Festival Preview – Rebellion 2018
Rebellion remains unarguably the UK’s premier punk festival, and recent years have seen them extend their reach beyond the traditional array of 77/UK82 originals and adding some more contemporary bands to the mix. Recent line-ups have been pretty impressive and this year’s is no exception, taking place from 2nd-5th August in Blackpool. So we here at Pure Rawk thought we’d do a little day by day guide to the best bands to check out…
Looking at the early part of the day, there’s a few promising bands lurking around at mid afternoon. I was very impressed by The Blue Carpet Band‘s debut album Rock ‘n’ Roll Carpet a couple of years back, and if they can translate some of that feral garage rock with a hint of psychedelia on to the stage they should be worth looking out for. Elsewhere, Kid Klumsy on the New Bands Stage are led by Dirt Box Disco singer Weab, The Soap Girls and The Kut both peddle a good line in Hole style grunge with a spiky edge to it, while for those who like their punk a bit more thrashy, Manchester’s Revenge of The Psychotronic Man should suit you.
The evening part of the day sees a mix of old-stagers (Buzzcocks, Theatre of Hate, TV Smith, The Drones and the always entertaining Splodgenessabounds) mixing with some newer names – we’ve reviewed Leeds’ Cyanide Pills a few times in these pages in recent years and their albums have been good spiky slices of Buzzcocks-style power-pop and should be well worth a look. The Ramonas (who also play a set on the Friday) are always good for pop-punk kicks whether they’re doing an originals set or covering da Bruddas, and Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs bill themselves as the UK’s leading expononents of skiffle-punk (skunk? piffle?) which could go either way but certainly marks them out as one I’d be curious to investigate.
What better way to start your day could there be than checking out the always-entertaining foul-mouthed pop punk diatribes of Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions? Now with three albums under their belts, they should be good for shaking off any hangover cobwebs from the Thursday night. Veteran Harlow socialist punks the Newtown Neurotics were always an under-rated band and with frontman Steve Drewitt resurrecting the outfit to some acclaim in recent years (let’s face it, their anthem Kick Out The Tories is probably just as relevant now as it was back in 1984) they should be well worth a watch. Sunderland street-punk veterans the Angelic Upstarts are cut from similar cloth and, led by the irrepressible Mensi, their recent album Bullingdon Bastards showed that they’re doing anything but mellowing with age. Likewise, fellow Mackems Red Alert are always good for a fierce slice of working class punk vitriol as is veteran left-wing punk poet Attila The Stockbroker over on the acoustic stage.
While veterans like GBH, Neville Staple, the Boys, the Members and the Anti-Nowhere League have had their praises sung plenty of times, there’s a good few younger bands who are worth checking out on the day – The Featherz peddle an entertaining mix of 70s glam rock swagger and punk attitude and should be worth a look. In sharp contrast, Hastings’ Maid of Ace remain one of the most uncompromisingly fierce new groups we’ve covered in recent years and with two rather good albums under their collective belts, they should be high on your to see list. Finally, we reviewed Evil Blizzard‘s debut album in these webpages recently and its mix of PIL-style art punk, metal riffs and the occasional glam-rock drum stomp was a pretty intriguing listen. They may just be one of the day’s surprise packages.
As you’d probably expect, Saturday looks like being the busiest day at Rebellion, and there’s plenty of good bands to choose from. For those looking for some old-skool kicks, the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, The Cockney Rejects, Ruts DC, 999, Vice Squad, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, Chron Gen, Spizzenergi, The Weirdos and Peter Hook & The Light are all on hand, while the evergreen Charlie Harper and the UK Subs are always worth going out of your way to see.
The inclusion of The Wildhearts on the bill might be a surprise to some, but there’s always been a punk element to Ginger and co both on and offstage (just listen to the likes of Caffeine Bomb or Suckerpunch for proof) and if they’re firing on all cylinders as they have been the two times I’ve seen them already this year, they should be well worth staying up until the early hours to catch.
We very recently reviewed The Filaments‘ new album Look To The Skies on these pages and it was probably the strongest effort yet from the Essex ska/thrash veterans – if their live show lives up to these standards then they should be well worth checking out. At the heavier end of the scale, Welsh turbo-thrash nutters Pizzatramp are good unclean fun, while The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican sound intriguing just from the name alone. Wonk Unit have garnered a good reputation as one of the best and most varied live punk bands in the UK, and on the evidence of recent album Terror are in a rich vein at the moment, while elsewhere, the day varies from the art-punk weirdness of The Lovely Eggs through Idestroy‘s female-fronted angst rock and Pretty Addicted‘s industrial stylings, to the downbeat acoustic musings of Brandy Row. So we’re pretty sure there’s bound to be something in there to suit everybody!
A bit of a quieter affair than the Saturday, Sunday looks a bit more like a winding-down day at Rebellion than anything. Nevertheless, there’s still a few bands on the bill who look like they’re well worth checking out.
Of the veteran punk bands doing the rounds, John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd‘s recent albums have shown that they’ve still got that intriguing weirdness, while fellow Sex Pistols expat Paul Cook’s Professionals continue to enjoy a reputation as a good live band with Tom Spencer now leading the line. Slaughter & The Dogs and The Vibrators are probably two of the most under-rated bands from the class of 77, and are both still capable of bringing the goods live, ditto The Adicts despite a slightly disappointing recent album.
Further down the bill, Glitter Trash are a gleefully provocative scuzz-punk band from Los Angeles headed up by the six foot plus Jenna Talia and their sole album to date showed a band unafraid to kick out the jams. The DeRellas are always good value for money in the live arena and their recent High Rise Supersize single showed that they’re still capable of chucking out tunes you can pogo to, while Hands Off Gretel and perennial Rebellion favourites Dirt Box Disco are always entertaining to watch live.
Finally, another name which may appear a bit incongruous for Rebellion on first sight, but makes perfect sense if you think about it, as Michael Monroe brings proceedings to a close at the Opera House. It’s been way too long since we last saw the Hanoi Rocks frontman doing some dates over on these shores and hopefully he’ll be up to his usual standard as one of the best live acts on the circuit.