This time last year the organisers of Rebellion, the world’s largest punk festival, were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel the four-day event due to the global pandemic. A year on and the dedicated Rebellion team are absolutely devastated to confirm that yet again, the hugely-anticipated event, due to take place this coming August 6th – 9th with legendary artists such as Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, The Undertones, Tom Robinson and Stiff Little Fingers, at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool, is no longer able to go ahead.
Despite the intention, desire and willingness of Rebellion, the venue, the bands and the local businesses for this year to go ahead, it has become increasingly clear that due to circumstances beyond the festival’s control, it can’t. With no clear guidelines from the government in terms of insurance, guarantees, policies on re-entry, testing and potential vaccine passports, the festival simply can’t go ahead.
Rebellion has been open and transparent throughout this pandemic and were hopeful (but cautious) about this year but required a few essential things to be confirmed for the event to go head. The feeling is that music festivals are being ‘timed out’. No one is saying they CAN’T go ahead, but nothing is in place yet that means they CAN either. That is why the last few weeks have seen many independent festivals take the tough decision to cancel.
All of this, combined with the ongoing global travel restrictions means that Rebellion would not be able to put on the event that they desire, and their audience expects. The Rebellion family is global. Around a third of the people that attend are from overseas and with no touring bands (many agents and bands from overseas have pulled their European tours and rescheduled them for 2022), it would simply not be the festival that Rebellion wanted to stage.
But there is some good news. Rebellion 2021 has been moved to 2022. Both 2020 and 2021 tickets will roll over to 2022. For those of you wanting a refund, visit the website where full details are published. All day tickets will be refunded automatically.
REBELLION 2022 is 4th – 7th August. So put that in your diary! Some surprise headliners have already been confirmed, plus many reconfirmed that were due to play this year. And don’t get rid of your hotel or B&B bookings for this year just yet as there is still hope that some kind of scaled back event this year is possible. Watch this space.
Tickets for 2022 will go on sale on Monday August 9th.
The RETURN OF REBELLION 2022 is going to be massive! The exciting news is the council have agreed for the festival to have the area of the promenade right in front of Blackpool Tower (Tower Headland, on the ‘comedy carpet’). This is an amazing space for an outdoor stage. A straight walk down from the Winter Gardens. Rebellion can double the capacity with this area and have some fantastic plans to make both sites amazing.
Let’s not hang about here ‘War’ is the sound of bombs dropping from the sky and panic on the streets. Idles are on it and as a unit won’t be stopped by conventional weapons or pandemics it would seem. Taking it to the next level after the joy of the Glasto performance and it would seem being taken into the bosoms of the press beast and being hailed as the saviours of alternative post-punk rock and roll all by themselves. Idles have taken it in their stride and just gotten on with it, seemingly oblivious as to the outpouring of adulation currently being heaped upon them.
I liked ‘Brutalism’ and I liked what they offered as the next step on ‘Joy As An Act’ so it was with an intake of breath I pressed play on this their third long-player as the band lock-in and pour out what is inside them onto the black grooves.
Frontman Joe Talbot says of “Grounds”: “We wanted to write a song that embodied self-belief, and gave us self-belief – a counter-punch to all the doubt we build up from all the noise we so easily let in. We wanted to make the sound of our own hearts’ marching band, armed with a jackhammer and a smile. We wanted to make the sound of our engine starting. So we did. Thank you.” Talbot sounds like he knows the score. top tune and instantly recognisable and more honed in, more finely tuned. Sounds like they know exactly where they’re going with this lark.
If you thought the band had hit the peak on ‘Joy’ and the worm might turn from here on in, well, think again this album is more vibrant, focussed and raging than the previous offerings. Across all twelve songs, there is a brutality as the band continues the social commentary of their past work, with themes of class, gender inequality, nationalism, community, and toxic masculinity and empowerment and ultimately fighting back. Its not preachy it poignant and informative that there are people who think just like you!
Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) and Adam ‘Atom’ Greenspan (Anna Calvi, Cut Copy), ‘Ultra Mono’ sounds huge. The album also features guest vocals from Jehnny Beth (Savages), and additional guest contributions from Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), David Yow, and Jamie Cullum like it needed any.
The constant touring sounds like it has galvanised the band and they’re locked in as one and the twists and turns of the opening few tracks are epic and brutal but quite beautiful as well.
Safe it isn’t but I’m sure there will be a hipster backlash along anytime soon saying something along the lines of them selling out or commercial this and that and not being the same anymore (not with these lyrics). Tosh, I say this is where they’ve been striving to get for the last two albums and this is excellent. Even after a few plays I’m easily enjoying it as much as the previous offerings if not more due to the production and songs being a lot tighter.
I’ve not read any of the reviews yet but I’ve seen the comments to the videos released so far and I like it and it would seem so do the punters (those that matter anyway). Hopefully when all this pandemic strife is sorted and we can get back to live music being a thing I’m sure these songs will take on a new life as they get performed and dissected more by the public as we break them in.
Its a pummeling album and songs like ‘Mr. Motivator’ has taken things to the next level without a doubt. I’m sure reviews will champion them as the soundtrack to the revolution, Well, the likes of the Guardian and Mirror will and The Mail will hate it. Fuck em! This album is demanding another spin and I’m already liking it a lot “How D’you like them cliches?”. To be honest, Idles have managed to create music that is pretty much universally recognisable which is always a bonus and something bands strive to achieve – sure they borrow bits here and there who doesn’t but the magic when they are in full flight is awesome.
Ultimately ‘Ultra Mono’ is a document of its time and a bloody good one at that. They look destined to get bigger and bigger. From their Rebellion Festival appearance to their Glasto triumph and now this release and the raft of enormadomes they will play once it’s safe to do so is proof that alternative music is alive and kicking and screaming.
Crack on Idles I love it. Some will love join me – some just won’t get it and others will shy away because they’re too popular. fuck that if you can’t love ‘Anxiety’ then why not? Talbot hits the nail on the head lyrically and when he states our government does hate the poor he means it but not to be cool or trendy but because it matters and people need to wake up maybe this is the sound of the fightback.
It’s not all crash, bang, wallop mind. Well, I say that ‘Kill Them With Kindness’ has a polite intro before Talbot barks his best Iggy Pop. ‘Carcinogenic’ has a lovely throbbing bassline as does ‘Reigns’ as they push the envelope a little further again. A dozen songs later and I’m thinking that Idles have penned a classic of its kind it’s easily their best twelve songs thus far (no seriously) Check it out. Stream it (if you have to) buy it on tape if you’re hip but turn the volume up for others to hear and sing along. ‘Ultra Mono’ might only have just been born but it sounds like a band has grown in stature and become a real force to be reckoned with – alternative music always needs bands like Idles so let’s enjoy them here and now – Buy it!
I guess they hoped against hope and the inevitable had to happen but Team Rebellion has given a full and comprehensive press release that shows their class. A full and frank release goes over and above and shows they had the fans at heart and let’s keep our fingers crossed that come next August this year’s washout will be a distant memory.
“We are absolutely heartbroken to have to announce that it’s not possible for this year’s Rebellion to go ahead.
Please keep your WEEKEND TICKETS as they will get you into Rebellion 2021.
All-day tickets will be refunded.”
“We have been monitoring the situation and looking at all options and whilst we were genuinely very optimistic 2 months ago and honestly thought that this would all be done and dusted half a year ahead, it’s clear that as each day passes things are taking a lot longer to go back to any sense of ‘normal’. All the indications are that mass indoor gatherings will not take place for some time to come. Obviously ticket sales have ground to a halt since the lockdown so the conclusion we’ve come to is that even if the Winter Gardens is allowed to open in August, we won’t be able to put on the same standard of festival that you’ve all come to know and love. We are already losing key bands and there would be people that had bought tickets that either can’t travel (if overseas travel is still banned) or choose not to travel and it’s unfair on them too. Further, we’ve listened to bands, fans and crew and the feedback has tended to move from an optimistic and positive response with people wanting it to happen to many of us now reluctantly accepting that it’s not the best thing to do for our communities health and well-being. So for those of you that wanted us to cancel, we feel we’ve done the right thing but for those of you that wanted us to carry on you can rest assured that we looked at every available option on how long we could keep going before we had to make an awkward decision. Putting on a festival of this size is a huge undertaking and our lives have been on hold with regards to pre-production and ticket sales so to be honest we’re running out of time now to make this happen anyway.
REBELLION 2021 is BOOKED!! – AUGUST 5th – 8th
Next year is our 25th Anniversary and we are planning an incredibly special event. We aim to come back bigger and better and put on the party that we are all going to be craving. It is not possible to have the same line up so we will be starting again for 2021. However we’re mindful that many people keeping their tickets bought them off the back of this year’s line up so we will do our best to re-book as many bands as we can subject to availability, budget and our plans for 2021.
PLEASE HELP SUPPORT YOUR FESTIVAL
Cancelling this year’s event is obviously very damaging. We do not have ‘backers’, we do not have ‘sponsorship’ – Rebellion is a truly independent festival. The venue is not ours. Our only income is from ticket sales and out of that we must cover all our expenses which as you can imagine are massive for a festival this size. We’ve had good years and we’ve had bad years, but we’ve always bounced back from the losses and if we break even then we’ve lived to see another year! But this is unprecedented – we’ve had all the expenses from August to May but if we have to refund everyone’s money it will frankly be devastating. There is a number of ways that YOU can help REBELLION
1) KEEP HOLD OF YOUR TICKET AND USE IT FOR 2021 – You will be getting in to next year at this years prices! You can save up to £45 (depending on when you bought your ticket) by using this year’s ticket to get you in to next year’s event. This will help minimise the amount of refunds we need to do. So no need to buy another ticket. Keep your weekend ticket safe for 2020 and turn up to wristband exchange next year and you’ll get in.
