Live: Rebellion Festival Amsterdam, 01/05/11
Probably the UK’s biggest punk festival, Rebellion Festival (evolved from the Holidays In The Sun fests) is consistently growing year on year, so it is somehow apt that they should go for a European one-off holiday project this year, at the Melkweg (‘Milky Way’ or ‘Galaxy’ in English) in Amsterdam.
Falling slap bang in the middle of the biggest party weekend of Amsterdam’s calendar, yesterday was ‘Queens Day’ (the actual queen, not trannies, though there were some of those too), so drunkenness, bad behaviour and far too much ‘national orange’ filled the streets ‘til late last night. Today promises to be much the same, but with mercifully less orange and much better bands.
Openers of the day, when stray members were finally coaxed out of the top floor dressing rooms, were London-based weirdoes Monkish. Luckily, we’d seen this lot before, or the mad traffic-cone-gnome, bagpipes and human Christmas tree would have sat badly on top of those mushrooms I had for breakfast. Especially when I noticed the miniature Angus Young from On Trial standing next to us in full costume. Insisting on addressing Amsterdam as ‘Belgium’, Monkish’s delightfully juvenile silliness would have warmed the crowd up nicely had it perhaps not been a bit too early for some of them.
Hearing good things about Rat Patrol on the main stage, I made my way over to the second stage to see new wave punks The Duel. Having undergone several lineup changes of late, and seeing bassist Andy Thierum move controversially to keytar, it has been a time of change for these guys. But I’m pleased to report, this time it really works – everything is in balance and they put in a damn good show today.
Back on the main stage, we catch a bit of The Mahones, which as the name suggests, are a bit like The Pogues, and come complete with Irish pennywhistle. The surprise here though is that they are actually from Canada. Very good if you like that sort of thing, but for me gets very old very quickly, so it’s back to the second stage for ’77 originals Fire Exit. It’s no wonder they’ve survived this far, given the reception they get, to the extent they eventually have to be told to get offstage by the sound man. You just can’t stop a Wheelchair Out of Control!
One of the few female-fronted acts on the main stage, Civet sadly rather let the side down today, very easy on the eye, but sadly its all a bit too American punk by numbers, and stolen Motorhead riffs, for my taste. Showing how US punk can be done better is Agnostic Front frontman Roger Miret with his personal project The Disasters. The tracks from their fourth album Gotta Get Up Now sit very nicely alongside the back catalogue, and build on it too with a few less obviously numbers. Not that they could get away without a quick blast of the ‘Front favourite Gotta Go too, whether they liked it or not.
This just left time for a quick blast of Demob (dear reader, I may have got somewhat excited and shouted a bit to Anti-Police) before some proper Oi action on the main stage from Watford’s Argy Bargy. Then some Splodge (Splodgenessabounds), the ones who wrote the song Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please that the BBC turned into that so-called sitcom. Good fun all round.
UK Subs are the next ‘name’ band on the main stage, and they kick out the punk with their usual unstoppable regularity. We’ve all seen the subs umpteen times I’m sure, it’s not like you can move in the UK punk scene without tipping the pint of an ex-sub somewhere! Good solid show tonight, and a few new tracks as well to prove that Harper & Co aren’t stopping any time soon. Extra points to drummer Jamie Oliver (not that one) for putting in his second set of the day, having ‘subbed’ for another band missing a drummer earlier.
Sadly, I missed Cockney Rejects headline set later in the night due to… beer… and stuff… But I’m reliably informed they were pretty good too. I woke up the next day in Rotterdam. I’m fairly sure I meant to do that.
The main Rebellion Festival event happens August 4-7th this year in Blackpool. See link below for full lineup.