Niall McGuirk’s epic roundup of his annual punk rock pilgrimage to Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival

It’s not quite Premiership weekend in Dublin airport, but the punks have replaced football fans on the Manchester flights. There is a sense of excitement as we wait to board the myriad of plans descending on the north west of England this weekend. It’s early morning but there are legions of loyal supporters ready for the four day trip. Rebellion promises to be extra special this time around. There are more stages than ever, an outdoor arena and the literary stage has moved to the fancy surroundings of the Opera House. Will we be able to fit in all we hope for? The next four days will tell but for now it’s the thoughts of a starting 11 of Jennie Russell, Geoffrey Oicott, Pears, Jaded Eyes, Flag, Billy Liar, Bouncing Souls, Lost Cherries, TV Smith, Descendents and The Pukes with a definite sub to come on in TSOL that has me excited

There’s a bigger buzz about Rebellion this year. Much larger crowd than previous opening days, outdoor stage that is blasting the likes of Evil Blizzard makes it a different atmosphere, but a one way system for people in operation makes moving between stages that but more difficult.

Day 1

Pears play high octane hardcore with tunes promising to breakthrough but it’s an assault for sure. Vicki Vortex and The Cumshots are of one of these band names; singalong, basic enough punk rock. Plenty of 1-2-3-4 along the way. They are on at the same time as Ted Dibiase and the Million Dollar Punk Band so a select few songs from both bands was enough. Ted Dibiase is much more punk rock’n’roll but full of power like all the best three pieces. We all looked on bemused as hundreds of Dibiase pounds were spread into the audience.

Jennie Russell is one of the brains behind Rebellion, so I really wanted to hear what she had to say. A great thing about Rebellion is the literary stage – the stories of the punks who lived through the past 40 years are related here. I really wish they could be recorded and stored as a document of our history, but I suppose tongues wouldn’t be as loose that way. This years literary event is in the 2,200 seater opera house, just one of the seven venues being used. With a venue this big it takes a lot of filling and the opera house was sparsely attended as Jennie spoke of the history of rebellion over the past 20 years. Jennie was bound by the questions asked and while watching her I was wishing they were better prepared. No insightful questions, but still a pleasure to hear her talk.

I read about Army of Skanks in the latest Suspect Device so in a way it was luck Richie Rocker ran out of questions for Jennie as I caught a few of their songs. Tight enough punky sound. Jaded Eyes however brought it to another level. A ‘new band’ they aren’t really, but they were on the new band stage. US influenced sound and I only cut the set short as it was a long trip round the one way system to see Flag. Looking forward to listening to the new record i bought. Not Black anymore, just stripped down to Flag. They still made me leave Jaded Eyes, and it the set proved me right. These are hardcore pioneers, it was worth being in the middle of a smoking area to hear such songs. Kind of weird listening to a band with the sun in my eyes though (another rarity for Blackpool… the sun was shining). If you’re reading this then chances are you’ve either got a Black Flag record, or the bands you listen to certainly do. However, after leaving the intimate surrounding of the New Band stage I feel my punk rock belongs back there. Whilst I loved the Flag set in the open air, it’s with Jaded Eyes I belong. Flags set seemed like a greatest hits set, yet the band had no hits. So many classic songs that have stood the test of time. Not that Flag don’t deserve your attention. These people played the small rooms for years and trailblazed the way for other bands, it’s just that it seems so alien having them on a big stage separated from us.

Svetlana from Russia have all the power of flag with an almost menacing feel. It grabs you by the throat and is full on attack. Raw power. Mauro Clash City Rocker gave me a chance to sit down as he played acoustic versions of clash and Ramones songs. Sing along for sure and then when he got our attention he threw in an original song.

I catch two songs from London band The Duel. Maybe it’s me but I just don’t get it. I do get Billy Liar though. Scottish folk punk with a quirky acoustic style. Songs are reflections on life and are class. Then it’s back out again for Bouncing Souls, with poor sound. Still, always nice to listen to 7 Seconds / Bad Religion type songs.

I felt like i stumbled across a secret party with Youth Man on the New Band stage. Huge energy, powerful sound. Post punk with the volume turned up. I’m glad to be part of this gang. Looking forward to the new EP. Best band of the day. Check them out.

I then settle into the anarcho punk sound of Lost Cherrees. I listened to these back in the 80s and still remember those idealistic days when anarcho punk was the soundtrack for what was about to change in the world… it just had to!! Lost Cherrees are still screaming about the rights of the voiceless, and long may they have that anger.

