The Rebellion Festival is upon us once more, for me this involves a quick blast down the motorway from a rain soaked Manchester to a surprisingly breezy and sunny morning on the Lancashire coast for this annual celebration of all things punk. The initial hour is spent wandering the Winter Gardens, renewing friendships and making some difficult decisions about who to see from the bewildering line up of hundreds of bands that cover every element of the scenes spawned over forty years ago by punk. The first band I catch is The Fucking Glorious who present a welcome lunch time wake up call of bare knuckle punk rock, and whilst getting a much needed drink I hear the raw strains of Tim Holehouse drift over from the Almost Acoustic Stage like the ghost of a ragged Tom Waits.
Outside on the Casbah Stage The Cundeez
are hammering out a distinctly Celtic punk variant, complete with bagpipes, on old school punk rock, their singer, clad only in a kilt, declares that they’re “sober as fuck”, something that most of their audience can’t claim despite the early hour, and this is the perfect antidote for those who arrived a day early and are still recovering from the night before. A quick stroll back into the Winter Gardens
sees Viki Vortex And The Cumshots
delivering their own brand of anarchy tinged and alcohol infused frantic punk rock in the Empress Ballroom
, and there’s no point in moving as In Evil Hour
follow. In Evil Hour
bring a different vibe to what had largely been a DIY feel to the early hours of the Rebellion Festival
, they bring a furious element of melodic hardcore, with a slight metalcore influence, and for me this is the band that truly kicked the Rebellion Festival
into gear, it also saw the first circle put of the festival and my first, but not my last, CD purchase of the weekend.
It seems I’m in the Empress Ballroom for the duration, apart from essential breaks that involves braving the dive bombing seagulls for cigarettes, beer and food, as Pears are on next, on record, as with a fair few hardcore bands, they didn’t do it for me, but I said if they played live I’d catch them as good hardcore live is perfection, and trust me, Pears are as good as they get live, the short sharp intense hardcore blasts take on a different character when delivered live. Reno Divorce deliver a slice of socal inspired punk rock that recalls Social Distortion, and I catch Strung Out Nights delivering an acoustic version of NOFX‘s Linoleum, and it seems that wherever you wander there is someone playing, or something to distract you, and it’s clear the Rebellion Festival has picked up exactly where it left off last year.
It’s back into the Empress Ballroom
as 88 Fingers Louie
are making a rare UK appearance in support of their comeback album, Thank You For Being A Friend
, and tonight’s set builds on the impression that this isn’t one shot reunion, they’re back with a vengeance with a set that spans their three decade history. Over on the outdoor stage Evil Blizzard
are blinking in the sunlight and delivering their bass heavy strangeness in the early evening sunlight to a packed Casbah Stage.
They exemplify exactly what the Rebellion Festival
is all about, Evil Blizzard
are closer to the late 60’s and early 70’s roots of punk, but they deliver what will be one of the best sets of the weekend, and to emphasize this they close with a triumphant rendition of Are You Evil
A brief wander, and a welcome sit down in the Opera House
, reveals London
, another of punks first wave that are still going strong despite the passing of the decades and they bring a touch of the authentic and untouched spirit of 77 to the Rebellion Festival,
fittingly they close with The Stooges
classic, I’m Loose
. Face to Face
hit the outdoor stage and bring their melodic hardcore to the Rebellion Festival
, after last year’s Protection
album these have been a band that I’ve wanted to catch live, and they don’t disappoint on any level. There’s not much point in moving as Teenage Bottlerocket
are next up. With a swift 1234 they launch into their hyperactive Ramones
inspired punk rock for a charged set. In between songs they seem obsessed with curious English phrases and habits, and who can blame them as we’re an odd bunch at the best of the times. This is the first time they have played the UK since the death of their drummer Brandon Carlisle
and they deliver an emotionally charged number dedicated to him, and you can feel just how much his loss means to the band.
They are followed by the melodic hardcore of Good Riddance, making this corner of Lancashire briefly the best place in the world for the American punk scene, but now it’s time for a change of stage as choosing between bands as the night falls is almost impossible, but the decision is made so it’s a swift stage hop over to the Empress Ballroom. Pennywise are everything you’d hope for now Jim Lindberg is firmly back on board after his sabbatical, and they are back at their defiant best, and the they deliver a vocal fuck you to Donald Trump that is enthusiastically endorsed by the multinational crowd. Mid set they deliver Gimme Gimme Gimme by fellow Hermosa Beach veterans Black Flag, which is followed by a Minor Threat cover, fortunately they return to their own material, with their self titled track, and let’s face is we came to hear Pennywise, and you can’t really argue with tracks like Society, Fuck Authority and Homesick, and if the hairs on the back of your neck weren’t raised by the crowds reaction to Bro Hymn then I suspect you’re clinically dead, and the chorus carries on ringing round the arena long after they’ve left the stage.
Any other year Pennywise
would be headlining with that set, but we still have Bad Religion
to go, I feel like I’ve been awake for for days and I’ve seen more bands than I normally see in a month but we’re not done yet. Bad Religion
kick off with American Jesus
and they deliver a four decade spanning best of including what I consider to be one of the finest songs ever written, Stranger Than Fiction
, and you can’t ask for more than that to finish the first day of the Rebellion Festival,
other than a few late night drinks before returning to my hotel for a brief sleep before doing it all again tomorrow.
The review of the Friday at the Rebellion Festival 2017 will follow shortly on The Punk Site.
The Rebellion Festival
wesbsite is here
Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy and Eloise Coone
You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images