‘VARIOUS ARTISTS’ – WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL & PROMENADE, BLACKPOOL 4.8.22
The Brighton & Hove News Music Team have been to Blackpool for a break in order to report on all 4 days of the very popular Rebellion Festival. It’s the biggest punk rock music festival in the UK and it attracts the largest bands and new emerging talent on the scene. It is annually held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where it has been running continuously in one form or another since 1996.
The capacity of the Rebellion Festival is 15,000 and many of those travel from around the globe in order to attend. The venue is like a TARDIS as it has many (sizeable) rooms offering choices of different bands that are on at the same time. The inevitable clashes and difficult decisions plagued the team for the duration of the whole event. The rooms are: Empress Ballroom, Club Casbah, Pavilion, After Dark & RIS, as well as the Mazzei Cafe area which hosted DJ’s, and upstairs there was also the Almost Acoustic, and the Literary Stage and Art Exhibition area – there was a lot going on!
Rebellion is so big that it even has its own radio show, Rebellion Radio which broadcasts during the event. The Rebellion Radio show is hosted by local Brighton and Peacehaven lads Del Strangefish (from Peter And The Test Tube Babies) and Jimmy Skurvi (from Skurvi) who also broadcast ‘The Delstrangefish Show’ on Brighton’s Radio Reverb.
This year’s Rebellion is the first post Covid event and as a result, the first since 2019. Everyone is seriously up for it and that includes ourselves! Two of the team even arrived a day early in order to take in an unofficial festival pre-show event at The Tache Rock Club on Corporation Street, which is hosted on the first floor of The Rose & Crown pub. Read our review of that night HERE.
So it’s Day One of Rebellion – the Thursday – and my ears were still ringing from listening to the six bands last night at The Tache Rock Club. My brain is buzzing with the lyrics “It was a dodgy transformer, again and again; It was a dodgy transformer, that cost 3 pound 10”, as last night the DJ/sound guy had played Half Man Half Biscuit’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is a Dukla Prague Away Kit’.
It was time for some fresh air to clear the cobwebs away as I head to the Winter Gardens for some punk rock action. For the first time in the festival’s history, they had organised a separate festival located not far away on Blackpool Promenade in front of the famous tower. This event is titled R-Fest and in the main will be playing host to the more commercial side of punk and the surrounding genres. It’s a chance for punters to lap up some much needed sunshine.
The bands will be listed below in performance first order with the name of the writer listed after each act. 1-2-3-4- and we are off………………………..
ON THE HUH – PAVILION (12:20pm – 12:50pm)
I opened up my Rebellion Festival account with On The Huh who are a Norwich based 4 piece outfit, who in their own words offer “Glam and Brick wall Punk rock riffs with lashings of street punk attitude”.
‘On The Huh’, who kicked off bang on time at 12:20pm, informed us that their name means “slightly on the piss”. They operate the usual vocals, guitar, bass and drums format and let rip with opener ‘Welcome To The Peep Show’.
The Pavilion has a decent size stage which is about 3 feet 6 inches off the ground and is lit very well. The room has the feel of a circus big tent and merchandise is available to purchase in the outside corridor which runs all the way around the room. The Pavilion is already quite busy with keen punks, which must have pleased On The Huh no end. If traditional early days harmonious punk rock is your bag, then it’s likely that you will enjoy this quartet. They went down rather well and even informed us that it was only their seventh ever gig. Their set concluded at 12:49pm.
On The Huh are on Facebook.
MILLIE MANDERS AND THE SHUTUP – R-FEST (1:30pm – 2:10pm)
It was now time to check out the first act on the R-Fest stage (which is located on Blackpool Beach) to see Millie Manders And The Shutup who grace the large event from 1:30pm. They last played Brighton & Hove at the tail end of last year – Review HERE.
Although the R-Fest stage is relatively close to the Winter Gardens, fans have a longer walk than they bargained for as the entrance can only be accessed via a long zig zag barrier walk. This stage is around 8 feet high and in an arch shape, thus the sound and lighting is terrific.
Millie is on vox, guitar and sax and her chums are on guitar, bass and drum. It’s the drummer’s first gig with them, certainly a baptism of fire!. Pleasingly, there is already a sizable crowd in attendance in the sun and wind. The volume is rather loud but crisp.
