Rebellion Festival – live update… Friday Pt 2

Rebellion Festival – live update… Friday Pt 2

Its hot…its very hot – The Winter Gardens is capped with a glass roof so all area’s with a line of sight to this roof are currently baking, so perhaps heading into the Ballroom to watch TV Smith & The Valentines will not do much to cool things down; except its not TV and his Valentines!

Smith takes to the stage flanked to his left by Leigh Heggarty, two road warriors armed with their acoustic guitars – Smith tells the huge audience that The Valentines are stranded at Frankfurt airport and then sets about doing what he has become a consummate master at; entertaining an appreciative audience no mater what the circumstances, many other musician faced with a similar situation ”“ huge crowd, no band would have faltered, not TV Smith who bellows “No Time To Be 21” and the two acoustics fire the crowd into a pogoing mass, without a pause “Bored Teenagers” and Smith has them eating from his hand ”“ his set is peppered with tracks from right across his 35yr career from The Adverts, through to Cheap at which point he introduces “Buried By The Machine” telling us that this is the first time he has publically performed the track; then fast forward to the stunning “True Believers” from 2011’s “Coming Into Land” album. Smith pauses to introduce Pascal Briggs, again armed with an acoustic guitar as he unleashes’ Perhaps The Good times Are Back” then revisits his Lords Of The New Church era with “The Lords Prayer” effortlessly time travelling back and forth across his catalogue; as he approaches the end he go back to the start with “Gary Gilmores Eye” ”“ its intense, Smith delivers every word, every phrase with an undaunted self belief; he ends with “One Chord Wonders” ”“ as the set finishes Smith is beaming, he appears to be as excited now as he was the first time he ever took to a stage, and its this enthusiasm, this thirst that connects with the crowd ”“ they can see his vulnerability, they are aware of the problems Smith had only minutes before this appearance and they rejoice in his ability to overcome the odds…stunning! And if this was supposed to be his full band set does that mean we will get the full Valentines when he steps onto the Acoustic stage on Saturday evening, now that’s something to look forward to.
Managed to catch a decent proportion of The Restarts down in the Olympia ”“ some of the most full on guttural punk rock you are ever likely to hear that is interspersed with ska infused breakdowns ”“ the multi coloured mohicaned crowd is by now a sweat drenched seething mass, the odd soul rising up onto the shoulders of others and over the barrier to be replaced by another, and another…

Anti Pasti took the Ballroom stage and delivered an entertaining fast paced set, bar a low key warm up this was their first gig in approximately 17yrs, not that you would notice, the massed ranks failed to phase them and they set about delivering a ”˜greatest hits’ style set including “Six Guns”, “East To The West” and the classic “Don’t Let Them Grind You Down” all of which remind you why Anti Pasti rose to the top of the 82′ era second generation of punk ”“ they deliver a hard, brooding and heavy sound without resorting to merely turning up both the volume and the pace; watching Anti Pasti meant I missed Vince Ray & The Boneshakers in the Arena, though did get chance to catch Lucy Ward in the enormous Opera House ”“ a solitary figure on a huge stage delivering heartfelt socially aware folk to a seated crowd! Lucy, with just a shock of blue hair and an acoustic guitar filled the room with her strong commanding voice, at one point forgoing the guitar for a pure vocal delivery ”“ very impressive…

Bow Wow Wow took to the Opera stage, the band consisting of drummer Dave Barbarossa, bassist Leigh Gorman, Will on guitar and fronted by Annabella Lwin ”“ Bow Wow Wow always divided audiences, the ongoing debate regarding their inception, the suggestion that they were merely a vehicle for McClaren and Westwood to promote their clothing range ”“ though that was also levelled at the Pistols. Either way back in the early 80’s they were huge with hits on both sides of the Atlantic, and with both Gorman and Barbarossa in the line-up no one could question their musical ability. Lwin bounds onto the stage, and tries to muster the seated audience, the faithful respond clambering to the front of the stage, but this is a difficult venue to occupy ”“ it wasn’t built for tribal rock ”˜n’ roll ”“ maybe it was that or Lwin’s self defined jet lag; either way they just didn’t seem to gel. The hits and standout tracks were played “Aphrodisiac”, “Do You Wanna Hold Me”, “Work” ”“ Annabella’s voice seeming to struggle which was a shame as I was looking forward to this set, having not seen Bow Wow Wow since they played Liverpool’s Larks In The Park way back in the early 80’s when the crowd surged the stage which involved diving into a lake to do so!! Tonight hey just seemed to lack that spark, there was no luminescent flash which was a shame; maybe I had raised my own levels of expectation too high…

Perhaps the heat affected Conflict ”“ or they just chose to enact their moniker; either way no one was quite sure why one of them chose to punch one of the security team…not good.

Other bands worth mentioning include Maximum Rock & Roll, not the best moniker, unless you happen to be a magazine ”“ that said they do what their name states, they deliver an intense course of rapid fire rock ”˜n’ roll the front man stripped to the waist, pin-balling across the vast expanse of stage…definitely worthy of future investigation.

One Way System played essentially a home town gig, they cut no quarter ”“ an immense wave of aggression emanates from the stage; it might be gone one in the morning but front man doesn’t give a shit ”“ he prowls the stage, circling ”“ huge boots crushing the ground beneath him, balled fists as he punches mic stands over, his voice a primal roar above an assault of hard core speed punk, that has the exhausted pit dwellers calling on final reserves (or cider) as they bay for more; brutal but strangely exhilarating even at this late hour.

Saturday is looking good, hoping to catch Penetration, Ruts DC, The Monochrome Set, perhaps The Only Ones ”“ definitely Dragster and King Kurt, have already mentioned TV Smith, but certainly The Cravats with their off kilter take on punk, there will be poetry/spoken word from Joolz, and LTW boss John Robb interviews Viv Albertine who also played a storming set earlier this evening… and then a certain Mr Lydon closes today’s events headlining the Ballroom ”“ we have a review from Fridays gig in Bournemouth just to whet your appetite.

But before all that ”“ Max Splodge opens the day with his now legendary Bingo, then its time for some punk yoga (honestly) before watching Barnyard Masturbator ”“ how can you not check a band with a name like that, I did nip into the Blackpool HMV but strangely they didn’t have the lads latest opus ”˜Badger Orgy Fatality’…now where is that merch stand?
And today I will get some pics ”“ few technical issues; well that’s my excuse!


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