“Don’t ever ask me for Hi Ho Silver Lining again!”
I’m feeling much better after the attack of random Dickies allergy last night , not something I normally suffer from. I check with someone that I didn’t miss anything unusual, but I’m told that all the gags, ad-libs and songs were exactly the same as usual. Annoying though.
Breakfast at my B & B turns out to be a hotbed of punk rock gossip, lots of stories I unfortunately can’t share on a public forum. My favourite story of the weekend involves one of my fellow guests losing out in a dodgy deal over some paving slabs to someone who later unexpectedly turns out to have been a member of a famous band known for their outspoken opposition to commercial exploitation, and their determination not to rip off their fans. I should also mention here that the situation was later resolved amicably, but never meet your heroes, especially if they’ve been forced to get a day job in a dodgy garden centre.
NEW GENRE OF THE DAY
Early on the small Pavilion stage we get a dose of “pirate rock & roll”, as purveyed by East Town Pirates, old sea dogs from Ipswich including Strummer soundalike Rikki, formerly of Red Flag 77, one of my favourite bands from the 90s. Basically , punkish rock with a smidgeon of folk, nautical lyrical themes and a tendency to address the audience as “me hearties”. They are quite a professional sounding outfit, go down a storm and I predict a bigger stage at a future Rebellion awaits.
SAUCER OF MILK OF THE DAY
…goes to Self Abuse who punctuate their set with claims that they are about to play a (fictitious ?) song called There Are No Lurkers In “The Lurkers”. Arthur Bassick may not have been the original bassist, but surely the fact that he played on the first two singles qualifies him as a Lurker? And further for the defence he remains one of the most approachable people you could meet on the punk nostalgia circuit.
But anyway I’ll let it pass because Self Abuse do a very good set of tuneful old school punk. Songs like Celebrity Death Squad and Screenage blow their 80s stuff out of the water. This isn’t one of those songs but again clips are limited
They are playing in the Casbah , a new venue this year, which is in an old smoking area. It looks like an underground car park, and feels like you’re at a genuine d.i.y punk gig, at least until you see the wall covered in fake “punk” graffiti at which point it looks a bit silly.
Speaking of silly ideas on stages, I didn’t get to see GBH today but I did ask whether the on-stage flamethrowers had been used while they were playing Give Me Fire. They weren’t. If you are going to have giant flames leaping out of the floor of the stage you’d think the most effective time to use them would be when a singer was repeatedly bellowing “Give me fire”.
FRONTMAN OF THE DAY
Slimline version of Buster Bloodvessel and all round wag Matt Newman of 80s ska-punks Case is on top form as is the band. Although maybe all his playing with his crotch during (I think) Ain’t Gonna Dance was a bit much. You have been warned
A brief lull in my schedule and I bump into an old mate that I haven’t seen for a few years. We head off for a pint to a nearby pub wear a passing skingirl decides that we are likely looking punters and gives us flyers for a dodgy looking gig that’s taking place down the road. We aren’t. My mate used to have a habit of vanishing without warning in the middle of an evening so I suppose I shouldn’t feel too bad that I suddenly notice the time and abandon him, rushing off to see old 80s band The Fits in the Arena. I’m glad I did though because they are easily the the best of the reformed 80s bands appearing in The Arena.
Here’s old classic Tears Of A Nation and new song Son Of A Gun
They are even better than …err..Garry Bushell. Yes next in The Arena is Bushell’s hobby, The Gonads. “Bushell said that punk was dead / He’s two-faced, he’s off his head” shouted Wattie of the Exploited once. It’s a Bushell’s prerogative to change his mind though, and in 2002 the Gonads played this stage at Wasted (basically Rebellion with less bells on). They died a painful death on stage, mainly because they were crap, and perhaps it was sour grapes that prompted Bushell to dismiss the festival as “just a nostalgia fest. 40 year old punks with beer guts are just as sad as the old Teddy Boys we used to take the piss out of.”. But , what do you know, The Gonads are here again, and no doubt over the moon to win my award for
BOTCHED ENTRANCE OF THE WEEKEND
As the band start, Bushell walks on, finds his mike isn’t working, discusses it with band members, and the song nearly grinds to a halt. The song is ironically called Pogo Til I Die. Even more ironic given Bushell’s career as a tabloid hack and the kind of hot water that can get you into these days, the next song has the chorus “Give us jobs not jails”. They aren’t too bad, and at least we get some chat from Bushell between songs this time (if you think that is a good thing!). The 40 year old punks with beer guts are enjoying it, as are a group of punks from the Far East!
I wonder what the back stage chat is like as Bushell comes offstage because next up are the newly reformed Ejected, a band that Bushell built up and knocked down when he was a music journalist. Tonight I’m with Bushell as they win
WORST COMEBACK OF THE WEEKEND
I like this band, or at least their second underrated second album, so I’m interested. Things don’t look good when frontman Jim comes on with a bushy moustache and dodgy barnet, backed by a band who look as if they weren’t born when the original band split. Despite their youth the guitarist and bassist sport beards. They are laughing in the face of Oi! Not that I care if the music’s good, but they just play lots of basic and identical sounding songs, mainly off the first album.
Things improve when they play 3 songs off the second album. Things get worse again when they play a new song. If I heard correctly was called Punk On Your Tits. Worse still, if I heard correctly it’s the title track of a forthcoming album. It seems a bit like a pisstake of Oi, but unfortunately the pisstake Oi market has been cornered and done much better by Hardskin.
DJ SET OF THE DAY!!
Spinning the wheels of steel in the ballroom, DJ Jello Biafra. An unusual idea in a top slot (main venue, between the Dictators and Slaughter & The Dogs. I don’t go as to me a Jello Biafra DJ set is still just someone playing records. I’ve got bands to watch.
BEST BAND OF THE DAY
Down to the “car park” for Paranoid Visions of course. Pity about the drunken fool dancing to them (me). The following clip is carefully selected to avoid any footage of me dancing
After Paranoid Visions Friday peters out. There is no way I intend to watch Stiff Little Fingers, today or any other day. I go back to The Arena where Anti Pasti are headlining. Two years ago the played the Ballroom to a big enthusiastic crowd. Since then their singer has been replaced, and they are playing to a half full Arena, despite it being much smaller than the Ballroom. Ouch. They sound quite generic. If Bushell’s still around watching he is no doubt be smiling smugly and declaring punk dead yet again.
I feel a bit the worse for drink and call it a night. I also feel cured of my longstanding fixation with reforming UK82 bands. Although no doubt someone would only have to say “Violators reunion” to change that.