Rebellion 2022 – Friday

Hang on …… he looks familiar,,,,

This weekend presents a few challenges and one of those is getting breakfast. At our “B & B” we have en suite single bedrooms for a very reasonable price and a cheap bar. The one thing we don’t have is breakfast, supposedly “due to Covid regulations”. Of course.Boris having singlehandedly “got us through Covid”. We are in venues of several thousand people with no requirement to provide any evidence of our Covid status. But there’s no breakfast at the B & B, or B. Happily Damp is someone who can get things sorted. Via some connection involving the sandwich woman who serves his workplace, has found us a nearby B & B that will offer us breakfast that morning so that is that problem solved.

Other problems look a bit more tricky. One of these is trying to arrange to meet up with Fuel who will be something of a needle in a haystack, and this is complicated by Brexit making simple methods of communication more expensive. Another is that I am trying to meet up with a member of Swedish punk rock & roll band Cat And The Underdogs who I have been talking to online in order to get hold a copy of their LP without paying huge postal costs. They aren’t even on the bill, and I don’t know what my contact even looks like!

I was also hoping to catch up with some mates for a drink but as the proposed meet up time is 12pm in a pub and Battalion Zoska are on in the Pavilion at 12.30pm it’s a non-starter for me. After the Philadelphian band’s set of bracing political streetpunk kicks off the day it’s off to the Cask And Tap for a couple of pints with a mate and his son who wasn’t even born when the festival first started. Damp meanwhile is off watching Tiger Sex, which I hope is the name of a band. It’s then back to the Pavilion to see Crown Court, one of the main bands I want to see all weekend. In the Winter Gardens someone shouts me and I see an old mate bearing down on me in a mobility scooter. It turns out that since I last saw him he needed a knee operation that was repeatedly cancelled due to the pandemic and things have got worse since. He asks if I can watch the scooter while he uses the gents – of course I can but I point out he better hurry up because Crown Court are on in a few minutes. I’m all heart!

He’s back in time and I’m in the Pavilion just in time for Crown Court, the best new oi band this century in my opinion. I’ve seen them once, on exactly the same stage 5 years ago and they were brilliant, but since then they’ve had big line up changes, not least with the departure of guitarist Charles Manning Walker, now better known as Chubby of Chubby And The Gang minor fame. Will the new line up be as good? Someone comments to me that they sound a bit sluggish and to be fair I think they take a few songs to get going, but they soon hit their stride with the old rock and roll tinged Oi sound intact. Frontman Trevor makes a reference to the fact that he is not allowed to use his customary football terrace flares in this venue – a good thing for those of us who prefer our Oi bands to comply with the correct health and safety regulations – but they still get a lively pit going with their football aggro anthem Sammy Skyves. At this point I’m going to digress. People often mock the Rebellion crowd and the punk scene in general for all claiming to be individuals while dressing the same. Most people here have heard all this before and couldn’t give a toss, but there are the odd people here whose sartorial style stands out – they might be going for sports casual with a hint of crusty or dressing like an Archbishop (I think it’s safe to assume this particular person is not actually an Archbishop). Perhaps the one who stands out the most is the punter that me and Damp dub Belgian Suit Man – so named because he is Belgian and always wearing a suit , or at least in this heat a smart shirt, tie and trousers. If he worked for an Estate Agents he might be told to be a bit more casual. I mention him here because he is down in the pit for Crown Court. I take my hat off to him.

Crown Court meanwhile deliver an impressive set of mostly new songs ranging from the fast and furious Kids In The 20s to the menacing mid tempo Coming For You. Still the best Oi band of the 21st century, and the best band I see ay Rebellion today…not necessarily the best band I see anywhere today though …more later.

