Rebellion & R-Fest – Day Two Report

Fun on the streets of Blackpool with Little john Guelfi during Rebellion & R-Fest 5.8.22 (John Bownas) (click to enlarge)


The Rebellion Festival is the biggest punk rock music festival in the UK. It is spread across four days 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.

Empress Ballroom at Rebellion 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The 15,000 capacity Rebellion Festival attracts people from around the globe. The venue has many sizable rooms including the Empress Ballroom, Club Casbah, Pavilion, After Dark & RIS (‘Rebellion Introducing Stage’), as well as the Mazzei Cafe for DJ’s. Upstairs there was also the Almost Acoustic, and the Literary Stage and Art Exhibition area. Some time was spent visiting the Rebellion PunkArt Exhibition area as there was a deep need to study the artworks that featured the recently departed Jordan Mooney. Four of these are shown below.

Artworks of Jordan on sale at Rebellion (pics Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

There was also a Memorial Wall of those departed. My punk mate of almost 40 years, Dave Towse, would have attended this year’s Rebellion, but he sadly passed away last December. I inherited his ticket and it was put to good use by one of the Brighton & Hove News reviewers.

Dave Towse RIP, he was punk through and through! (pic Lisa Else) (click to enlarge)

Also on display were artworks by Sussex based MagpieArt UK, who held their first public exhibition at The Official Jordan Mooney Charity Memorial Concert which was held at the Concorde 2 in Brighton on 29th May this year.

MagpieArt UK artworks on sale at Rebellion (pic Steven Dann) (click to enlarge)

For the first time in Rebellion Festival’s history, the organisers had also put on an associated outdoor festival located near to the Winter Gardens on Blackpool Promenade in front of the famous tower. This event was called R-Fest and hosted the more commercial side of punk and the surrounding genres. It was a chance for punters to lap up some much needed sunshine.

R-Fest can be seen in the centre of the photo (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Today is Day Two. If you missed Day One, then read our report HERE. Find our Day Three report HERE and Day Four reviews HERE.

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………………………..

The Vapors live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

THE VAPORS – R-FEST (1:30pm – 2:10pm)
It was a sunny morning so a walk to the seafront for my first experience of R-Fest was a welcome diversion from the Winter Gardens stuff that was going on. Doors didn’t open till 1pm and a big queue was forming from the entry barriers to way beyond the entrance to Blackpool pier. Eventually, one o’clock chimed and the gates were open for the stampede to the front (or bar, if you were feeling brave). Not before we were herded through a cattle run, but I must say I was very impressed when I got to the main concourse which was framed with Blackpool’s iconic tower looming above it.

The Vapors live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Vapors took to the stage at 1:30pm to the chimes of an intro tape of The Herd’s ‘From The Underworld’ which gave the whole affair a 60’s feel for their 43 minute set. This 60’s feel ran all the way through their set and I can see why they play Mod events. They are actually playing a Mod alldayer in Brighton on the 27th of August with the likes of Secret Affair and The Chords, as part of the This Is The Modern World exhibition of The Jam an The Style Council – Purchase your tickets HERE.

The Vapors live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Dod Morrison) (click to enlarge)

A lot of people say they only remember one song by The Vapors, but as soon as they came on with ‘Prisoners’ I realised I knew at least another one. Their opening set was solid and fun and they didn’t even leave ‘Turning Japanese’ till the end. Unfortunately, when they hit the opening chords, the heavens decided to open, so I had to take cover in a portaloo which seemed like the only place you could go to not get wet through. It was a great rendition though and it went down a storm with the soggy crowd. An enjoyable set and I’m glad I got to see them.
(Sonny Tyler)

Newtown Neurotics in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

After having seen The Vapors (reviewed by a colleague) I moved inside to the Empress Ballroom for the Newtown Neurotics. It may be my memory playing tricks with me, but they seem to be more tuneful than I remember, which is a bit like Black Sabbath records not seeming as heavy as they were 45 years ago! The current line-up consists of original singer and guitarist Steve Drewett, with a new rhythm section comprising bassist Adam Smith and drummer Simon Lomond.

