Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1

The plan was initially to provide twice daily updates from the festival, but it’s Rebellion and things tend to get a bit messy!! Then there was the minor issue of the hotels Wi-Fi failing on Saturday morning…so what you are now getting is a bit of an overview

Saturday 3rd August

Following breakfast I was intending to catch Max Spoldge who annually hosts his own Rebellion bingo spectacular, I was momentarily distracted when I thought I saw Rubella Ballet walking along the inappropriately named Pleasant Street on Blackpool’s North shore ”“ turned out to be a group of hung over hens trying to recover from last nights excesses; we have had Primark selling PIL T-shirts, River Island flogging Ramones tops etc ”“ seems like some high street retailer is now ripping the ultra violet Ballet boys and girls, or am I just confused?

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1

Confused certainly explained things at Rebellion on a Saturday morning, people shambling towards the Winter Gardens with just a few hours sleep behind them…but hey Max Splodge ably assisted by a man in a maids out fit and an inflatable sheep will liven up anyone’s morning, as he ladles out what he describes as “crap” to anyone brave enough to shout house; prizes this year included incomplete James Bond DVD box-sets, empty boxes, a Royal Mail shirt, and a selection of TV remote controls ”Ëœgathered’ from a selection of Blackpool B&B’s, and a pillow that a homeless drunk died on the night before ”“ all the while Splodge necks lager, cracks jokes and generally struggles with his own sanity…I’m already looking forward to him roaring “eyes down” in 2013.

Following the bingo I considered indulging in the punk yoga, the thought of thinking “Oi! Oi!” or “subvert the system” pending on your punk timeline whilst crouched in a lotus position seemed to appeal, then on route I discovered Punk Meditation; sadly the session was in full swing, well swinging as much as you can in a Zen like state, and considering it rude to interrupt I left them to it. On a serious note these sessions are run by the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and are directed at people who have not experienced meditation before and aim to demonstrate that meditation, like punk can be done by anyone, anywhere and at anytime ”“ DIY style.

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1
Cyanide Pills

First band of the morning were Leeds own Cyanide Pills who are signed to Damaged Goods ”“ despite the fact it was barely past breakfast these boys set the place alight ”“ they play fast paced hook ridden punk, nothing fancy just straight heads down no nonsense 77′ punk rock, with maybe a touch of glam, which certainly provided the jump start the day required. I did have to cut short their set having promised you that I would check out Barnyard Masturbator..and not being one to break a promise

At the front of the stage is a bloke dressed in a sponge cock, bizarrely huge glans (bell-end for those who forgot their biology lessons) dancing like a demented dervish who is hoping a cure for St Vitus will arrive anytime soon, onstage is a women squeezed into a black bodice (I am instantly praying to the God of lace that these particular lengths will not fail) and bundled inside a bright red military jacket half inched from the set of Zulu, topped with a Zorro style face mask – I’ll be honest, the name, the outfits, the dancing cock had me thinking this is all a distraction for a band who struggle to hold a note – pleased to report I was well of the mark! The Masturbators play an X-Ray Spex style punk but without the sax, that is really rather good.

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1
Barnyard Masturbator

Maybe because it’s the weekend but things have gone a bit strange here, strange is an understatement ”“I caught (and was glad I did) the very wonderful Dirtbox Disco who entertained a near full Olympia with their dangerously catchy brand of face pained entertainment, complete with a bass player wearing his undies, a Cyclops style rapist balaclava, and a T-shirt bearing the banner ”ËœSpunk Volcano’…

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1
Dirtbox Disco
Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1
‘Spunk Volcano’ it must be Dirtbox Disco…

Zoo Party had the unenviable task of stepping onto the stage of the cavernous Empress Ballroom at 13.30hrs; despite the scant audience this three piece gave it there all ”“ its straight edge punk tinged rock ”Ëœn’ roll; that’s straight edge as in no frippery and not the US’ not allowed to have fun’ variety of punk.