It’s then a quick detour to The Empress to check whether the old boys of Oi still have it, specifically Infa Riot. The answer appears to be yes, but the sound is terrible, so I don’t hang about.  I do hear frontman Lee Wilson describe himself as the “Elvis of Oi”. I think I have established in previous years that he is in fact the Bruce Forsyth of Oi. Anyway, I now notice that Crown Court have their merch stall up and running and I want a t-shirt. The trouble is that they are only taking cash and I don’t have any. Nearly every bar in the venue is only taking card, to the chagrin of Damp who has taken out a big wodge of cash for the weekend. I have come to an arrangement with him that I will buy him drinks and he will give me cash to buy merch, but now he is nowhere to be seen. I head out of the venue to find a cashpoint and find myself stuck in a queue behind a woman repeatedly attempting to use a card that the machine is repeatedly rejecting. Me and a young lad in a Test Tubes t-shirt joke about how many bands we’ll miss while she persists, and eventually I decide to pay a hasty visit to the chippy. Returning having wolfed down chips and cheese I’m back in the queue – further ahead in the queue is the same woman again.

Eventually I get cash and make my way back, bumping into an old mate who is waiting outside the Winter Gardens (see above) for “the missus” who hasn’t been seen since popping into a shop. I try to phone her for him but can’t get the number to ring (not realising that I’m trying to input her phone number where I should be inputting my PIN number). He gives up and we head back inside. He heads for the Casbah and I head for the Crown Court merch stall, only to bump into “the missus” who asks me if I’ve seen him. I send her after him and finally get to the merch area to find Crown Court have packed up and gone early.

After all that I head Into the Pavilion to chill out to the reliably angry sound of Surgery Without Research.

Damp is there – well that’s no use now! After Surgery I have a choice: – something new fangled with Russian political hip hop crew and Restarts associates Moscow Death Brigade, or something reliably old fashioned in the shape of From The Jam at R-Fest. Damp goes for new, I cop out and go for old. I obviously never saw The Jam , and I’ve never seen From The Jam either despite opportunities. It’s an odd one – I saw them as a sort of tribute band with original members, but really, they have as much claim to authenticity as many of the old bands here, so I’m taking the opportunity. I set off on the trek to the outdoor stage. As I emerge from Boots having bought Ibuprofen for my aching feet (pity it turns out I’ve bought Ibuprofen for the throat but hey) the strains of Down In The Tube Station are wafting from the sea front. As I approach, they play David Watts, followed by Town Called Malice which gradually fades away as I walk to the end of the promenade and fades back in again as I enter the venue, followed by Pretty Green (or should that be Pretty Contactless Payment?) as I make my way to security. I finally make to the stage in time for Saturday’s Kids and Butterfly Collector, two of my favourites – result! Mr Not-Paul-Weller on vocals does a pretty good job of sounding like Weller, but overall they aren’t quite as powerful as I expect – or maybe it’s the acoustics? All the way through I also can’t help thinking about a book I read recently by an ex-From The Jam drummer who details Bruce Foxton’s obsessive nit-picking with hotels and even vindictive behaviour towards drummers who make errors booking hotels – I guess I’m not likely to bump into Foxton at my hotel. Anyway, they finish off with Eton Rifles and Going Underground, as fine as pair of set closers as you’re likely to hear , so that’s fine by me.

I decide to hang on for the Skids, a good move as they sound great – lingering doubts about the acoustics are blown away. This is their second set of the weekend as they stepped in at short notice last night to fill the headlining slot after Bad Religion cancelled. They play hit after hit as well as a short Pistols medley, but as much as that the entertainment is provided by raconteur and committed dad dancer Richard Jobson – he playfully offers the audience out for a fight in the car park,  playfully abuses John Robb who mocked his dancing in an interview earlier, and playfully mocks the late Stuart Adamson’s acne, (to boos), and makes a gag about meeting certain Top Of The Pops presenters back in the day. He comments that the U2/Green Day cover of Saints Are Coming got them a younger audience “and by younger, I mean 54 – 57”.

Great entertainment, but I’m going back to the Arena. I’ve done my research on most of the bands – if I hadn’t, I would have skipped a band called Turtles Jnr assuming they were some kind of parping trumpets and baggy shorts brigade. I guess the name doesn’t work in translation because they are an Indonesian hardcore punk mix of the Exploited and Chaos UK and are busy laying waste to the Arena, or at least getting a 10 person circle pit going (as much as the Arena can cope with). I’m impressed and rush to buy music only to find they only have cassettes. Sorry I’m not going back to cassettes. What next? Wax cylinders? Sheet music on parchment?