Clearly the quartet were overjoyed to be in attendance as they performed their bouncy pop modern punk ska tinged ditties as their name was emblazoned on the enormous backdrop right across the stage. Millie informed us that the band were worried that no-one would be in attendance, but they were proved wrong! It was an energetic set and Millie has a powerful voice and she works the crowd very well and so expect the band to grace this size stage more often in the future. ’I’m Not OK’ was for me the pick of the set. I noticed that when a double-decker tram passed close by, the folks on the top decks were briefly able to get a free close view of the bands as they trundled by.
The band concluded their 41 minute set at 2:11pm and then had a selfie.
You can catch them live in Brighton on Monday 12th September when they rock on up with Ferocious Dog at Chalk – Tickets HERE.
SUZI MOON – PAVILION (2:45pm – 3:20pm)
We had to retrace our steps back into the Winter Gardens to the Pavilion (where we had seen On The Huh) in order to receive our second instalment from Suzi Moon within 24 hours – Read last night’s review HERE.
Suzi and her chums were keen to get it on and kicked off two minutes early at 2:43pm. You can’t really miss Suzi’s striking pink hair and glittery red cowgirl style top accompanied with sparkly boots and to be honest not much else! Just like last night, the venue is absolutely buzzing! Frontwoman (vocalist/guitarist) Suzi is accompanied by a trio of guys on guitar, bass, and drums.
Suzi has all the signals of an artist on the way up! Even certain formats of her forthcoming studio album ‘Dumb & In Luv’ (out 23rd September) have already sold out. Here is a lady that knows what fans want….decent music and decent image. She sure as hell knows how to throw the poses in order to keep the paparazzi more than happy. She is beaming with the showbiz X Factor and her tunes were tight, fast and energetic as you would expect. It’s fast bubble-gum punk littered with earworms such as track eight (’99 Miles To Pasadena’) from her forthcoming album.
This set was pure rock’n’roll as she totally destroyed her guitar that judging by all the stickers that were on it, was a well travelled companion. She paraded the neck of the instrument around the stage as that was all that was left. She even clambered off the high stage and sang to punters in the front row across the barrier. Suzi Moon has the edge of a female Iggy Pop. The invigorating 38 minute set concluded at 3:21pm.
SVETLANAS – EMPRESS BALLROOM (3:30pm – 4:05pm)
My Rebellion Festival starts off at 3.30pm with The Svetlanas in Blackpool’s rather magnificent Empress Ballroom, where the stage is wide and about 4ft 6” off of the ground. The lighting here is fabulous. Unlike the rest of the Brighton & Hove News crew, I didn’t have the good sense to travel up to Blackpool on Wednesday. Next time…..
The Svetlanas are a thrashcore punk band who hail from Moscow. Thankfully nobody mentions Ukraine, but the band look sufficiently clued up to not be supporters of Mr Putin or his evil invasion. The band consists of Olga Svetlanas on vocals, Ricky on guitar, Steve Svetlanas on bass, and Diste (Olga’s husband) on drums. Interestingly a frequent collaborator with the band is Nick Olivieri, formerly of Queens Of The Stone Age.
After their intro tape of ‘The Twilight Zone Theme’ concludes at 3:29pm, they are off! They deal in very fast punk, but is a long way from being just noise. One could argue that Olga runs on Duracell batteries with the amount of energy she expends. The songs have some excellently tuneful riffs, and Olga is a most charismatic frontwoman. They have a song which appears to be about burning churches, which is a tad disturbing. Their final song is ‘F*ck The Cops’. Whether that refers to Moscow cops or cops in general isn’t clear. They’re a very enjoyable band to start off with though. Their performance concludes at 4:04pm.
WONK UNIT – EMPRESS BALLROOM (4:25pm – 5:15pm)
I remain in the Empress Ballroom for Wonk Unit. Several people have recommended them to me, and I have been intending to see them for quite a while. Wonk Unit are a DIY punk band from Croydon. They are a six piece comprising a singer, two guitarists, a bassist, a keyboard player and a drummer. Their music is close to the 1977 template of UK punk, with discernable tunes and thought-provoking lyrics. Song titles include ‘This Pathetic Merry-Go-Round Of Life’, ‘Day Job Wanker’, ‘Traditional Punk Song’, ‘Lewisham’, and ‘Raise My Glass’. ‘Day Job Wanker’ is about audience members who shout out “don’t give up your day job!” Thankfully nobody said that today, and if they had, it would have been a much undeserved taunt.
