2016 saw 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 Rebellion 2017 already looks set to be no different. Returning to Winter Gardens in Blackpool from the 3rd to the 6th of August, the line-up is already shaping up to be another punk genre defining event. LA punk legends Bad Religion are now confirmed to return to the festival for the first time in seven years, bringing their addictively melodic, politically-charged, high energy punk rock to the seaside punk event.
2016 saw the now legendary punk event Rebellion Festival celebrate its 20th year alongside the 40th anniversary of punk with a spectacular sold-out event. Rebellion Festival is set to return in 2017 from the 3rd to the 6th of August and the line-up is already shaping up to be another punk genre defining event.
The latest act to join the festival are Kent duo Slaves, a band that are absolutely the sound of new punk in 2016, dragging it by its scruffy neck to the present and into the future. Read More…
Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK7th August 2016
By AJ Phink
The final day dawns, so far I’ve been running around trying to see as much as possible, sadly my feet can’t take much more so my plan for the final day is to see a few bands I’ve been intending to see, along with reminding myself that next year I must get comfier boots. First Wave are opening on the Empress Ballroom stage, despite the fact that you can still taste the toothpaste at this early hour, they play a set of energetic and defiant punk rock that, as their name implies, is inspired by the first wave of British punk bands. Following this, and due to further complaints from my feet, I take the opportunity to take a seat and enjoy an interview with one of the original members of The Damned, Captain Sensible. Throughout the interview the Captain is irreverent and entertaining, he provides a profanity littered insight into The Damned‘s highs and lows over the last forty years and he ends the interview with an impromptu rendition of one of his novelty pop songs, Wot. I could happily have listened to Captain Sensible for a lot longer, he remains one of punk’s true eccentrics and a unique individual, but the interview is over and more live music awaits.
Healthy Junkies are another band I’ve been meaning to catch since I reviewed their last album, Box Of Chaos. They don’t disappoint live, their set of energetic punk rock is well received, Nina Coulson delivers her vocals in her breathless and manic style that juxtaposes the crunching delivery that rest of the band deliver. Sadly I can’t stay for their full set as Louise Distras is playing her second set of the weekend, I’ve seen her live many times, but this will be the first time I have got to see her play with a full band. The transformation of her songs from the acoustic sets I’ve seen her play so often to her full band is stunning. Songs that were performed yesterday as heartfelt ballads are transformed into full blooded punk anthems, it’s a tribute to her songwriting that the material works so well in both styles. I can honestly say that this set was one of the highlights of the weekend.
Goldblade are playing their rabble rousing punk ‘n roll outside on the Tower Stage, their set coincides with an aerial display by Red Arrows aerobatic display team so you have the visual spectacle of formation jet fighters as background to their set. Despite the jet fighters a bare chested John Robb still easily wins in the volume stakes, he prowls the stage like a caged animal and as they close their set with Do You Believe In The Power of Rock ‘N Roll he leaves the stage and encourages those down the from to testify to this. From this point my plans go astray as there are so many fine bands playing simultaneously. Belfast’s The Defects play an outstanding set of full tilt punk rock in The Empress Ballroom and then it’s back outside to catch Citizen Fish playing their energetic politically sussed ska. Their infectious and energetic performance causes an outbreak of skanking towards the back of the audience despite this being the fourth day of the Rebellion Festival.
Dirt Box Disco have almost become an automatic choice to make an appearance at UK punk festivals, their set is comprised of their ever popular hard edged anthemic pop punk that is delivered with the mix of humour and visual spectacle. If they carry on as they are then it won’t be too long before you see Dirt Box Disco headlining festivals as they have filled the Tower Street stage to capacity and their is set is deliriously received. Back inside it’s time for a final lap of the stages, I catch Germany’s Bonsai Kitten playing a set of full tilt rockabilly inspired punk rock, and the scantily clad singer Tiger Lilly Marleen delivers her vocals with a snarl whilst she prowls and shimmys across the stage.
Over on the introducing stage, the much talked about Heavy Drapes play a set of old school inspired punk rock to a packed crowd, based on the reception they receive I can see them playing to a bigger audience next year. One of the biggest disappointments of the weekend is the fact that Street Dogs have cancelled their European tour dates, but fear not as Cocksparrer have stepped into the breach to deliver their ‘hangover set’ after they headlined Saturday Night, of course their anthemic street punk stylings are as well received as you’d expect.
