Festival view: REBELLION

Now in its twenty third year, Rebellion festival has evolved into a seven stage feast of all things punk that brings punters from all over the world. We wanted to get an opinion on what makes it so unique. So, as they have played pretty much every year and run Rebellion Radio we thought that Peter at the Test Tube Babies would be good people to ask. Sadly, their slender front man was unavailable as he manages the Arena stage. However, Derek (guitar) and Nick (bass) were more than happy to share their thoughts on why it so special:

“To start with, it’s an independent festival and family-run. The people who run it and their families work on the stages and they bring their children. It is a place where people who’ve met each other all over the world when they’re touring can congregate and catch up. You can’t walk ten paces without seeing an old friend or an old face. I suppose it is sort of like a pilgrimage, really. It’s like a massive family reunion. Every punk in the world is here – who can afford it. There is a lovely contrast between the venue and the punters as well. All these punks and skinheads amid all this Victorian splendor, in these art-deco ballrooms. You could never imagine this 30 years ago.”

“Also, punk has changed over the years. Now everybody helps everyone out. Everybody lends each other equipment, helps each other print their merchandise, looks after each other’s stalls and borrows each other’s vans. It wasn’t always like this, in the early days of punk, when everyone hated each other.”

“Blackpool council welcomes the festival because it is a big boost to their economy with punks drinking in all the bars and renting rooms. One of my friends was talking to the lady who runs her hotel and she said the weekend of Rebellion is one the of the weekends where she feels safest in the city. She said that everyone is so relaxed, helpful and friendly. I feel like the locals have embraced it. The family punk rock thing sort of spills out onto the streets.”

Here are some of the bands that we checked out over four very sweaty days in the illustrious Winter Gardens:

 

SVETLANAS – Ballroom stage

Svetlanas

Svetlanas have branded themselves ‘the most dangerous band in the world’, and after witnessing their frighteningly good performance at Rebellion, I can see where they are coming from. Svetlanas have been exiled from their home country Russia since 2014 due to the politicised nature of their music but have instead found themselves quite at home on stages across Europe. Lead singer Olga may take the crown as most terrifyingly energetic frontperson of the weekend, and it’s a band worth seeing for the faces Olga pulls alone. The rest of the band bring the performance together into a fast and furious thrash-punk celebration. Svetlanas music is exciting whilst also bringing a sense of impending doom, a true reflection of their existence in the turbulent scene of both Russian and wider global politics. Olga’s vocal style instantly made me think of Die Antwoord, if Die Antwoord came from Russia, swapped their dance beats for thrashing guitars and enthused more about the joy of drinking vodka in their lyrics. A personal highlight was the song Put Your Middle Fingers Up, which pretty much sums up in the title alone Svetlanas’ attitude to music and life.
By Veronique Hawksworth

 

BANDITS!! – Pavillion stage

Bandits!!

One of the perks of attending a gig like this is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to come across something new and thoroughly awesome as you wander around its many areas over the course of four days. First discovery for me are Bandits!! who’ve transitioned from the Rebellion Introducing stage to the Pavilion this year. They are pretty hard to describe, along with being visually one of the most memorable acts of the weekend. Imagine if The Specials were kidnapped by an evil scientist and had their DNA mixed with the Insane Clown Posse? Their furious ska-punk is fronted by Skinny Pete. He genuinely looks like a villain from a Marvel comic. He raps at a million miles an hour in a reggae style with his vocals being complemented by the even more bonkers Starby. Behind them, the band play a tight mix of punk, ska and thrash creating some truly beautiful songs. Two standout tracks come from their most recent single. ‘Reject – Refuse – Resist’ kicks off as an epic rock anthem that Metallica would have been proud of before morphing into a thumping rock-rap feast that Faith No More could have written. It is punk rock at its most gloriously unpredictable. Meanwhile ‘Rowdy’ is a skanking classic that fast becomes a thrashing monster before returning to its reggae roots for the chorus. Final tune ‘Til the night is gone’ seems to fire just about every bullet in their magazine, my favourite bit being the supremely sinister bass refrain in the middle. Don’t take my word for it. Just go and see them if you haven’t already.
By Guy Smallman

