I was going to do a different introduction to Sunday but following the recent bad news the main thing I will remember the day for is the last time I saw Colin fronting Runnin’ Riot. I’m pretty sure this was the best crowd and reaction I’d seen them get at Rebellion, and Colin was obviously enjoying himself. With a new record deal and a tour with the Old Firm Casuals, the band seemed to be taking a step forward after all these years. Colin’s sudden passing away a few days later will always overshadow the weekend for me.
Even before this the subject of death came up a lot in conversations over the weekend. There seem to have been a lot of deaths of people connected to the scene recently. Maybe it’s something to do with the lifestyle,or maybe it’s just the age we’re getting to.
NEW BAND OF THE DAY
On a whim I go to see System Of Hate in the “car park”. They seem to have spent a small fortune printing flyers or their set , so it seems a bit rude not to check them out. The name suggests they are making a bid to claim the title of the official Millionth Crass/Discharge/Conflict (delete as appropriate) Clone Band. Instead they are playing mid-tempo punk with undertones of early 80s goth and added synths. Not original perhaps but it’s a long time since I’ve heard a new band do this sort of stuff. They appear to be in their 50s – what would a Metro survey have to say about that, eh?
HIGHEST PROPORTION OF PEOPLE FROM LEICESTER IN A VENUE AT REBELLION EVER
Swamp Delta play the Pavilion. No, I’d never heard of them either but it turns out they are a super group featuring members of Crazyhead and Gaye Bykers On Acid, leading bands in Leicester’s late-80s “grebo” scene. Not my (or Rebellion’s) usual sort of thing but I enjoy it – sort of Stooges type stuff with some Crazyhead/Bykers hits thrown in. The crowd watching seems to bre almost entirely made up of people from Leicester (it’s not a massive crowd)
MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE DAY
It’s easy to have misunderstanding and confusion at an event this big. For example on Thursday my mate went to the Pavilion to watch Tragedy after I’d told him I assumed they were the Swedish hardcore band, and found himself enjoying a Bee Gees tribute act instead.
On the other hand I’m not responsible for a particular misunderstanding that I hear about on Sunday.Scruffy people who look as if they’ve overdone the drink are not an uncommon sight at Rebellion, but the door staff draw the line at letting a bona fide vagrant, complete with matted hair and beard, into the venue. They are convinced that he’s just a drunk who’s wandered in off the streets (unlike most Rebellion punters of course!). He is in fact lead singer of a band who are halway up the bill on the main stage today! If it’s not odd enough , he comes on stage wearing a sparkly dress.
COMEDY ACT OF THE DAY
A friend persuades me to watch Captain Hotknives, a name I’ve seen on the bill many times but never bothered with. For some reason I was convinced that this was the name of a pop-ska-punk band with big shorts and trombones. It turns out that he’s a purveyor of comic songs. He soon has the Pavilion joining in with a chorus of “I really hate babies!” I don’t join in – it would feel wrong – but some of the observations are close to the mark. Next up is I’m In An Anarchist Squat Punk Band (“driving around in a knackered old van / our carbon footprint is bigger than NASA”). I don’t get to see the whole thing but it’s top entertainment all the same.
CONTRAST OF THE DAY
Steve Ignorant playing an acoustic set in the Bizarre Bazaar (he has an affectionate dig at Penny Rimbaud’s “interesting” performance on the Thursday) at the same time as the reformed Chaos UK in the car park who are back to sounding like someone shouting over a chainsaw. I go for a bit of Chaos UK , not my favourite version of the band but still good stuff.
FAREWELL PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY
DOA playing their final UK gig on the main stage. I wipe a tear from my eye. Actually, that’s not strictly true, I’ve only ever bought a “best of” and I only really like a handful of tracks on that. It’s good to hear Disco Sucks though (one of their least political song but my favourite – dumb but fun) even if it’s disappearing into the rafters of the venue. Better than the only other time I saw them, playing to about 50 people in a toilet venue a few years ago. I reminisce about other “last ever gigs” I’ve seen over the years. Funnily enough at least a couple of those bands are on this weekend! On the other hand maybe this is it and Joey Shithead really is going to spend more time on the PTA at his local school.
REFORMED BELFAST BAND OF THE DAY
The Defects and the Outcasts are both playing the Pavilion. Hard fought but The Outcasts lose on points due to technical problems and more importantly not enough of my favourites from the Blood & Thunder album. It’s still good, and they finish with a storming version of Suffragette City. The Defects win it not least because they finally play Defective Breakdown again (I moaned at some length about them not playing it last year). I’m pretty certain they dropped the last verse though – you can’t pull the wool over my eyes. Prof Wyngate is watching! They play a fair bit of new stuff which I’ve previously not been convinced by but which sounds good tonight.
OLD PUB ROCKERS OF THE DAY
Glen Matlock & The Philistines. I only watch 5 minutes.
HEADLINERS OF THE DAY
It’s Ruts DC again. For years you wish you could have seen the Ruts, then you get to see (in effect)them 4 times in 3 years (they blew The Damned off stage in Leicester last year – not that most of the audience realised as most of them hadn’t arrived when they were on – fools!). Earlier I have been urging someone to watch them, but sagely advising him to stick with it as they will start off with a few reggae/Ruts DC songs before getting onto the Ruts classics. Which means I’m wrongfooted by them kicking off with H Eyes. we still get some later/new stuff but then reggae newie Mighty Soldier is so catchy it’s been a permanent earworm for me since the gig. A non-punk mate of mine back at homre has commented several times on how The Ruts seem like an anomaly in punk to him because they can play. Tonight confirms once again that they can indeed play very well, and that old punks love them regardless. The closing trio of Staring At The Rude Boys, Babylon’s Burning, and In A Rut raise the roof and although that is supposed to be the end (the lights are up, the drum kit is being dismantled) we refuse to let them leave and eventually they give in and chuck in a quick Society. In contrast my mate watched NOFX for some reason and reckons they were clearly ready to come on for an encore but the (younger) audience all started vacating the venue! The old school show the youngsters how it’s done again!
The only problem being that throughout the Ruts set I can’t avoid the fact that my feet are aching. I had told Hockey from Biteback that I’d try to get to their aftershow slot down the road at 2am but I give up on the idea. This is what can happen if you go to a festival when you’re over 41.
The next day I’m off home but not before I’ve had some urgently needed passport photos taken. I’d promised Mrs wyngatecarpenter that I would get these done in Blackpool to save time, she expressed concern that I would look “too rough” on them. Not a problem I think, I didn’t even get particularly drunk last night. I get them taken – they look like the kind of passport photos that you would see on a news report about an England breing barred from attending the world cup! I could make it as an Oi singer yet.