2) BUY A TICKET FOR 2021 NOW! – Tickets are ON SALE NOW for 2021, if you haven’t got a ticket for this year and weren’t coming, an early purchase of 2021 would really help. Our ‘EARLY BIRD’ prices last from TODAY until August 31st and we will be hitting our ‘mid price’ from Sept 1st onwards which is a lot earlier than usual. So now really is the best time to buy.
3) FREE ‘VIP’ PASSES – The first 300 tickets we sell for 2021 will go into a raffle and we will be drawing 50 winners that will receive a VIP PASS for 2021 which will get you all sorts of exclusive access and goodies.
We’ve already been overwhelmed by offers of support and generosity with suggestions to set up a funding page etc. We hope that things don’t get that bad. We are uncomfortable asking for anything as we know times are going to be hard for many. However, for those of you that are asking and are in a position to, you could DONATE YOUR 2020 WEEKEND TICKET. It would make a massive difference to the future of Rebellion and the type of festival and stages we can offer next year if you didn’t use your 2020 weekend ticket and just bought a new one. There will be a goodie bag to say THANKS for anyone that turns up to WRISTBAND EXCHANGE next year with BOTH weekend tickets showing that they had one they could have used but chose to donate that and support Rebellion by purchasing a new ticket. We certainly don’t expect this and know many can’t afford to but for the many people that have contacted offering ways to support, this is probably the easiest and fairest.
For those of you that neither want to come next year or are not in a position financially to support us then of course REFUNDS are available and the information regarding how that works can be found in detail on our WEBSITE – www.rebellionfestivals.com.
We know that many of you go to many different festivals and gigs. We don’t view any other event as a ‘rival’ event to us. We see all live events as one big family that feeds each other with our passion for music. We would urge any of you that also have tickets for other shows that are cancelled to try and avoid refunds if possible. This virus is going to have such a devastating impact on the economy and on businesses and individuals and one of the worse industries to be hit will be the entertainment industry and especially LIVE MUSIC. Many of us in this industry are getting NO SUPPORT from the government. There is no ‘grant’ if you don’t have rateable high street premises, there’s no furloughing if we’re not on PAYE and there’s no support for being ‘self-employed’ if you take money out of the business only when it’s in profit via dividends and there’s no insurance that is going to cover us for cancelling. REBELLION certainly isn’t covered by an insurance policy for this. We’re taking a hit. So many promoters, agents and bands will slip through the net regarding support. Unlike sports events which get huge revenues from TV sponsors, Live Music will be hit terribly. Our only ‘sponsors’ are the people that buy tickets and come to the gigs. Please support all our colleagues at other festivals and shows if you can by minimising REFUND REQUESTS and getting back out and buying tickets for future events as soon as we’re all allowed out again.
ONE LAST THING – Rebellion 2020 is cancelled. Tickets are valid for 2021. That will not change. But what IF the lockdown is lifted by August and many of you choose to come to Blackpool as your Hotels are booked? It would be crazy to not have some event on. Therefore, we’ve kept the dates saved with the Winter Gardens for the possibility of a scaled back event if there was any possible way we could pull this off. This might not be something we can make a decision on until much nearer the time and the type of event, the amount of days, stages and if some of it could be outdoor etc would all have to be decided and turned around quickly. If this were possible it would be a completely separate ticketed event and not be a REBELLION FESTIVAL but an alternative show within the parameters of what would be allowed to happen legally and safely. It’s a long shot and has no bearing on the decision to cancel this year which has been made.
This has been the hardest thing to ever write or publish. Both emotionally and also logistically. We’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes to work out all the procedures for a cancellation. It’s actually a lot harder to cancel a festival than it is to put one on! So, for everyone that has been moaning about us taking too long to cancel, it’s not as simple as you think! We have many ticket outlets, many price points for the tickets and so lots to get in place before we can just say ‘it’s off’. We also need to let the venue, 350 bands and agents know and all our staff, crew and suppliers as it’s not right that the first they hear about it is via Facebook. There’s also massive implications for doing this and despite what you all think we’re a small family team who’s experience is in putting punk gigs on. Therefore, making sure that everything is legal, compliant and transparent also takes time. So – we did listen to your views and that helped us make the decision to cancel. We’ve since been putting everything in place to make this a smooth process. If there’s anything you guys aren’t happy with or think we could / should have done better or differently then please go easy – we’re in unchartered territory and we’re doing the very best we can.
For now, all we ask is that you all remain safe and healthy and we hope to see as many of you as possible in 2021. Your support as ever is appreciated and never taken for granted. We love you.”
Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019. they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles. On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over. RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year. We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you. Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Mayer – 02 Arena London
Ryan Roxie – The Asylum, Birmingham
Michael Monroe – The Fleece, Bristol
The Cult – University Great Hall, Cardiff
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – City Hall, Salisbury
Kiss – The Arena, Birmingham
Alice Cooper – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Paul Gilbert – The Fleece, Bristol
The Wildhearts – The Tramshed, Cardiff
FM & The Quireboys – The Globe, Cardiff
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)
Primal Scream – Great Hall Cardiff
Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff
Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol
The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport
The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol
Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea
Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol
Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff
Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol
Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol
Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London
The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath
The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff
Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare
The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)
The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss – The Pipeline, Brighton
Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps – Jacs, Aberdare
Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth – Hy Brasil, Bristol
Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Apollo, London
Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol
Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra – Le Pub, Newport
Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff
Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami
Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol
The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham
Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham
Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton
Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London
the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)
Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester
The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York
Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley
Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York
Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York
The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham
Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth
The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter
Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London
Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff
Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London
Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth
Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales
Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London
Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)
The Damned – London Palladium, London
Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol
Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol
Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol
Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff
Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol
Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London
First things first, this interview was conducted during the Rebellion Festival on the afternoon of the band’s performance. Spunk and his Eruptions are about to head out on some dates around Europe so what better time to get the blood pumping and get you up for some loud punk rock n roll.
Considering how many times you’ve been asked back to perform at Rebellion in Blackpool would you know consider yourselves to be one of the fixtures and fittings along with the likes of the UK Subs?
A regular, um yeah I can’t argue with that so yes (ha ha ha) Before I came here people said oh if you play two years in a row your going to get a gap and if you do three years in a row then your lucky so you’ll get that gap but Dirtbox will have done eight in a row including this year and SV are on number six so if that’s considered fixtures and fittings then yes I have that haha like the Subs and Nowhere League…
Out of the newer bands, Dirtbox has to be at the top. there isn’t another band like em or loathe them Dirtbox has pretty much surpassed any other for festival callbacks and SV are getting there and it has to be said on merit as well and output. I’d wager that of any band started in the last decade you guys are requested more than any other right?
I guess thanks, haha us knock off Bar Stool Preachers, wonk Unit they all do incredibly well for the so-called newer bands so can’t fault them…Wankers Ha Ha!
SV pulling a fantastic crowd and the new double album are you phasing out Dirtbox?
Well taking precedence over Dirtbox?
well due to the turn of events of weab leaving and none of us speaking to him since I’m sure people will have their own opinions and that’s fine it is what it is. We were going to have a break anyway say have six months off just for everyone’s sake to see if we wanted to make another record. I’d already demoed another album and an EP ready for the band. when Weab left we had sort of five minutes of absolute panic and we were like for fuck’s sake like when your frontman leaves it’s not a trivial thing is it? After a couple of texts went around the lads said well they’re your songs why don’t you do it. We don’t want to stop it doesn’t matter let’s carry on for now and a lot of promoters and people who had booked the band were going well look we’ve booked you to play here and here etc are you going to do these gigs. A lot of these people also presumed that I would just sing it wasn’t just the lads in the band. Everybody just presumed that I would do it. some bands you’d never find anybody capable of pulling it off and a guitar player doesn’t normally take over from the singer…
You did it before when Weab was ill though didn’t you?
Yes when he didn’t turn up
Did you find that an easy transition to go from the singer’s foil and guitarist in the band to fronting it?
It’s sort of harder to fuck about when you’re the guitar player. I spent ten years playing some of those songs playing the guitar and pointing and saying something but not the mindset of being the singer it is different. Being stuck to the mic and singing all of it its harder trying to do it automatically. I think I’m getting there but transitioning from one role to the other is hard you get what I mean, don’t you?
To be fair there was a chemistry between you both on stage. The Dirtbox thing of you two bouncing off each other worked really well. Anyway SV. A Double album. Who’s idea was a double album? Its a lot of music was it always planned as a double or did it just turn out with the number of songs you were writing feel you just couldn’t cut it down? Was there a temptation to hold a bunch over and do two single albums or EPs over a period of time?
Yes, Initially it was going to be two separate albums. We started recording then family matters took over when we were about 80% through recording and when we got back to it a load more was written so we recorded that and found ourselves without a label and after shopping around we settled on doing it ourselves with Avenue Records set up by Maff. it is what it is and was the easiest thing to do at the time. these things you can sit on for ages as you know and shop around forever trying to sort a deal out that suits everyone so we were sat in a rehearsal room and Maff came up with the idea and we went with it and its done really well and we already have another recorded. That will come out next year Its different from ‘Double Bastard’ which is good maybe the best way to describe it is ‘Double Bastard’ was what people would expect whereas this next one is a bit different…
(JH) – I thought Double bastard was quite angry in places as well. Was that a reflection of where you were at the time?
I don’t know to be honest because it was written over a period of time maybe. I think a lot of that was prepared before we got to the studio because we knew we were going to do the double then…
(JH) you’re just an angry man aren’t you?