 

RUTS DC – Ballroom stage

RUTS DC

The first thing you notice about Ruts DC is that they are just as good live as you’d expect for musicians who have been playing together for over 40 years. The second thing is that despite a very different vocal style Segs’ voice is ideally suited to those classic tunes once sung by Malcom Owen all those decades ago. So the opening selection from the classic ‘Crack’ album, which includes ‘Savage Circle’ and ‘SUS’, really get the place jumping. The latter certainly strikes a chord these days when you consider how the return of the hated ‘SUS’ laws in the form of the 2001 Counter-Terrorism act directly led to the riots of recent times.

However, their latest material proves that they are no tribute act. The title track from their 2018 album ‘This music must destroy’ is a blistering howl of rage. Opening with the line: “Break down the walls in the government halls, shouldn’t we? Corporations cut ‘em down, couldn’t we?” has the entire Empress Ballroom in all its vastness demanding an uprising in unison. This lot are more than capable of writing classic tunes that match the output from their heyday.

We’re loving ‘Jah War’ a song that is equally relevant today as when it was written, while also reminding us that this lot saw and exploited the clear parallels between punk and reggae long before anyone else had the idea. We also get two more newbies in the form of the pounding exploration of paranoia that is ‘Psychic Attack’ and the chugging anthem ‘Kill the Pain’. Then the finale is a medley of classics including ‘Babylon’s Burning’, ‘In a Rut’ and ‘Human Punk’. They are definitely a crew with many years of gigs & songwriting left in them.
By Guy Smallman

 

BARNSTORMER 1649 – Opera House

Barnstormer 1649

Ranting punk poet John (Attila the Stockbroker) Baine has carved his own original niche in the punk psyche over the past thirty-eight years. While best known for his solo gigs and exhausting touring schedule, his greatest achievement remains his band Barnstormer 1649 and the invention of a new genre that he calls ‘Renaissance-core’. In a nutshell, he blends punk rock with his poetry and medieval instruments to create a spectacular noise that sounds like absolutely nothing else ever. Previous albums have produced true flashes of genius with songs like ‘Sarajevo’ and ‘Baghdad ska’. But it is the latest offering ‘Restoration tragedy’ that deserves the accolade of being his masterpiece. The narrative mainly explores the hidden history and politics of the English civil war and it remains head and shoulders above everything else he has recorded both lyrically and musically.

So I honestly cannot think of a better place to see it performed than the Winter Gardens Opera house, with its perfect acoustics, comfy seats and classical feel. They kick off with the multi-instrument medley that is the ‘Levellers Trilogy’ which ends with a superb cover of Leon Rosselson’s ‘World Turned Upside Down’. As the allocated time does not allow the album to be played in its entirety a few tracks get dropped. ‘The man With the Beard’ which is John’s ode to Jeremy Corbyn gets left out as he concentrates on the main theme of the time when our proud ancestors threw off their chains and beheaded the king. ‘The monarch’s way’ delivers the untold story of how King Charles escaped the Round Heads and fled to France. An event that changed the course of history, and quite possibly fucked things up for the English for hundreds of years to come. Barnstormer are not just a unique live experience. Be prepared to be enriched in historical knowledge as well. ‘Abiezer Coppe’ is another favourite, which tells the story of the foul-mouthed ranter whose insults riled the church, monarchy, and eventually Cromwell himself. With his taste for boozing, excess and causing endless offence, he was arguably England’s first-ever punk rock star, some three hundred years before the Sex Pistols played their first gig.

