The official sign to Rebellion!
There’s an important priority today – buying a volcano. Mrs wyngatecarpenter was away recently and wyngate jnr was convinced on no basis whatsoever that she was going to bring back a toy volcano. He got a jigsaw instead. The shop assistant in Toyland is very helpful (so helpful she gets a plug) but they only have a volcano chemistry toy that might be a bit too explosive. I get him a plastic octopus instead. My mate points out that I could buy a t-shirt by one of the bands, Spunk Volcano & The Explosions. Another band Wonk Unit have t-shirts featuring a dinosaur, but also the slogan “Dinosaurs Are Wankers”. Maybe not.
In the venue I have three priorities – Oi, Oi and Oi. First up Italian streetpunk band Il Complesso. I don’t generally get on with Italian Oi – too many syllables. These are good though, although it’s a surprise when the guitarist suddenly talks with a Yorkshire accent. Apparently he’s a stand in from the brilliantly named Hospital Food.
Following them in The Arena are good youngish UK Oi band the Arch Rivals, despite the singer recovering from food poisoning -“trying to stop the world falling out my arse” as he eloquently puts it. After two days of pizza, chips and cider I’m not feeling too good myself. Then it’s a sprint to the new band stage for a another young Oi band Tear Up. The singer looks about 12 but has attitude to spare. Pity the poor bouncer who later tries to stop him entering one of the venues with a pint because he looks too young.
Not pausing for breath I dash back to the Arena for 80s Oi band Anti-Social. These are better than last time and have a different singer, a huge skinhead. I still think I’d rather accidentally spill his pint than the Tear Up singer’s.
I want a break from Oi. Dunstan from Chumbawamba has a new band Interrobang appearing in The Pavillion – that should do. A smartly dressed Dunstan, who appears to have modelled his hair on Douglas Hurd, walks through the crowd talking through a megaphone and joins the guitarist and drummer on stage. They play scratchy sounding post punk, a bit Gang Of Four-ish in places. It’s interesting , but there’s a glaring omission – no bassist. I visit the gents and miss a bit where the band down instruments , walk into the audience and start telling them how angry they are.
After a break, more Oi in The Arena, specifically Leicester’s best known Oi band The Glory, playing their first gig in 27 years and sounding much better than on record. This is a golden opportunity to heckle a mate who’s playing in the band, but I decide not to. He looks as if he’s concentrating.
It’s time to investigate some celtic ska-billy… of course it’s not I’m staying put for more Oi, from reformed 80s band The Strike. They play a storming set of minor Oi classics and are Oi band of the day. I’m missing Jilted John in the Empress, ie Graham Fellows, also creator of John Shuttleworth. Never mind though, singer Fergus’ glasses and occasionally facial expressions are uncannily reminiscent of Shuttleworth. Fergus comments that it’s great that his “shitty little band from Scotland” can get to play something like this. This sums up a major appeal of Rebellion for me – bands that were overlooked at the time (The Strike never released a record in their own right) can play years later to a big crowd who appreciate what they did.
On the other hand I’m really irritated that The Strike are on at exactly the same time as reformed 80s band The Wall in the Opera House. I catch the last couple of songs and then venture to their merch stall. I was thinking of buying a Strike t-shirt but it’s £15. The Wall are offering a t-shirt and expensive 12″deal for £20. My alcohol impaired logic tells me this means I’m getting the £12″ for £5. Well it made sense at the time. The merch woman asks me if I enjoyed The Wall. I tell her I watched The Strike instead! Why do I keep doing that?
To round off the Oi I go to see reluctant pioneers of the subgenre, Angelic Upstarts, outside in the Tower St Arena. It’s the first time for years they’ve played Rebellion. I’ve heard gossip as to why (the breakfast room at my old B & B again) but I’m saying nothing. Mensi comments that people have some good bands on their t-shirts , a sly dig at Geldof. He is wearing a Tom Robinson Band t-shirt, deliberately no doubt as the Upstarts are punk at it’s most socialist. There are dedications to former Upstarts guitarists Tony Van Frater and Dickie Hammond who both died last year. Anti Nazi and The Murder Of Liddle Towers are highlights for me, both getting the neck hairs standing. It’s interesting to see an audience that’s I’m guessing is at least 90% white working class cheering songs like Anti Nazi and the Red Flag and a pro-Corbyn statement by Mensi. I wonder what the mainstream media would make of that. Ignore it, obviously. It’s good to see them again even if Mensi is getting some help from two younger and certainly better looking female backing singers. It’s also the first time I’ve ever got use a portable outdoor urinal as well! Confusing for some such as the punter who came out of the portaloo and mistook the urinal for a wash basin!
As an anti-fascist Oi bonus there’s just time to catch the end of court jesters Hard Skin in the Pavilion. Next up is a rare performance by clockwork droogs Major Accident. A mate asks me if I’ve seen them before and what they are like. I do my best to explain. Then they come and he says “Oh, Major Accident”. He was waiting for Hard Skin. It can a bit like that by the end of Saturday. Anyway, it is Major Accident playing their poppy Oi classics dressed in the very height of droogie fashion, with bowlers on their gullivers etc. Viddy well.
I’ve mentioned the Strike/Wall scheduling disaster but others seem more annoyed about the Cock Sparrer/Damned/Ruts DC clash tonight. It’s a tough one (not that tough, I rule The Damned out straight off, I don’t want to hear a 15 minute solo in the middle of New Rose again). I go for Ruts. A good choice, not just because they are predictably excellent, but also because it’s in the Opera House which is seated. Just what I want at this time of night. In fact within the context of this weekend Ruts DC are almost chill-out music.
A great end to the night…except that there’s still Paranoid Visions with Steve Ignorant in the Pavillion. This year they’re even better with Iggers than they were without. Unexpectedly they play Do They Owe Us A Living at the end. Someone complained afterwards that this was the only Crass song they played. He should be glad they played one at all.
It’s 1am but I’m determined to head to the Tache Club for the aftershow set featuring The Vile, Vox Populi and Total Bloody Chaos. Until that is my mate points out that the flyer I saw in a shop window was from last year. I’m actually relieved, it was a stupid idea