‘Guest List’ is about somebody asking for a place on the guest list for a gig, and the singer pretending that he doesn’t speak English! ‘Traditional Punk Song’ is about Thatcher. Another excellent band. Nothing not to like here! Read our review of them in Brighton last November HERE.
SINFUL MAGGIE – AFTER DARK & RIS (5:00pm – 5:30pm)
I next head to the After Dark and RIS stage for Sinful Maggie who hail from deepest darkest Dorset. They are one of the house bands at the Shamrock Boomtown pub in Winchester. They dropped their self-titled 11 track album back in 2018. Also released was their three track ‘Good Enough For Rock n Roll’ EP which includes the ditty ‘We’re Not F*ckin’ Irish’, so that’s cleared that up then!
The focus of this particular stage is newer bands, RIS standing for “Rebellion Introducing Stage”. Sinful Maggie are that most rare of animals: a punk band with an accordion player, who also handles vocals. They are entertaining, but I have to say unremarkable, apart from the initial novelty of the accordion. Unfortunately, this instrument is inaudible for much of the time, as this stage suffers from rather poor sound. The accordion is audible in the higher registers when the lady solos. I suspect if the sound was better, and we could hear more of what was being played, Sinful Maggie would be a far more interesting proposition.
DREADZONE – R-FEST (5:05pm – 5:55pm)
We leave the Empress Ballroom and head back over to the seaside to the R-Fest to take on the delights of Dreadzone from 5:05pm to 5:53pm.
This is to be my first encounter with the band without their enigmatic frontman MC Spee, although I understand that the position will remain open to him, should he wish to return. They are therefore now just a quintet with Earl 16 out front on vocals, ex-Big Audio Dynamite founder Greg ‘Dread’ Roberts on drums, Leo Williams on different coloured stringed bass, as well as a new guitarist and a guy on electronics. Just like their September 2021 concert at the Concorde 2 in Brighton (Review HERE) their ranks are bolstered on four tunes by the rather lovely Emily Capell, who coyly kept playing with the hem of her plastic skirt.
They kicked off their nine song set with ‘Life Love And Unity’ and their set was filled with some fabulous uplifting dance filled dub sounds that floated over Blackpool Promenade. ‘Rise Up’, ‘Little Britain’ and the arm tingling ‘Captain Dread’ being the choice tracks.
Overall, their set seemed more dancey than previous encounters, which was enjoyable, but the ‘Music Army’ certainly missed the towering presence of MC Spee. A highly enjoyable performance nonetheless, it’s no wonder that for decades they have maintained their decent festival band tag. Ahoy!
KNIFE CLUB – AFTER DARK & RIS (5:45pm – 6:125pm)
This was it then. Today I was losing my Rebellion Festival virginity. Having booked the quiet zone on the train in order to rest my ears for the weekend there was anarchy on Coach A with posh boys non-stop chatting and ‘ordinary’ people on mobile phones, whilst the punks behaved themselves impeccably. After losing it briefly with the Tory Boys I made it to Blackpool in one piece.
Unfortunately I missed the Steve Ignorant interview after speaking to my hotelier for 45 minutes. Then on the way to catch the first act I had planned on seeing I could hear the dulcet tones of Emily Capell on the R-Fest stage with Dreadzone. I really should have known this would be the case but I was too late by the time I realised. I wandered into the Winter Gardens and after finding my bearings it was all systems go.
First stop was the ‘Rebellion Introducing Stage’ where I had been advised by a follower of my local Hastings punk scene to catch Knife Club. A punk DIY supergroup announced their formation on April Fools Day 2020, from members past and present of Haest (shame I missed them earlier, but I was still on the train), Faintest Idea, Nosebleed, Casual Nausea, Mousebrass, Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, and Matilda’s Scoundrels.
Hailing from Hastings, Manchester and Ipswich, it can’t be the easiest logistically and add Covid into the equation it has taken a while to hit the ground, but they have already proved to be a formidable proposition on the DIY underground punk scene! Well they did play a basement show in Hastings recently! Any band that has an anti-Tory section on their setlist has to be worth a listen and you will not be disappointed. This was the best start imaginable to my first ever Rebellion. Vocalist, Andy, is in the pit early doors and successfully encourages some of the crowd to get involved. Dual vocalist Zoe, from the excellent Casual Nausea, in spite of telling us she is very nervous still puts on a top performance. I am warmed up and raring to go and missing the Steve Ignorant interview is already a distant memory.