Newtown Neurotics in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Steve Drewett’s lyrics have always dealt with the burning issues of the time, and that is no different now, their new single (which they play) being entitled ‘Climate Emergency’ – in many places literally a burning issue! Steve has a marvellous sense of irony and his between-song comments are laced with dry humour. ‘Let’s Kick Out The Tories’ is an absolute highlight of the set. They have a new album out on 21st October, and they play ‘Liar’ from it. Their set closes with ‘Living With Unemployment’, which is essentially The Members’ ‘Solitary Confinement’ with alternative lyrics. It is somewhat depressing to acknowledge that this song (and ‘Let’s Kick Out The Tories’), which are decades old, are still absolutely relevant. A stellar performance from a band who are perhaps needed now as much as they ever were.
(Mark Kelly)

Jilted John live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic John Bownas) (click to enlarge)

JILTED JOHN – R-FEST (2:30pm – 3:15pm)
After the downpour for The Vapors, the sun came out (and stayed out for the rest of the day) for the rather wonderful alter ego of 63 year old Sheffield born Graham Fellows aka Jilted John. Thankfully Graham’s other alter ego John Shuttleworth wasn’t present today, it was all 46 minutes of pure Jilted John gold, plus ‘You’re Like Manchester’ (Shuttleworth cover).

Jilted John live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The former Jilted teenager and his three chums graced the R-Fest stage to a large cheer. 44 years on from his famous self titled No.4 UK hit single, (which many at the time called ‘Gordon Is A Moron’ because of its use in the tune), John was on vocal duty and occasional guitar and his friends took care of the Alesis Recital keys/guitar, bass and drums. Throughout the 12 song set that commenced at 2:29pm, the lads were joined by Claire on backing vocals and melodica.

Jilted John live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Back in 1978, the tune ‘Jilted John’ was my very favourite song of the year, even though it came out in the summer. Nostalgia collectors of useless information may wish to note that the tune was originally released in July on Rabid records as the B-side of ‘Going Steady’ (“Yeah, yeah, I love Sharon, Yeah, yeah, she loves me…”), but immediately got picked by EMI International and they sensibly flipped the tracks. I surmise that if that had not occurred, then we would not be here today watching the quartet’s fun set on stage!

Photographer John Bownas in action during Jilted John set at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

I have been soooo looking forward to this appearance and listening to John’s tales of (imagined) juvenile life and its woes, or as he put it at the time ‘True Love Stories’, as that was the title of his album and the basis of today’s set. The lyrics in his tunes mirror the experiences of thousands of teens back in the late 70’s and thus deserved to be treasured. The world needed and still needs this material. It deserves to be archived for future generations in museums all around the world, both the music and the lyrics.

Photographer Scott Gouldsbrough in action during Jilted John set at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic John Bownas) (click to enlarge)

It occurred to me whilst really enjoying John’s set, that in fact he is England’s answer to the rather wonderful American Jonathan Richman, and also rather strangely that some of the compositions reminded me of The Smiths, (especially ‘Goodbye, Karen’) who formed four years later in 1982.

Photographer Dod Morrison grabs a shot of Jilted John at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

I have not noticed the similarity before. I guess it took me to see him live to make the connection. The funniest line I heard from the stages during R-Fest and Rebellion was uttered from John, that being “anyone keeping mice at the moment?”. I never saw that coming and it made me roar! Clearly I had forgotten all of the tracks on my copy of the album, which includes the tune ‘Fancy Mice’. This performance, which concluded at 3:15pm, was a massive tick for me…..Legend!
(Nick Linazasoro)

Infa Riot live Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

INFA RIOT – EMPRESS BALLROOM (3:20pm – 4:05pm)
Amidst trying to fit in and watch as many bands as time would allow, I made sure to hot foot it over to the Empress for a spot of ‘Infa Riot’. They originally formed way back in 1980 and hail from Wood Green in North London. They are an old school punk band with their boots firmly in the Oi! scene I would say and I was all up for seeing them when they reformed in recent (ish) years.