To give a detailed rundown of every song in the set would probably take up more space than the rest of this review put together. ‘Restoration tragedy’ is a work of absolute focus that we fortunately, get to hear in its entirety on the acoustic stage the following day. Including ‘The Voice’ which remains my favourite track from the album as it examines the life of revolutionary hero Thomas Rainsborough while also paying homage to my favourite post-punk act who are quite possibly associated with the town of Bradford. In a post-revolutionary Britain, this band will be gainfully funded by the People’s Arts Council to play free gigs in stadiums to endow the masses with knowledge of our past victories and the long-forgotten instruments that accompanied the subversive songs that celebrated them. In the meantime, logistics mean that their gigs are quite rare so catch them whenever you can.
By Guy Smallman

 

POISON IDEA – Casbah stage

Poison Idea

Of the hundreds of punk bands on the Rebellion festival bill this year, there was one band that I definitely did not want to miss: POISON IDEA. The Kings of Punk from Portland started their ‘The King is Dead Tour’ a month ago in Germany and with that announcement also came the sad news of it being their farewell tour. My all-time favourite band will be hanging up their crowns, which made their set at the Casbah stage even more special.

Their current line up consists of Jerry A on vocals (Jerry of course started up the band back in 1980 and is the driving force behind them), Chris Carey on bass (who joined some 14 years ago and played on the “Latest Will and Testament” LP, the “Triple Chocolate Penetration” EP, the “Confuse and Conquer” LP and on the most recent “Calling All Ghosts” EP as well as on the “Company Party” live LP), Chris Cuthbert on drums (who also played on “Latest Will and Testament” and toured Europe with them in 2012), Jeff Walter on rhythm guitar (who also toured Europe with PI back in 2012) and Andrew Stromstad on lead guitar (who joined the band earlier this year). I flew to Madrid to see them back in 2012 as they didn’t play any UK gigs as part of that tour so had seen them with this line up before, except they had Jim Taylor on lead guitar back then.

They kicked off their set with ‘Hangover Heartattack’ which is, of course, a great and powerful opener, and one that has been at the top of many of their setlists in the past since the song was released on the “Banned in the UK” EP. As soon as the song kicked in it was obvious that this lot were on top form and played tight as fuck. I was also well impressed by Andrew’s solos as this was the first tour I’ve seen him play and he played not only this solo but every solo from their set exactly like the original recordings. Next up was ‘Punish Me’, another classic with smooth bass licks played brilliantly by Carey and of course the dual solo and ending played by Jeff and Andrew. What followed was a mixture of classics like ‘Cop An Attitude’, ‘Drug Revival’, ‘Crippled Angel’, 5 tracks from the ‘Feel The Darkness LP’ which many regard as PI’s best album: ‘Just To Get Away’ in which Chris Cuthbert once again proved to be thee man for the job, ‘Taken By Surprise’, ‘Plastic Bomb’, ‘Deep Sleep’ and ‘Alans On Fire’ as well as a few more recent songs like ‘Me and JD’ and ‘Calling All Ghosts’. When they got through their set list and had some time left, Jerry A asked what songs the audience would like them to play and they blasted through more classics including ‘Marked For Life’.
Poison Idea once again proved they are the Kings of Punk and in my opinion were one of the best, if not the best band of Rebellion that I got to see. And not just musically, they are also genuinely nice guys to drink with. I don’t know what the punk scene would have been like if it wasn’t for them as they’ve been a major influence to many including myself, and I’m sure they will be for generations to come.
By Robin Licker (The Restarts)

 

THE PUKES – Opera House

The Pukes

For some reason, I have never seen The Pukes until now. I have to admit they were not high on my bucket list as my impression was that they were one of those jokey cover bands and also because I have never considered the ukulele to be a real instrument. It turns out that I was wrong about both of these things. Firstly because most of their set turns out to be their own material and secondly because I now discover that the electric uke absolutely rules!

Much of the set is drawn from their ‘Too drunk to pluck album’ and the songs just bring an enormous smile to everyone’s faces. ‘Fight song’ and ‘Will I learn’ take brutally honest self-appraisal to a new comedic level. Meanwhile ‘The ballad of Micky Fitz’ is a heart-warming tribute to the former Business front man. I also finally get to hear a cover version of Dead Kennedys’ classic ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ that doesn’t make me cringe. ‘Because you are young’ is another memorable tune with a thoroughly infectious chorus that has the whole place clapping along, albeit slightly out of time with the band.

