“Easy Like a Sunday Morning” (like Fuck it is)

Three down and one to go and Sunday is a pretty big deal around RPM HQ as our mates are playing on the Introducing stage later but everywhere we look its clash city.  At one point we wanted to see four bands all playing at the same time across the complex so it literally came down to the toss of a coin where we would go and who we would see. With the venue opening at midday we needed to be in the Empress to catch a band we’ve covered a lot lately and who’ve impressed everyone whos seen and heard them.  Hands Off Gretel take the stage to a really healthy crowd considering the day and time and proceed to entertain with a really tight performance as the band really locked in like their lives depended on it and the audience was right there with them. After catching the first 30 minutes of the set we then had to cross the divide via Almost Acoustic where Ratboy was performing his magic to a full room we managed to catch him driving swords through someone’s arm and a more gentle coin trick but we couldn’t stay as all roads lead towards the Introducing stage where Trigger Mcpoopshute took the stage looking rather splendid in their religious outfits.  I even heard some punter comment that Shovel had a decent set of pins in his sheer stockings! I did turn to see what depraved human had such thoughts on the lords day. To be fair Trigger knocked out a rather impressive set of Welsh hardcore fuelled by late-night kebabs and strong cider whilst entertaining and putting a smile on peoples faces with their tales of everyday folk and cheeky charm.

Having seen the band turn in some loose sets this was a different Trigger with a much tighter sound with Bam at the drum stool.  Songs like ‘Skidmarks and Spenser’, ‘Sheep’ and ‘Drinking With The Big Boys’ were going down a storm in front of a very impressive audience and it was only 1.15pm but the only question people were now pondering was ‘Fish Or Bird’? Fuckin’ loons.  Who writes songs about penguins? Bloody entertaining though.

Right that’s three rooms already and it’s not even 2 pm so it must be time to head to Casbah to see if Dan Banger has turned up this year and low and behold he’s bloody made it and finally, Pizzatramp are in the house and what a fuckin’ beautiful noise they make live.  Regardless of if its some tiny venue in the bowels of South Wales or the cavernous Club Casbah at Rebellion Pizzatramp are on fire right now as Sammy plucks that thunderous bass and locks in with Dan they are a formidable force and their Hardcore is a beautiful thing they open with ‘CCTV’ and its brutal ‘Claire Voyant’, ‘He’s Gone Full Mitchell’ and the quite brilliant ‘Millions Of Dead Goffs’ pretty much make up the opening salvo of their set and I’m happy and it seems like half of Blackpool have gotten the memo and decided to turn up to see Pizzatramp with ‘Grand Relapse’ getting a decent airing their (Brown puckered) Star(fish) is burning brightly. We cut the set short and dash over to the Opera House for Johny Skullknuckles Kopek Millionaires who have just gone on by the time we catch our breath.

‘sometimes (Love Just Isn’t Enough)’ sounds fantastic and the change of pace from hardcore Sunday to power pop punk rock was just what I needed. I love Johnys style of writing and a lot of his material reminds me of early Hanoi Rocks and ‘Tell Me Baby’ sounded great as did ‘1981’ from ‘Dirty Beef Hands’ but the ray of sunshine in what has been a difficult time recent for Johny was his touching tribute to Kathy which touched everyone in the Opera House and got a standing ovation and the track of the set ‘Punk Girl From Another World’ an exceptional set from The Millionaires.

After recently seeing Suede Razors in Bristol Johnny and Darrel urged me to pop into the empress and catch the set so if it’s good enough for those two, of course, I was going to be there. so grabbing my spot on the barrier more for something to lean on than anything else the band duly took the stage and Darrel Wojick fresh from checking out Trigger McPoopshute takes the stage and proceeds to ram down some sweet boot boy rock and roll mixing the best of Slade with Rose Tattoo with a bovver boy take on the Four Horsemen.  ‘My city’ kicked off proceedings and for the next half an hour and some they rammed it down the Empress ‘TV175’ going down a storm and the punters flooded in. ‘Passion On The Pitch’ was dedicated to Blackpool fans and their fight for their club and it was nice to hear some Americans and a Canadian knowing their shit and fuck the Oystens would have gone down well.  ‘Bovver Boy’ was a particular high point of the set.  a band who have the chops and know-how to rock and roll and will always be welcome over here if the USA still won’t let them ply their craft.