Infa Riot live Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Nowadays, they consist of Lee Wilson on vocals, Barry D’Amery on (both original members), Chris Lloyd on the bass and Tom Eagle on the drums. They launched straight into a solid set and Lee certainly knows how to get the crowd going. Chris Lloyd (also a member of new Norwich band, On The Huh) was giving it some welly on the bass guitar and when they came to their classic song, ‘5 Minute Fashion’ from their classic ‘Still Out Of Order’ album, the crowd were singing along (including me) to the chorus with gusto. A busy room again for this band and check them out if you get the chance.

Read our review of Infa Riot with Sham 69 in London in January HERE.

Infa Riot are on Facebook
(Sonny Tyler)

Toyah live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

TOYAH – R-FEST (3:35pm – 4:30pm)
After narrowly avoiding a massive downpour by hiding in an arcade I make my first venture to the outside venue that is R-Fest. First up for my day is Jilted John. Now I know the Music Editor is reviewing this act and I wouldn’t want to step on his toes, but I have to say they really exceeded my expectations. Entertainment value was a 10 from the lyrics alone as Graham Fellows, I mean John, mainly sings about his love life as a teenager, after having updated us on what Julie and that moron are doing now. For a band perceived as one hit wonders they fill their 45-minute set with ease, and I could have listened to John’s musings about being jilted all afternoon.

Toyah live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Having recently seen Toyah play a semi-acoustic set in Hastings (Review HERE), I was looking forward to seeing a full electric set, especially as I am unable to attend the forthcoming Brighton date at the Concorde 2 on 7th October, (Tickets HERE) due to a prior commitment some 33 years ago when I walked down the aisle. From the moment Toyah enters the stage looking resplendent in her sparkling gold outfit, you can feel her enthusiasm working its way through the crowd. Opening her twelve track set with ‘Thunder In The Mountains’ she soon has the crowd raising their hands in the air to ‘Echo Beach’ as she works us like a true professional. Her cover of the Martha And The Muffins classic reached No.54 in the charts in 1986. She plays her take on modern punk with ‘Space Dance’ from her latest album ‘Posh Pop’ Being in Blackpool she dedicates ‘Brave New World’ to the locals as the video features her coming out of the sea nearby and she even gives a wave to those up Blackpool Tower.

Toyah live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Toyah is an interesting character, and she always has a story up her sleeve. On this occasion she surprises us all with a total departure from what you would expect at a punk festival. A story ensues about how she sang on the demo for a song that was rejected by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and where she met her hubby Robert Fripp and tells us how she’s been shagging him ever since. Thanks for that vision! Anyway, the song in question was ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ which turned out to be a big hit for Grace Jones, reaching No.12 in the charts, and now Toyah is aiming to emulate that success as she has just released it as her new single

Manolo Polidario on stage with Toyah at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The band are obviously enjoying themselves and the dazzling guitar work of Matt Martin and Manolo Polidario is particularly highlighted on ‘Neon Womb’. Sarah Fisher has been drafted in from Hazel O’Connor’s band to play keyboards and blends in well. The strong line-up is completed with David Keech on drums and accomplished session musician Freddie Draper on bass.

Sarah Fisher on stage with Toyah at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Another cover comes in the form of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’ as a plug for her supporting him on his UK autumn tour. She is already “wetting her knickers at the prospect!” I look forward to attending this for free along with everyone else present as Toyah told us she had memorised all our faces and would let us in.

Brighton & Hove News Music Editor, Nick Linazasoro making gig notes at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic John Bownas) (click to enlarge)

Her set comes to a close with ‘I Wanna Be Free’ as an ode to her struggling with the Maths curriculum at school and just wanting to do her own thing. Any of her newfound fans from her increased social media presence can purchase the re-release of ‘Anthem’ from 9th September.
(Andy Murphy)

From The Jam live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

FROM THE JAM – R-FEST (4:55pm – 5:55pm)
Having been privileged to have attended and reviewed the preview of the ‘This Is The Modern World’ exhibition’ in Brighton a week ago, (Review HERE) I am looking forward to seeing From The Jam once again, but I must admit it I didn’t really expect it to be at a punk festival.