I can be Ha Ha Ha It depends where the mood takes me on that day haha
Last year we chatted about some of the songs on the first album and I said ‘Purely Medicinal’ was a great track and not at all what I was expecting to hear and you said you had a lot of material you’d written that you didn’t know what to do with. Is any of that going to see the light of day as a project?
Yeah, I’ve got a whole album of about sixteen songs, It wouldn’t come out as an SV album. I’ve recorded fourteen I think so far demoed I’ve called it Skeletons or spelt like a kid would spell it Skelingtons it’ll be like stories and thoughts a bit like that and I’m hoping to get that recorded over the winter. It’s not Dirtbox and its not SV just stories of things I’ve seen and heard no names no people just memories and thoughts…
(JH) you’re the master of that though pulling stories or memories about stuff like XR3 you just pull out those ideas that a generation can relate to.
It’s like scared of needles. All that came from was a visit to the dentist and my first thought of dentists was fuckin hell needles. and it got me thinking I can’t be the only one can I? So i started scribbling like TCP that was me dad I did a gig and got a really sore throat and me dad said I should gargle with TCP and he said when we were kids he used to make us gargle with it and then thirty years later I read up and it said you have to dilute it first (Ha ha ha) How fuckin dull as kids just downing it out of the bottle! Ha Ha Ha My dad then just smirked at me and that for me was hilarious and that’s where the words came from.
Do you have a favourite lyrics you’ve written from all these stories?
There’s a lot I like um I think there’s a lot on ‘Gatecrash’. that was all true. haha pissed out me head eating the toilet blue. I remember that and XR were based on two parties that stayed with me. I also like the lyrics on ‘Spare Room’ it might be kind of cheesy but it does reflect real shit. On some of the faster songs like you think you are rock and roll but your not, based on knobheads you see sucking up in places like this and then behind your back, they say something different. the people who walk in a dressing room and help themselves to your beer and you might think who the fuck are you? you’ve never seen em before. That’s not me being rude but I’m thinking what you are doing, who are you? haha
When you’ve written with other people like you wrote with Ginger Wildheart do you get a lot of people asking to collaborate?
Well, with ginger he just came down to the studio and sang on the record and I said to him, here’s my guitar and he just freestyled he didn’t write as such he just played.
So on that is there anyone you’d like to write with or get to play on your album?
There are a few things happening which I can’t mention…
(JH) You were always a fan of Cowboy Killers and Bad Sam…
I can honestly say Beddis made me want to be a punk rocker and I know he wouldn’t give a shit about me saying this but for me when people say oh the Damned or the Buzzcocks are great for me He’s great I saw him going mad in his songs and that was punk rock to me not chart hits or anything but when you’re an impressionable teen and music becomes everything else can go fuck itself he was doing Cowboy Killers and I was consumed by his madness and always giving it some…
(JH) Could you work with that then? Is he someone you’d work with if that could happen?
I don’t think so. anything I do wouldn’t be conducive to how he works or what he does I love everything he does if I lived near Newport I’d be at every show he does. when I was a kid just going to gigs and seeing the Cowboy Killers I’d be transfixed and it would be like fuck me that’s punk rock and I always think back to those times because as you guys know that was a real catalyst for me and at the time all that punk rock madness it was for me I mean I’m a massive Leatherface fan and listening to Frankie again, he sang about real things you know rather than dreaming or bands like Kiss who sang about birds and being famous and the punk stuff was real and thought fuck me you could write about things that are real to you and what you know about rather than all that other stuff.
What was it like when you got to tour with Wolfsbane what did you think of those dates?
I couldn’t think because I was so dead excited. All the time I just stood there every night …
(JH) like a kid in a candy shop for the first time?
Yeah ha ha ha
You made them aware of that obviously?
Oh yeah, they knew it alright haha I think they were like how old is he haha what an idiot. But, I keep in touch with Jase and I’d met Jeff before , but to answer the question it was great they were dead nice and I was like Woah – howling mad shithead haha it wasn’t that he’d been in Iron Maiden because it was wolfsbane for me – again going back to being a kid. I knew they were doing a tour and so I asked can I play with them and they said yeah which is great. there was no more to it than that for me I was dead excited and it was the same for every show
Who else is on your bucket list then? Showaddywaddy?
Well, funnily enough, last week we did a show that was owned by an original member of the band. It was Mick the duke. He gave me some CD’s and I told him I was genuinely a massive fan and he told me about the history and a few stories and again that was brilliant for me. this is great – I know people would laugh at that you know Showaddywaddy but he’s got fuckin gold disks all around his office haha 500,000for this one 600,000 for that you know that’s respect right there he’s done it. that was a man who’s had proper success. for me that’s fantastic I’d love to be able to dream I could achieve a bit of that success. He like 78 and he was chuffed watching us and we got a good crowd in and after he put a load of his songs on the jukebox it was brilliant. You don’t have to be playing Wembley to go home with a massive smile on your face just because you’ve met somebody you admire and they were great.
Sticking with live shows you’ve been over to Germany a fair bit recently, Headlining?
sometimes. On the continent, it’s pretty much neck and neck some places its been more for SV and others Dirtbox. At the moment Dirtbox pulls in the festivals which is fine. Its dead well received and we get treated really nicely around Europe. It’s never a bad place to go we get some really good turnouts and not so good in others that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to break new territory and the main thing is we enjoy it. we went over with 999 for three dates with SV and that was brilliant. You know us, We’re on on time and were off on time and we were really well received every night and it was great.
How do the songs go down in places like Germany? Do they get the humour or the stories like XR3?
Ha Ha Ha
I guess its if they already know Dirtbox or SV then they know what to expect so its a given they probably know about XR3 or ‘Crossfire’ but when we were out with 999 it was like 500 people looking at me like thinking what the fuck is this but the are dead appreciative when you put in the effort and sure I wouldn’t expect them to get ‘Hanging round The Shops’its hard to explain the British culture. ‘Ram Raid’ it’s all alright here people know what a ram raid is. there were other things they did get like ‘TV God’ with the riff and TV! I suppose ‘Teenage’ everywhere will get that and it’s great when you hear them sing along. We go out with Electric Six for two weeks (starting next week as it happens ED)
It’s great that you can cross over and play with wolfsbane then 999 then electric Six the Cock Sparrer…
Do you not find that weird though?
No not really it’s a reflection of what you listen to and I think we’re all like that a bit nobody just likes punk or metal or indie.
I think there’s a period in your life when you’re trying to be so cool and you turn your back on all those songs you loved as a kid because they are not cool anymore but its all just bollocks isn’t it? Like I said last night on stage we play punk and metal because boundaries just aren’t for us.
going back to last night did you hold an enquiry as to who fucked up the song?
It was Maff. We skipped a song and he started playing the next one and I didn’t and it was like what the fucks happening…
I thought you were playing a new song
Ha Ha Ha I started laughing and said what are you doing and he said I missed it so I said let’s play the right one then so everybody plays the right song Go! haha how do you cover it?
you can’t its a fuck up everyone does it haha
We did it in Leeds with Dirtbox supporting The Skids, me n Maff just went off playing one song and the others were like what you doing it was like two five-year-old kids just picked up instruments and started playing and so I started laughing and Maff said just fucking stop! and then everyone was laughing and I turned to the audience and said did you fucking just hear that and it won people over and sort of broke the ice and people were laughing with me which was great its not embarrassing if you make light of it because it is what it is you’ve fucking gone now so stop laughing just stop! haha
what about last night? (SV & the Eruptions played the casbah stage)
I really enjoyed last night I remembered getting to the top of the ramp and the crowd was fucking massive and that was great, I mean who’d complain when you’ve got a crowd like that coming to see you.
(JH) It reminded me when you played in here when the stage was on the side and us two were stood next to the stage and you were a bit nervous and then when you walked out it was like – fuckin hell! it was a similar moment this time for the Eruptions.
We did the Empress last year and I was really nervous and you never know how it’s going to go. The thing is with Rebellion there are so many people and so many good bands all the time you can’t make people go in to watch you, you have to earn it. they’ve always got that choice.
That year when Dirtbox first played the Empress I went up on the balcony to take a picture if was fucking mental in there from the front to the back it was packed. It was one of those moments from when we first saw you play the Railway in Abertillery to twenty knobheads who knew every word to fill the Empress was a bit emotional. It’s no small feat and something you should be immensely proud of. There are bands who’ve been going decades who would love to have an audience like the one you’ve had at Rebellion and would be envious of it…
I’ve had bands come up to me face and say it. After that initial rise we did get a lot of respect from a lot of bands but at the same time a lot of ridicule. A lot of people to this day just don’t get it. I’m like you can’t get everything you don’t have to like every band that’s fine. there’s loads of band I never got. There are loads of bands I never got growing up I’ve played with and have since listened to and got – you know what I mean. Touring with the skids, they passed me by when I was younger but now having watched them I get it.
I think drawing your influences from a lot of bands that weren’t shit helps – I love the bands I’ve mentioned and bands like the Kinks Or Motorhead or songwriters like the Hollies and people say how do you like the Hollies and I’d say they write great songs with catchy choruses or melodies it good stuff. I think if you listen to good songs from a good gene pool then it should help you write better songs. Sure I blast out Lemmy but the Kinks were ace as well. If you only listen to Extreme noise terror all your life how the fuck will you be able to write a great chorus or melody? Hopefully having a wide and varied but good gene pool of influences hopefully will help me to be a better songwriter and will help me appeal to a wide audience even if its a little bit. You can learn to be a better writer. I never take playing places like Rebellion for granted it’s never a given you still have to work hard to earn what you get and hopefully you get the rewards.