One of the must-see bands on the introducing stage had to be Rotten Foxes who turned up looking rather splendid in their double denim, cut off nut huggers and wrestling belts. They really put on a show for those gathered in the sweatbox. As for what they played fuck knows, it was absolute pandemonium and punk as fuck with Charlie Harper whistling on the sidelines whilst members of Zero Zero, Pizzatramp and Trigger knew where the only place to be at half three on a Sunday afternoon was and that was in this very room sweating like Ian Krankie in a wardrobe. The songs came thick and fast, fuck, make that very fast as bodies flew around, Hardcore as fuck. An absolute pleasure to witness such beautiful chaos done so well. True to their single ‘Arrive Raise Hell Leave’ Rotten Foxes absolutely killed it.  I wish it had gone on longer and it would have been awesome to see these boys tear somewhere like Casbah a new one with this racket. Don’t quit it’s only just begun. Rotten Fuckin’ Foxes!

We needed to grab some food so Svetlanas were forfeited as was our planned peek at Teenage Bottlerockets (next time for sure). Dirt box Disco are up next and with a quick pint, we head for Club Casbah. Having Weab quit the band to go his own way it left Spunk Volcano to take over lead vocals and this being the first opportunity for us to see the band we first caught way back when they had no more than a couple of shows under their belt this was going to be interesting but seeing so many people turn up and stay til the end must have put wind in their sails as they knocked out classic Dirtbox after classic dirt box with ‘My Life Is Shit’ seeing a frenzied pit chanting the chorus back to Mr. volcano must have felt good that they decided to carry on post Weab. Something of a Rebellion fixture it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Empress is beginning to heat up again as CJ Ramone takes the stage and for the next hour we’re treated to a whole bunch of classic Ramones tunes and some choice cuts from CJ’s solo records all that was missing was a track or two from Bad Chopper. ‘One High One Low’ from the new album slipped in comfortably alongside classics like ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg ‘, ‘Rock n Roll High School’ and ‘Rockaway Beach’. ‘This Town’ also off the new album sounded huge but was the aperitif for Blag The Ripper who entered the fray to creepy crawl around the Empress knocking out ‘KKK Took My Baby Away’. CJ then gave a wonderful tribute to his former bandmate Steve Soto who had been performing with him and who died only little over a year ago as last year Adolescents gave a tearful tribute to Soto ‘Rock On’ was apt. the next special guest happened to be Blags bandmate Nick Oliveri.

as if the Empress wasn’t hot enough ‘Warthog’, ‘Commando’, ’53rd’, ‘Sedated’, ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ and to wrap it all up why not go over the top with a sparkling version of ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S’. Thank you and goodnight.  Fuck me that’s how to do a festival – No bullshit – no fucking around just bish bash bosh!  It reminded me of Buzzcocks who were mentioned several times over the weekend and amusing stories were regaled they were a band who got festivals and usually just blitzed it – well, CJ Ramone just did that – 29 songs in an hour, Smart!

We’re in the home straight now and it’s still pretty full-on We toyed with the idea of going into Empress for The PRofessionals but it was too hot so we went for a wander around the bizarre and dipped in to catch the start of The Skids who weren’t mucking about and once they’d put up the correct graphic giving away the fact that The Damned were indeed playing the Machine gun Etiquette set later gave the game away, oh well the rumours were true. Doh!. ‘Of One Skin’ followed by ‘Charade’ it looked like they were playing the same set they were dishing out around Europe which is fine I’ve not seen the band since they reformed and by the sounds of it they were bang on form. Knowing I had one last lap to complete the heat upstairs on the balcony was almost unbearable and it literally felt like the ‘Saints Were Coming’ if I’d have stayed up there so back to Club Casbah for a glance at Conflict and DOA then settled for a few tunes from King Kurt a band I’d not seen for over twenty years hoping to catch some ‘Destination Zulu LAnd’ but alas it wasn’t to be as I had to venture via the backstage bar for some refreshments before making my way down the front for one final hurrah.

The Damned doing ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ although I’d seen them several times on the last MGE Anniversary tour this time it was with added Paul Gray who always did justice to the Algy bass lines.

As the band took to the stage and Captain offered up the introduction of “Ladies And Gentlemen, how do?” the place seemed to be absolutely rammed and didn’t need an invitation to go nuts as the album was unfurled in sequence well,  up until ‘These Hands’ that seemed to have been left off.  Again not quite its entirety but it would have been fun to hear it for us anoraks. Man The Damned are on fire at the moment and seem to be really enjoying their time on stage. Vanian being quite animated tonight taking the lead with amusing anecdotes whilst Sensible being, dare I suggest it, quite restrained.  Maybe the Wintergardens heat was taking effect whereas we all know Vanian has spent the day relaxing in his air-conditioned crypt so would be fresh as a daisy.  Once they wound up MGE also missing ‘Liar’ as well I might add. They then proceeded to indulge a few extras like ‘Street Of Dreams’ and a rather splendid ‘Ignite’.