From The Jam at R-Fest taken from the top of Blackpool Tower 5.8.22 (pic Glenn Sparrow) (click to enlarge)

The Jam may have initially been linked to the punk scene, but looking around you sense that Russell Hastings feels a bit uneasy and he feels a bit more at home on the stage rather than walking around nearby which is awash with punk rockers of all ages. He really needn’t worry as the crowd are a good mix with a lot of the hardcore punks lapping up the music in the Winter Gardens. Those in attendance in the R-Fest Arena are in the main wanting to see the band and are easily won over as they start off with my favourite all-time song ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’. The crowd can probably hear the distant echo of me singing along to every word.

From The Jam live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

It’s fair to say that the band aren’t as energetic as in the past, but they have been beset by some unfortunate health problems. Russell had a heart attack earlier this year and has recovered well enough to be back playing live once again, but is obviously still wary as it was less than three months ago. That doesn’t detract from his vocals though and his regular conversing with the crowd, not something you would get from Paul Weller. With Bruce Foxton suffering with tinnitus for a few years now, it is really a wonder that they are still performing live on such a regular basis.

From The Jam live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Most bands like to get on the home crowd’s side and as far as I am aware Russell is the only one artist of the weekend to mention Alan Bradley’s infamous Corrie death when he was run over by a tram. He also slips in a mention of the Brighton Exhibition to which the Brighton And Hove News team give out a whoop, before moving geographically further along the south coast to Bracklesham Bay and Selsey Bill as an introduction to ‘Saturday’s Kids’. The outdoor arena is now bouncing, or at least I am. There’s even crowd involvement as Russell encourages us to help him out with the “la, la, la, las” in ‘Man In The Corner Shop’ as he’s feeling a bit out of puff.

From The Jam live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Bruce Foxton is his usual impeccable self on the bass and ‘Pretty Green’ showcases that well. He even gives us a couple of his trademark jumps, just nowhere near as high as they once were some 40 years ago. Mikey Randon plays the Rick Buckler role faultlessly and Andrew Fairclough gives his backing on keyboards in what is a thoroughly enjoyable set in the Blackpool sunshine. The Jam were a band for a generation, but the sound and lyrics have stood the test of time and a new generation can now enjoy From The Jam when they release their new album ‘The Butterfly Effect’ on 29th October. I for one can’t wait.

Read our 2021 review of From The Jam and The Selecter live at Brighton Dome HERE.
(Andy Murphy)

Moscow Death Brigade live at Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

I was a bit late to the party with Moscow Death Brigade, but I must say they totally live up to the hype. I recently saw them in the Cowley Club (Brighton) which is a very small venue for them to play. They normally play to thousands and today was one of those gigs.

Moscow Death Brigade live at Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

They hail from Russia and wear balaclavas while playing loud and in-your face punk music in the form of rap and dance. There are three rappers out front (including Kieran from The Restarts who has been helping them out on their most recent Euro tour) and a guy on the decks/laptop blasting out the beats.

Moscow Death Brigade live at Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

They didn’t waste any time dedicating their set to causes close to their hearts (anti racism, anti sexism, anti homophobia) and said they would donate all profits from their merchandise sales to Ukrainian refugees. The crowd were totally going for it during this set and their style of music was a breath of fresh air to most people who fancied their punk rock delivered in a different way. They threw their customary inflatable mascot into the crowd and played their anthem ‘Brothers And Sisterhood’ which has a chorus that will not leave your head after listening to it. They ended with their traditional ‘Boltcutter’ song and laid waste to the Casbah. Another highlight for me.
(Sonny Tyler)

Skids live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

SKIDS – R-FEST (6.25pm – 7.25pm)
I’m back outside at the R-Fest stage for the Skids. The only remaining original member is vocalist Richard Jobson. Although he is joined by Bruce Watson, a former bandmate of original Skids guitarist the late Stuart Adamson in Big Country. Earlier in the day Jobson had been interviewed by John Robb on the Literary Stage. Robb had asked Jobson whether he still did “that f*cking stupid dancing”. At the end of one song where he dances strenuously he retorts (albeit with a grin): “there’s your answer motherf*cker!!!”

