went into Jilted John and everyone was bawling Gordon Is A Moron as this sad tale of betrayal went through all of its twists and turns and then as the crowd went nuts at the end they stayed around and finished the set with You're Like Manchester, I hope not.
We then wandered back to the Winter Gardens and up into the Spanish Hall for the start of Los Fastidios acoustic set, no matter how much they told us to Let's Do it and chanted Oi Oi Oi for us they are a band best heard fully electric, also it was time to rush over to Club Casbah for Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions a band we've seen every time we've come to Rebellion.
As ever they were having a party and playing Crossfire like the boss kids they probably weren't, Spunk searched the hall looking for a TV God before yelling out I've Only Got Eyes For You that was played as a chant along punk classic. Spunk then tried to find out if anyone in the room wasn't a Nobhead, doubtful as most of us had a DNA Failure or three to contend with, while we made sure we had the most souped up XR3 in the hood. They were having loads of fun and wondering if any Teenage Teenagers had turned up or if it was just full of old gits. Still Spunk made sure his Little Red Buggy was ready to speed him away to Platform 3 so he can be stood up once more and we can all carry on grinning and cheering him as ever in his Balaclava.
We then went to The Pavilion for most of Surgery Without Research set of bile ridden hardcore DIY Punk that took aim at anyone who was Jackbooted In The USA or thought that the Police were anything other than Thugs In Blue, truly this lot have No Gods, but they do have good fists in the air anthems like We Are The Punks as they told us exactly what they think of any scummy men who are Women Beaters as they also had a go at any Wasters they left us all in no doubt as to just how dead all the Dead Gods really are.
We then went back into the Empress Ballroom for The Professionals who since I last saw them in Liverpool last year are sporting a new guitarist in Chris Catalyst who has joined Toshi, Tom Spenser and of course Paul Cook, as obviously he's Easily Led and it was just Another Dream that heâ€™d play guitar in The Professionals, sadly they had some issues with the sound as it seemed to lack something and caused a Going Going Gone out the door reaction among some fans, which was a pity as Tom sang about Paul's daughter Holly's space cakes and Paul accidentally getting stoned on them on Spike Me Baby.
As ever Silly Thing went down a storm and got a good pit going as Tom showed what happens when he takes his Hats Off and proves he isn't a Lonely Boy. They took a good look round and made some wry comments before demolishing Mods Skins Punks at a hell of a pace. As they got into the hits section of the set it was time to Kick Down The Doors and make sure you can count on 1-2-3 and yes we all could before they played Problems for the first time in years, if ever, it sounded damn good before they closed with a great sing along to Stepping Stone.
We stayed put for Slaughter Bites Back who feature most of Slaughter & The Dogs apart from Mr Barrett whose been replaced by Edweena Banger, a slightly less camp front person, who joins the original Slaughter & The Dogs 1980 line up of Mick Rossi, Howard Bates, Philip Rowland and Ed Garrity. Right from the opening Now I Know they sounded great and Edweena got to the heart of What's Wrong Boy brilliantly as she sashayed across the stage. Won't Let Go had a great solo from Mick Rossi. Boston Babies sounded as dark and dangerous as ever and well Hell Is New York seemed like they were about to OD. Edweena was trying to find her date but sadly She Ain't Gonna Show but she'll have to settle for whoever was Chasing Me.
They had everyone singing along for It's Called Love. I'm The One seemed a perfect riposte to anyone who thought they had the wrong singer as Edweena owned the stage. They did a good high-powered cover of White Light White Heat and upped the intensity for Don't Mess Around before getting the Ballroom to go mad for Cranked Up Really High before they left us with a brilliant version of Golden Age Of Rock & Roll a great set.
We then went back to Club Casbah for Subhumans to do what they always do and bring the anarchic hardcore as Dick Lucas leads them into Evolution and a packed hall goes nuts to the Psycho B-Movie and of course Dick tells us to ignore anyone who tells us we are either Too Fat or Too Thin as those guitars destroy calories and we all get out the Peroxide once more, to blow away any Apathy we might have.
Dick then insisted we all Subvert the mainstream as we all know that Everyone's A Terrorist and we should all watch out for Human Error, Dicks speech before 99% made sure we knew it's time to rise up and bring about a more equal society before the Pigman really does his worst. Dick also made sure we knew that not everything is Black & White before they closed with the double punch of No Religion and the as ever brilliant Religious Wars that points out the utter stupidity of War this was as ever a stormer of a set.
We went back into the Empress Ballroom that was rammed to the rafters for Sham 69 who opened there set by asking the question What Have We Got? That seems far more relevant this year than it has for a while, as the answer is a resounding Fuck All. Tear Gas Eyes is something we thankfully didn't have and as Jimmy Pursey stalked the stage on I Don't Wanna they really had us all going nuts and Robin Guy's drums were magnificent, it was so good to see him back playing after all his treatments for cancer. Ulster Boy as ever nailed the message that there were really no winners in that pointless religious war. Rip Off sounded very 2022 if you think about our current energy prices, rather than the prices in the shops. Still Jimmy made sure we all ate our Bastille Cakes while Dave Tregunna's bassline sealed the deal on 14 years the absurd sentence handed out for a minor offence, as the pit really opened out for Borstal Breakout and Dave Parsons guitar strafed us on That's Life as everyone sang along to Angels With Dirty Faces and again they made a good point about our current crisis on (What's it All About) Money.
Before they got a bit more salacious on Give A Dog A Bone and as ever Jimmy had More Questions Than Answers. They then gave a shout out to The Clash and played a brilliant version of White Riot that went down a storm before they closed the set with If The Kids Are United that had just about everyone chanting along to the chorus.
They came back for an encore about that fashion faux pas of having laced up boots and Corduroys yep the Hersham Boys were once again in the house and they closed with what could be the festivals theme song Hurry Up Harry and well we all want to go down the pub once more to leave us smiling and very happy indeed.
We decided that none of the bands still to play could top Sham 69 and so staggered off in search of more donuts and some rest at the end of another great day at Rebellion.