At this point the blazing sunshine that has characterised the weekend gives way to the more usual British summertime and the heavens open and the wind and rain lash across Blackpool but this doesn’t deter either the crowd, or the bands. Incredible closing sets are delivered by Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School of Medicine and Belfast’s finest, Stiff Little Fingers. I start to make my way home through the wind, rain and traffic jams, and if I’m honest I’m already counting the days until next year.
Blackpool is occasionally referred to as the Vegas of the North West, whilst I presume this is said by people who have never actually been to Las Vegas, Rebellion Festival has one thing in common with sin city, it is as busy in the early hours of the morning as it is during the day. I’m personally not a fan of Blackpool as a destination, it’s faded seaside grandeur and tackiness are usually something I would avoid, but for the four days of the Rebellion Festival there is nowhere on earth that I’d rather be.
It’s not just the music that makes this such a special weekend, everyone seems to be friendly, friendships are made and renewed throughout the weekend in what has become an international punk festival. It’s not just the bands that have come from almost all corners of the world, the Rebellion Festival is a truly multinational affair, everywhere you go there are different languages and accents, it has become a magnet for the punk community and on the basis of the turnout the punk movement is clearly still alive and well. Every review of the Rebellion Festival you read will be different, there is so much to see, hear and do that everyone’s experience will be unique.
If you can attend this four day celebration of punk then you should, as there is nothing else like it on earth.
Tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival, that takes place between the 3rd and 6th of August 2017, can be ordered here
Photography by Dod Morrison
Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UKFriday 5th August 2016
By AJ Phink
We couldn’t really call ourselves thepunksite.com without having someone at Rebellion Festival, well it’s a dirty job but someone’s got do it. I got late notice I’d be able to go this year, I managed to book a hotel, which suspiciously still had rooms left, and so it’s off to Blackpool. Due to the late notice, and other hindrances I won’t bore you with, I can’t be there until Friday so I’ve already missed the Descendents on their only UK appearance, things don’t get much better when I reach the hotel, appropriately enough it appears to last have been decorated in 1976. After all, this is the Rebellion Festival‘s 20th Anniversary, and obviously it’s the 40th Anniversary of punk, so it’s a double celebration this year. The sprawling setting and fading glamour of Blackpool’s Winter Gardens is a strangely appropriate setting for Rebellion Festival, which is Europe’s largest punk festival. It boasts hundreds of bands across seven stages over four days, In addition to this there are literary stages, a punk art exhibition, acoustic stages, poetry, vintage clothing, tattooists, films, interviews, record and clothing stalls and even a healing workshop.
My first ambition for the Friday was to be there in time for Loaded 44‘s appearance where they are launching their new EP, Get Ready! I made good time and managed to catch the band prior to them on the Pavillion Stage, Norwich’s Dogtown Rebels. They play a rousing set that makes a perfect start to the day, despite the early start and furnace like temperatures a good crowd has attended for their set of defiant street punk anthems. Loaded 44 deliver their high energy new wave influenced punk rock. Hyperactive singer Beki Straughan prowls every inch of the stage and their efforts pay off as the appreciative crowd swells significantly during their set. Parisian street punks Komintern Sect follow, they are making their UK debut and, despite one of their guitarists missing their flight, they play a solid and noisy set that makes me hope that their promise to return to our shores is one that they keep. Despite the temptations available on the other stages these three bands have set down an impressive marker for those that appear after them.
A change of venue is needed, as tempting as it is, and as consistent as the bands are, I need to investigate the other stages, Boston’s Big D And The Kids Table play an infectious ska infused set that has bought the impressive Empress Ballroom stage to life. Next up on this stage are Italy’s Guida, who sound like the UK bands that were one of the precursors to the punk explosion of the 1970’s. they play an anthemic mix of seventies glam rock and rhythm and blues combined with the delivery and attitude of punk. Despite never heaving heard of them before, let alone having heard them play a note, they are one of the most impressive bands I’ve seen over the weekend and if you get you get the chance to see them live then you should, as It’s not often I’m this impressed by a band. Penetration are next up, they are the first, but won’t be the last, of the class of ’77 to make an appearance at Rebellion Festival. They sound as good, if not better, as they did back in the day, Pauline Murray‘s distinctive vocal delivery still brings her breathless passion to their songs. Whilst it is no surprise that their classic Don’t Dictate is the best received number, that doesn’t detract from an accomplished set that blends material from their recent album along with their classic material
A quick visit to punk art exhibition reveals works by Charlie Harper, of the UK Subs, Knox, of The Vibrators and Beki Straughan‘s Racket Clothing, Loaded 44, as well as many other independent artists. After a break perusing the artwork on display it’s back to Empress Ballroom to catch The Dictators NYC who play an impressive set of proto punk and old school classics that goes down a storm, they are the oldest band at the festival having formed back in the early 1970’s. At this point I begin scrabbling between venues trying to catch a variety of the sights and sounds on offer.
