Rebellion 2017 April

Rebellion Festival (Sunday)

Blackpool Winter Gardens

Sunday 6th August 2017

Rating: 5/5




The final day of this years Rebellion Festival is upon us, and as with last year the Sunday sees the summery conditions of the last three days give way to more typically British damp weather conditions. There are several victims of the weather, and it’s not just a few wilted mohicans as whilst watching Propaghandi on the Casbah Stage my phone fell victim to the weather, losing all my notes, music and most of my photos, so the review of the final day is done from memory, thankfully the final day of the 2017 Rebellion Festival was another memorable day. The Headstone Horrors are opening on the Empress Ballroom, the impressive female fronted horror punk quartet deliver a full tilt set that kicks the afternoon off in fine style. For me The Headstone Horrors fill the void left by the hiatus of two of my favourite bands, The Spookshow and The Horrorpops, and they make the perfect start to the final day of the festival.

My plan to check out the intriguingly named Scumbrians on the Introducing Stage is hampered by the fact the you can’t actually fit into the venue, the crowd is spilling out of the doorway and into the foyer of the Blackpool Winter Gardens, but from what I can hear, and the glimpses I manage to catch, they deliver an impressive bare knuckle punk rock blast. As I’m now left with a few minutes to kill I finally get to check out the Punk Art Exhibition, which is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary and has expanded this year, this includes all manner of punk related art and photography, including a somewhat surprising display by Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, his portraits of cats makes me wish I’d decided to visit this exhibition earlier so I could have picked one up for myself, at next years Rebellion Festival the Punk Art Exhibition will definitely be one of my first ports of call as it appears that pretty much everything has been sold by the final day.

Rebellion 17 The CreepshowI catch Nothington hammering out a set of their impressive gruff punk in the Empress Ballroom, then it’s outside to catch The Ramonas on the Casbah Stage, the fact that it’s pouring down adds a degree of irony to tracks like Rockaway Beach, but there’s no mistaking the fact that The Ramonas invoke the spirit of da brudders like no one else. It’s back inside to dry off and to catch The Creepshow‘s return to the Rebellion Festival in the Empress Ballroom, the Canadian psychobilly outfit deliver a charged performance that blends devil may care rock ‘n roll with punk rock to incredible effect, and adds their new album, Death At My Door, to my shopping list for September. A quick sprint across the Winter Gardens affords me the chance to reacquaint myself with Criminal Mind, which I realise is my first visit to the Arena Stage of the weekend. Criminal Mind are one of the finest hardcore outfits out there, even when there is a lighting failure part way through their set they continue playing their hard edged politically motivated punk rock in the dark until the lights burst back into life, hopefully this is a political metaphor for the coming year and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Rebellion 17 Dirt Box DiscoDirt Box Disco have become an essential part of the Rebellion Festival, and they bring the party atmosphere to the Empress Ballroom, during their set Dirt Box Disco impressively break the record for crowdsurfers at the festival, and their call to arms for the crowd to wake The Skids up, as they claimed the vintage punk band are having a nap in their tour bus, with a rousing singalong to their classic single, My Life Is Shit, is duly answered, and at the end of their set if you didn’t have a smile on your face then there is something very wrong with you. Two of the finest acts from yesterday, The Outcasts and Ruts DC, have returned to play mellower sets to an absolutely hammered Almost Acoustic Stage, and another regular act at the Rebellion Festival that I’ve meant to catch for a few years is the wonderfully eccentric Lene Lovich who is making an appearance in the Opera House. Whilst watching her captivating set I’m struck by just how many of her songs I know, and she and her band remain true to their new wave roots, but they bring something unique and undefinable to the festival that makes me glad I finally caught Lene Lovich live, and regret that I didn’t do this in previous years.