I think that’s why yourselves and The Bar Stool Preachers and Wonk are getting invited back year after year you all have eclectic influences and you all write great songs that win people over. and you’ve earned your stripes.
A lot of people don’t see that we’ve played Halifax on a Monday night and then Southampton and Nottingham followed by Leeds. A lot of people here probably don’t even know we slog it around Europe playing loads of shows. I doubt if no more than a handful of people on the Wolfsbane tour knew who we were but now I see people turning up at SV gigs wearing Wolfsbane shirts and patches and that’s great. that makes me smile. I’m proud of that and the band I’ve got they’re all good lads I’m really happy with Scott, Joey and tom and Maff obviously. they’re all steady and reliable…
Do you think that’s the best you’ve been?
It’s hard to say, I feel really good about it it’s a different beast to the first line up but they were good but they approached it differently. Now it just feels right. I don’t have any concerns at all, I just feel like we’re all right into it and like Scott gives it a bit of a grunt and I like that. Even with Dirtbox, I think we’d run out of a bit of steam and now with Weab going there might have been all the internal issues that people never know about but now all that’s gone it’s like we’re on the same page again. What happened, happened and I think everybody is happier weab has Kid Klumsy and I hope he’s happy and we can all move on with our own things. we’re going to have a break then next year we’re going to play a few dates we’ve got pencilled in for April and a new album as well. We had started some but I’ve got a load of new material with my voice in mind and not Weab so it’s different styles and demoes some and the lads were chuffed they had a real live feel and you could see the boys felt the same again which is great. The songs have a raw feel maybe more like ‘Legends’ but that might be just at the moment. We’ll see how we approach it in the studio because we love the songs and think Dirtbox has still got legs it would be a shame for me to see the name disappear because the singer left. We don’t want to hang up the Dirtbox flag, it’s not just about us four in the band and you know how hard we’ve worked because you boys have been with us from the start, we’ve worked really hard to get noticed and people seem to like us so we owe it to them as well.
There you have it folks the one and only Mr Spunk Volcano saying it as it is. We actually chatted for an age with some really exciting things happening for both SV & The Eruptions and Dirtbox Disco so strap yourselves in and get your fix as I’m sure all will be revealed as and when and we’ll try our best to keep you up to date with what’s going on in both camps. Thanks to Spunk for taking the time and indulging us and making us bloody laugh every time we cross paths.
“Do they own us a performance? Yes They Do, Yes They Do”
A band that still divides opinion – Crass. The songs remain relevant as much now as when they were written. Steve Ignorant is going to be playing a full set of CRASS SONGS at Rebellion 2020. This is a set that many Rebellion Crew will be downing tools to make sure they catch! Tickets for 2020 are on sale NOW (still at the early bird prices). Plus you can buy with easy manageable monthly installments of just £18. www.rebellionfestivals.com/shop
Crass have recently had their back catalogue reissued on vinyl through One Little Indian on coloured vinyl.
Fast rising Brighton based ska punkers The Bar Stool Preachers are just about to embark on their biggest UK headline tour to date, whilst tickets for the legendary Cock Sparrer’s 2020 Not The Albert Hall UK club tour are one of the hottest on the scene right now.
RPM caught up with Preachers’ vocalist T.J McFaull and bassist Bungle along with Colin McFaull lead singer with Cock Sparrer just a few weeks ago at Rebellion Festival to talk all about…well, just about anything really.
What follows is RPM interview gold as father and son (plus Bungle) ‘Take ‘Em All’ on ‘One By One’ whilst ‘Looking Lost’ in the interview seat is one Johnny H.
The last time I was sat in this very bar I was interviewing you Colin and I asked you this very question, so here it is with a very subtle twist. See if you can spot it.
I was stood watching you last night when it suddenly dawned on me that when The Bar Stool Preachers do the 20th Anniversary ‘Gracie Governo’ tour I’ll be 72 years old, so T.J. and Bungle tell me what’s it like to be young? (laughing)
T.J.: (laughing) Well we’ve never been busier; we’ve never been more successful and we’ve never been more broke. So, it’s brilliant being young. Although the years seem to be flying at the moment and suddenly, we do have to stop and think “have we really played this place six or is it seven times now”, and you kind of have to forget you are young and just crack on.
Bungle: The one thing people forget though is that being in a band doubles your age rate. (laughing)
TJ: Yeah it’s that and its also as a band you’re only as young or old sorry as your youngest member
Bungle; Why did you look at Col when you said that?
T.J.: Well Daryl is keeping ‘em tempered, to the ground (laughing) and we’ve got Whibs in the band our drummer (Alex Whibley-Conway) and he’s only 23 years old. So we really are a very young band (looking to Colin – and then follows loads of laughter)
We were only commenting yesterday that he’s a real powerhouse for the band.
T.J.: Yeah we met him when he was 19. That’s how long we’d struggled on with our old drummer, and we kind of groomed him into it more than anything. The first couple of tours we let him do anything, let him run wild. Then it was next couple of tours smack the shit out of him if he did anything wrong and the subsequent 7 or 8 tours, he’s been nothing short of amazing.
He was a jazz drummer first and the way he plays music is just so intuitive and as such this next album is going to be so heavily drums lead. That’s its just really fucking fun to listen to.
As I wasn’t expecting to get all of three of you in this interview, I’ll open this one up to Colin too. What’s it really like to play the Empress Ballroom at Rebellion?
Colin: Well this year will be our sixth time of playing it going right back to the days when the stage was on the other side of the room, and I’ll be honest it’s a difficult room, largely because the sound is not always great in there due to the acoustics, but the crowd are always fantastic.
I think we still hold the record, yeah we had 6,500 in there back in 2008, and for health and safety reasons they now have a cap on it so you never get more than 3 to 3,500 in there.
T.J.: As we found out yesterday (referring to the fact that people were turned away when The Bar Stool Preachers were on stage due to the venue capacity having been reached)
Colin: It’s just a really great venue
So what was it like for you guys? (pointing at T.J. and Bungle)
T.J.: Bungle (laughing)
Bungle: Yeah, it was crazy. Words cannot do it justice; it was just mental. As we set up we could see the crowd as far back as the sound desk, then we came on lights went up and more people seemed to be in, then 2 or 3 songs in the lights went up and I stopped and turned to Tom and went “what’s going on? Have you seen this?” (laughing)
TJ: The response yesterday was phenomenal. Opening with ‘One Fool Down’ and first time in the big boy room, it could have all fallen flat on its face with about 100 people singing but less than 30 seconds into that first song it really did feel like there was 2,000 people shouting those words back as us.
Colin: What was really interesting from my point of view was having been to a few shows, as you can probably imagine. It’s gone from a couple of rows of people knowing the words to where I was stood last night (around 14 rows back) everyone around me knew every word.
You guys did genuinely seem moved by the reaction.
Bungle: I welled up I must admit.
TJ: I nearly cried during ‘One Fool Down’ when it got to the “Never Look Down” bit when that went off the first time, that stopped me taking that next breath and I looked around at Bungle and he was like the Blackpool Beach caricature of a dog with the biggest bone he’s ever seen (growling and laughing) and smiling from ear to ear.
Bungle: I wasn’t crying it was sweat in my eye okay? (laughing)
Do you still get that same buzz Col when you are headlining the Empress?
I was only saying to Tom earlier, people always ask us how long are you going to continue doing Cock Sparrer and I say as long as people pack out venues and sing the songs and enjoy themselves that’s good enough for us. When they stop, we’ll stop and it’s as simple as that.
TJ: You know the reason Rebellion is so special is that it is the one event a year where the various sections of the UK punk scene do come together with like one purpose, to have a great time. When we played at 5 pm yesterday it felt to me like the crowd all felt like they had part ownership in the band as they were all responsible for making it such a great event. Same when Cock Sparrer plays, everyone in there feels a part of that band, and their support really means something. That right there is amazing and it’s only at Rebellion here in the UK that you really get that.
At this point, I’d like to take you back to 2014 and a rainy night outside the Melkweg in Amsterdam. That night Tom you gave me and Nev (at the time we were both there covering that European Rebellion event for Uber Rock) your vision for this new ska-punk band you were forming. Five years on are you now anywhere near where you hoped you would be back then?
TJ: I’m there. I’m there (laughing) Yeah of course. We’re touring America 3 times in that the next 6 months. Plus, we’re putting out an album that people are potentially going to hear without us having to do 150 to 200 shows just to get it heard. We will still play that number of shows because we fucking love doing it, but it will get heard regardless now. So, 5 years down the line from that conversation I couldn’t be prouder of the boys in the band, how hard everyone’s worked, how much everyone’s sacrificed and just how good we all got at writing music. It’s been nothing but humbling every step of the way.
And the other person you mentioned being a part of that vision was of course Bungle, so what’s it been like for you?
Bungle: I remember when I first met Tom down on Brighton Beach which was a long time ago on a beautiful Summer’s evening and I said to him “this will be my last time for putting absolutely everything into doing a band” and he was like “cool okay” and now 5 years later I’m like “why did I say that?” (everyone explodes in laughter). What the hell have I let myself in for? Seriously though I don’t regret it for one second. It’s like all the bucket list things I’m getting to do, playing the Empress, touring with Bouncing Souls and The Bronx, playing with Street Dogs. The list just goes on now.
T.J: (who at this point turns to Colin) Well you’re taking a completely different band out with you next year so you won’t be on that list (again everyone falls about laughing)
Colin: To be fair you guys have put everything into it. You’ve not held back and as you said (pointing to Tom) being dedicated to it has been the only way of doing it.
Bungle: You get out what you put into it don’t you.
