Blackpool Winter GardensSunday 6th August 2017
By AJ Phink
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.
I 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.
Dirt 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