“Watch out on the main stage!”
A month or two ago the Metro (free paper you can pick up on the bus to anyone from outside the UK or who has an irrational fear of public transport) featured the results of a survey on what age people should give things up, and very enlightening it was. I know that it is now 11 years too late for me to start getting tattoos. It also informed me that I should have stopped going to music festivals when I was 41. That’s unfortunate as at the ripe old age of 44 I already have my coach ticket to Blackpool, my B & B booked and my ticket for Rebellion. The assumption of the article is that if you do this when you’re past the appropriate age it’s in fact a sad and desperate attempt to recapture your youth. This is news to me as my youth didn’t generally involve going to see punk bands, but did involve me gazing out of windows listening to Echo & The Bunnymen, and writing very bad poetry. I may still play Porcupine now and again but otherwise why would I want to recapture that? Perhaps some of us go to festivals because we ENJOY MUSIC! It’s just possible.
Yes it’s my annual punk rock holiday. As usual, rather than boring Mrs wyngatecarpenter this is my annual write-up of the weekend, the good, the bad, the “would have been a bit better if they’d turned the vocals up”, the absurd.
The last 12 months has been one of the worst for our families (not the place to go into detail), despite the ongoing joys of bringing up wyngate jnr, so I’m actually just very happy that I’ve been able to get here at all. The b & b is sorted out without last year’s hitches and somehow still seems to cost the same as it always did – result! On the downside the newsagent across the road (nice cherry bakewells) has closed, causing some consternation for my mate who lives on crisps that he buys there for the weekend. But never mind, it’s off to the Winter Garden for….
THE STRANGEST START TO A FESTIVAL EVER (???)
There is, you might have noticed, an ongoing and slightly tedious trend for bands to play The Classic Album In Its Entirety. It’s gig-going for Mojo readers. Well today none other than Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine from Crass give their own unique spin on it by playing a reworked version of Yes Sir I Will , Crass’s LEAST popular album. Penny introduces it by dedicating it to the “millions who have died, are dying, and will die due to corporate and political madness” but this is unfortunately for me the most coherent moment, as the band go onto play some kind of free jazz while Penny bursts into a rendition of My Generation (!) and shouts poetry. It feels a bit like it’s from an early 70s free festival, which is probably no coincidence bearing in mind his pre-Crass life. I feel reluctant to criticise something that seems genuinely heartfelt, but it’s a classic case of “preaching to the converted” as it’s hard to make out much of the content unless you already know the album, which I don’t.
THE MOST DISORIENTATING MOMENT OF THE WEEKEND
Not the above performance but in fact minutes before it when I walk into the Empress Ballroom (main stage in Blackpool since 1996) to find that they’ve moved the stage to a completely different part of the hall. M
This may seem like nothing to you, but it’s bit like going to the football and finding they’ve moved the goal to the side of the pitch. There have been further changes, as they’ve finally got rid of the Olympia (bad sound, no atmosphere) and set up a new venue called the Casbah which I will check out tomorrow. Like I say though good riddance to the Olympia. Last year I remember commenting that Indecent Assault sounded like a Brummie shouting while a plane takes off in the background when they played the Olympia. Today I watch them in the smaller Arena. They sound like a Brummie shouting while a plane takes off in the background. Maybe they’re meant to sound like that.
MOST ENERGETIC FRONTMAN OF THE DAY
Despite a plucky attempt by Marcus of Foreign Legion
and a later convincing challenge by Mike McColgan of Street Dogs, it has to be John Robb. Music journalist and (apparently) coiner of the term “Britpop”, TV nostalgia show talking head, punk historian,Stone Roses biographer, Membrane, and according to a nameless wag on the mothership a“visual cliché”. He’s also these days frontman of and rabble rouser for Goldblade. He seems to have fireworks up his arse.
He’s performing on the swanky new Empress stage and comments at one point that he’s not treading on a certain part of the stage as it’s where the flames will shoot up. I think he’s joking , but moments later that’s exactly what happens.
Apparently the flames come as standard with the stage. The potential for either Spinal Tap hilarity or serious injury is clear.
As for Goldbalde – excellent and they go down a storm although I was disappointed that we only got a couple of tracks from Terror Of Modern Life, one of the best albums I heard last year.
SLIGHTLY DODGY REUNION OF THE DAY
At the same time as Goldblade in the Arena 80s Oi locals Anti-Social are playing their first gig since the 80s. I see them start their set with Anti-War, nip next door to Goldblade, then come back to see them finish with their anti-police classic Official Hooligan and …err..Anti-War again. Not exactly overburdened with a massive back catalogue. They seem more apologetic than anti-social, and although they have a good raw sound it’s not powerful enough. In other words, I think they should have done a couple of warm-up gigs first.
Maybe they should nip next door to the Empress and take notes from the Last Resort who, 10 years on from their comeback, are playing to a huge crowd who are singing along to the new songs as well as they old. An impressive feat. Last Resort win the award for
BAND WHOSE PINT YOU’D LEAST LIKE TO SPILL
CHEESY SHOWBIZ ROUTINE OF THE DAY
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Empress Ballroom! Please give a big hand for Bruce Fors… sorry , Lee Wilson of Infa-Riot! “Let me hear you shout Oi!….I can’t hear you , let me hear you shout Oi!” …etc, etc. Funnily enough I’ve been going through some old copies of Sounds and Garry Bushell compares Lee’s stage patter to Bruce Forsyth back then. However, he’s not so slick that he doesn’t nearly get singed by the flames unexpectedly shooting up from the stage again (unless that was carefully planned comic timing of course). Still , Infa-Riot also win…
BEST BAND OF THE DAY
Oi classics played really well. What more could I want. Not much in the wayof good clips, this is about the best and it’s (gulp) a new song
BORING OLD GIT OF THE DAY
You know the type who’s been there, done that , saw this band years ago, they were much better then, etc. This award goes to ME! I watched the Street Dogs (featuring original Dropkick Murphys frontman McColgan) with my mates who are fans, but keep muttering about how I saw them playing to a half empty room ten years ago and they were much better then. People like me really annoy me. Sorry everyone, hope I didn’t spoil your enjoyment.
THE ANNUAL THURSDAY CRASH & BURN
Back in 1996 I did the whole three days as it was then, and then got up Monday morning , travelled back to Leicester (4 different trains!), went home and cleaned myself up, and went to work for my 4pm shift. These days I book the whole of the following week off work. The Thursday is particularly hard going. For the last three years I’ve fallen asleep at a crucial moment in the evening, usually in the venue! I’m determined not to tonight as I want to see the Dickies. I don’t nod off but instead about 20 minutes in I suddenly feel queasy then faint and have to get out of the venue as quickly as possible. By the time I’ve done the five minute walk back to the B & B I feel ok, but by this time of night there’s no re-entry to the venue. I decide it’s some kind of emergency message from my body telling me to go to sleep. Maybe I should have stopped this when I was 41.