T.J: You know you sell somebody something and you say “it’s gonna be this” but you’re never 100% sure that’s what I did when I hoodwinked you and Nev in that bar in Amsterdam. I was all about telling you it was going to be like The Clash with this real puck rock ethic understanding the ska, reggae and roots origins of where that sound all comes from. I couldn’t believe that it actually turned into just that. (laughing)
Or that the bassist I told you about that night could become the bassist he is right at this moment. I tell you there is no other bass player writing stuff like Bungle.
Colin: And what you didn’t do was compromise. You’ve stuck to that ethic when it probably would have been easier to get gigs if you’d changed your sound a little to suit what was in at the time. You stuck to what you wanted to do from the beginning and persevered with that original dream.
Bungle: It’s one of those things like when we first started and had the foundation of what we wanted to be we could start to do our own thing and let it grow naturally and let it be what it’s going to be. If people like it then that’s wicked!
T.J: When we started this though every interview or article always seemed to have somewhere in it… and features the son of Cock Sparrer singer Colin McFaull, and when that stopped or seemed to stop was when those people actually came out and saw The Bar Stool Preachers. Largely because we went out and did 150-200 shows a year to show everyone what we did, and that allowed us to be us.
So, you don’t get that anymore? I mean firstly at Uber Rock and now here at RPM we’ve always tried to steer away from it.
T.J: Yeah from time to time, and yeah you guys didn’t and Dad and I were both like “Thank You for not mentioning it” but if you’re gonna sell tickets or clicks or whatever we understand. We all live in this same fucking rat race where you have to try and get yourself heard however you can, but you guys have always written about US first and that meant when you asked us for a chat we, of course, said “yes”.
Colin: We joked a few minutes ago about the UK run of shows Cock Sparrer are doing next year and us having another support band on with us. The simple truth is they have to distance themselves. They have to do their own thing. As I said to Tom if you’re in a situation a year from now where you’re looking to support Cock Sparrer in Wakefield then you’ve wasted a year somewhere. You should be bigger than that by then.
T.J: (shaking his head in disagreement) I get it, but you’re holding us back. If you think we’d go into that tour asking you to help us out and give us a gig then you are wrong. By doing it together we get to choose to do those shows.
Colin: What worries me, and this is the truth, is you commit to those dates now and it’s a year away and then say Rancid came and asked you to go on a world tour with them.
T.J: We would blow you out in heartbeat (this comment is followed by much laughter)
Colin: It’s a little commitment that could come back to bite you on the arse, that’s all I’m saying.
Bungle: It’s like when we go back to the really small venues like the Ilkeston thing and people say “you’re too big to play there”. We’re like “who gives a shit?” if we want to play a pub in the middle of nowhere to however many people, then we’ll do it.
T.J: And the Ilkeston thing (Ed: it’s changed now to later in the year and has been replaced this time around) has proved that point right because this time it’s the only all-ages show on the tour and people have bought tickets from four hours drive away. Just so they can bring their kids.
Okay so with things getting a little heated around the table here, here’s a real loaded gun question for you, and of course bearing in mind who is sat next to you (pointing at Tom). What’s been the real highlights of the first 4 or 5 years of The Bar Stool Preachers existence then?
T.J: That’s a great question, and its one we’ve not been asked before.
Bungle: There are multiple ones for a multitude of different reasons. I think The Slackers tour was our first big one and they really taught us a lot about being on the road
T.J: They communicate with each other as musicians on a level that I have not seen since. It’s like they communicate out of the corner of their eyes to a bandmate 10 foot away and suddenly its 1-2-3 and they are off, and as still relatively new musicians that is unbelievable to watch. So suddenly we’re going like “if they can do that, we can do that.”
Bungle: Perhaps what ties all this together is that whoever it is we are playing with when we learn something and take something away regarding how to do it better that is a highlight. So, going on tour with Sparrer I learned how to play my bass lower thanks to (Steve) Burgess (laughing), but whoever the band is we are always picking things up be it as musicians, or even something as silly as learning on how to get from A to B quicker.
T.J: You should try being normal size and not Bungle size and try sound checking his fucking bass and its touching your ankles (laughing)
Colin: The learning though never ends, that never stops and whatever band you play with you should be watching and learning about how to do things better.
T.J: So, cast your mind back to Mighty Sounds in the Czech Republic in 2017 (then follows a long silence as you can see Colin thinking) and Cock Sparrer have never done a call and response live before. Yeah, Bungle you can laugh it up as you were there for it, and I’m glad you were as this is proof. You had never done one before at the end of the set, and you saw it being done by another band and you said to me “I’m gonna do that.”
Colin: (laughing) And how was it?
T.J: (shouting) Much bigger than any of ours!!! (laughing) But at the end of the set, he did this mighty long note, looked over at me and Bungle and raised an eyebrow and I thought “I love that cunt”. (much laughter follows this comment)
Colin: Oh yeah that was the same gig that we put the backdrop up upside down. Intro kicks in big build-up crowd is going bonkers and backdrop falls to reveal the Forever logo upside down. (laughing). I was standing next to Will (Murray, Sparrer’s long-time road manager and sixth member) and said “Will the backdrop’s upside-down”, and he goes “yeah you’re right”, and I’m like “you’re not supposed to just agree with me you’re supposed to be like fuck yeah I’ll sort it now”. Brilliant!
T.J: To go back to the original question another highlight has been some of the incredible bills we’ve shared, Street Dogs taught us a lot, The Slackers, The Interrupters taught us a lot and Sparrer of course taught us a lot in the long run, and most definitely not how to put backdrops up. But to be good at something you learn in whatever you do in life, an apprentice chippie on a building site will watch how the others do things and take little things away to make life easier and that’s just what we do.
The next 2 years are going to be bigger and more exciting for us in terms of support slots than anything we’ve done so far, and that’s no disrespect to anyone I’ve mentioned so far, but we’re going back to play with Die Toten Hosen once again for an all-new run in front of 15 to 40,000 people, Bouncing Souls and The Bronx you know these are bands that we listened to growing up
Looking forward to the next Bar Stool Preachers album then, how much do current world events impact you as songwriters?
T.J: There’s a real disparity between reality and what people feel comfortable to say and experience in the real world. It’s really very, very hard to live without feeling like a hypocrite about feeling guilty with people going on about; you travel it’s your carbon footprint, you eat a steak you’re killing the environment. There’s nothing you can do that there isn’t some smart bugger going, “this is slightly wrong.”
For us, in terms of the message we put out for the first album we were almost talking in clichés, for the second album we were trying to tell stories. For album number 3 a lot of what we’ve got to say is about genuine questions we have to ask right now. That’s because right now is a very explosive time to come of age and it’s a great time to write about. I mean what happened at Grenfell? What happened to the Panama Papers? Why are British bombs destroying Yemen? Like where are these questions in our day to day life? If they are not there, then people, maybe like us, but we’re still a relatively small band, there are a hell of a lot bigger bands who could be saying a hell of a lot more, but why aren’t people saying it? Trouble is there aren’t that many flagship points that people can rally behind at the moment that’s not already propagated in fear and its really hard as a band to not talk about all this. In our opinion.
There are a lot of bands who write songs about summer and love and surfboards and all that and are playing the same fucking 3 chords over and over..and
Colin: (chipping in) What’s that about ironing boards? (everyone falls about laughing at this point)
So, can music really change the world?
T.J: You never understand the real themes and energies of life until you experience them for yourself. Your deaths your marriages your births whatever they may be and they don’t always happen as big things sometimes they are microcosms. Me I just feel the whole system needs a reboot.
How important is the US then to The Bar Stool Preachers?
Colin: Sorry I’d nodded off there for a minute. (Laughing) The US is one of the biggest markets out there but you have to come to play it to come to terms with it, you have to be clever about it and do it in a specific kind of way, you certainly can’t scattergun it. So as the guys tell me the more they go back, the more friends they make and the more records they sell so it’s all healthy.
With Sparrer the first time we went to the US was 2000, well we did go in 1978. We were coming out of the record deal we’d sold all our stuff to go, the idea being to take demo tapes and tout it around the record companies to see if there was any interest and we flew on Freddie Laker for £40 to New York we spent 3 days there and no one was interested. There was a guy who used to work at Decca had moved to the west coast so we thought we’d go and see him, so we drove across the Sates in an Oldsmobile with no air conditioning and then spent a couple of weeks in Los Angeles trying to get some interest.
T.J: You should have done some shows.
Colin: Yes, we should have, we just didn’t have the opportunity to do any. So, the first time we played there was 2000 and we did New York CBGB before we went up to Boston before flying to Los Angeles which was a riot and then ended up in San Francisco.
What about Bar Stool Preachers being the Def Leppard of the punk rock scene, as in breaking the US before the UK? I mean you are signed to an American label after all in Pirate’s Press.
T.J: (laughing) Def fucking Leppard…. Yeah alright. As for Pirate’s Press, like any good parents, they just let us do our own thing only do it more. For us its been more about redistribution of our efforts. Like we’re only doing this one headline UK tour this year in September (dates below) and that’s of course because we’re spending nearly 3 months in the US. We have this amazing fanbase in California and we don’t know where it started or where it came from and we are playing all the way through October with Badcop/Badcop who are fucking amazing.
As for the UK punk scene, I don’t think that’s there at the minute to be broken.
Do you not think that is kind of restricting your appeal though by simply labeling yourselves as punk?
TJ: Hmm that’s an interesting point because we do have the biggest demographic of non punk fans and I suppose that’s on top of us pulling 3000 people in the Empress at 5 pm on a Thursday afternoon.
So, are you like the punk band it’s okay for your mothers to like?
Bungle: Yeah I’ll take that. (laughing)
Colin: (laughing) I can just sense a new tattoo coming on here.