On my way to the Casbah Club I was drawn to the wonderful merch stalls in The Pavilion. I suspect my wallet will be considerably lighter by Sunday night unless I can somehow resist temptation.
MISTY IN ROOTS – R-FEST (6:25pm – 7:25pm)
Next we head outside to the R-Fest stage for a 57 minute set from Misty In Roots. It’s a lovely evening and just the right atmosphere for some classic reggae. Unfortunately it’s illegal to enjoy this band in the ideal circumstances (the same goes for Hawkwind who follow) but I’m sufficiently chilled anyway. The band were formed in Southall in the mid 1970s, and their classic album is 1979’s ‘Live At The Counter Eurovision’, which was recorded live in Belgium.
It would appear that the singer, bassist and one of the guitarists are the only remaining original members of this 8-piece band. The format of the octet is a trio of Korg keys, trombone, sax, guitar, drums, bass, second guitar and of course vocals which is delivered by a gentleman that patrols the stage throughout the performance. Think early UB40 and you are in the right parish.
‘No Love’ is a highlight of their bouncy reggae set, as is the unexpected solo played by the bassist on his Hofner Violin Bass. Misty In Roots headline a ‘Rock Against Racism’ gig at Brighton Chalk on 8th October where they will be joined by The Members and Ruts DC – Tickets HERE.
SPIZZENERGI – CLUB CASBAH (7:05pm – 7:50pm)
The next band on my itinerary is Spizzenergi. I used to love this band and the originality of Spizz’s vocals. Tonight they opened their fourteen tune set with ‘6000 Crazy’, ‘Shallow End’, ‘Mega City 3’, and their decent ‘No Room’ single.
They then went on to play their indie chart hits and more to a very busy and cavernous Club Casbah, including ‘Soldier Soldier’ to which Spizz pulls a mashup of the stars and stripes from his fly during the intro and proceeds to kick it around the stage. For the next song ‘European Heroes’ he parades the Ukrainian flag in a much more dignified manner.
‘City Of Eyes’ was next and that was followed by their take on the David Bowie tune ‘Valentine’s Day’.
‘Here Come The Machines’ and ‘Red And Black’ whizzed by and then I particularly enjoyed ‘Amnesia’ with the vocals sounding more like the Spizz of old. Their speeded up cover of Roxy Music’s ‘Virginia Plain’ is thrown in for good measure.
The very brief ‘Clocks Are Big’ is given an airing and then of course the finale is my favourite and everyone else’s, the inimitable ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’ which sees the mosh pit in full flow. What a masterpiece! That song alone is enough to make everyone in the crowd leave happy and I could hear a few people singing their praises and saying how it had exceeded expectations. Read our Spizzenegi April 2022 Brighton gig review HERE.
HAWKWIND – R-FEST (7:55pm – 9:00pm)
Up next are the venerable Hawkwind. The only member who has been with them since their inception is Dave Brock, who should be venerable, but who seems somehow ageless! It is interesting to note that vocalist Mr Dibs (Jonathan Dibs) has left the band since I last saw them at the Citadel Festival in Gunnersbury Park in 2018. I remember that Mr Dibs was telling Dave Brock what to do, which is probably not a wise course of action if you wish your career in Hawkwind to continue.
Mr Brock handles most of the lead vocals today, and sounds magnificent. His guitar soloing is excellent throughout. As well as Dave, the current line-up consists of Richard Chadwick on drums, Magnus Martin on guitar and keyboards, Thighpaulsandra on keyboards, and Doug Mackinnon on bass. Thighpaulsandra and Doug MacKinnon are relatively new recruits to Hawkwind, but they look and sound like they’ve been there for years.
Every synthesiser interlude sounds like the introduction to ‘Silver Machine’, but that old warhorse doesn’t get an airing tonight. What we do get is superb though. It’s just a shame that they didn’t have longer than the one hour and five minutes allotted to them.
‘Born To Go’ is just like the version from the live ‘Space Ritual’ album recorded in 1972, and in my opinion is worth the cost of admission on its own. It’s an absolute tour de force. ‘Closer Brainstorm’ is on a par with the preceding number, and is a superb song to end on. People are calling for more, but the stage manager says no. Should you wish to see them (and you really should) they have their own Hawkfest at Morecambe Winter Gardens from 9th to 11th September.
Read our review of Hawkwind’s 50th anniversary tour HERE.