Discharge are playing their intense full tilt punk assault at the open air Tower Street Stage, whilst Discharge are playing their set an unexpected sight occurs in one if the streets surrounding The Winter Gardens. An impromptu, and badly organised, game of football is taking place between some slightly inebriated punks and several Police officers, if you wanted a metaphor for how good natured the Rebellion Festival is then that surely is it. I wander back inside and accidentally catch Splodgenessabounds playing their novelty punk hit, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps Please, which seems to have an enthusiastic chorus of literally everyone attending, everywhere you go at the Rebellion Festival something is happening or someone is playing and sometimes you just time it right. Further wandering means I catch Swill, of The Men They Couldn’t Hang playing to packed Almost Acoustic Stage.
My meanderings mean that I catch The Anti Nowhere League in full bombastic sweary form, despite this band courting controversy throughout their almost forty year existence they go down a storm, and the material from their debut album, We Are The League, is sung word for word by an enthusiastic and largely quite drunken crowd. Further wandering leads me to catching Brix Smith And The Extricate in The Opera House, they have gathered all the elements that made her former band, The Fall, so compelling, but with none of the negatives or the baggage that that band carries.
I make myself comfy in The Opera House in preparation for Peter Hook And The Light, whilst I’m taking the opportunity to take the weight off my aching feet I get to see an interview with Handsome Dick Manitoba, of The Dictators NYC, who regales the audience with a warts ‘n all discussion about his life and the origins of his band. Peter Hook And The Light take the stage in the impressive setting of The Opera House, former member of Warsaw, Joy Division and New Order, Peter Hook, opens their set by declaring “I’ve been a punk for forty fucking years” before launching into a set of Joy Division material that leans heavily on the material from their classic, and incredibly influential, debut album, Unknown Pleasures, but also features a hefty chunk of early material that dates back to 1977. They open with At A Later Date, which featured on the legendary Live At The Electric Circus compilation album, and you can’t help shake the feeling that Peter Hook relishes these appearances, the energy he puts into revisiting his punk roots indicates that he will always be an old punk at heart and tonight’s set is a triumphant return to the Rebellion Festival.
A final exploration of the sprawling Winter Gardens is in order before Friday draws to a close. I discover Naked Aggression who wake you back up like an intravenous shot of caffeine with their full tilt hardcore sonic assault. I round out the day with insanity of The Cravats, they play a mind expanding garage influenced variety of punk rock, the boast an demented saxophone and, equally unhinged lead singer, and at this time of the morning I can’t think of a better band to close out the first day at the Rebellion Festival and I hobble off into the night in the vague direction of my hotel.
A review of the Saturday at the 2016 Rebellion Festival will follow shortly
Photography by Dod Morrison
Tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival can be purchased here
There will a review of the 2016 Rebellion Festival appearing shortly on thepunksite.com
Loaded 44 are the streaming the title track from their new Get Ready! EP. They will be launching the EP when they appear at the Rebellion Festival, Friday 5th August at 2.40pm on the Pavilion Stage, where you will be able to purchase the Get Ready! EP from the band’s merchandise stall.
You can stream the title track from the Get Ready! EP here
Get Ready!Shotgun Records
By AJ Phink
Loaded 44 are a punk band from the north east of the UK who have now been around for two decades, they make the kind of glorious punk rock that carries the attitude of the first wave of punk bands, but also has a distinct influence from the poppier new wave bands that followed the first punk explosion. What they deliver is a energetic, irresistible and contemporary hybrid of punk styles that manages to incorporate all of the finest elements of punk rock.
The title track opens the Get Ready! EP, straight away you’re pulled in by this infectious high tempo buzzsaw guitar punk anthem, this is Loaded 44‘s trademark style and it’s never sounded better. Tell Me is a slightly heavier and more frantic number that keeps the momentum going, Lonely is another winner, and probably my favourite from this impressive EP. It’s a catchy and defiant number that carries Beki Straughan‘s trademark vocal delivery, with a chorus you can’t help but sing along to. I Want It All closes the EP and brings ten perfect minutes of punk rock to a close. I’ve been playing Get Ready! on repeat since it arrived, I guarantee anyone who gets hold of a copy of Get Ready! will do exactly the same. Loaded 44 are an example of the grassroots DIY attitude at it’s finest, this is an EP that anyone with a love of punk rock should buy.