T.J: I suppose it’s how you look at punk. I think there are loads of new up and coming punk bands who aren’t going to be looking at it the same way as The Bar Stool Preachers do. Because for us punk is not a genre, it’s an ethos. Look I understand I’m really privileged to have grown up with this all around me and I can remember a lot of it right from the age of 6, so why wouldn’t I want to be in a punk band? Everything I knew that was cool before I knew what cool was was punk hands down. So, if the mainstream world isn’t into punk right now then maybe they fucking need to be. As an ethos.
We’ve never played as a punk band though, and we’ve never billed ourselves on a Cock Sparrer/Oi! ticket and that’s because we make the music we want to make and it’s about inclusion and community that is much bigger than punk.
With both of your bands planning extensive UK tours I just wanted to say how refreshing it is to see you doing this, and not playing just the odd one or two shows in London and Manchester like most other bands seem to do these days.
T.J: And which you did for many years (looking to Colin)
So why the extra dates?
Colin: For Sparrer there are two reasons really. 1.) is that Sparrer have always preferred It up close and personal and 2.) it’s the reaction we get when people see we are playing places like Wakefield. Now we’ve always been very privileged in that our fans our friends have been willing to travel to come and see us live so perhaps its now our turn to give something back and just like we’ve always done it to try and play places we’ve never done before and tick that box.
T.J: But you have a duty to your fans as leaders of the scene to give venues like the Robin 2 a little bit of time a little bit of daylight
Colin: And whilst I agree regarding this, it’s really more about making it easier for people to come and see us and not have to pay £400 to see us at a one-off in Amsterdam and instead they can pay £25 to see us in Newcastle or wherever. Of course, the real reason we’re doing it is because we had so much fun the last time we did it. I mean we played Cardiff and got out alive, that’s good enough for me (laughing)
Although Col one of the bands sat here is playing Cardiff on their upcoming tour and the other isn’t
(A cheer goes up from T.J and Bungle as I’m of course referring to their show in Clwb Ifor Bach on 21st September.)
T.J: Yes and I believe it’s only £10 a ticket for one of our shows too (laughing)
So just to wrap up what’s up next then for you both?
T.J: Loads more touring and of course album number 3
Bungle: To keep on writing better music and better songs really
T.J: For album number 3 the benefit is we now know what we’re doing, we’ve defined our sound, we know what our bits are. For us we found that some of our favourite recordings for the songs on ‘Gracie Governo’ were on our phones as voice notes and you know maybe we potentially overproduced those songs on the record. So, what we’re going to do on this next album is. We’ve got 35 songs we’re going to pick 20 and then over 8 days we’re going to record all of those songs live then we’re going to put them out there to get the opinions of people we love and respect – like mum. (cue much laughter) Then we’ll get 11 or 12 tunes that we can go in and record properly
Is there a temptation to drop more in the set?
TJ: That’s another great question. We think album number 1 is better than album number 2 because album number 1 was written with live audience feedback. When we played ‘Eye For An Eye’ last night second half I had no idea what was going on I was making it up as we went along. For album number 2 if we’d toured those for 12 months I think it would have been a much bigger album.
I’m not being critical of the last album I’m incredibly proud of Gracie Governo it’s just that the whole process was another of those learning points we’ll take into album number 3.
‘Late Night Transmission’ is another new one we played and that’s likely to be the lead track on the new album it’s our ‘Police And Thieves’. It’s a direct lift anyway, but don’t tell anyone. (laughing)
Colin: Mick Jones don’t exactly need the money. (laughing)
And what about Sparrer Col is there another album in you guys?
Colin: As I said to you all those years ago, we never say never. We’re in the fortunate position that as ‘Forever’ was funded by us we had control over everything, and that’s the only way we’d do another album. We’re certainly open to doing it and we’re writing new songs but as with ‘Forever’ if the content wasn’t going to be good enough, we certainly wouldn’t have released it. ‘Forever’ though we’re very proud of, and we love that album and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do another one.
Well with that awesome prospect in mind is there anything you wanted to add just to finish off?
T.J: Just that with everyone seemingly wanting our band to succeed right now is extremely humbling and we’ve got some really great people pulling for us right now so I’d just like to say “Thank You” to all of those people, and I hope to see some you on the road over the next few months.
Colin: What’s been most refreshing for me this weekend has been how seeing how diverse the Preachers fanbase is, the lads mentioned before the interview about the older lady on the barrier and in front of me were two young children on their parents shoulders, and that’s what its always been about for me and Cock Sparrer. You can come and see us whatever your age, colour, religion or sexual orientation, if you want to come and hear the songs, we’re happy to have you there and its brilliant to see it’s the same with the Preachers.
T.J: And that’s because it’s about family and not business.
If you are looking to be a part of the family for either of the bands upcoming UK tours then you can catch them at the following venues;
With what seems like a couple of hour’s kip we’re up and at ‘em in the RPM Camp. Breakfast looked like it was on the critical list and had been out in the rain all night but we eat it all the same. We have the dilemma over breakfast of who we won’t be able to catch due to the number of quality bands on today’s bill.
We wanted to catch so many bands today it looked nuts however we looked at it. It came down to the flip of a coin on what will forever be known as Fandabi-Friday (Don’t ask but our sides almost split). If you need an explanation I’m sorry but it’s locked in a chest and buried at the bottom of the ocean off the North Pier.
TFG and Riskee & The Ridicule were on early so we had to take a pass on as it was our annual Ratboy Magic show but we got sidetracked on the way so missed the lot before we paid an early doors visit to the Empress to catch a bit of brass courtesy of The Popes Of Chillitown (that our esteemed fellow writer Nev recommended) they kicked up a fair old racket with their ska /punk hybrid and nailed it.
Everywhere we looked there was someone we wanted to watch – Miss Fragile in the Almost Acoustic – The Snivelling Shits in the Opera House but it was Knock Off who got the nod as they knock out their street punk which they claim is fuelled by the state of the country and play like it with added anger and disillusionment and on this evidence its hard not to disagree even with their technical difficulties the band deal with it and get on with business and turn in a solid performance. We hang around to catch Dragster in Club Casbah who have a great new(ish) ‘Anti Everything’ album under their belts. Fi and the boys were cutting a fine jib upon their return to the festival and they sounded ferocious. They attacked songs like ‘Anti Everything’ and ‘Vultures Circle’ and the epic ‘Death By 1000 Cuts’. It’s always good to hear ‘Dead Punks’ the band play like their lives depended on it and it would seem that the punters were out early enjoying the audio assault. With Fi spending a lot of the set on the barrier getting amongst it and the band dog deep by dragging up ‘Eat The Dirt’ from their debut back in 2006. A tonne of energy and a raft of tunes that are getting better and better.
We quickly realised we haven’t yet been to the Opera house and it’s already Friday evening. but it has to wait a little as were back in the Casbah to catch some of Disciplines set (whilst over in Empress TV Smith was playing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ so we’re reliably informed). Discipline did a split some years ago with Argy Bargy so to have a one-two jab from the Dutch boot boy rockers followed by Argy Bargy’s return in Casbah at Teatime for the RPM bootboys was a real treat. Discipline were good To be fair and their love of all things PSV came across loud and clear.
It was a most welcome sight as Watford John rustled up a tea time treat with some choice cuts from the most excellent album ‘Hopes Dreams Lies & Schemes’ as ‘Looking For Glory’ sounded fresh as the first time they played it. We were also treated with songs off ‘Drink Drugs & Football Thugs’ call it Oi! Or Thug Rock but I’ll just call it quality Rock and Roll and a most welcome return it’s been today in the Casbah.
To have a break we wander through the labyrinth of backstage corridors to navigate our way quickly around the venue and find ourselves in the surreal surroundings of the Arena. Nothing different with the venue it’s just Brazils action figured self-proclaimed Billy Idol Of the Amazon Supla S&V along with his trusty accomplice for the evening is Victoria Wells as the due knock out what can only be described as house meets dance meets punk sampled mash up whilst wearing a nice blazer and skin-tight shorts. I kid you not – Supla is out there on his own when it comes to entertainment and vision but the good people of The Winter Gardens didn’t get the memo and the dynamic duo of dance were left playing to a few clued up disciples. As for what the songs were? Fuck knows. Your guess is as good as mine. Anyway, we too had to cut and run as Spunk Volcano and The Eruptions were about to take the stage back in our haven that was Casbah. The temperature must be about 120 degrees plus (it certainly seems like it) and the most sensible person in the room seems to be the guy in the pants…oh hang on he’s wearing a woolen balaclava with just one eye!
There’s no fucking about here and the bodies start being flung around in an impressive pit as the band doesn’t have time to fuck about and it’s straight into ‘Death Or Glory’ from the impressive ‘Double Bastard’. sure the classic SV tracks are present and accounted for like ‘Hanging Round The Shops’, ‘Shit Generation’, ‘Ram Raid’, ‘Xr3’ and ‘Sellotape’ and ‘CrossFire’ as the Rebellion audience sing along in all the right places and by the end of the set the Casbah is full to bursting and for the next few hours at least I can’t get ‘Knobhead’ out of my noggin’ I even think he dedicated to us as well, how rude but bloody entertaining.