STEVE IGNORANT’S SLICE OF LIFE – PAVILION (8:00pm – 8:40pm)
Next up I just have to see Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life, especially as I am repping one of his t-shirts. I have the added bonus of making it to the very front and dead centre for this performance in The Pavilion. I previously saw them at Lewes Con Club (Review HERE) and was blown away by his passion which hasn’t wilted in over 40 years.
Sporting a fresh out of the packet white polo shirt Steve cuts a formidable figure centre stage. The music is melodic and harmonious, not sounding particularly punk until Ignorant opens his mouth and puts the world to rights. He speaks/sings more sense in 45 minutes than most politician’s do in a lifetime. The most hard hitting song though is ‘S.A.D.’ There are quite a few musicians who will put their battles with depression into lyrics, but none can be as shocking as this. Steve does not mince his words on this open and honest appraisal of how he is affected. He gets very emotional onstage for which he apologises even though there is no need to. We are all with you on this. I stared into Steve’s eyes and I also welled up as the lyrics hit home hard. The emotional impact is something I won’t forget quickly.
There is very little speaking between songs apart from some cheeky quips aimed at the audience, as he gives full value for money. Finishing off with his cover of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ he has us all singing ‘the easy bits’. He thanks everyone for attending his earlier interview as it meant a lot to him and I feel slightly disappointed once again’, but that is tempered by having witnessed another great performance held together wonderfully by the supremely talented trio of Carol Hodge on piano keyboard, Pete Wilson on bass guitar and Pete Rawlinson on acoustic guitar.
CIRCLE JERKS – EMPRESS BALLROOM (8:20pm – 9:20pm)
“I was a surfer, I had a skateboard, I was so heavy man, I lived on the Strand, I was so wasted, I was wasted” (from ‘Wasted’).
We got to Rebellion Fest quite late on the Thursday and after that long train journey and a meal meet up with friends, there was no way I was going to miss the Californian Hardcore legends that are Circle Jerks.
Like a lot of things, their European tour had been put on hold for a couple of years due to Covid, but I was really pleased this moment had come around eventually. As soon as they hit the first note of their 41 minute set (from 8:37pm to 9:18pm), the crowd went wild in a mosh filled jam packed Empress Ballroom and the security staff were put on high alert.
Dreadlocked sixty-seven year old Keith Morris did a grand job on vocals and told us that they had a mammoth 32 songs to get through. Most of the songs were short and snappy, so it was ‘blink and you’ve missed it’ time. Greg Hetson was on guitar (originally from Bad Religion and Redd Kross) and he was relentless with his skatecore riffing. Joey Castillo (formerly of Queens Of The Stone Age) was pounding the drums like there was no tomorrow and the audience were left with no time to breathe. The impact of the short and fast songs gets a little lost in such a huge room but overall an entertaining watch and I am pleased I’d got to see them at last. They finished with ‘World Up My Ass’ and their mission was accomplished.
THE BOYS – CLUB CASBAH (9:30pm – 10:30pm)
We had a swift jaunt over to Club Casbah to see The Boys for a more sedate affair, having witnessed what the Circle Jerks had to offer. The Boys format was two guitars and vocals, bass with joint vocals, keys and drums. Their intro tape started at 9:29pm.and the lads took to the stage. They offer up old style early melodic pop punk with the added keys.
They had a backdrop behind them which changed for every song. It helpfully had the details of the song name, who wrote it and what album it is from and the year it was released, for example “‘See Ya Later’ written by Casino Steel/Matt Dangerfield, album ‘To Hell With The Boys’ 1979”. This was a novel idea and it gave the many fans an all encompassing performance factor, good job lads! ‘Weekend’ was rather good, even though it had a Beatles style chorus.
The Boys offer up tunes that are as melodic as say The Undertones, and at times it’s almost not punk. I would suggest they are at the outer edge of the genre. Set highlights ‘First Time’ and ‘I Don’t Care’ (both from 1977) and ‘Brickfield Nights‘ (from 1978). There was an unfortunate comedy moment during ‘First Time’ when the Hammond keyboard collapsed on the floor. I wonder if that was “oh oh oh oh the First Time’” that it has happened? That’s £1000 quid down the drain then. Their performance concluded at 10:24pm. I must dig out my two The Boys albums and reacquaint myself with them again.
Fans will be interested to check out our exclusive interview with The Boys founder member Matt Dangerfield – Read it HERE.