We also get three new tracks from their latest release ‘Never mind the buffet’, an album containing completely original material from the present line up. “All about you’ is a proper rant against those men who just can’t see beyond their own egos. ‘One in a million’ is a tribute to those friends that everyone needs in their life. Finally ‘Google it bitch’ is a bitter sweet little number with a memorable chorus that suggests to me that the new record is definitely worth getting. They really are great fun to watch and I wish I’d checked them out sooner.
By Guy Smallman

 

DESCENDENTS – Ballroom stage

DESCENDENTS

Descendents returned to the Ballroom for their second ever Rebellion performance and received a warm welcome from fans. Their set began by smashing straight into Suburban Home, Everything Sux and Hope, ensuring that the energy of the crowd was peaking from the very start. Milo Aukerman and the rest of the band storm through the set at such a speed there’s barely time for the audience to stop and take a breath, but this high-energy performance keeps everyone engaged throughout. Even the less hardcore fan can appreciate the quality of this performance, as their live act mirrors their recordings satisfyingly well, and their pleasing vocal harmonies echoed through the ballroom. The energy from all band members was palpable, and it’s always great to be in a room where the band is clearly enjoying themselves as much as their fans. It’s interesting to see how persistent and universal their appeal is with fans of all ages screaming along. Descendents have successfully captured a sentiment in their music which refuses to go stale. Clearly, not that much has changed in the world of teenage angst and frustration since the Descendents first appeared on the scene.
By Veronique Hawksworth

 

THE RESTARTS – Casbah stage

The Restarts

Despite the enormity of the venue and the fact that it is only 7pm on a Thursday night The Restarts’ fire and fury has attracted a huge crowd. This should come as no surprise. For over two decades they have established a network of fans and fellow DIY bands that stretches west across one ocean to the Americas and east across the other into Europe and as far afield as Indonesia. They’ve played with some of the biggest names, so look as confident as you’d expect on this huge stage with its giant PA and lighting rig. But they are also feel just as at home in the basement of a London squat playing a benefit gig which is where most of us are used to seeing them.

The molten anger of opening number ‘Legacy of bigotry’ sets the tone for the rest of the set as they plough through a frantic encyclopedia of rage at the injustices of the world. ‘Drone attack’ is a particular favourite and a ska-punk modern classic that melds skanking chords, metal riffs and vocals that spit pure venom along with a healthy dose of all-American sarcasm. Keiran looks like he is going to explode as he spells out the plight of his LGBT comrades in ‘Uganda calling’. One thing that really helps this lot pack a punch is that they really know and understand their politics along with their songwriting.

They have just finished recording a new LP. But more imminent is a split EP with The Subhumans. Both bands loosely agreed to decide a theme for the release but in true punk style failed to get their shit together in time for the pressing. Not that it mattered because without each other’s knowledge they wrote tracks called ‘The one percent’ and ‘Ninety nine percent’. Great minds think alike…

‘One percent’ is one of their most savage tracks to date, broken up by a nice chunky refrain in the middle that gradually builds back the intensity of the song with some clever guitar work until it reaches its boiling conclusion. Another new one is ‘Panic’. A no holds barred examination of the approaching climate catastrophe through the eyes of Greta Thunburg. Thoroughly uncompromising from beginning to end and a band whose members don’t just sing about making the world a better place.
By Guy Smallman

 