TV Smith warmed me up for the double highlight off the night. Tim is as essential to Rebellion as rock is to Blackpool. His acoustic sets are legendary, but tonight he moves to the larger opera house capacity. It’s no problem and we are treated to a set of TV Smith with various guests blasting out classics over the past 40 years, including a new song too.

Due to time clashes I caught half sets from the Descendents and The Membranes. The Descendents are much lauded for their pop hardcore speed, almost leaders of that social sound. I was willing to skip the Membranes as I will see them again in December, but there was something missing with the Descendents, maybe Milos voice or maybe that big stage is just too big. Maybe you need to be right up the front.

The sound in the Opera House is spot on for the half Membranes set I catch. Guitar assault backed up by the steady bass fuzz of John Robb and Rob Haynes solid drums, the Membranes are an all inclusive group of troubadors. Robb tries frantically to get people on stage, seeking out scientists. I just wanted to sit and watch at this stage. Finished the day off with The Pukes ukelele fun, 13 people on the Opera House playing punk classic with their ukeleles, whats not to like there.

Day 2

Dublin’s I Am A Car Crash provide the starting point today. Atmospheric rhythmic noise rock and sharing a drummer with Paranoid Visions which gets my head moving along nicely at this lunchtime.

I had to cut them short to go and see Slice Of Life who certainly aren’t atmospheric noise rock. They have piano, acoustic guitar, bass and Steve Ignorants voice. This is punk rock to me. Steve was in Crass, is collaborating with Paranoid Visions but this is a challenge, for those playing and not listening I may add. It has a vaudeville feel (albeit, a punk version) at times with words that asks questions. This is what the crass war was for. The last time I saw Slice Of Life at rebellion it was at the end of a long day for Steve and the beer had probably for the better of him. The crowd were there out of respect as it was a new enough project. We are now here for the bands songs and Steve puts his heart and soul into this performance as he raps along at times – “This world is full of hate but a bit of love is alright

Wonk Unit have their breed of London DIY fun punk which is getting bigger by the year. They blasted the large stage of the Tower Arena and had a great community feel from them. Watching Wonk Unit it just seems like they are your mates on stage and at any moment they could either be dancing alongside you or your could be playing alongside them on stage.

Wolf Bites Boy had the new band stage staged packed. Three piece punk oi anthems. Temperature in the room was hot, pavilion wasn’t much better with Loaded 44 on stage. Their sound has a rockier rezillos feel to it, guitar solos and all.

One of the (many) things I love about Rebellion festival is that the time of day doesn’t seem to matter. Empress Ballroom was packed with anticipation for Reagan Youth at 3.20 on a Friday afternoon. Let me say it again – Reagan Youth!!! Blistering set from the U.S. hardcore band. The songs weren’t really written for ballroom arenas, but they still pack some power even if they have only 25% of their original cohort (only guitarist Paul Bakija remains from the original line up)

Back to the literary stage for a bit of Pauline Murray talking about punk scene of the 70s. Fascinating stuff and an interesting take on the music business “every time I get involved in the music business something horrible happens”. Artists get treated really badly as it is all about profit motive, and bands are having to work harder for themselves, which is difficult, but that’s where it is.

Alex Brindle was on next talking of punk rock today and his time in the Flying Medallions. It was an interesting juxtaposition comparing old with the current (can’t really call it new). The enthusiasm of Alex in marked contrast to Pauline’s cynicism. Johnny Wah Wah was the host, but preparation seemed to be minimal.

The Not Sensibles single I’m In Love with Margaret Thatcher will go down in the annals of punk rock as one of the snottiness of a generation. Their rnb brand of punk saw the crowds flocking to the opera house. Vice Squad were on in the outdoor setting of the Tower Street Arena at a similar time. Still sounding as good as ever these could well be the last rockers of Rebellion as they blasted their tunes with the Blackpool tower standing strong in the background.

Speaking of the Tower, I managed to get my hands on a copy of Blackpool Rox 2, complete with cover of the Tower falling into the sea. Interviews with Simon Wells, Ted Dibiase, Poly-Esters and Cock Sparrer made for great bedtime reading.

The A-Heads bring it back into more basic punk rock mode. They first appeared on the Wessex ’82 7″ on Bluurg records in 1982, alongside Subhumans and it is to see them still screaming for change.