Skids live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The current line-up of the Skids certainly does justice to their back catalogue. They do have a more recent studio album, ‘Burning Cities’, but nothing gets played from that today. However, what does get played during their 49 minute set (6:24pm to 7:13pm) is pretty much every Skids song that you’d want to hear. We hear that ‘The Saints Are Coming’ was covered by U2 and Green Day. Jobson tells a slightly off-colour joke about Stuart Adamson’s complexion when he was young. He gets booed for this, but Adamson was Jobson’s friend, so doubtless it’s the kind of banter that they would have enjoyed when Stuart was alive. He asks for a round of applause for Stuart anyway.

Skids live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’, ‘Hurry On Boys’ and ‘Circus Games’ lead somewhat surprisingly into ‘TV Stars’ (a.k.a ‘Albert Tatlock‘), which Jobson derides as “possibly the worst song ever written”. Well, that’s debatable, and I’m not sure that I would have included it in the set, but it’s certainly entertaining. Another surprise is a medley of the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ and ‘Pretty Vacant’.

Skids live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Jobson tells us that without the Pistols “none of us would be here”, which is possibly correct. I’m not sure that I would necessarily credit the Pistols with inventing punk, but they were certainly the first punk band to attract the attention (good and bad) of the general public in the UK. However, credit for that could also go to Malcolm McLaren, Richard Branson and (unintentionally) Bill Grundy. The set closes with a one-two-three of ‘Masquerade’, ‘Into The Valley’, and ‘Charade’. It’s a vital set, and reminds those who may have forgotten, or may be discovering them for the first time, what a brilliant band the Skids were and are.

Read our review of the Skids 2021 Brighton concert HERE.
(Mark Kelly)

Slaughter Bite Back live Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Now it was time for a bit of a supergroup of sorts with Slaughter Bite Back and a one off UK performance for all the old school Punk Rock aficionados out there. This is a certain Slaughter And The Dogs’ line up that recorded an album with a more rockier feel by the name of ‘Bite Back’ which came out in 1980. By this time, they had shortened their name to ‘Slaughter’ and the band featured ‘Ed Garrity’ on vocals (of Ed Banger And The Nosebleeds fame), Mick Rossi on guitar, Howard Bates on the bass and Phil Rowland on the drums.

Slaughter Bite Back live Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

All the members of this particular line up were present and correct tonight as stated by the backdrop and everyone knew they were in for a special treat that they may not see again. The room was full again at this time and the band’s sound was more in a rock vein than say ‘Slaughter’s’ earlier output. Ed was prowling the stage in full 80’s glam apparel and at one point I wondered whether he was wearing a Glam rock wig but by the end, I was almost certain those locks were real. They went down well with the people in attendance and even played some old ‘Slaughter’ numbers like ‘Boston Babies’ which is always a good crowd pleaser to go out on.

Slaughter Bite Back are on Facebook
(Sonny Tyler)

Don Letts at Literary 5.8.22 (pic Andy Murphy) (click to enlarge)

DON LETTS – LITERARY (7:10pm – 7:50pm)
After the exhaustion of singing and dancing along to From The Jam for an hour, I opted for a change of pace and came across the Literary Room upstairs in the Winter Gardens. I missed the start and as a result ended up standing at the back as Don Letts was interviewed in front of a packed room.

This was a superbly entertaining and interesting insight into Don Letts life from filming his first music video ‘London Calling’ on a super 8 camera, to being the producer of the first video by a black artist, Musical Youth, to be shown on MTV after they had previously refused to interview him when they realised, he himself was black. He is well versed in film and catches out the whole audience when he starts talking about a white film producer which no-one has heard of, giving him the upper hand as he jokes about a black man teaching the 99% white audience about their own culture and how we don’t know our own sh*t. He has a point.