For those of you yet to experience the Rebellion Festival, what you need to understand is that this is an indoor event ”“ the whole thing being housed in the Victorian splendour of The Winter Gardens which is situated in the centre of Blackpool right next door to the town’s shopping precinct, as such and unlike so many other festivals there is real interaction between the festival goers and the local population ”“ the sight of so many mohicaned punks chatting to Beryl and her mate Vera who had just popped to M&S for some scotch eggs has to be seen to be believed…

As its indoors the weather is all but irrelevant, though as mentioned previously when the sun shines on that glass roof its like a bloody greenhouse in the ”ËœMarket Area’ ”“ each of the venues can individually accommodate thousands and has their own bars and facilities, more importantly each venue is self contained so you don’t get any sound leakage from competing stages ”“ in addition you don’t have to traipse miles to move from stage to stage, anyway back to the music this time down in the basement, affectionately known as the ”Ëœcar park’ though to be fair the sound in there was pretty good and a huge improvement on previous years.

The oddly named Chewing On Tin Foil travelled over from Dublin, stepped out onto the Olympia 2 stage and frankly demolished the place ”“ I had shamefully never heard of them beforehand, clearly many had as within moments a skanking mosh-pit was going ape shit to their infectious ska-punk rhythms; they play with boundless energy ”“ this is an explosion of flailing limbs and instruments and well worthy of your attentions; apparently they are currently working on the follow up album to their 2010 EP ”ËœShaving’.

The mighty Dragster took to the Olympia 1 stage, again judging by the size of the welcoming crowd the word is out about this Coventry based female fronted five piece; despite her diminutive stature Fi has a hugely powerful voice, she literally roars as she abandons the stage to take up position on the crowd barriers, behind her Dragster set deliver their punk rock ”Ëœn’ roll.

Rebellion Festival – Saturday 3rd August – Pt1
Fi Dragster

It’s fast, its filthy and draws inspiration from the earliest rockabilly, stealing from perhaps grunge, certainly raw unadulterated garage to then mash it all up into an insanely loud cacophony of rhythm and beats, add to this the rather short black latex nurse maid outfit that Fi is just about wearing and you have a very big smile on your face ”“ but don’t let Fi catch you looking; she marks out her territory ”“ she belongs in the pit, behind her Diesel cranks out those rhythms, across from him AC Speed clings to his guitar like his life depends on it ”“ people talk about acid casualties, this boy is a sleazy Mike Monroe casualty, he’s living and just about breathing on the very edge of hedonistic rock ”Ëœn’ roll…their set ends with Fi finally going over the barrier into the crowd; no encores ”“ there is no need. Dragster are rock ”Ëœn’ roll, nowt else needs to be said.

Quick dash upstairs to catch LTW boss John Robb interviewing author John King (Human Punk and The Football Factory) in the Spanish Hall, followed by a fascinating interview with Dave Barbarossa who was discussing his first novel ‘Mud Sharks’ (Ignite Books) which deals with a young man growing up in the late 70’s racist Britain – the violence he witnesses mirrors the violence from his father; he escapes via the emerging punk scene joining a band as a drummer. Barbarossa will also be playing later tonight as Bow Wow Wow take to the Opera Stage.

By now I was in need of sustenance and not just of the liquid variety, so headed into Blackpool so consider the culinary delights it offers; hmm KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, endless fast food shacks selling ”Ëœmeat’ products, though a full DNA test would be required to define the actually variety and that probably wouldn’t be advisable ”“ is there not a decent restaurant in the centre of Blackpool?

Answers on a post card to Blackpool Tourism…

Part 2 if and when I find something edible to eat!

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Dirt Box Disco were astonishing. I’ve seen them several times now and they never fail. Go buy their ‘Legends’ album!

  2. I too enjoyed Dirtbox Disco. They started up as soon as Barnyard Masturbator had finished and kept their audeince with an in your face music and visual style, They were clearly taken a back by the size of the crowd, saying they normally play to two people and a dog. At the end they did a roaring trade on merchandise.
    That’s one of things I love about Rebellion, seeing new bands, and Dirtbox disco ticked all the boxes for me.

  3. […] will recall that I concluded Pt1 as I began a search of Blackpool for a decent restaurant; in a previous guise I did earn my living […]

  4. Where ever DirtBox Disco go it’s great. Sure picked up a few new fans. Checking their YouTube they have the room moving no matter what venue.


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