Attila The Stockbroker has been demanding change since Joe Strummer inspired him to pick up a ukulele 35 years ago and his audience treated him like punk royalty tonight. Technical problems meant it was back to the original rapping poet tonight, no music just one man and his angry words, and some pieces from his excellent autobiography.

This Rebellion introducing stage is great. The X-Ray Eyes were completely new to me. Not quite of the standard of Youth Man last night (that bar is very high) but this was a set full of energy in a garage pop punk kind of way. Another album I look forward to giving plenty of time to.

Penetration took on a different meaning for me after listening to Pauline Murray earlier. They had some great songs on that first album and well worth hearing once more. Now that they are back playing they have a new record out with solid songs and a sound that carries through. Not the energy and excitement of x Ray eyes but still good to listen to.

I’d been told a few times to catch The Dictators, so it was for other people that I went to see them. Rightly labelled as the “connective tissue between The Stooges, MC5 and the punk scene,” The Dictators still have a lot of hair on show. More rock than punk but songs that resonate around the vast expanse of the empress ballroom.

Brix Smith spoke on the literary stage and told us how she changed her name from Laura to Brix after The Clash track Guns of Brixton. Brix liked to speak so I’m sure that made it easier for the conversation with john Robb to flow. And flow it did; Brix read out a chapter from her book, her take on her arrival into Manchester. It was some culture shock for the US-reared woman, with a kitchen the size of her freezer at home in Chicago.

As I was comfy i stayed to hear John in conversation with Peter Hook. There was a great moment when Peter Hook came on stage and took a picture with Brix. The crowd were ignored for a few minutes for what seemed like two old friends catching up. There’s a book coming out on New Order that Peter Hook has written, all 700+ pages. Sounds like it could be a New Order encyclopedia. Peter tells us about Joy Division being formed as they were walking out of the Sex Pistols’ first gig in Manchester and how he still can’t play bass. It was the attitude of the Pistols that changed these Manchester lads, “knowing that anyone can get up and stage and play a gig. You didn’t care what anyone thought, you just believed and went up there and did it.

A quick run into the acoustic room then for Swill from The Men They Couldn’t Hang. These are perfect surroundings for Swill. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a companion on stage this was country shining through but sing-along and inclusive. I feel at home in this room, my reclusive self can smile as there’s a sing song going on.

Seeing Swill meant that I missed the start of Paranoid Visions, but when I got to the Pavilion it was on fire. Perfect surroundings and a great set from my home town boys. The Visions are very much part of rebellion, like TV Smith, but an outburst of energy like a zit being forced off your face. They have a menacing almost haunting feel. The sound has opened out and the Killing Joke influence seems stronger than ever. Of course for any band that has been playing on and off for thirty years you can’t really take the lazy option and state their influences. They are the influencers now. Paranoid Visions want to challenge you, I’m reminded of the first time I saw them. I was terrified and completely captivated. The fear has now gone as I’ve gotten to know them but the captivation still holds true

As my formative years in the 1980s were spent listening to punk rock, you could call it an education of sorts and the Newtown Neurotics were a semester (we call them terms back home.) The Neurotics and Attila were going to travel to Dublin but then realised the ferry cost was too prohibitive. We nearly had them but had to make do with listening to the brilliant live album instead. Miscalculations on time meant I missed the Q&A with Steve Drewett earlier. A shame to miss it as his band were very important. Now I’ve seen him live a couple of times; I came to Rebellion specifically to see the Neurotics a few years back (after travelling to Harlow to see them too) so I’m completely biased. Steve is getting more acclimatised to acoustic gigs and has his daughter back up on stage with him but the damn treble is still turned up in the guitar. We sang along to Kick Out The Tories and wondered if the new empowered Labour Party will make the breakthrough they are promising to and what i can achieve.

But while the Neurotics had a whole semester, I most definitely took a few classes on The Men They Couldn’t Hang. They toured Ireland and we went to see their folk punk rebel songs songs a few times. It seemed fresher at the time than many of the oi bands that I was listening to. Intelligent lyrics don’t just have to come from the spiky or skinhead punks, it’s all about the spirit and The Men They Couldn’t Hang‘s set was definitely full of punk spirit without a spike to be seen anywhere. As I stood there beside Atilla the Stockbroker, watching him mouth every word and, as Swill spoke about hanging around afterwards to talk to everyone, I’m reminded why I’m indeed part of this community. We are all equals and we are mainly in it for the right reasons. Sentiment along these lines was stated when Shirt Of Blue was dedicated to all those fighting for union or human rights throughout the world. The battle continues.