The Boys are on Facebook
LEVELLERS – R-FEST (9:30pm – 10:45pm)
My intention was to go inside to see Bad Religion back at the Empress Ballroom, but they have pulled out of the festival. Therefore I stayed outside to see the Levellers who formed in Brighton in 1988. I’m somewhat dubious about seeing them as they have an acoustic tour booked for the autumn, but tonight, thankfully, they are in their full electric splendour.
They play some newer songs which very much have the fire of their earlier material. However, they soon dive into their back catalogue. It’s thirty years (give or take…) since ‘Levelling The Land’ came out, and quite a bit of that album is played tonight. ‘Sell Out’ sounds as good as it did when played live thirty years ago.
‘One Way’ is the call to arms that it always was, and ‘The Riverflow’ is the ideal end to the set. We remain with ‘Levelling The Land’ for first encore ‘Fifteen Years’, and ‘Beautiful Day’ from 1997’s ‘Mouth To Mouth’ ends the show. I’ve always had mixed feelings about ‘Beautiful Day’, as it’s the nearest thing that the Levellers have ever done to a pop song, but that’s a minor quibble. This set has been a suitably forceful ending to the first day of the Rebellion Festival.
One point to make is that the promoters and bookers of Rebellion have a very flexible view as to what constitutes punk, and today underlines that. Misty In Roots are a reggae band, and the Levellers are arguably folk rock, but the lyrical content of their songs is undeniably punk. It’s been a great day. Time to put my head down before the rigours of tomorrow.
SKIDS – EMPRESS BALLROOM (9:50pm – 10:55pm)
I did have Bad Religion on my original itinerary until they sadly pulled out but I am more than happy to see their last minute replacements, the Skids. After Circle Jerks finish, the crowd disperses and I am able to make my way to the front barrier once again. I’ve never actually seen the Skids before even though I bought most of their vinyl first time around, so this is a welcome first for me.
Opening with ‘Charade’, it doesn’t take long before lead singer Richard Jobson dedicates a song to the dearly departed Stuart Adamson and plays one of his compositions ‘Of One Skin’. Jobson is relentless on stage as he does a full workout and it’s no wonder he looks in fine fettle for a 61 year old. He recognises he maybe wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea back in the day and encourages the crowd to join in a rendition of “Jobson is a w*nker” which by the sound of it is what he has been called on numerous occasions. On the flip side he tells us the story of when he appeared in a book of photos of stars in their pants by Paula Yates which he describes as one of the worst things he has ever done.
On his last visit to Brighton though he was approached by a male member of the crowd who complimented him on this much to Richard’s surprise, only to be told that it provided the young man with his first experience of masturbation! They play Richard’s favourite song ‘Masquerade’ and also his least favourite ‘TV Stars’ which he describes as the worst song ever written. If you Google ‘The Saints Are Coming’ it brings up Green Day and U2, but Jobson points out it is their song as the band launched into it. Finishing off with crowd favourite ‘Into The Valley’ another audience leaves satisfied.
Read our October 2021 Skids concert review HERE.
The Skids are on Facebook
THE BAR STOOL PREACHERS – CLUB CASBAH (10:50pm – 11:40pm)
Having enjoyed The Boys’ set, we stayed put to catch Brighton’s very own The Bar Stool Preachers who were on stage for 57 minutes from 22:54pm to 23:51pm. God knows how I have managed this, but this is the very first time that I have ever seen them live! I know, shame on me for not supporting our local boys. Tonight, there are seven of them on stage, their jobs are keys, bass, drums and no less than a trio of guitarists and on vocals is frontman TJ McFaull (son of Colin McFaull of the legendary punk band, Cock Sparrer).
The intro of drum and bass keys kicked off at 22:54pm and a couple of minutes later the posse took to the Rebellion stage. They are a lively bunch who deliver an infectious collection of ska-infused ditties intended for today’s skankin’ youngsters and intellectual punk alike. Think of a gritty Gentleman’s Dub Club and you won’t be far wrong. The packed crowd clapped merrily away to ‘The Preachers’ uplifting set of tunes. At times they offer up an amalgam of styles, punk, ska, rock and pop. They are an energetic set of lads that certainly know how to milk the crowd for the optimum reaction.
TJ McFaull was full of the beans and proudly boasted to the punters that the band had just signed a two album deal with American label Pirate Press Records who already have his dad’s band on board. This should push them further up the success ladder, having previously dropped ‘Blatant Propaganda’ in 2016 and ‘Grazie Governo’ in 2018. This may lead to TJ chasing down Joe Talbot’s success crown. Tonight, they certainly cracked it!
