“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?
Saturday has always felt like the most popular day over the Rebellion weekend and this year is certainly no exception with day tickets selling out a full four weeks before the event (at the time of writing day tickets for the other three days along with full weekend tickets are still available here).
The main draw this year is without doubt the return of the legendary Cock Sparrer to a UK stage following their back to basics club tour of 2017 which they undertook to promote their awesome ‘Forever’ album, and looking at the quality undercard that is also on offer this is definitely the day to get your cherry reds out of the cupboard and buffed up ready for.
When the Saturday was first announced I did detect an excited squeal originating from within RPM towers as Editor In Chief Dom Daley saw that a band called Spider are opening the Empress Ballroom at 12:35 without first realising this four-piece are gothic-tinged punk rockers from Long Beach California and not Sniffa’s straight edge boogie metallers from the eighties. This is something of a get out of jail free card for yours truly so I’ll be raising my first Dark Fruits of the day to this Spider safe in the knowledge that they don’t sound fuck all like Status Quo. Result!
With the Introducing Stage once again showcasing a further thirteen bands over the course of the Saturday our old chums and graduates of the rock ‘n’ roll high school Brocker make a very welcome early appearance at 13:15. So if high octane rock ‘n’ roll music delivered with plenty of punk rock attitude is your bag then I suggest you add this one in your laminated gig planner too.
Returning to their second home of the lavish Opera House stage glam punkers The DeRellas are next up for me at 14:20. Last year Joey, Luca, Timmy and Billy took the capacity crowd on a non-stop Rock n RollerCoaster Ride, without even playing the song by the same name that first got me into them. This year I expect more of the same insanity with the new boys now fully gigged in across sold out European shows.
After a weekend of full force punk rock (whatever your choice of sub-genre) if you are looking for a place to chill out on a Saturday afternoon then Club Casbah from 4:20 onwards is going to be your ting as Rebellion celebrates the influence dub, reggae and ska has had on punk rock via a four hour four band line-up that kicks off with The Rhythm-ites and also includes sets by RDF, Citizen Fish and HR from Bad Brains.
The lure of Alvin Gibbs and The Disobedient Servants in The Opera House (kicking off at 5:15) where the core trio of Alvin, Leigh Heggarty and Jamie Oliver are no doubt going to be joined by a huge array of guest guitarists is always going to be enough to tempt me away from an afternoon of skanking plus when you also add the return of the mighty Giuda to the Empress Ballroom stage at 17:50 its safe to safe I’ll be doing the ‘Space Walk’ down the front ready for some ‘Ravers Rock’.
With Club Casbah celebrating all things reggae the Empress Ballroom meanwhile takes a trip down the skinhead/Oi! route with Lions Law kicking things off at 4:45 with sets following from the likes of Giuda (who I’ve already mentioned), Evil Conduct and Cockney Rejects along with a special set from The Business celebrating the life of Micky Fitz set to feature special guest vocalists (with Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys) and Roi Pearce (Last Resort) are already confirmed) all singing the songs of their fallen brother. There won’t be a dry eye in the house that’s for sure, and all of this is before Cock Sparrer hit the stage at 11pm to deliver what has become THE definitive Rebellion set of punk rock music, delivering classic tune after classic tune into the wee small hours.
Of course, if Oi! isn’t your thing then there’s still plenty to see elsewhere with Duncan Reid & The Big Heads delivering the powerpop goodies in spades over in the Opera House from 7:25 and then in the very same venue from 10pm onwards there’s the back to back awesomeness of Walter Lure’s LAMF and The Godfathers to revel in. Proper low-slung guitar punk rock ‘n’ roll just how RPM loves it, and I must admit this stage clash is one of the biggest of the weekend even extending to a third stage for me as I’d love to also be catching Wonk Unit over at Club Casbah from 21:50….and then there’s The Exploited at 11pm back to headline the Club Casbah after Wattie’s umpteenth bout of fisticuffs with the Grim Reaper, surely that alone is reason enough to raise a pint and celebrate the band’s back catalogue?
I’ll openly admit I’m really not sure how I’m going to fit all of this in folks but I’m certainly going to give it a try…ahhh you know fuck it I might just spend all day watching new bands over on the Introducing stage and say “what the hell.”
One things for sure though and that is Rebellion Festival is the place to be from the 1st to the 4th of August 2019 and you can get your tickets RIGHT HERE!!!!
Along with the recent announcement that Trigger McPoopschute will be making their festival debut, The Damned have also been added to this summers bill along with a whole list of other great bands really strengthening these years line up after the early announcement of Cock Sparrer then The Stranglers
For all the latest updates and additions to the bill like the facebook page Here or their website Here
Also announced today was the inclusion of The legends that are The Dwarves and also from the USA Descendents. We’re sure you’ll agree that this years festival is really beginning to take shape now. for tickets Here
“Didn’t we have a luvuly time the day we went to Blackpool, Kiss me quick and Lets Rock Like Fuck!”
August. All roads lead to Blackpool, for it’s time to head into the Winter Gardens for the UK’s finest alternative extravaganza and catch an awesome line up at this year’s Rebellion Festival. However you look at it this year was one of the finest line-ups ever at the festival and RPM scribes were in attendance for plenty of giggles, wobbles and plenty of old and new favourites. I wouldn’t know where to start to sum it up and do justice to the bands who played, however, there were a couple of outstanding performances at this year’s festival most notably Michael Monroe who stole the show with the Sunday night headline in the Opera House.
There were so many other high points so many great bands and looking back there are so many memories that I’ll never have again. As the year unfolded and I look back bands and people that I’ll never see again which makes me grateful to have had these moments however brief in the first place.