Before the men I listened to Dick Manitoba’s talk about the New York scene and his time with The Dictators whose album was released a year before The Ramones debut. Of course, this being Rebellion, Dick had to be asked about the bar he runs in New York, his own place. He has photos all over the walls of New York and UK punk. Sounds like an aesthetically pleasing place. There was confusion over his next steps when Richie asked about an upcoming book. Turns out it’s a comic book!! Might be a book on the way if money can be found.

I was hanging on for dear life at this stage but was determined to see Naked Aggression. The Men They Couldn’t Hang express their anger through folk music but Naked Aggression use it through all their power and force with electric guitars. In the smaller arena the songs still sound as aggressive and relevant as ever. I wonder if Reagan Youth had played in a smaller room on a smaller stage would it have been different? Naked Aggression songs Janet lost their anger. Full on assault, just what you need at the end of a long day. 12 hours after the first band of the day I didn’t have the stamina for dublins Lee Harveys. Next time

Day 3

Nothing like a bit or raucous punk folk to start the day. I didn’t make it to Black Pitts but will catch them in Dublin soon I hope. Matilda’s Scoundrel were on the introducing stage and judging by the receptive crowd they weren’t being introduced to many. Accordion, mandolin, tin whistle with guitar, bass and drums drumming up some sing along punk anthems

Dunstan Bruce

Dunstan Bruce has a very interesting story to tell and he is not only doing that on the literary stage, he’s in the process of making a movie about it. The first phase of his Kickstarter campaign was successful but more funding is now required to get into the edit stage. Chumbabwamba played a folk set at Rebellion just before their hiatus and Dunstan wasn’t around then but he is now back with his new band Interrobang. Before their live set though he had a story to tell. Unfortunately Johnny Wah Wah was again asking the questions, so there was little insight. It kind of felt like the questions were made up on the spot. Maybe the intention is to come across like two friends having a conversation over a drink? We did get to hear that Chumbabwamba wanted to be a northern version of Crass whilst listening to The Fall and The Mekons.

Dunstan started Interrobang as he still feels the need to be part of something that wants to change the world, be part of a movement. Their sound does hark back to that post punk era, complete with the loud hailer found at your nearest protest march. We get a brief break during the set when all three start screaming “I’m mad as hell. I’m not gonna take it anymore”. Dunstan even travels through the audience while we politely applaud. Great to see the evolving sound and message of wanting to change the world still being strong, 30 years after I got a reply from my first letter to hin

Shot! were on the introducing stage. Rocky punk sound. Again the new band stage is shining, no inhibitions as bands give it everything in this small room. Rooms like this is where the bands playing on the larger stages in the venue all started out. This kind of energy too.

One of the bands I was most looking forward to see as part of this festival was The Spoilers. They are on the New Band stage, clashing with Carol Hodge, Channel 3 and HiFi Spitfires. But it doesn’t matter. They are nearly worth the admission price alone (it is a lot of money just for one band). Spoilers storm this Rebellion introducing stage. They pop us in and punk us out, with catchy tunes that demand you join their gang. Bizarrely enough it was the worst sound that I’ve seen in that venue but still you could reach out and touch the power

Dick Lucas has now added artist to his repertoire as he has an exhibition in the punk art and even had some sold stickers on his paintings. The time Culture Shock don’t play, Rebellion will find the festival has a huge hole to fill. Regular entertainers with their ska tinged punk filling the outdoor Tower arena.

I keep hearing and reading that there is a Rebellion family and it is a great opportunity for people to catch up. I’m usually pretty introverted and love saying hello to people but after that start to struggle a bit. I’ve decided to try and work on this so go up and say hi to a few I see annually but had some connection with since playing in my first band in 1984… socialising, I think they call it:). It was great to catch up with people but meant I missed out on JFA and The Wall. I did get to hear the Angelic Upstarts as I stood on the road chatting and searching for WIFI so I could see how the Dubs were progressing in their football match. There was a huge turnout for the Upstarts, a larger entrance had to be opened. I first saw the band in Blackpool in 1984 and they played many songs from that night, and played them just as well.

So the next dilemma of stage time clashes!! Hard Skin won out to Louise Distras, Flat Back Four and the Newtown Neurotics. I had to hear the between song banter of the second biggest anti fascist band playing here. I even got to hear some new skinhead anthems that hard skin have written. Oh wait, hang on – they weren’t new, they were just written this decade. I think the north pier theatre in Blackpool are looking to book Hard Skin for a residency. Comic genius but an undercurrent of reality. The Mark Thomas of oi..

