Peter Test Tube – A threat to US security
7.45am – my mate arrives. It’s raining. The forecast is rain all weekend. I’ve had two hours sleep (I fell asleep in the bath at 1am. Sleep in the bath is not proper sleep). I’ve never been less in the mood for going to Rebellion. In recent years I’ve wondered if I’m too old for this and always concluded “No”. But am I …?
At the B & B our host is in a waggish mood. One of my mates likes to know exactly what is what and asks which of the pair of keys he’s been given is for his bedroom. “It’s 50/50” replies our host. When we rebooked last year and he reassured us that there was nothing to worry about, we were written down in his book so our stay was a done deal. When we phoned to confirm he’d lost his book and couldn’t remember who we were! Anyway , we’re here. My room is a bit basic, but at least has a fire door. Pity about the wall next to it.
Off to the Winter Gardens to give money to record dealers and mooch about watching new bands. My mate has been raving about middle aged 77 style band The Reverends, particularly their front man. Trouble is that said frontman isn’t here – whether he’s left, can’t get Thursday off work, or they’ve just mislaid him isn’t clear. We watch anyway. Towards the end they are told they have 10 minutes left. “We’ve only got two songs. It’ll take us three”. An old punk problem.
Navigating the new bands based on names is tricky, so I’ve done some advance research. I would’ve assumed Klammer were some kind of goofy pop punk and avoided, when instead they sound like a post punk band that would have recorded a Peel session in 1982. Very good!
Prize for least helpful band name of the day though goes to Pears. I don’t know what to expect, not this though…
More confused expectations. In the 80s I had the impression that the Bollock Brothers were a big band because their stuff was for sale all over Leicester. It turned out that chief Bollock Brother Jock McDonald had a family connection on a Leicester record stall, hence the glut. I always wondered what they sounded like. I watch them in the salubrious surroundings of the Opera House today and I’m still confused. Some 70s rock, some 50s rock & roll, some novelty nonsense (Count Dracula Where’s Your Trousers), synthesisers. No punk. Jock’s tartan scarf provokes shouts for Rod Stewart songs, although he really doesn’t have the voice. It’s like the strangest working man’s club band you’ve ever seen. A mate observes that they don’t sound like anyone else. That’s true.
More surprises with local-ish band New Generation Superstars , who I last saw playing in Leicester to handful of people 17 years ago. They are finally on the “Introducing” stage playing some decent punked up rock. The surprise is that in the intervening years they’ve built up a big enough Scandanavian following to regularly fill 2000 capacity venues! Today must be a bit of a comedown!
Last year Freedom Faction played the Introducing stage and I affectionately compared the singer to Syd Little. This time they are in The Arena but Syd Little is gone to be replaced by a big shouty bloke(Large?) and a more Oi sound. I like shouty Oi but I think they’ve lost something distinctive. What do I know anyway?
Never mind. Man of the hour Peter Bywaters is on the main stage in the Ballroom with his Test Tube Babies. I missed them the last two times I came. I’ve only seen them once in the last four years. I’m slacking. Peter comes on to huge applause in a US style orange prison shirt following his recent deportation (see my post on Aug 2nd) and Up Yer Bum is dedicated to you-know-who, although I think they miss the obvious opportunity to adapt Banned From The Pubs. We later discover that the deportation story had briefly featured on the BBC news tonight. Has the world gone mad? Almost as shockingly ,anew album is imminent and the set contains two new songs, including this one (Wrong). Interesting camera angle!
Time to rest my legs in the Opera House and enjoy Rubella Ballet. The thing that immediately stands out other than their day-glo attire (standard Ballet issue) is that their guitarist looks about 13…in fact he is 13. He does a good job, and is hopefully occupied with chords when a woman decides to climb on her seat and flash her breasts during feminist protest song Slant And Slide.
I’m waiting for Toyah! She played the festival in Morecambe in 2005 and there was a general sneeriness with no one admitting they were going to watch her. I sneaked along only to find lots of other punters looking slightly surprised to see each other there. It felt like a guilty secret. This time the Opera House rapidly fills up. No one is looking shifty. She gets a huge cheer. The festival is a big tent now. She is as enthusiastic as ever and is also the third most middle class person ever to set foot on stage at Rebellion, trailing just behind Penny Rimbaud and Lloyd Grossman. The missing link between Siouxsie and Felicity Kendall? However despite my old favourites Thunder In The Mountains and Brave New World I find myself gradually nodding off.
Once she’s finished I make one last heroic effort to see Oi band Boots N All in the Arena but as I arrive people are leaving. Time for bed