Right it’s just gone 8 pm and we’ve not stopped for any food yet so whilst my colleague is on the blower to his union to see if it’s lawful to have this much fun and no breaks I’m off to the chippy before Duncan Reid goes Acoustic. Right, That was a quick hour and without delay, we’re back in Almost Acoustic to catch the full set from Duncan Reid & The Big Heads and after a few of those dreaded technical difficulties were off and running and Mr. Power Pop is showing exactly how to write great pop tunes that can be played both electric and acoustic as the pub like venue joins in the sing-a-long and we all have a jolly good time. ‘Kellys Gone Insane’ from the debut solo record sounds fantastic as does ‘The One’ also from the re-released debut record. ‘Cèst La Vie’ is aired from that difficult second album along with ‘Long Long Gone’. Duncan shares some very nice words for his former bandmates in The Boys before cracking open a take on ‘Brickfield Nights’ where Nick Hughes did a very commendable job on Matts vocals. It only leaves ‘First Time’ and a standing ovation seems about right – Always smiling – always looking like they’re having the best of times -its infectious.
We head out the door for a wander knowing we can catch the end of the UK Subs set over in the Empress after a cheeky dark fruit we head upstairs to see the subs do what the do best and thats kicks out the jams in what felt like watching a band inside an oven on 180. The band show no sign of relenting as they justify their prime spot on the bill once again.
We head outside to wring off the t-shirt again before catching some of the Stranglers set luckily for us we caught a portion of the set where they played a few classic Stranglers ‘Peaches’, ‘Nice N Sleazy’ and ‘Duchess’ we go for a walk around the balcony and by the time ‘Something Better Change’ erupts I’m done. the heat has got the better of me and I bow out. After what has once again been a full-on Fandabidozy Friday in The Winter Gardens wandering from room to room catching band after band all offering something different but mostly offering exceptional quality. Now if I could be in two places at once then now would have been a good time to give that ago. Luckily for us, Mr. Darrel Sutton was on hand at the same festival but watching totally different bands to us so without further waffle over to Mr. Sutton…
Friday sees an extended pub lunchtime forcibly ended by a raging (ouch) set from Ohio’s Raging Nathans. I’ve wanted to catch these lot for ages, having actually booked them for a date on an aborted tour a few years ago, and they do not disappoint. Between song banter is kept to a minimum and Josh Goldman and crew literally rip the arena a new one with a fast and frantic set that Zeke would have struggled to match.
A few hours in the RPM inner circle sees me catch Discipline, Argy Bargy and Spunk Volcano in an exhausting triple-header before an enforced break sees me return to catch Leftover Crack in the same venue. A band that have never grabbed my attention for any prolonged period on record, their live show is positively intense. The subtleties of their ska-infused records are pretty much abandoned in a total rager of a set. A quick venture into the Stranglers set in the Empress is curtailed by the unbearable heat of the utterly packed room and a very wise decision to grab a pew for what is billed as Alex Wonk’s acoustic set. However, it soon becomes apparent this isn’t going to be a solo set as the full Wonk Unit line-up (Ok so Kenny only gets up for one song as Alex is back on six-strings) are crammed onto the stage. And that’s also where the normal acoustic rules also go out of the window with chairs being discarded, a pit being formed for most songs and even two human pyramids and numerous crowd surfers popping up along the way. The likes of ‘My Nagging Wife’, ‘Awful Jeans’ and ‘Lewisham’ lose none of their charm through being unplugged and alternate versions of songs like ‘Go Easy’ in an acoustic form further add to the charm. A total master stroke to round the day off.
Popes of Chillitown, Argy Bargy, Discipline, UK Subs pictures courtesy of Dod Morrison Photography.
It’s the first weekend of August and that can mean only one thing for the more discerning music fan as all roads (or as in our case trainlines) lead us to Blackpool for the annual Rebellion Festival. With one of our mates setting an all new record by taking 13 hours to get to the punk rock capital of the world (well for this weekend anyway) me and Dom Daley feel positively smug getting to our hotel for a 2pm check in and on site as planned for the first of the weekend’s rock ‘n’ roll action and the first of many stage clashes to follow.
It’s probably best I get this elephant out of the room right away really as with 7 stages and over 350 bands playing (just in the Winter Gardens never mind the fringe events) it would take a football team of reviewers to cover everything on offer and with just me and RPM Editor In Chief Dom Daley on duty this weekend you’ll have to forgive us if you are in a band that played and we didn’t get to see you, as even with some of the bands we did want to catch, things like; band interviews overrunning, turning up at the wrong stage and waiting for 20 minutes before you realised it was the wrongs stage (yup that was me) or even something as simple (but essential) as getting something to eat, just got in the way. So, with this in mind, go pour yourself a libation, sit back and relax and sweat along with us as we take you into the heart of the action at Rebellion 2019.
Kicking things off for me this year are The Kingcrows, a band I’ve wanted to check out live ever since I reviewed their ‘Funland’ album for Uber Rock way back in 2015 but I always epically failed to do so. Today I’m in the Arena early doors to make sure I catch all the sleaze punk anthems from their latest ‘Brute Force and Ignorance’ album, like ‘Saturday Night Rock City’ and ‘City Kids’ and what I along with the very healthy looking mid-afternoon crowd get is a lesson in how to play your music and enjoy every minute of it. If you can imagine Soho Roses playing Oi! with KISS guitars and like the sound of that curious hybrid you do need to go check out The Kingcrows, because they really are impeckable (ouch!)
Hot tailing it over to a packed-out Club Casbah just in time to catch the tail end of Mille Manders and The Shut Up’s set, Millie with her leg in a cast still manages to cut a commanding figure out front and the double sax attack of ‘Obsessive Transgression’ is enough to get me breaking into an impromptu early afternoon skank. Playing ‘Bacchus’ (a song about drinking) at Rebellion is always going to be like pushing at an open door and is an instant crowd favourite. Its when The Shut Ups tackle ‘Pretty Green’ though that they really show their true class making the Jam track sound like one of their own and promptly hitting the ball right out the park.
With a few minutes to spare between bands I quickly stick my head into the Pavilion to catch Time For Action and get it promptly knocked off by the band’s swaggering Manc attitude. Playing tunes from their debut album ‘Turn It Up’ the four piece’s set gives their old school punk influences a Samba trainer up the arse and in the process makes them immediately stand out.
Having been together for almost 4 decades Brazilian hardcore punks Inocentes are legends of the scene and that’s why the Empress Ballroom is very respectably full when I arrive ready to get a good spot for The Bar Stool Preachers. Stuart “Psycho” Pearce is stood next to me too most probably still trying to make amends to Brazilians worldwide for his blatant handball back in 1990. There’s no excuse for the Fergie-time Inocentes seem to magic up at the end of their set though and the time constraints it imposes on the band due to follow them.
Not that it really bothers The Bar Stool Preachers who sauntering onto the stage to ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ already look like all-conquering heroes as the house lights reveal a crowd of over 3,000 people packed into the Empress at 5pm on a Thursday (see what I meant about Thursday no longer being the warm-up day in my preview) and with opener ‘One Fool Down’ proceed to take the bloody roof off the place.
‘Trickledown’ follows and T.J. McFaull is (for once) almost lost for words at the crowd response then we are quickly into ‘Warchief’ and the avalanche of crowd surfers begins. It’s during ‘Choose My Friends’ that I notice Cock Sparrer’s Colin McFaull stood side stage and I half hope he’ll appear dressed as Hilda Baker to share the female lead vocal, sadly it’s a no this time and Tom delivers this thrasher solo for once. A new track (which I think is called ‘Late Night Transmission’) follows and this could see the band moving in a much more Clash-like direction with their follow up to ‘Grazie Governo’.
With the Rebellion family celebrating the life of Kathy Rocker along with other lost friends this weekend T.J. dedicates ‘Start New’ to his good friend and then it’s all over in the blink of an eye with a rousing ‘Bar Stool Preacher’. With a US Tour with Bouncing Souls and The Bronx to follow almost immediately after this weekend before the band return to the UK for a ten-date headline tour in September I can but wonder if 2020 will be the year The Bar Stool Preachers get to headline the Empress Ballroom. What do you think?
Looking to cool down after the sauna of the Empress I catch the last song of Dead Objectives playing to a packed out audience on the Introducing Stage before quickly hot footing it back to the Empress once more for New Orleans hardcore punks Pears, yet another band I’d wanted to catch live for some time. Sadly technical issues with Zach Quinn’s microphone means the band’s normally explosive music is lost in stuttering translation for the first few songs and its only when they break into ‘Mollusks Mouth’ that things truly start to fire on all cylinders. Still with songs as fantastic as the multi-platinum selling (yeah right Zach) ‘Victim to Be’ in the set the earlier sound issues are pretty much soon forgotten.
Taking some time out to grab some much-needed sustenance and to try and cool down I’m quickly back in the sweltering heat of Empress in time for Birkenhead’s very own glam slammers Queen Zee and thankfully I’m not alone in wanting to see them. There’s an almost tribal thump to the glam meets grunge majesty of ‘Lucy Fur’ and the epic ‘Loner’ is where most people will find their entry point. I really don’t want to try and force Queen Zee into some kind of musical pigeonhole as they deserve so much more but ‘Sissy Fists’ which closes things out this evening actually reminds me of Exit_International so I’m sure you’ll agree that’s high praise indeed from RPM Towers. Politically on point with ‘Victim Age’ the band’s choice of backdrop hammers their inclusive message home too and in ‘Fuck The Pain Away’ they have their perfect cover song. This time last year I witnessed Idles wow an early evening crowd at this very same festival, Queen Zee today give me the exact same buzz. New band of the weekend for me by a long mile.