Got three Neurotics songs after, which was a real bonus, but could have done without the effects on the vocals though.

The weird and wonderful world of Spizz / Spizz energi / Spizz athletico 80 was next – definitely Spizz energi now and it gave me a chance to sit down, restore some energy and not worry about beer being thrown for a while. I don’t know what it is about gigs that makes people think they can just throw a glass with liquid in it up in the air. One sped past my head at Hard Skin and the goon that threw it just smiled and said sorry. Lucky for me I’m old and not bothered these days, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen anything other than a red mist for the rest of the night, and maybe even A+E after an inevitable defeat. Spizz took the stage in full make up, bleached blond hair and lights on his fingers and eyes. I wonder if he looks like that on his bus pass ticket? now that would be a statement. New wave music that only moved enough to make me leave so I could catch some Cockney Rejects before the last acoustic set of the day.

I stumbled across the end of the Hobo Jones acoustic set, and what a sight it was. 350 punks singing along to Sheena Is A Punk Rocker with the lyrics changed for a little girl who requested last year they play a Ramones song. It was the cutest request they ever received so they agreed to learn another one for this year. Of course they forgot until today and then changed it for Sydney. We all sang and clapped. Sydney danced and it was one of those magic Rebellion moments, of which there are many

Henry Cluney was the original guitarist in Stiff Little Fingers, a hugely influential band. SLF are playing tomorrow night and their influence can be heard right throughout the weekend. Henry is no longer playing with the band, plying his own wares in xSLF. His acoustic set is a joy to behold as he packs the room to the rafters. Again the respect is just oozing in the room. Henry is part of a huge Irish contingent over for the festival. Not just consumers of what’s on offer, like me, but many artists here this weekend. A long list. Those SLF songs sound as good acoustically and Rebellion is a perfect venue for this but it’s not about what was happening in 1976, 79,82, or about whatever wave was going on. Yep some bands are still playing the songs the same way, but with the songs stripped down to the bare guitar and vocals Cluney has the acoustic room in his hands, hundreds singing along dreaming of that other world we all thought was possible

The Ruts are another that have evolved. Death has seen to that. But wow, have they evolved. We are the flock and The Ruts are our pastors. Each year they play an amazing set and throw in a new song or two. The dub element in their sound is lessening but is still prevalent. The newer songs hark back to their original day, If Rebellion is one big happy family then The Ruts are the relatives everyone hopes will visit.

My last band for the day are Paranoid Visions playing with Steve Ignorant. WIth Steve on board the Visions play a more straight forward punk set. It’s a packed stage, chaotic and powerful, they even sneak in a cover of a Crass song at the end. Do they owe us a living? Well do they? Top class.

Day 4

There’s always a certain nostalgia to the last day. Like the last day of a Christmas holiday as you prepare to return to work or revert to a life you had escaped for the week. The stalls that had been a hive of activity for four days are, in some cases selling off their wares, packing up after another year’s business done. This day also coincides with Blackpool’s annual air show. To me it’s just war planes making a racket, but for many who are camped out for the day waiting it is a highlight – maybe it’s their rebellion. There’s a huge breeze on the prom today, wonder how that will affect plane flight tracks?

Anyway if speed of music could power electricity the same way as wind does then Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man could generate enough power to run this festival. Possibly Manchester’s fastest band, this threesome whizz through their each song before you can say psychotronic.

Captain Sensible from The Damned always seemed like an interesting fella so I ambled along to the Opera house to hear his irreverent talk. Most entertaining talk of the weekend. Captain leaves no holds barred as he gives his forthright opinion of people and The Damned’s career to date. His manner means he can get away with saying things the rest of us would be lynched over. I then rushed to the New Band stage to get a few songs from Head Sticks before heading back to see a piece of OMIXLH from Greece. Head Sticks have a lovely Blyth Power-esque feel to them, without a drummer saying 1-2-3-4 in a quaint Cornish accent before each song. Fast folk that veers toward punk with a harmonica. I know little about the punk scene in Greece, but I was expecting a more d-beat sound. OMIXLH had more punk than crust feel that would be at home in the 1982 UK scene. Pretty good

Demob, from Gloucester, started in 1978 and yet still have a song about Charlie Harper being great. Their first two 7″s weren’t about punk rock legends but more about the situation with disaffected kids growing up in south west England and then finding a voice through punk rock. Sing along anthems.

