Looks like I’ve stumbled across the B & B that Hellbastard stayed in
Feeling much better this morning! Long term readers of my reports will be pleased to hear I managed to get undressed and into bed before falling asleep. And breakfast is available until 10am! On the other hand I’m having problems with my lock. When it’s unlocked I can’t lock it, and vice versa. The proprietor says “There’s a corridor to sleep in – I don’t know what you’re complaining about!” What a card! I suggest a discount – maybe 100%. Once that’s sorted as there’s an interesting day ahead – for the first time in Rebellion’s history a new band is headlining. More later…
In the Pavillion is the new but reassuringly old school North East Oi band Top Dog. All older guys, although for their anthem Botchergate (“About where we go drinking”) they are joined onstage by a young friend who looks no more than 13. Surely he doesn’t go drinking in Botchergate. Next a dash to the Introducing stage for North East Oi band Murdaball. Who wins the battle of the NE Oi bands? Call it a draw.
Next on the Introducing stage are the just as good but completely different Flies On You, in a post punk vein. They have no stuff on the merch stand , but point out that “it’s not about commerce”. No – but I wouldn’t have minded getting some of their stuff. Although I don’t stay, next on the Introducing stage is Bono! He hasn’t played Rebellion before so it makes sense he’d be on this stage. If you don’t believe me…
I missed the final ever gig by External Menace at Rebellion 2015, so I’m glad they’re on again this year! They’re another band to have lost their singer down the back of the sofa (actually I’m told Welshy couldn’t get the day off work). Still I’ve always liked founder and guitarist Sneddy’s unusual, softer vocals, and US superfan Pat from Violent Society joins them for the final song to give a bit of extra welly, so it’s all good.
I’ve always found John Robb’s old band and Peel faves The Membranes a bit discordant for my refined tastes, but I decide to give them a look on the outdoors Casbah stage. I warn my mate to expect the unexpected, but perhaps not as unexpected as them performing with a proper choir!
Robb comments that it’s good to have some proper singers on stage for once. He also comments on the incongruity of performing songs from their new album “about deep space” in bright sunlight. With the Casbah being outdoors this year things aren’t looking promising. The weather’s holding for now though.
The Opera House seems like a safer bet, but is lacking atmosphere. Fine for watching Carmen I expect, not so good for seeing the Johnny Moped Band doing VD Boiler and No One, which is disappointing because it’s the only time I’ve seen them. We decide to stay here though to investigate Mongey Crew, who as we suspect are members of Splodgenessabounds sending up 80s hair metal. Few music fans would question the Splodgers’ musical legacy (A Listed twice this year!) so I’m intrigued. They come on in spandex stacked heels and wigs, tune up really badly, stagger around, fall over each other, and the singer has one of those devices that makes your voice sound sqeaky. It’s an amusing intro. What will they do next? Exactly the same for the next ten minutes (at least – that’s the point at which we decide the joke’s worn thin and leave). A rare occasion when you can say Bad News did it better.
We’re back for The Godfathers a bit later. I saw them in 2010 in the Arena and they really impressed me , but this is the wrong venue. That is to say the wrong venue for snotty punk rock n roll, but a good venue to put your feet up, and shut your eyes for 10 minutes , maybe more. Maybe the organisers just recognise the needs of middle aged punks.
11pm – I’m wide awake now as Paranoid Visions are on in The Pavillion. What to say about them that I haven’t already said? New song No Pasaran is surprisingly danceable, and even Deko is jigging. And Deko’s gushing again telling us he loves us. Has he been replaced by an impostor? Otherwise I’ll just quote TV Smith , that Deko is “who you wish Johnny Rotten had become”. Best band of the weekend again.
I mentioned the unprecedented fact of a new headliner. In fact the three bands topping the bill in the Ballroom are all fairly new. I’m curious. I miss Frank “Gallows” Carter and the Rattlesnakes, but I check out Wonk Unit. I hardly know who these are, but they have pulled a huge crowd. It’s a bit pop punk for me. They have songs about granny pissing with the door open, and t-shirts emblazoned with things like “Bonjour Naughty Sea Horses”. I feel as if there’s in-jokes here I’m not in on.
Headlining are Slaves. A band that Mrs wyngate carpenter says are “interesting”. A band that my mates ex-wife (no known punk credentials) went to see recently. A band that were guests on Sunday Kitchen the other morning. Rebellion has crossed over with the outside world! I’m interested to see how the Rebellion crowd react. Will they sniff the stench of hype and mainstream success and go and watch something else? In fact the Ballroom is packed. I give them 10 minutes and to be fair I’m impressed, but … The Professionals are on in the Opera House. These were of course the band formed by Steve Jones and Paul Cook after the Pistols. And they’re back … without Jones! Here we go again… But they are very good. New frontman Tom Spencer addresses the Steve Jones sized elephant in the room, pointing out that he played here in 1996 with The Lurkers “and I wasn’t Pete Stride either” which neatly sums up this retro punk craziness. I don’t care because they start off with my third favourite Professionals song (Just Another Dream), drop my second favourite in mid-set (The Magnificent) and finish with my favourite (Little Boys In Blue).
Anyway you decide – New school…
After which the night isn’t quite over and on a whim we decide to see Sheer Terror in The Arena only to find it’s been closed early. We are informed that the previous band , grindcore merchants and pyrotechnic enthusiasts Hellbastard were “throwing petrol around” on stage. The Arena is closed until it is declared safe. My mate works in pyrotechnics and thinks this could take days. And tomorrow one of my main bands of the weekend, The Violators , are supposed to headline there! And on that bombshell it’s goodnight!