If it’s August, it must be Rebellion time in Blackpool! Thousands of punters from all points on the compass have flocked to the 4-day punk rock jamboree at the Winter Gardens and are hell-bent on enjoying themselves. There are literally countless bands from all over the world playing punk, ska, goth and everything in-between, over 6 stages of varying size and also a literary stage for interviews.
The beauty of this is that there is always something on from lunchtime to the early hours of the next morning. If you don’t like the band you are watching, go and watch someone else! What is also good is that you are able to come and go as you please from the venue, so you can pop out and get refreshments rather than pay the inflated prices inside.
There is so much to see and do, and I realised last year that I wasn’t going to see everything I wanted to. The trick is to go at your own pace and enjoy yourself. There is also a large merchandise area where you can get just about anything you ever wanted, from punk rock cushion covers to that elusive record you have always wanted but could never find.
There had been quite a buzz around this band in the lead up to the festival and as first band on, they managed to pack out the Empress ballroom at 1.15 in the afternoon. The band, Lily on vocals/guitar and Lewis on drums/backing vocals, certainly got the crowd going from their first song Broken Britain, Broken Brains. Lily is all action, she can’t keep still, endlessly darting from one side of the stage to the other as she thrashes her guitar. Lewis is busy beating the hell out of his drums. They keep up a high level of intensity throughout their short set, much to the delight of the crowd, who are loving it. They were certainly an inspired choice to begin the day with.
Broken Britain, Broken Brains
Breathe (Prodigy cover)
Stand Up, Speak Out
Wasted On Women
Look At You
Following The Meffs in the Empress Ballroom are Deecracks from Vienna, Austria. This melodic 3 piece effortlessly cranked out Ramones-tinged, 2 minute long pop punk masterpieces and probably deserved a better spot than 2.oo pm.
The Svetlanas drew another large crowd full of expectation to the Empress Ballroom in the middle of the afternoon. At this stage of their development, I would have thought that the band would have been further up the bill. I think that the reason they are not is that the audience don’t quite know what to make of them! The sound they produce can be quite challenging and brutal on the ears at times. They totally embody right in your face, confrontational, blunt punk rock.
What they do have as well though is one hell of a front person in singer Olga. She is unable to keep still and is all over the stage pulling faces and screaming out the lyrics. The whole band seems full of pent-up energy that explodes when they play, and they all never give less than 100%. The audience today seemed very timid, which was a real shame.
The band that really got the party started with their Ramones influenced pop punk rock. They really rocked the ballroom and there was a constant stream of crowd surfers deposited at the front of the stage. This was no frills, all out punk rock that was really appreciated by all who heard it.
Sloppy Seconds managed to draw a very acceptable audience to the Cashbah stage, given that they were up against the UK Subs in the Empress Ballroom. B.A. and the boys were on fine form as they romped through all the fan favourites like Germany, I Don’t Want To Be A Homosexual. I Love Lesbians, You Can’t Kill Joey Ramone, Human Waste and my own personal favourite, Shut Up And Pour Me A Drink.
Tonight, the Damned should have been headliners. Unfortunately, at very short notice, they pulled out because Dave Vanian had hurt his back. No worry the gallant Cock Sparrer answered the bat signal and here they are in Blackpool headlining the Thursday night! The Ballroom is absolutely packed for this and I think that many of the crowd prefer the new headliners to the old ones.
I must confess I find Cock Sparrer something of an enigma. Back in the day, they were never really on my radar at all, and I can’t understand how they have become so popular. Granted, they do have some catchy tunes which people can sing along to and from the very start they have the fans bouncing up and down en masse on the Ballrooms sprung floorboards! For most people, having the band here is a real bonus and rounds off a great first day at the festival.
First day over, have seen some good bands, so it is off to the Rose & Crown pub for some much-needed refreshment before seeing what tomorrow brings!