RADICAL DANCE FACTION – PAVILION (10:50pm – 11:40pm)
As I walked past the Pavilion at 11pm, on my way towards the Club Casbah, I heard some heavy bass and was drawn in by Radical Dance Faction who hail from Hungerford in Berkshire.
Radical Dance Faction (R.D.F) were founded by Chris Bowsher in 1986, and were originally known as ‘Military Surplus’. The band experienced many line up changes, and Chris remained the only original member up to the time RDF split up (sometime in the late 1990’s). RDF’s music combined punk, dub, and ska, while Chris’ lyrics, spoken rather than sung, dealt mainly with political issues, such as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in the song ‘Chinese Poem’.
Their anarcho punk dub ska sound was different to what I had been listening to throughout the day and I was intrigued. Politically motivated spoken lyrics kept me listening when I had planned to be elsewhere. I suppose that is the beauty of a festival where you can just tear up your itinerary at a moment’s notice. I mean let’s face it, any band that has my namesake Andrew ‘Murph’ Murphy on guitar has got to be worth a listen! Roll on day two where there are major decisions to be made with clashes of bands that are going to test me to the limit of having a musical meltdown.
PANIC SHACK – AFTER DARK & RIS (12:30am – 1:00am)
We make our way over from Club Casbah to the After Dark & RIS stage for Panic Shack who are a young quintet consisting of four girls (two on guitars, one on bass and one on vox) plus Nick on drums, who was playing his first ever gig with them – he did great by the way!. Today was the band’s first time in Blackpool.
Romi, Sarah, Emily, and Meg formed Panic Shack back in 2018 in Cardiff, Wales and armed themselves with brash, witty lyrics and killer hooks. Some say that they crashed through the UK music scene with a tidal wave of ear-crunching noise. Immediately building up a reputation for their raw, unapologetic live shows and off-kilter songs.
If sharp riot grrrl power pop with hooks a plenty is your bag, then Panic Shack are for you. When we saw them at this year’s Great Escape new music festival there was a large queue outside the Brighthelm Centre, so clearly they are already building a fine reputation for themselves.
Tonight, they began their socially conscious 29 minute set, two minutes early at 00:28am. They are the new sound of punk that write lyrics about annoying everyday happenings and are a band that fit Brighton’s mindset. Yet again the sound and lighting at the After Dark & RIS stage is top notch. They clearly have the best in the business. This actual stage is the most compact I’ve seen all day and it is only about 3 feet off the ground and so fans can get up close and personal with the band and thus feed off of their performance. During the set the quartet of ladies like to do their dance routines, such as for the extremely catchy ‘Mannequin Man’ whilst drummer Nick attacks his kit. The vocals are often offered in a talky style as in telling a story to music. Applause goes to the bassist, whose strap broke mid-tune and so she crouched down and rested it on her knee in order to finish the number. This was a decent toe tapping set and Panic Shack are obviously making a name for themselves, so I would suggest catching them as soon as possible!
Check out Panic Shack’s ‘linktree’
TALISMAN – PAVILION (1:05am – 2:00am)
For the final performance of Day One, it was a swift jaunt over to the central Pavilion to witness (Bristol formed) Talisman nicely round off the day in style. This was a true late one as their 54 minute set began at 1:09am and concluded at 2:03am. This was a case of last man standing as I reckon there were only about 75 of us punters left out of the 15,000, so there was plenty of room to bop around to Talisman’s bouncy reggae beats.
Multi-racial Reggae band Talisman, certainly have some history behind them! There may only be about 75 of us here right now but in 1982 as well as playing the Glastonbury Festival, they were the opening act for The Rolling Stones concert at Ashton Gate, Bristol. A year earlier (in 1981) they provided Recreational Records with their first hit single with ‘Dole Age’ which also became ‘Single of the Week’ and the ‘Record Sleeve of the Year’ in the NME.
This morning, they had a keyboard rack featuring a Roland and a Korg, drums, bass, two guitars, Tom Tom drums and vox, drums, and bv’s on the go. It was pleasing to hear a few of their tunes morph into dub versions and then back again. A pleasing way to dance off a few of the beers before bedtime. We do it all again tomorrow……and the following day…..and the one after that!
Talisman are on Facebook
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