QUEEN ZEE – Ballroom stage

Queen Zee

Queen Zee tore up the Empress Ballroom on Thursday, with a riotous performance that showed why they’re just as comfortable on big festival stages as they are at small sweaty venues. Queen Zee have proven their versatility in the past couple of years as they seamlessly combine glittery drag pop vibes with hard hitting punk riffs and humour-infused lyrics. Zena fronts the band with star quality, but equally impressive was their second vocalist/keyboard player Ash, who’s powerful vocal shines through in the outro to I Hate Your New Boyfriend. Highlights include crowd favourite Porno and nod to Iggy Pop (who is now a huge fan) Lucy Fur, as well as the fact Queen Zee opted to use a screenshot from a 2017 viral video of a Nazi being punched by a passer-by in Seattle as their festival backdrop. Queen Zee bring energy and fun whilst being subversive and firmly political- a fresh generation of punky pop that Rebellion Festival needs.
By Veronique Hawksworth

 

RADICAL DANCE FACTION – Casbah stage

Radical Dance Faction

At some point in the early nineties the music press had to reluctantly report an underground scene, that it had ignored forever, which was breaking into the mainstream from the squats and free festivals. Events like the Deptford Urban Free Festival were attracting literally thousands of people and some of the bands like Levellers had breached the mainstream charts. This of course ushered in a whole new era of sneering with endless and frankly unimaginative jokes about soap, patchouli oil and dogs on string. Their favourite band to take the piss out was Radical Dance Faction (RDF) the punk reggae act led by dreadlocked poet Chris Bowsher. Well unlike the NME which now exists only in cyber space and Melody Maker and Sounds which disappeared completely RDF are still here and managed to pull a pretty big crowd on the final day of Rebellion in its second largest venue.

They are primarily a dub band, which goes some way to explaining why they recently attracted esteemed producer and Killing Joke bassist Youth to assist with their latest album which also features former Hawkwind member Nick Turner on sax. While most of us are used to seeing them in the back rooms of pubs or at small DIY festivals through very basic PA equipment; a set up like this really helps you appreciate their music and what they should actually sound like. The giant rig amplifies the richness of their bass and percussion-heavy mix. Meanwhile Chris’ vocals and the guitar are gifted just the right amount of reverb to complete the blend. We mostly get new material from their latest record and I am disappointed that ‘Babylon’ my absolute favourite number is left out. However we still get ‘Working class hero’ from ‘Wasteland’ and the place really starts jumping for ‘Surplas people’. Its good to have them back.
By Guy Smallman

 

INTERROBANG!? – Opera house

Interrobang!?

Dunstan Bruce is certainly not a man who wishes to mellow with age. If anything he is considerably angrier at the world than during his days as part of the triple-headed hydra fronting Chumbawamba. He cuts quite a dashing figure with his tailored suit and terrifying haircut. Looking like a villain from one of the darker Ealing comedies. But his music is anything but reserved. He is joined by former Chumba drummer Harry Hammer, who moves along the narrative with some pleasingly creative beats. Guitarist Stephen Griffin completes the mix with a symphony of understated, schizophrenic riffs that makes the tunes accompanying Dunstan’s furious prose exceptionally catchy. For a three piece they have a vast and complex sound with some added touches on sequencer/keyboards by Danielle who completes the live line up.

First and foremost I dispute the notion that this post-punk ensemble appeal only to middle aged radicals struggling to understand an increasingly awful world. Their quirky tunes appeal to everyone with an axe to grind and the age range of the folks hopping away in front of the seated area reflects this. They have certainly built up a live following who know the words and cheer in their favourite numbers.

‘Taciturn’ starts the set with Dunston approaching the stage from the back of the auditorium bawling into a megaphone as the band kick in with a rocking surf accompaniment. It is just over two minutes of barking mad genius. Next song ‘Inclement weather’ is even shorter but this is a band who make their point in the bluntest terms and they are all the better for it. No room here for self-indulgence or mealy-mouthed time-wasting. ‘Asking for a friend’ is a searing commentary of the poisonous online world that we willingly immerse ourselves in. ‘Mad as hell’ is a rage-fuelled call to arms built around a dark bit of guitar work that hitched a ride here from the early 1980s. By the end of the gig, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed having tried and failed to absorb around fifteen 2-minute packages of love, rage, angst and occasional joy. So I’m just going to have to see them again (and again) when the opportunity arises.
By Guy Smallman