The four songs on Get Ready! are a natural progression from their first two albums, 2011’s Wasted On You and 2014’s Come On!, but the everything seems to have been raised up a notch from those two fine albums. The result is that this is Loaded 44‘s best release to date. Sadly this EP, and their appearance at this year’s Rebellion Festival, will be Stephen Straughan‘s swansong with the band, as he’s now playing guitar for the legendary UK Subs, but this a hell of a way to bow out and I look forward to hearing what the next incarnation of Loaded 44 will produce.
Loaded 44 are appearing at the Rebellion Festival on Friday 5th August at 2.40pm on the Pavilion Stage
Get Ready! will be available from the band’s merchandise stall at Rebellion Festival
Live Photo courtesy of Dave Uglypunk
Beki And Steve StraughanAngelic Upstarts, Chaos 8, Hi-Fi Spitfires, Loaded 44, UK Subs, Holy Racket, Symbient, The Last Gang
By AJ Phink on July 2016 at e-mail
Beki and Stephen Straughan are possibly the hardest working couple in punk rock at the moment, Beki is active in Chaos 8, Stephen, also known as Steve Racket, is active in Hi Fi Spitfires and the Angelic Upstarts, and has recently become the guitarist for the UK Subs, as if that wasn’t enough both of them are in Loaded 44. I managed to catch them in a rare quiet moment to get an insight into what the future has in store for us from this industrious couple.
Hypercaffium SpazzinateEpitaph Records
By AJ Phink
the Descendents are a legendary punk band, I probably don’t need to tell you that, without them we would probably be looking at a very different punk scene than the one we all know and love. Whether it’s the pop punk of Blink 182, or the harder edged sounds of the likes of NOFX, Pennywise and Face To Face, the Descendents have had a massive influence on the direction American punk has taken. Hypercaffium Spazzinate is the Descendents much anticipated new album, their first Epitaph Records release since Everything Sucks in 1996, and their first new material since 2004’s Cool To Be You. The Descendents trademark mixture of punk and hardcore has always been performed with a perfect pop sheen, and Hypercaffium Spazzinate is no exception.
Hypercaffium Spazzinate veers smoothly between melodic hardcore, punk and pop tinged punk, and even occasionally into full blooded hardcore, without batting an eyelid. The opening duo of songs, Feel This and Victim Of Me, dispel any doubts you may have had about this album in the first three minutes, these two songs are exhuberant hardcore influenced blasts that carry their trademark melody. My personal favourites on this album are On Paper, Without Love and Shameless Halo but that’s not to do the rest of the album a disservice, there isn’t a single weak track amongst the sixteen cuts that populate Hypercaffium Spazzinate. All the Descendents hallmarks are present throughout the album, the harmony driven choruses, the ridiculously catchy songs, the mesmerising guitar hooks and the astute lyrical content, in fact everything you could possibly want from a new Descendents album.
This isn’t just a great comeback album, it’s a truly great Descendents album, this has without doubt been the most eagerly anticipated punk album of 2016 to date, and it doesn’t disappoint on any level. The Descendents have influenced the way punk developed, almost four decades later they’re still showing us the way things should be done. This is one of the best albums you’ll hear this year and will be amonst my personal highlights come the end of 2016, very few bands who have been around this long produce albums that are this good. The Descendents are on the road at the moment, including a rare UK appearance where they are headlining the opening night of the Rebellion Festival on the 4th August, if you are lucky enough to be going to Rebellion this year I would ensure you catch the Descendents set.
Pre-orders for Hypercaffium Spazzinate are available here
You can visit the Descendents website here
The Epitaph Records website is here
Set to return for its 20th year this August 4-7th, simultaneously celebrating the 40th anniversary of the initial punk explosion in 1976, the iconic Rebellion Festival has revealed full stage times today, and confirmed that UK punk legends, the Angelic Upstarts, will join the line-up.
Rebellion have also detailed extensive interviews, film screenings and Q&A’s all taking place at the Opera House, one of the largest theatres in Europe, throughout the four-day event. Live interviews with Jello Biafra, acclaimed film maker Don Letts, ex-Fall guitarist Brix Smith, Dictators NYC frontman Dick Manitoba and many more punk rock luminaries have been announced, as well as film screenings of recently released documentaries by Belfast legends, The Outcasts, Cass Pennant and Slaughter & The Dogs, followed by Q&A’s.