Andy Higgins is a man on a mission, his mission being to rid Blackpool FC of its chairman Owen Oyston before the club becomes a footnote in footballing history. Andy feels that Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortenson and more recently people like Brett Ormeroyd would be horrified at the way the club has gone downhill in recent years. It’s not like he wishes for the capitalist nightmare of the Premiership but, like John Robb, Blackpool people are passionate about their home town. They feel the club should belong to the people and run not solely for profit regardless of what happens on the pitch. Andy will say Oyston out at any given opportunity and ran for election the the UK general election. He also plays in Litterbug, runs a label and is doing a solo set today.

Dave Dictor, MDC

More clashes meant I had to miss Goldblade, Cress and Louise Distras but I wanted to hear Dave Dictor‘s story. MDC have been on the go for many years, playing fast politically charged punk rock, and Dave has just released a book on his experiences in it. Johnny Wah Wah did a great job with this one as Dave spoke of the different scenes and the differing dynamics in each one.

After I had a quick chat with Dave about the time MDC played Barnstormers in Dublin, The Nightingales took to the stage. Quirky sounds from this quartet. Certainly a band that continue to challenge the listener which is what punk does. No screams of “No war, no KKK, no fascist USA”, which is what MDC declared, but this is a declaration of intent and rhythm – always rhythm – with The Nightingales. John Robb summed up Rebellion perfectly when he said the festival is like one big John Peeel show, a huge divergence of music but a common ethos. Well The Nightingales were Peel favourites and belong here.

Ireland or more specifically Northern Ireland took over the empress ballroom for a little while as Belfast punks The Defects and Outcasts played. Punk rock bands that were very much on the edge and in a dangerous place when they started in 1979. That fear has since changed but both bands will never forget those days. The Defects are the more political of the two, and the title track of the new album 45 minutes is about bombs instigated by Tony Blair.

For me the Roughneck Riot are a modern day Men They Couldn’t Hang, maybe if The Flatliners added some traditional instruments and covered the Men. Banjo, mandolin, accordion and punk spirit shining through. Plenty of songs for you to scream along to. There was some power and passion on show. Class.

There was a brief return to the anarcho punk scene of the 80s with Anthrax (uk) and Hagar The Womb. Both had those circle A’s on their records as I unfolded out every crease in their fold out sleeve to read what they had to say. Anthrax always seemed slightly more serious and little has changed. They use their songs as statements where as Hagar The Womb are more stories with plenty of humour thrown in. I must admit I find it confusing when bands who have so much to say with their lyrics say nothing between songs as Anthrax did. The stage is their soapbox and some slip off it. With a collective age of 310, Hagar have plenty of between song banter. Karen does her best to be the host on stage as she opens cans for all the band which led to the inevitable spills and makes sure they are ok. Bassist Mitch joined the crowd and it was all good fun.

I had to catch The Adolescents. Another institution, much like Dag Nasty. Two great US hardcore bands. The Adolescents are from south California so it was fast skate core, but Dag Nasty, well that’s a different story altogether. Melodic hardcore songs, the only problem is they were being played in a car park… in the rain!!!! It started raining which was good as there was less people around to smoke but then there was less absorption for the sound which at the start was awful. Like playing a record at home on low volume in case the people on the other side of the room hear you. What a shame. I moved down to stand in front of the pa, that helped a bit bar for the bass drum beating against my heart. I managed to find a spot with decent sound and got lost in the greatness. Where was I?

Ruts DC, as I mentioned, are royalty. The part they play in Rebellion is of a people that were the establishment when people had faith in an establishment. People to be respected and listened to. Before it all went sour. I heard three other bands doing Ruts covers this weekend. Bands that otherwise played originals. Tonight it is just their songs stripped down and sounding as good as ever. A few newer songs tonight, but still it was a special moment when we all stood up at the end and gave an ovation of sheer respect and appreciation.

When the last day is complete I’m reminded of how much Rebellion suits this “tatty seaside town”. Remnants of the 70s are everywhere. The amusement arcades will have their 2p falls and 10p bingo. It seems almost frozen in time as they look back to the days when Britain used to holiday here and reminisce about then”good old days”. Amongst this are glimpses of modernity trying to break through, some new buildings, some redecorated old landmarks, but underneath it all a people proud of where they come from and not ready for anyone to tell them otherwise.

Up the punks.