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!!!!

 

 

Plenty of Easter eggs for RPM

It seemed normal service had resumed and the UK was no longer under thread or code red because of the weather and the armed forces were asked to stand down from the impending doom that was heading our way if the week-long snow caused the country to slide into the Atlantic. April would see the customary Record Store Day madness that had clogged up pressing plants and caused delays right across the board as the majors jumped the queue with their plethora of reissues and one direction picture discs ready for the record buying public readily camping out on high streets across America and the UK hoping to get their hand on the Bowie seven inch that would only set them back £20 but hey if we didn’t buy into this it wouldn’t happen. 

 

I digress. April was to be the month The Damned would finally get around to unleashing their new long player on the public after something like a decade since their last long player but this time they’ve gone all out to impress with Tony Visconti taking care of the production and in my humble opinion making it more about him and his knob twiddling duties than The Damned and as a result, an album that promised so much, in reality, delivered so little and won’t feature as anyone’s album of the year even though its not without merit as there are good songs on board but where is Paul Grays signature sound thumping its way through the songs? Did I not mention Gray was back in the fold? Oh sorry, how rude of me.  yup Paul Gray was back in the fold and ‘Evil Spirits’ expectations hit the roof. It is certainly one of those albums you so desperately wanted to love but couldn’t quite convince yourself it was up there with some of their back catalogue but hey ho onwards and upwards and any Damned record however bad is still better than most other bands good albums. Fact. And the live dates were as expected – superb.

As far as other records to come out in April well, there’s always the ever-reliable Wonk Unit and this time out they’re unleashing ‘Terror’ upon us all. Once again it was recorded at the Brook and producer Andy Brook brought the best out of Alex and all who sail or should that be ride on the back of this thoroughbred stallion. it featured some classic Wonk none more so than this festive banger ‘Christmas In A Crackhouse’ but remember this is April.  Nice one Alex.

other worthy mentions have to go to the bonkers Cavemen who wanted to ‘Nuke Earth’ whilst Sarah Shook & The Disarmers impressed Ben with the album ‘Years’

On the 7″ front there were a few notable entries with the top of the pile being The DeRellas with the fantastic ‘High Rise Supersize’ seeing the recording debut of their new frontman and excellent fit Joey DeRella former frontman of the excellent Breakdowns.also on the singles front The Hip Priests released an excellent split with Demons and young upstarts The Kenneths put out a really excellent single in the shape of ‘Favourite Ex’ from the E.P ‘EX’ and hopefully 2019 will see RPM hear more from this most excellent of noise makers.

Onto the live front and a few notable entries would have to be when the country went RSD nuts – south Wales upstarts and ne’re do wells otherwise answering to the name Deathtraps played at what was a marathon of live shows all over Newport which began with Mike Peters of The Alarm playing the towns best venue the rather splendid Le Pub on the Friday night. It then spread to other venues throughout the day keeping live independent music alive and well in this corner of the world.

 

Also on tour in April was the splendid reformation of Thee Hypnotics who impressed Ben so much he went out and picked up a copy of their box set and Dom and Johnny also parted with some folding money for copies of their documentary when they rolled through Newport south Wales to play Le Pub (once Again). April was really hotting up as some mighty fine new bands rolled into town as part of tours to promote their new records two notable bands were Cabbage who were promoting the excellent ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and Trampolene who also played Clwb Ifor Bach and both shows were sellouts and both ended in hot sweaty messes just like the best club gigs should.

The only death to report in April would be that of Jesus Christ but that for another website and not here. Keep it RPM as we roll into May…

What a year in the world of Heavy Drapes. You never know what’s around the corner and that’s never been more apparent than here.

January they blow the roof off the 100 Club with an awesome set supporting the mighty Boys and all things gearing up to the recording and release of their debut album and some summer shows where it was really going to kick off at Rebellion Europe and Blackpool and upon their return from Holland frontman Garry lost his life in the blink of an eye and proving how fragile our time on this planet is and how none of us knows when our time here is over.

Never mind the music, that can wait, he left behind him a young daughter and loving wife and three devastated bandmates and a punk community that rallied round and hopefully comforted those that really mattered at such a tough time.

I’d exchanged messages with Garry days before I flew on a family holiday and after his band’s triumphant return from Holland we were sorting out an interview upon my return where I wanted the inside scoop on the band’s debut long player and their subsequent Rebellion appearance.  Sadly I found out on my arrival in America that the interview would not take place and Garry had suddenly been taken from his family and bandmates.

We’d only met briefly but I was gutted for those who knew him well and what they were no doubt about to achieve. A larger than life character Garry had an impact upon everyone who crossed his path and his wholehearted belief in the success that was about to hit his band was unwavering and people who saw the band play and had bought their singles were already in on what was going down North of the Border that was soon to break out all over the place.

Fast forward several months and whispers abound that the debut album Heavy Drapes were working on was being mastered and readied for release then out of the Blue (not into it) its here. ‘Crashing Like Stars’ is fuckin’ here!

Maybe unfinished as it was intended due to the extraordinary circumstances but its fair to say ‘Crashing Like Stars’ sounds fantastic.  Ten tracks that you could hear being played across stages around the UK and further afield had been captured on tape and were now loud and proud blasting through my speakers.  Now, I reviewed their previous EP and single and loved what I heard and anyone who knows me knows I love me some sleazy punk rock as played by the likes of The Lords Of The New Church, UK Subs, The Vibrators to name a few and a large part of that love is the unfussy arrangments with a lot of light between the instruments and a good ear for production and to let the music do the talking – always let the music do the talking. Well, Heavy Drapes did that.

 

Ten tracks all of which you would have heard live if you were lucky enough to have seen the band perform, the singles are here and opener ‘Should I Suck’ is a ball of energy from that intense bass to the backing vocals it’s a great tune to open any record with. You can also add the fantastic ‘Maladjusted’ with its clean and unfussy arrangement I love how the even having only seen the band play once some of these songs have stuck in my head and I remember them instantly and on the first play I’m singing along. Always a decent gauge to how good a record is isn’t it?  Rock and Roll is about memorable tunes and Heavy Drapes had plenty of them.  The vocals and backing vocals on ‘Into The Blue’ really elevate the song.  Its hard to be original in music and when you play a certain style odds are it’s been done once or twice before so all you have is a melody and some catchy lyrics or a well-placed solo and you can’t reinvent the wheel its perfect as is so when a band crops up who understands this and just offers up their interpretation of the wheel you have to take notice.  Here is the evidence of one of those bands Heavy Drapes had songs and plenty of them.

I love a good chorus and songs like ‘Janie’ has got one, in fact, it’s not just good it’s excellent. If you love the Steve Jones dry, clean overdriven chug then this is for you and you’re gonna love songs like  ‘Hanging Like A Suicide’.  Listen, I think you should have got the picture by now.  If you loved records like the Neurotic Outsiders, The Lords Of The New Church, Pistols and a few dozen other great bands then this is most definitely an album you are going to love. Like Gunfire Dance before them, Heavy Drapes flame burned bright but way to briefly. I guess we should console ourselves in the fact we now have a disc full of great tunes to remember them by and I raise a glass to what might, could and should have been. Well played Garry son this is as good as you said it was going to be may you rest in peace man you left a mighty fine legacy. Bam-a-lama-fa-fa-fa!

Buy Crashing Like Stars Here

Author: Dom Daley