Don Letts with Rhoda Dakar at Mezzei Cafe 5.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

He talks about his acquaintanceship with Bob Marley through him having the best herb available at a party, then onto his first ever trip to Jamaica with John Lydon for which he owes him big time even though he doesn’t recognise the person he has become. Even his daughter Honor joins in inadvertently as she phones him mid-interview and he promises to call her back before going on to say that kids are overrated! He obviously doesn’t mean it as he talks about them like any good father.

He is proud of his involvement with Big Audio Dynamite considering he didn’t have a clue about how to play an instrument, but he did write 50-60% of their songs. Nowadays he is hustling, doing a little bit of this and that such as Culture Clash Radio, Podcasts and DJing. His big news though is that he’s signed a record deal with Cooking Vinyl and will have an album coming out with some basslines from Youth (Killing Joke). Worth looking out for later in the year, but as for now it sounds like purchasing his book is a must.
(Andy Murphy)

Turtles Jr live in After Dark & RIS 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

TURTLES JR – AFTER DARK & RIS (7:15pm – 7:45pm)
I wanted to check out an Indonesian band called Hell City earlier on in this room, but found out they had problems getting into the country unfortunately. I was pleased to discover that there were no such problems for Turtles Jr who were present and correct and ready to blow the roof off.

Turtles Jr live in After Dark & RIS 5.8.22 (pic Dod Morrison) (click to enlarge)

This band played fast and furious hardcore punk rock and it was great to see the crowd warm to them more and more as the set went on. They got the crowd to chant ‘No Police, No Pollution’ and said that where they come from in Bandung (Indonesia) there are no police so they can do what they want (within reason). They have been going for 30 years and are well established in their home country, and their experience showed through this afternoon. An absolutely raging set in which they even got the crowd to form a circle pit. The guitarist had a Chaos UK t-shirt on too, which is always good to see. The band looked so happy with the response from the crowd and took a crowd shot from the stage at the end of their set. One of the best bands of the day for me.
(Sonny Tyler)

The Undertones live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

UNDERTONES – R-FEST (7:55pm – 8:55pm)
Next up on the R-Fest stage are The Undertones. Before the band come on, a young man comes onstage and takes photos of the crowd on his phone. It turns out that this is Kevin Sharkey, who is standing in for regular drummer Billy Doherty who is self-isolating with Covid. Whether he is any relation to original Undertones vocalist Feargal Sharkey is unclear. The other members of the band, guitarists John and Damien O’Neill, bassist Michael Bradley, and vocalist Paul McLoone are all present and correct however.

The Undertones live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Undertones have an extremely rich back catalogue. So much so that when planning their set, it must be a question not so much of what to play as to what to leave out. Still, I’m sure nobody can argue with their opening trilogy of ‘You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It!)’, ‘Jump Boys’ and ‘Family Entertainment’, the latter two from their debut album. Paul McLoone has quite a camp ‘rock star’ way of presenting himself. It is no surprise to learn that he is a comedy writer. His tongue appears to be very firmly in his cheek anyway.

The Undertones live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

The band don’t rest on the laurels of their glory years with Feargal Sharkey in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since Paul McLoone joined they have released two studio albums: ‘Get What You Need’ (2003) and ‘Dig Yourself Deep’ (2007). Today they play ‘Thrill Me’, ‘Oh Please’, and ‘Enough’ (which Michael very accurately describes as “quite fast”) from ‘Get What You Need’. There is nothing from ‘Dig Yourself Deep’ however. There are a surprising number of tracks from their debut album. Along with the aforementioned pair, there is also ‘Billy’s Third’, ‘I Gotta Getta’, ‘Male Model’, ‘Here Comes The Summer’, (‘She’s A) Runaround’, ‘Girls Don’t Like It’, ‘I Know A Girl’ and ‘Listening In’. It was a superb debut, so why not?