 

CULTURE SHOCK – Casbah stage

Culture Shock

I was going to toss a coin to decide which band fronted by the supremely prolific Mr Dick Lucas I was going to review. But coins only have two sides and all three of his best known creations are playing here. So in the end I opt for Culture Shock, the band that bridged the gap between The Subhumans and Citizen Fish and is also the most recent one to be re-launched with all but one of the original line up. A banging set could very easily be drawn from their first three LPs released between 1986 & 89 but Dick has never been one to sit around while the world is filled with injustice. So two more albums have been released since they returned leaving a wealth of angry polemics to choose from.

The first thing that I notice is how relevant some of their earlier stuff is right now. ‘Four minutes’ was written during an era when Armageddon was a very real prospect and we were shitting ourselves watching TV dramas like ‘Threads’. Now we have the USA and North Korea ruled by unpredictable, malignant narcissists with terrible haircuts and their fingers on the button. ‘Six foot rooms’ seems slightly more dated as we dwell in the midst of a housing crisis (with additional anti squatting laws) and many people would hand over one of their kidneys for a secure council tenancy. So on the same subject, ‘Sky high’ from their 2016 album ‘Attention span’ feels more current as it examines the criminal practice of filling our cities with luxury tower blocks which remain empty as an investment while people sleep on the streets. You can pretty much guarantee that if something awful is happening somewhere, Dick will have written a song to express his fury about it. He remains one of the most professional and engaging performers around and the DIY scene is a much richer place for his exhaustive contribution to it.
By Guy Smallman

 

SHÖCK – Introducing stage

Shöck

We were very pleased to watch Shöck performing at the Rebellion Introducing Stage (RIS). This experienced band from Bilbao, in the Basque Country, managed to gather an impressive crowd despite singing in Spanish to a mostly non-Spanish audience, and playing at the same time as some well-known bands in other stages. They opened with ‘No hay paz’ (There’s no peace), a song about punk culture and resistance, from their 2018 debut album called ‘Shöck’, and in no time the RIS room became quickly bursting with a large and receptive audience. It followed with ‘No funciona’ (It doesn’t work), a song about the failures the current capitalist economic system, and‘No son dos’ (It’s not two), a song about gender issues around binarism. Vitxo (bass), Ricki (drums), and Nando (guitar) delivered a raw and energetic sound throughout their 30 minutes set that reminded us of early Iberian punk in the 80s, whilst Micky’s sweet and melodic voice brought everything to life. The result was harmonious but powerful and electrifying punk rock from beginning to end.

Their performance continued with ‘Holocausto’ (Holocaust), a song about animalism which compares the extermination in the hands of national socialism with the situation currently lived by millions of animals, and ‘Mar sin sal’ (Sea without salt), a song about profit and precarious work based on their own personal experiences. Despite the venue being considerably hot we had goose bumps by the time they played ‘Sexta extincion’ (Sixth extinction, based on a book by Richard E Leakey with the same title), a song about the Earth being in the midst of a modern, man-made, sixth catastrophe. We were already melting with the crowd in the front row and dancing like mad when they played ‘Lluvia negra’ (Black rain), a song about nuclear weapons and the Hiroshima disaster, and ‘La Trampa’ (The cheat), a song about the political class and the electoral system, finally closing with ‘La fabrica de lxs suicidas’ (The factory of suicides), a song about the precarious conditions of an Apple factory in Taiwan where a high number of employees have committed suicide in recent years. By that time some devoted fans had taken over the stage floor, encouraged by the pleasant atmosphere created by such talented musicians. A 10 out of 10 performance and certainly a band to watch.
By Marina Carulla

 

CONFLICT – Casbah stage

Conflict

This lot are quite possibly the most banned punk band of all time. So I’m unsurprised to learn that they were permanently excluded from Rebellion a few years back after Colin had what might be described as a ‘difference of opinion’ with the venue security when he was recovering from some extremely tough times. Fortunately their excommunication was commuted from life to seven years so they’re back. While they may have had their ups and downs as a live act over the years, today they’re on top form with their present line up which includes Paul Hoddy on bass, who is now the longest serving member aside from Colin. Stoo on drums who has been around the band for four years and of course guitarist Gav who has been with paying with the band for a decade now and is a much sought after sessionist in his own right.