Propaghandi are closing the Casbah Stage in torrential rain, this has not deterred a healthy crowd from seeing the band on a rare visit to UK shores, and it doesn’t dampen their intense delivery either, but it’s back indoors before the end of the set to try and resurrect my phone and to close my weekend at the Rebellion Festival with The Primitves in the Opera House. I last saw The Primitives back in the late eighties when they were at the peak of their powers, and for me they’ve lost none of their sparkle, they deliver an hour long set that, despite the passing of nearly three decades from when I first saw them, seems as effortlessly effervescent as ever. The Primitives still contain the majority of their classic line up, and for me they deliver a perfect set that includes many of their much loved classics including Stop Killing Me, Through The Flowers and of course their best known single, Crash, that marks a perfect end to the Rebellion Festival.

The last four days have passed by in a blur, I’ve seen countless bands I love and discovered many to add to that ever growing list and I’ve been reunited with friends I met in previous years and made new friends. The Rebellion Festival remains one of the highlights of the year, and it will be returning to the Blackpool Winter Gardens between the 2nd and 5th August 2018, and you can guarantee that I’ll be there, as for the four days of this incredible festival there is nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. Tomorrow I return to Manchester for a few days recovery and for some much needed sleep before reality returns, although I suspect it’ll be a while longer before my feet and legs stop aching. See you next year.

The Rebellion Festival wesbsite is here 

Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy

You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images

The Punk Site ‘Rebellion Festival 2017’ Preview, Part Four

Rebellion 2017 April2016 saw the Rebellion Festival celebrate its 20th year alongside the 40th anniversary of punk with a spectacular sold-out event. Over four days at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, iconic bands from every aspect of punk across the world shared stages with new and emerging talent, and the 2017 Rebellion Festival looks set to be no different. Returning to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from the 3rd to the 6th of August, the line-up is shaping up to be another punk genre defining event. The Punk Site is fortunate enough to be covering the Rebellion Festival again this year, as this is Europe’s largest punk festival and it boasts a bewildering array of bands, acts, art and temptations, we’re going to be looking ahead at what this years Rebellion Festival has to offer

The full line can be viewed here and tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival can be purchased here

The 2017 Rebellion Festival preview for Sunday 6th August can be viewed below Read More…

Criminal Mind LTD

Criminal Mind

Life To Defend

Death Or Glory Promotions

Rating: 4/5




 This is the second album from Bristol quartet Criminal Mind, after witnessing them do an impressive opening set at North West Calling earlier this month I felt compelled to investigate whether they are as impressive in the studio as they are live. I’m happy to report that this is the case, aside from losing the visual impact of the gurning hyperactive guitarist, all the impact and fury they bring to their live show is present and correct. They have written an impressive sophomore album, traditionally that ‘difficult second album’ we hear so much about, but they seem to have breezed through this challenge.

This is relentless in your face punk rock, but it’s not just a barrage of angry protest, there is more to Criminal Mind, much more. The attack and pace is varied throughout the album and the style and tone switches across the sixteen tracks. Aside from the obvious elements of punk, street punk and hardcore there are also touches of ska and dub incorporated in the mix. It seems that whatever they do, when they decide to do it, they do it well and it would appear that there is no challenge this band can’t rise to.

If I had to pick a favourite song from the sixteen cuts contained on Life To Defend I would probably pick Cannonade or the impressive closing track, Rebel Sounds, but it’s not an easy task. Apart from the problem of actually finding them on the internet, you will find a million pages on a certain American television show of a similar name, they are hard to fault. This album is seriously worthy of your attention if you like your punk rock with a politically sussed swagger.

You can order Life To Defend here:

North West calling 2016

North West Calling 2016

The Ritz, Manchester, England

4th June 2016

Rating: 4.5/5




It seems appropriate that on the 40th anniversary of The Sex Pistols playing the Manchester Free Trade Hall, a concert that changed everything for Manchester’s music scene and inspired many of this town’s most beloved bands to form, the annual North West Calling festival is taking place. Now in it’s third year it showcases the diversity of the punk scene and always boasts a generation spanning line up. Sadly both The Ruts DC and The Anti Nowhere League had to pull out of this years event but there are always bands willing to step into the breach.