The Undertones live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

I’m delighted to see that The Undertones are still capable of a small bit of rabble-rousing, with people throwing a loo roll around during ‘Teenage Kicks’. However, all good things come to an end, and after a storming rendition of ‘Get Over You’, they’re gone. The band have performed twenty-four songs in the hour allotted to them. That’s going some. Although timekeepers would have noted that they graced the stage 5 minutes early and thus they entertained us for 67 minutes from 7:50pm to 8:57pm. The amazing fact from tonight’s performance is that they informed us that this was their very first time playing live in Blackpool!

Read our review of The Undertones and Hugh Cornwell live in Brighton in March 2022 HERE.
(Mark Kelly)

The Lovely Eggs at the Literary stage 5.8.22 (pic Phil Newell) (click to enlarge)

THE LOVELY EGGS – LITERARY (8:00pm – 8:30pm)
I hang around for the next interview which is The Lovely Eggs. On a night of extremely tough choices this married couple, who live in nearby Lancaster, are the only ones who can tear me away from seeing The Undertones on the outdoor stage. I am seeing them in Bexhill in a couple of months’ time (Tickets HERE) so it’s not such a dilemma, whereas it’s unlikely I will get the opportunity to see The Lovely Eggs get interviewed by John Robb in the flesh ever again.

This is an enjoyable half hour as I get to hear the background and dynamics of one of my favourite bands thanks to John Robb’s expert interview technique, though he doesn’t have to say too much to get a story or ten out of The Eggs. Holly and David get on so well that she even jokes that he has forgotten her name when he dares to hesitate. It’s refreshing to hear that they decided to create The Lovely Eggs so they could do what they want and not have to put up with all the drama that goes on in a band. It’s also nice to hear that they are perfectly happy in Lancaster away from the pretentiousness of big cities like London, where in the music business they only remember your name when they want something, then four weeks later they’ve forgotten all about you. According to Holly the only issue with the Lancaster music scene is that all the bands can play perfectly and ‘we can’t.’

The Lovely Eggs at the Literary stage 5.8.22 (pic Phil Newell) (click to enlarge)

This truly DIY band reminisces about when their son was a baby and how they would use his buggy to take 50 wrapped records at a time to send from the post office. The joys of parenthood!
They sup on their alcoholic beverages slowly as nowadays they only drink 90 minutes before a gig to prevent any mishaps or incidents, and there is still three hours before they are due on stage. It could get messy later! I am so engrossed in this light-hearted conversation that I even forget to take any photos. I look forward to a new album which is in their thoughts and once again it could be completely different from their last one as they get bored quickly. I wait with bated breath for the finished article.

Read our review of The Lovely Eggs live in Brighton in 2021 HERE.
(Andy Murphy)

Alternative live at Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Sonny Tyler) (click to enlarge)

ALTERNATIVE – PAVILION (8:00pm – 8:45pm)
I had waited a long time to see this Anarcho band (‘Alternative‘) from Scotland and was not disappointed. They have recently reformed and it was a pleasure to see. I could probably describe them as Scotland’s answer to Crass, but they would probably dislike me for saying it. They did play many gigs with them back in the day though and had a release on their label. Their album goes for big money on that there internet, but you’ll be pleased to know it is getting the reissue treatment courtesy of Sealed Records in the not too distant future.

Alternative live at Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Sonny Tyler) (click to enlarge)

They started their set withAnti -Christ andWarfear and got a warm reception from a busy room. The dual male and female vocals worked a treat and ‘Moral Bondage’ sounded great. Ash Quinn on guitar did the riffs justice too and by the time they finished playing ‘Another Subversive Peace Song’ I was in heaven. This was the third band today that blew my socks off this afternoon and quite frankly I was getting fed up having to put them back on.

More on the band HERE.
(Sonny Tyler)

The Blockheads in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

I only caught half of this set I must confess as I was running between venues like a Punk Rock trainspotter, I hadn’t seen The Blockheads since seeing Ian Dury fronting them at Finsbury Park supporting Madness at Madstock in the 90’s I do believe.