They open with a new track ‘Manipulation of Matter’, a spacious, apocalyptic intro. Then they waste no time in tearing through a selection of some of their most ferocious numbers to remind us all why they were hated throughout the nineteen eighties by the establishment and its cops in equal measure. The opening riffs of ‘Increase the pressure’ summons a deafening roar from the crowd as does the following number ‘The serenade is dead’ for which Colin is joined of vocals by JJ from Discharge. ‘Carlo Guiliani’ from their 2003 comeback album ‘There’s no power without control’ gets an equally warm reception, as does the title tract from the same record. Perhaps the only break we get from what is a relentless hardcore assault on the senses is ‘Climbing the stairs’ a slower reggae tune from the 1993 LP ‘Conclusion’. By the time the set itself concludes with ALF anthem ‘Whichever way you want it’ they have pretty much reestablished themselves in the eyes of the crowd as one of the most important anarchist bands of the past few decades. It’s been a triumphant return and since Rebellion we’ve been fortunate enough to hear some previews of their new album which pulls no punches either musically or lyrically. Given the current state of the world and the return of Thatcher in the form of Boris fucking Johnson it just can’t come soon enough.
By Guy Smallman

 

DREAM NAILS – Ballroom stage

Dream Nails

Dream Nails opened the Ballroom with their brand of politically switched-on witchy punk on Friday and gave an upbeat performance sure to cure even the most banging Buckfast hangover. Dream Nails interspace many of their songs with audience engagement, and successfully use their performances as a vehicle for political education, particularly surrounding feminist topics such as reproductive justice and sexual harassment. Dream Nails are unapologetic in their stance and fully own the stage whilst performing, giving a musically tight yet fun-fuelled performance. Lead vocalist Janey Starling leads a chorus of ‘Come to the front, come to the front, women and nonbinary people come to the front’, a chant which has become customary at their shows in an effort to let women and nonbinary people take up space in an environment which is so often dominated by boisterousness and male aggression. Dream Nails inject their politically-charged lyrics into sometimes chanting, sometimes more crooning but always catchy songs such as Deep Heat and personal favourite Chirpse Degree Burns (Left On Read), a frustrated millennial anthem about being ghosted whilst texting someone, which proves punk is still just as much about our personal trivial struggles as it is about bigger political struggles. Drummer Lucy Katz stepped out from behind her drumkit to lead the room in a morning fitness class, and evidently not everyone in the crowd appreciated the invitation to ‘do their lowest squat’, which obviously made their performance ever the more amusing. Similarly to Queen Zee, Dream Nails are a welcome and refreshing addition to the Rebellion main stage, and show a side to 21st century DIY punk which I hope the festival will continue to explore.
By Veronique Hawksworth

 

 

So, to conclude, Rebellion really is like nothing else. The punters range from wide-eyed teenagers, who look like they’ve landed in punk’s answer to Aladdin’s cave, to mohicans on mobility scooters growing old disgracefully as they hit their mid sixties. There really is a genuine feeling of community around this event with its unique venue, helpful security and blinding line up. From Thursday to Sunday we saw thousands of punks and skinheads drinking solidly day after day without ever witnessing a single heated argument, let alone a fight. There are plenty of stalls for those who show up with cash in their pockets along with reasonably priced bars and an acoustic stage for those who want something a bit quieter. Local homeless charities and women’s shelters also benefit from the annual influx and it is clear than when people talk about the “Rebellion family” they are describing a welcoming, close knit clan that is built around a really exceptional celebration of insurrection.

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