By noon a healthy queue has already formed outside The Ritz, on what is an unexpectedly warm sunny Saturday in Manchester,  whilst other less dedicated souls have ensconced themselves in the bars opposite the venue and are enjoying some early alcoholic refreshment. As people are still filtering into the venue Criminal Mind take the stage, the opening slot is always a difficult one as you’re playing to a sparse and sober crowd, despite this they take the stage and play like they’re headlining, their gurning acrobatic guitarist provides a visual keypoint and they play an intense set of politically informed hardcore tinged punk rock that blows away the cobwebs and provides as good a start to the day as you could wish for.

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions are a different kettle of fish, their singer is a vision in his Captain America briefs, army boots and fluffy mohican topped balaclava They play hard edged pop punk songs that reminisce about the obscure items from the past and unrequited love. Their sing-a-long choruses and banter with the burgeoning crowd builds on the fine work by opening act Criminal Mind and by now things are starting to warm up in The Ritz, both metaphorically and physically.

Crashed Out are next and play a brutal set of street punk, I’m unsure whether its the fact that it’s now approaching melting point or because the first two bands provided such an incredible start to proceedings but the crowd seems to thin out. However, the dedicated fans of this band seem to enjoy themselves and they end their set with rousing cover of punk legends The Clash which is, as you’d expect, well received.

The Restarts take the stage and this trio deliver what for me was the best set of the day, this is a return to hardcore influenced punk and they wake the crowd back up with a  politically charged set, this is the first band of the day to get a frantic mosh pit going, amongst those in the pit is Criminal Mind‘s hyperactive guitarist. This is a band I am keen to hear a lot more of and a review of their last album will be forthcoming shortly.

The first of the old school bands, Vice Squad, are next to take the stage and have the unenviable task of following the incredible set by The Restarts. Beki Bondage has obvious stage presence and given she’s been a stalwart of the punk scene since the 1970’s I can only assume there is a truly awful picture of her in an attic somewhere as she doesn’t appear to have aged. They deliver a crowd pleasing set of highlights from their extensive back catalogue.

 NWC Beki Bondage  NWC GBH  NWC Restarts

Belfast’s The Defects are next, they have been ploughing the punk furrow since 1978 and provide an uncompromising set of old school punk rock that warm the audience up nicely for Dirt Box Disco, who have become a fixture of North West Calling and have been rising steadily up the billing as word of mouth about their antics has spread. Unsurprisingly the crowd has swelled by the time they take the stage and they bring North West Calling to life and energise the sweaty crowd. They are a visual spectacle to behold and their anthemic hard edged pop punk has the audience respond and when My Life Is Shit is played they almost blow the roof off The Ritz. Their set was eagerly anticipated and they haven’t disappointed.                                                 

The UK82 legends GBH playa pummelling set but this doesn’t seem to hit the heights I’ve seem them reach in previous years and they are followed by The Angelic Upstarts. Along with Dirt Box Disco these have become a perennial feature of North West Calling. Lead singer Mensi prowls the stag with an aura of restrained fury, it’s clear they have lost none of their original anger at societies inequalites and they deliver a charged set. I’m glad to see that they have already been added to the bill for North West Calling 2017.

The Cockney Rejects and the Sham 69 close out what has been a memorable and sweaty day. The latter have reformed with three quarters of the original line up for today’s show. They play a greatest hits set to round out the day, it’s good to see Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and Dave Tregunna back together. They play a well received set  but but given the energy, creativity and commitment on display earlier their set seems to fall a bit flat.

 I can’t help feeling that the up and coming bands have stolen the thunder from the old guard and I can’t think of a better indication of how the punk scene has remained fresh and vibrant, in particular Criminal Minds and The Restarts made a distinct and lasting impression on me. On the basis of this year’s North West Calling it seems to me that tomorrow belongs to the next generation of bands, the passion and commitment on display indicates the punk scene is alive, well and relevant after it all started in Manchester forty years ago to the day.

Photography by Dean Unsworth (left to right Vice Squad, GBH and The Restarts)