Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, August 4th – 7th 2022, Day 1

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Rebellion, the biggest punk festival of all is held at the awesome Winter Gardens in Blackpool, UK. The Winter Gardens is truly a huge building full of different performance spaces. Rebellion festival  encompasses many different activities. There is a cinema, acoustic stage, spoken word area as well as bars, eating places and market places for merchandise stalls. 

You can find so much to see and do but so little time to do it in. There are so many performances that harsh decisions need to be made as to who to see and who to miss. This year there is also the addition of a huge outdoor space on the seafront featuring yet even more bands. 

So many bands (and fans) attend from all over the world. It is, therefore, a great chance to see bands that you are unfamiliar with and would not normally get the chance to see. 

 

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My festival started on Thursday morning with Red London on the Club Casbah stage, the opening band of the day. What a start it was, a good slice of old school oi delivered in inimitable style by the band who were well up for it. The vocals got a little lost in the mix at times, a problem that seemed to plague this venue all weekend. 

Energised by this opening set I made the short journey to the R Fest arena on the sea front to see Mille Manders & The Shutup. They were the opening band on the new outdoor stage and a lot of people had turned out to see them. I was not disappointed as the band delivered a storming set of infectious pop punk that is infused with ska, rock and hip hop. The crowd lapped it up and were soon dancing along to every song. The band was clearly enjoying themselves with Millie in particular bouncing around the stage with a huge grin on her face. She has an awesome voice and the band are absolutely wonderful. A real fun, good time band.

Next up we are back in the gardens at the Pavillion stage to see Suzi Moon who surely deserved outfit of the festival for her sparkly red leotard and silver glittery boots! But what a tremendous performance this woman put on. It was kind of like Transvision Vamp on steroids with enormous attitude and Stooges riffs. 

Suzi sure knows how to mistreat a guitar and inevitably ended up smashing her guitar to pieces during the penultimate song before  ending up in the audience for last song ‘Animal’. She has a really solid band behind her who sound great. This was one of my highlights of the festival and can’t wait to see her again. 

It was back to the main ballroom to see the Svetlanas. I was excited about seeing them as I had seen them a couple of years ago and had been totally blown away by them. Fronted by Olga, they are a thrashcore band from Russia and produce one hell of a noise. 

Olga was exactly as I remembered her, so full of rage and anger, bouncing around the stage pulling funny faces as she screamed the lyrics. Despite the bands full on sonic assault they didn’t seem to get the crowd going as much as I thought they would. 

The next band I see are the strangely named Wonk Unit, a band who I had never heard of before. What a find this band was with their unique take on punk rock. A strange looking mixture of people and influences combined to produce  bouncy, sing- a – long music with strange and funny lyrics that absolutely brought the huge crowd in the ballroom to life. They were the first band I saw that began to cause crowd surfing and carnage  in the audience. 

From the USA, The Bouncing Souls upped the carnage level and serious crowd surfing began. The band make producing great music like this look absolutely effortless, especially singer Greg who is so laid back he looks comatose! Bassist Bryan bounced round the stage looking like the heart and soul of this band. A great performance from these New jersey boys! 

Anti Flag whipped an already excited crowd into an absolute frenzy. Opening with ‘Press Corpse’ followed by ‘Die For The Government’ and then  ‘Brandenburg Gate’ ensuring a steady stream of crowd surfers were deposited over the barriers front of stage. When not reminding the crowd of the bands left wing political stance, bassist Chris Barker covers every inch of the stage trying to find increasingly higher things to jump off! They also demand, and get, the first circle pit of the festival. 

The band are really tight and the stand outs are ‘Fuck Police Brutality’, ‘Christian Nationalist’ and ‘1 Trillion Dollars’. The band even squeezes in a medley of old punk tunes including ‘God Save The Queen’, ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’, ‘Fall Back Down’, ‘If The Kids Are United’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. Another of my highlights of the festival. 

Having been fired up by Anti Flag I was looking forward to the Circle Jerks but in all honesty I found them disappointing.  This may have been due to fact that I had moved from stage front towards the back and the sound was a lot muddier. Feeling  a bit tired and put off by the sound I decided to leave and see what else I could find. 

Having never attended the festival before I was a bit disorientated in the huge Ballroom and couldn’t find the way out. I finally spotted a door which led to a staircase which headed downwards. I thought I had found the way out only to enter a small room to find the bizarre sight of two large, scantily clad men on a small stage, swearing profusely at a small crowd over the top of a demented electro punk backing track. I had somehow stumbled into a performance by Petrol Bastard, strange but very entertaining (for a short while anyway). 

I finally manged to find the real way out and finished the night where I has started at Club Casbah watching old school punkers The Boys. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them belting out some of my old favourites like ‘Brickfield Nights’, ‘The First Time’, ‘Terminal Love’, ‘Living In The City’ and ‘Sick On You’, it was a nice relaxing way to end the night. I look forward to tomorrow.

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