There were a few mentions I need to make as I mentioned the performance from Michael Monroe. sure its no secret I think the guy is the best in the business and an incredible talent and has never had the credit he deserved by wider audiences but those who get it just get it and can see that the guy and his band ooze class and he has a back catalogue so full of great songs its one of life’s mysteries how he’s not selling out stadiums and sitting on a pile of platinum records globally but hey life ain’t like that and he just gets on with it and does it with a smile and a wink as he and his band rocks like Fuck! at least now Rebellion knows this as well.
TSOL rocked like fuck – Pizzatramp turned up like fuck (well except Dan) – Clowns blew my mind – Neville Staples skanked like teenagers and considering we stood on the side of the stage to take them in for a song or two we ended up staying for the whole set and loving every minute of it – The Adolescents did Soto proud with an awesome heartfelt performance and all power to them for having the balls to turn up and play and not cancel. The Briefs showed that not all Americans are stupid – Buzzcocks were once again worthy headliners knocking out over an hour of power pop buzzsaw classics. Bar Stool Preachers were also worthy headliners and with their new album in tow, they showed a lot of established bands with decades under their belts how to rock the house and do it with a smile an outstanding and memorable performance.
Idles told it as it is and their assessment of the Tories was spot on. We danced with The DeRellas and pogoed with the Cyanide Pills. We boogied with The Boys who did two sets on two stages and ripped it up on both possibly with the Acoustic taking first prize maybe because it was a little different but the songs sounded so good acoustic. All in all, Rebellion was once again the highlight of the festival season and as far as the UK goes still the best there is beside where else are you going to chat with Supla and see his action figure – you should try it sometime you’d enjoy it. To be fair Rebellion has so much going on besides the bands its championing alternative culture in so many ways and they also had Mr. Lydon trying to be so controversial but only making himself look like a silly billy as a result but even his bizarre words can’t damped what was a massively enjoyable four days and we’re proud to be a small part of championing them because its a platform that’s pretty much free from the clutches of the big circus-like festivals that charge a fortune and treat the fans like customers in a supermarket and only want your cash because that could never be leveled at Rebellion that’s for sure and we’ll be back next August if they’ll have us to do it all again If they’ll have us that is.
But this was only the first weekend of August and this budget-busting month was barely alive and already there was so much going on.
Ben managed to take in The Wildhearts acoustic performance in York where all the hits were stripped bare. Before we could even get over Rebellion it was back to South Wales where we had a date with some Big heads oh and Duncan Reid who turned in a spectacular performance on a night that decided it was going to rain like when Noah built his ark, in fact, it was rumoured that Duncan had to swim back to the Severn Bridge where his band had hired a bigger boat but it didn’t matter to the hardy souls who braved some water falling from the sky because there was rockin’ and rollin’ to take care of.
To kick back a little Leigh Fuge took a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park and happened upon one of his guitar-slinging heroes – none other than old slow hand Eric Clapton kicking up a bluesy stink in Hyde Park along with some other six string slingers (you say that after a few bottles of house red at British Summertime Events prices) namely Carlos Santana and Gary Clark Jr. it really was the Cream (sorry couldn’t resist it) of old-school blues guitarists.(who said we aren’t a broad church here at RPM?) Leigh had to tick this one off his must-see list and was glad he did as the bluesmen certainly delivered. He also took in Maiden in Birmingham he said this about it, “Even after 40 something years of rocking, this band seem to improve with age like a fine wine. While they may not be to everyone’s taste, this year’s Legacy of the Beast tour was one of the highlights of my year. I’ve seen the band 14 times now and this one felt like something very special.” Who said we’re not a braod church?
As far as album releases in the month of August go – There was Idles releasing their ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ which went down rather well at RPM. there were also albums released by some old friends that were more than welcome making a return to our turntables namely Mr Walter Lure who managed to put out a new album with the Waldos for the first time in 24 years! has it really been 24 years? My God, I feel old but ‘Wacka Lacka Boom Pop A Loom Bam Boo’ yeah that’s right it is called ‘Wacka Lacka Boom Pop A Loom Bam Boo’ but its Waldo and its rock n roll just accept it and move on. Ian McNabb also put out his latest long player this month with ‘Our Future In Space’ rocking out like he promised he would. There were also notable releases from The Ringleaders with their superb effort ‘Bi-Coastal Blasphemy’ and if that wasn’t enough Lovesores released ‘Gods Of Ancient Grease’. Craggy was outside his local record shop at half eight in the morning to purchase his copes of The Dahlmanns ‘American Heartbeat’ and Fertile Hump ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ in August as well he hasn’t stopped playing them since. sneaking in through the back door right at the last minute of August was a fantastic record that I was shocked to hear but in a good way and the more I played it the more I liked it and to be fair its been easily one of the highlights of the year. Oh yeah, The Brutalists with their debut long player ‘The Brutalists‘. go check it out its a belter.
As far as singles go those 45 RPM releases saw the wonderful Damaged Goods celebrate being in existence for 30 years by releasing a whole bunch of cool singles and the first one being those wonderful chaps Cyanide Pills and their take of the Glitter Band single and what a job they did on ‘Just For You’ which we picked up at Rebellion along with a new 7″ from TSOL and The Briefs ‘Kids Laugh At You’ but I have to mention TV Crime as well because their single ‘Hooligans’ was pure earworm and once it was in the old noggin I couldn’t shake it. Fantastic stuff. Hopefully, 2019 will see them release a long player we can hear never mind “shitty attitude – killer tunes” sort it out gents I want the album, thank you kindly.
In a nutshell that was the briefest glimpse into our August. On to September…