With Dom promising his old mate Dave Sharp he’d catch him live on the Almost Acoustic stage I tag along hoping to finally cool down with a quiet pint and some Dylan-esque background music, however the place is rammed and hotter than an oven so I leave behind the folk ballads and instead head over to the Club Casbah for some D.I. back in Europe for the first time in over 30 years. Having never been a D.I. fan back in the day but having a few close mates who were and still are I was hoping hearing songs like ‘Chiva’, ‘Pervert Nurse’ and ‘Johnnys Got A Problem’ live might make me an immediate fanboy but even with the crowd going absolutely bananas around me it still all kind of washed over me. That’s not saying the band were poor, far from it, it just didn’t fire me up like The Adolescents (another band I wasn’t a huge fan of back in the day) did just 12 months earlier at this very same festival.
Moving back to the Almost Acoustic stage for the second set of the day from The Bar Stool Preachers I thankfully can’t get into the venue itself as its rammed to the rafters and instead I end up standing (or make that manspreading myself) in front of the only functioning air conditioning unit in the adjoining bar area. Playing a set consisting of tunes largely missing from their earlier Empress set I can but once again marvel at the magic these 6 guys create, and if the call and response during opener ‘All The Broken Hearts’ doesn’t move you to tears then you really are without emotion. Dom finally gets to hear ‘Raced Through Berlin’ live so he’s beaming from ear to ear too as are most of the crowd in fact, who unlike with most of the other shows on the Almost Acoustic stage are all up on their feet and dancing. Rumour has it that the Preachers tried to cheat and sneak a drum kit into their performance tonight, but I reckon they could do this stuff on kazoos and still get people involved, such is their appeal.
Having admitted to you already to not really having liked D.I. back in the day, one band I did love and still do is Portland Oregon heavyweights Poison Idea. Their ‘Feel The Darkness’ LP is one of my all-time favourite hardcore albums so with the prospect of catching one of the last four shows they will ever do on UK soil as part of their ‘The King Is Dead’ tour I found myself letting out an excited little squeal as the band takes to the Casbah stage…but I must admit what follows isn’t exactly what I was expecting. In fact, it takes until ‘Plastic Bomb’ a good 5 or 6 songs in before anything really starts to kick me in the head the way the band did back in the late 80s/early 90s. Working without a set list seems to be the root cause of this and whilst spontaneity can and does work in small clubs here playing to over a 1,000 people it leads to some quite long between song silences which just doesn’t work for me and seems to sap the energy and momentum from the performance. I want Jerry A in my face and bleeding not pondering over which song to play next and as such even when they do eventually play ‘The Badge’ they’ve kinda lost me already. I love Poison Idea and whilst I enjoyed some of tonight’s set it could and should have been the one I was shouting about loudest but I’m not and that right there is what hurts the most folks.
With Poison Idea playing one of their last UK shows at Rebellion 2019 Fear, over forty years into their punk rock career, are tonight playing their first-ever show on UK soil and Club Casbah is suitably packed out for such an event. Lee Ving might look more like an aged teddy boy these days but he still spits out the 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 mantra like a teenager and tracks like ‘We Destroy The Family’, ‘I Love Livin’ In The City’ and ‘Fresh Flesh’ all sparkle with the magic of that seminal ‘The Record’ LP. Yes the band can at times have a loose almost falling apart approach to their art, and Lee’s tendency to sing rather than shout the songs makes them something of an acquired taste, but with the hour fast approaching 1am and my eyes starting to feel more than a little heavy they still manage to keep me enthralled something I fear (ouch) the Empress headliners The Descendents would never been able to do. Still each to their own I suppose and what a great way to finish day 1 of Rebellion 2019. See you in just a few hours folks…that is unless you are doing one of the fringe events well into the wee small hours…in which case see you tomorrow night, maybe?
Author: Johnny Hayward
Pt 2 sees a brief summary from Darrel Sutton who managed to catch a whole bunch of band John and Dom missed so without further waffle here goes…
It’s been quite a while since I last made the pilgrimage to Rebellion and, despite having to fit in the small matter of performing two sets with my own beat combo, I was gonna make damn sure I’d try and catch as much of the stellar line-up on offer as the heat and stupid amounts of alcohol and schmoozing would allow.
As well as spending far too much time talking utter shite with my RPM amigos I also sloped off and caught quite a few bands with loads of other acquaintances (such is the nature of Rebellion, allowing catch-ups with old friends from all over the place).
A hectic start which takes in the obligatory Millie Manders and Bar Stool Preachers sets gets a serious adrenaline blast from In Evil Hour whose Rise Against tinged set translates perfectly from the club stages they’ve ruled over recent years to a packed Club Casbah. Vocalist Al positively rules the place and it sets the tone nicely for a quick dash into the Arena to catch Wiltshire’s finest sons The Blunders. The trio has always been a bit different with their quirky acerbic tunes of disdain and disgust and this slot combined with their slot at Boomtown is no less than they deserve and staples like ‘TV Bastard’ and ‘People Get Smaller’ positively rip. The festival’s pace doesn’t really slow as the temperature shows no intention of dropping and so with the alcohol kicking in a bit of a break, via a pretty tidy few songs from Diablo furs in the Pavilion, sees me return to action in the company of Flipper. The Arena is, luckily from a heat perspective, not too full to see David Yow and Mike Watt complete a legendary line-up for the band, but unless you are a total nostalgic die-hard their open salvos made The Melvins sound like the Ramones, so I slip off for a much more uplifting closing trio of the Bar Stool Preachers acoustic set, Poison Idea and Fear and a dehydrated stroll back to the hotel.
Bungle, Poison Idea & Fear pictures courtesy of Dod Morrison Photography
Well, we’re almost there folks its Sunday on our preview and by now there will be sore heads, aching limbs, sunburn, and ringing ears and aching jaws from having such a good time and laughter that’s usually how Sunday pans out but not necessarily in that order. By now you will have got the hang of how to best navigate your way through the Winter Garden and how best to avoid the heat and there will be some who are only now getting into the swing of things and only just warming up. We’ve already opened a book as to what state our friends Trigger Mcpoopshute will be in before they hit the introducing stage. I just hope Blackpool has enough Special Vat on tap because they will find it and the Karaoke bar. Anyway, I digress.
On with the show. first up will no doubt be a very early start for many as Hands Off Gretel hit the Empress Stage between 12:50pm – 1:30 pm. With their recent album and live shows, they’ve had plenty of praise around these parts and it’ll be great to catch them on such a big stage and big room compared to the tight confines of Clwb Ifor Bach. But wait, get your time warp daps on because there are more clashes than outside a Swansea v Cardiff derby. 1.55 also sees our mates the wonderful Kopek Millionaires return to the festival in the Opera House and hang on those Welsh herberts Trigger McPoopshute are also kicking up a shitstorm over on the introducing stage at 1.15 and if you shout loud enough I’m sure they’ll play ‘Sheep’ and my favourite ‘Skidmarks & Spencer’.
It’s just not fair because Pizzatramp will be causing offense and singing songs about Goths at 2 pm over at Club Casbah or whinging about having their fuckin’ backs being fucked and calling Bono names but I can guarantee they will be entertaining and totally crushing the room. Next up for me will be those filthy garage punk noise bringers Rotten Foxes again on the introducing stage where double denim hot pants will no doubt be the order of the day and songs about Danny Dyer will be belted out for the gathered masses. Around the same time, The Svetlanas will also be delivering the noise over in The Ballroom and they went down very well last year. You could stay put and chill because up next is the pop punk of Teenage Bottlerockets in the Empress. Or no doubt like many will head over to Club Casbah for your annual fix of Dirtbox Disco at 5.10 pm. If you haven’t had enough Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate will be putting on an Acoustic performance in Almost Acoustic but I’d imagine you’d have to get there early as it will be busy.
It’s still very early evening and hopefully, you should be just warming up by about now and pacing yourself. You’ll hopefully have just taken in a bunch of new bands on your radar and awaiting some more established bands who will be along later. There are a dozen bands playing the Introducing Stage on Sunday many of whom I’ll admit to not having heard but will always dip in because its stages like this where the future headliners might come from and who knows, your new favourite band. Isn’t that the beating heart of what Rebellion Festival is all about? You can stay in one venue all day long and come across a whole gambit of bands some you’ll love some you’ll know the name of but have never heard them and others will blow you away and all indoors under the same roof alongside friendly staff who make it such a special place to watch alternative music night after night after night. Anyway, I digress.
The Witchdoktors play their garage punk rock n roll just before Foreign Legion kicks in with their Oi! infused street punk. Weaving around the stages takes some skills that you should no doubt be a Jedi master at by this point so negotiating Conflict, DOA and then King Kurt will be a piece of piss right? Yeah right. and if you’re still in one piece The Motherchuffin’ Dwarves are taking the Casbah stage home tonight and will no doubt devastate what’s left of the audience. I see they’re down for a 55-minute set so it looks like they’re playing twice then kids 😉
Anyway back in the Empress the final curtain call sees CJ Ramone knock out a whole bunch of classics from 7 pm and lets face it he’s never let us down and his new solo album is a bit tasty as well so in fairness throw your laminated stage finder timetable out the window buy yourself a Dark Fruit and just follow your ears and you’ll be taken to a stage that will put a big smile on your face. The Professionals follow CJ then The Skids follow the Professionals but its top trumps time for me because the Damned close the festival that is as long as The Dwarves haven’t raised the Winter Gardens to the ground from the Casbah at the same chuffing time! it’ll be a flip of the coin no doubt or we will have to split review duties and by witching hour it will all be over – done and dusted. Back to our hotels and B&B’s with our pathetic bruised and beaten carcasses dissecting our weekend – our long lost weekend down the musical wormhole that is Rebellion festival. If you’re still in with a chance of going but can’t decide to take it from us you won’t regret it – not for a second (well that might be a lie – your legs might be saying otherwise) There is no other festival quite like it in the UK and we love being a part of it year after year. I’m packed and ready to rock n roll now where did I leave my kiss me quick hat?