I guess they had to play ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’ before hitting the home straight with ‘Wait For The Blackout’ followed by the anthemic ‘New Rose’,’Neat Neat Neat’ and ending the set with ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’ and the curtain was brought down on another exception headline set from the original punk rockers and still the best there is. Don’t let Hayward and Sutton tell you otherwise 😉 (DD)

With Dom over in the Empress watching The Damned for the bazillionth time it was left to yours truly to witness rock legends The Dwarves, big dicks swinging, give Blackpool’s punk rock community the bloodiest nose of the weekend. With HeWhoCannotBeNamed back in the fold, there is that added sense of danger and anarchy about the band as they launch straight into ‘Way Out’ and the Club Casbah mosh pit goes suitably apeshit. ‘Sluts Of The USA’, ‘Devils Level’ and ‘We Only Came To Get High’ follow like repeated punches to the face and just when I thought it couldn’t get any crazier a minor drunken skirmish breaks out in front of me during ‘Speed Demon’ and the sight of a topless female pit member sends Blag and the boys off into a world where there ‘Better Be Women’ and ‘Free Cocaine’. ‘We Must Have Blood’ sees He Who and Blag demolish the drum kit, and in a shower of beer, they are gone. Wow! Band of the weekend for me and many others. Don’t agree? Go fuck yourselves. HA! (JH)

Rebellion Sundays are real hardcore as the body is usually wondering why it is being subjected to continued alcohol, dehydration and stairs, stairs and stairs. So having an unbelievable line-up makes it all worthwhile and following playing another set I shot across to the acoustic stage to catch Catlow (of the Poly Esters) set the afternoon on a great footing. A Pizzatramp, Suede Razors 1-2 gets me right in the mood to swing by the Arena to catch Birmingham’s utterly brilliant The Liarbilitys.  Their Antagonisms record sounds fantastic live and Birmingham’s Bleeding is surely one of the best punk rock songs of recent times.  I made a point of popping into the Introducing Stage at numerous points throughout the weekend, sampling some really excellent bands (that Rotten Foxes set was something else!!) but one that really stuck with me was Tequila Mockingbyrd. The female quartet were devastating and really should be checked out, as their Hanoi Rocks meets L7 swagger is infectious.  This led me nicely into catching something very familiar but no less good in the shape of Welsh stalwarts Foreign Legion. Marcus Howells might have led the band in its many forms for decades but they show no signs relenting in any way and are on top form with a set of old standards are spot-on new songs.  With the finish line in sight, I head back to join the hordes watching the Professionals before watching The Dwarves deliver the ultimate coup de grace.  What a weekend?  When can we do it again? (DS)

 

 

Rebellion 2019 was an absolute pleasure from the superb company to the many bands I met shook hands with, had conversations with to the work colleagues also covering the festival to the incredibly hard-working and always smiling staff keeping the bars stocked to make sure everything was hunky-dory.  The bouncers who did their jobs well especially the guys n gals in the Empress who did amazing jobs and always with a smile to the catering staff and stallholders to the people like Darren Russell Smith and Jeannie Russel Smith, Stu Taylor and Daryl for putting this incredible Festival together keeping the prices real. Dod and the photographers who do such an excellent job in capturing it all, the stagehands and sound and light guys for doing such an amazing job under so trying circumstances and the good people of Blackpool for being so welcoming time after time and all the band we saw turn in such awesome sets and the bands we didn’t get round to seeing maybe next year. The PR people for running such a smooth operation you all make this festival lark look like a piece of piss.  The artists upstairs along with the people who were interviewed and interviewers and finally all the punters who love alternative music and keep the scene ticking over buying the music and the merch.  I have a list of bands who should play next year who would go down a treat if anyone wants to know.

Rebellion is always a pleasure and never ever a chore. Now can I go to bed and get some sleep please?  Same time and same place next year? Fan-Fuckin-Dabi-Dozy!

Authors: Dom Daley, Johnny Hayward & Darrel Sutton

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?

Roll Up Roll Up tickets available Here

Four bands, free admission and it’s Fraser Von Deathtrap’s 24th birthday… again! What more could you want from a Saturday night in your old home town?