I catch the beginning of reformed 80s anarcho band Alternative, the so called “Scottish Crass” but decide perhaps it’s a reformed 80s anarcho band too far so I decide to head back to the B. Instead I get waylaid by a couple of mates from home including one I haven’t seen for over twenty years. We hang around for a bit, nod and wave at Turtles Jnr who don’t speak much English, chilling out post set. Eventually my old mate decides to tag along with me for the evening as I head off the beaten track to The Washington pub which is putting on not-officially-Rebellion gigs every night. I’m planning to watch old favourites Foreign Legion and Braindance. Foreign Legion are a no show due to Covid (though some cynics are observing that they have pulled out of the unofficial gig just as they’ve been announced for the real event next year but I’m sure that’s not the reason). Never mind because Braindance soon take to the “stage” (corner of the pub) and deliver a brilliant set of hard but tuneful streetpunk. My mate has never heard of them but instantly declares them to be brilliant and dives down the front with his fist pumping. It’s that kind of evening though, a lot of people are very drunk and more unusually a lot of people know every song. I have a theory that every Braindance fan in the country is in The Washington. Sloss is on even finer waggish form than yesterday with On The Huh, and is also quite drunk , with the result that he is trying to convince us he’s 28. He cheekily suggests that US skatepunk legends Pennywise ripped off Braindance oldie They Judge Us for their classic Bro Hymn (I’ve checked – They Judge us was released in 93, Bro Hymn in 91– nice try Sloss!) and the audience actually sing along to the riff. There are a couple of new songs as well, one of which is called Here For The Beer and is in a kind of German oompah style – good fun, but I hope the whole of the new album isn’t in that style! An encore is demanded and they oblige with a cover of Discharge’s Ain’t No feeble Bastard. They’ve gone down a storm – take note Rebellion bookers!

We hang around for a bit and get into a chat with a drunk Scotsman who tells us that Scotland is a separate country. Fair enough I say but we want you to help us get rid of the Tories. Come up with a plan to do that and we’ll stay he suggests. That might be a tall order tonight with the amount I’ve drunk.

Back to Rebellion and the Pavilion for two-piece lo-fi psychedelic punk rock band (thanks Wikipedia) and married couple the Lovely Eggs. mainly because I suspect Fuel will be in attendance. They have a big crowd and I fail to locate Fuel (he was in the middle of the crowd apparently). Me and my mate decide to stay for The Outcasts but after two songs he decides he needs a fag and persuades me to come outside with him – at which point I decide that that’s probably enough for today anyway. My feet need a rest so it’s time for a pizza and to bed for the night. I realise I’ve missed a message from my Swedish contact telling me he’s heading to the Empress. That was at 18.49. Hopefully he’s not still there standing around with my LP.

Photos courtesy of Fuel!

8 thoughts on “Rebellion 2022 – Friday

  1. I managed to get a B&B with breakfast last weekend, althought the guest house next door had blanked out the food element of their facilities. It wasn’t in Blackpool, but perhaps people are using covid as an excuse not to do it? Back with more fascinating thoughts shortly.

    • Well they did warn us things would never be the same again, so perhaps B & Bs not doing breakfast is one of them. Ours is selling up so he probably hasn’t got a lot to lose by not feeding his punters.

      • Was there a lot more walking than usual or did you have new boots? Aching feet is no joke, I am glad you found a solution. Also, would it be impolite to ask why Damp is called Damp?

        • Good question! He isn’t usually , I asked him if he wanted real name or alias and he chose an alias which is apparently something to do with a predictive test error!
          It’s the walking and the standing , it used to get to me by the end of Sunday, now it starts on the Thursday,. If I could do what one colleague did when they went to an outdoor concert at Hyde Park once and take a fold out chair that would really help, but I doubt I’d get it through security.

  2. Pingback: Hardcore – 80s | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

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