Well not a lot really, as System Reset, who are late additions to tonight’s bill, open up proceedings almost as soon as I enter the venue, and with a pint of something cold and wet in my hand we’re straight into a 30 minute set of melodic hardcore punk music drawn from their RPM approved EP/mini album ‘Epidemic’.  With two of Trigger McPoopshute within their ranks you’d be forgiven for thinking System Reset might be just more of the same backdoor rock ‘n’ roll, but no, this quartet have a sound firmly rooted in the spirit of the skate park and tracks like ‘Feminazi’’, ‘Anxiety’ and set closer ‘PTSD’ could all have featured on the ‘Punk-O-Rama’ compilation series, something that should see them playing with the big boys at a venue near you very soon.

A couple of years on from their Dolls House debut the Deathtraps of 2019 are a much different beast to the one I first witnessed. Kickstarting proceedings with the lead track from their stonking ‘Gotta Get Some’ album, ‘Automatic Thrill’ sounds not so much like a direct lift from Gluecifer as a song spawned from a contract inked with Lucifer himself, and if newbie ‘Fuck The Cool Kids’ is anything to go by then Deathtraps really do have all the best songs just waiting to be unleashed on us. Taking us right back to the early shows though ‘Too Fast To Last’, and ‘Another Great Day’ sound almost reborn, and even if the suitably refreshed birthday boy forgets his basslines during ‘Hellbound’ it’s all dealt with in the flick of a wrist. Closing with the aptly titled ‘Fucked Up And Furious’ a song that does exactly what it says on the tin Deathtraps make a whole host new friends here tonight and you best make sure you catch them opening for The Hip Priests at various shows this spring.

With Trigger having been (by their standards at least) a bit quiet recently following the impromptu departure of Pix from behind the kit, it appears to have been their long overdue addition to the line up of this year’s Rebellion Festival that’s given Abertillery’s filthiest sons the much needed impetus to get back onstage, and most importantly write some new material. Bam from System Reset is the man they’ve recruited to drop his sticks during old faves like ‘Headfuck’, ‘Race Card’ and the fan requested ‘American Manc’ plus ‘Fish Or Bird’ once again sees the audience having their very own Only Connect moment.  Of the aforementioned new tracks you can take your pick from ‘Wank Palace’, ‘Self Righteous’ and ‘Shitfinger’ as to which one offends you most… but I can’t help smiling, no, laughing, at each of them. Sounding more like the bastard sons of Venom and The Macc Lads than ever before Trigger McPoopshute are on a mission to make life seem a little bit brighter, because as their set closing dedication to some recently lost friends (immediately before ‘Charity Snatch’) proves, for some of us it can be all over far too quickly.

Returning to the Dolls House for (what if my memory serves me correctly is) the fourth time, German satanic punkers Christmas are back in the UK promoting their white-hot 3rd album ‘Scum As You Are’ and I for one was not going to miss this. Kicking things off with the opening one-two salvo from said album – ‘Army of Losers’ and ‘The Old Man Tells’ – the band literally explodes in my face via this 3 minute (plastic) bomb of punk rock, before I’m instantly whisked right back to 2014 via the title track from their ferocious ‘Appetite For Selfdestruction’ debut. Granted only frontman Max Motherfucker remains from that line up but as the band has evolved and shed personnel, I feel it has only made them a leaner, hungrier beast, one that can write songs as tight and exciting as ‘You Bore Me’, ‘Good Times, High Fives’ and the Motorheadtastic ‘Sex Sells’ all of which are aired here tonight.

‘Skate All Night’, ‘Cracksong’ and ‘Moonshine Love’ all remain in the set from the band’s perhaps overlooked ‘Lose Your Illusion’ sophomore album whilst ‘No More Tears’, ‘Nothing But A Handjob’ and ‘Wolfpack’ from the aforementioned debut all take me back in fiery fashion to why I fell in love with the band in the first place.

The last time I saw Max live was on the massive Empire Ballroom stage at Rebellion fronting Reagan Youth where he couldn’t really practice his full contact audience participation routine, here tonight however he more than makes up for this, cajoling complete strangers into singing along to songs they have never heard before whilst scaring the diehards into not getting the lyrics wrong as his microphone is promptly shared around the audience front row like a punk rock hot potato. This is what makes Christmas so special and I guess its also why Max comes back to the Dolls House time and time again. Special mention too to the band’s stand-in drummer Jan who after just two rehearsals turns in a faultless performance hammering home each and every track like he’d been on the road with the band for months.

Nothing beats the true punk rock spirit of Christmas I tell ya… nothing.

Author: Johnny Hayward