The Blockheads in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Mel Gordine-Tyler) (click to enlarge)

The latest frontman did a great job tonight though without mimicking the way Dury would have performed which was refreshing. It was ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful, Pt. 3’ as the band were top notch as expected and it was great to hear ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’ played in all its glory to a packed room. During ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’, each band member played a solo culminating in the sax player playing two of them at once which was plain showing off. A very tight band and an enjoyable performance tonight. Nice to hear these classic songs again.

Read our review of The Blockheads live in Sussex back in 2019 HERE.
(Sonny Tyler)

Subhumans at Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

SUBHUMANS – CLUB CASBAH (8:20pm – 9:20pm)
The rest of my night is a trip down anarcho-punk memory lane as I head to Club Casbah. I miss about 25 minutes of the Subhumans set owing to the crossover with The Lovely Eggs interview, but still manage to get reasonably close to the stage where the mosh pit is in full flow. Every song is hard hitting so I have to be in the right frame of mind which is possibly why I took my time to walk to the venue after the mirth and merriment I had just witnessed.

Subhumans at Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

This was a far cry from when I last saw Subhumans at the intimate surroundings of Lewes Con Club in 2019 (Review HERE) and the 2000 capacity Club Casbah is very busy. The energy shown by 61-year-old Dick Lucas is unrelenting as he venomously blasts his way through one song after another with little rest. He spouts his lyrics about sensitive issues with a passion which you have to admire. With Bruce Treasure on guitar and backing vocals (1980-present), Phil Bryant on bass (1983-present), and Trotsky on drums (1980-present), this band really has stood the test of time since reforming in 2004. Highlights for me were ‘Society’, ‘Black And White’, and of course ‘Religious Wars’, and I am left wishing I had made my way to the venue in quicker time.

The Subhumans are on Facebook
(Andy Murphy)

Don Letts at Mezzei Cafe 5.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

DON LETTS DJ SET – MAZZEI CAFE (c9:00pm – c9:45pm)
I had ventured back into Rebellion from R-Fest, having just enjoyed The Undertones set and as I entered the Mazzei Cafe for a coffee boost, I immediately saw a horde of people skanking away to some bouncing reggae/ska tunes. Coffee purchased and consumed within seconds, I made my way to the front and was pleasantly surprised that The Rebel Dread aka Don Letts was the source of much jollification. I believe that the set had kicked off at 9pm and thus had only missed a few minutes from the beginning. I had witnessed such a set four years earlier in Lewes of all places – Review HERE.

Don Letts at Mezzei Cafe 5.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

Seated behind Don in the Mazzei Cafe was Rhoda Dakar who I had previously met in Brighton just days earlier at the press launch of The Jam and Style Council ‘This Is The Modern World’ exhibition – Review HERE.

Don’s DJ set was as you would expect, uplifting, and it certainly gave me a much needed bounce in my step, but I sadly had to hotfoot it to the nearby Empress Ballroom in order to catch the beginning of the Sham 69 set.
(Nick Linazasoro)

The Stranglers live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

THE STRANGLERS – R-FEST (9:25pm – 10:45pm)
For me, one of the most eagerly anticipated acts of this festival are The Stranglers, having missed them on their final full UK tour in February this year. Whilst bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel is the only remaining original member of the band since the passing of Dave Greenfield, vocalist and guitarist Baz Warne is more than justified in greeting the crowd with “we’re the fookin’ Stranglers,” being a veteran of the band of some twenty-two years standing (his predecessor Hugh Cornwell was with the band for sixteen years). The current line-up is completed by Jim Macaulay on drums, and Toby Hounsham (ex of Rialto) on keyboards. They take the stage to ‘Waltzinblack’, and break into ‘Toiler On The Sea’ from ‘Black And White’, followed closely by the classic ‘(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)’. Jean-Jacques Burnel may be seventy years old, but he’s still doing his karate kicks. I wouldn’t argue with him.

The Stranglers live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Stranglers are another band with a hugely impressive back catalogue. However, it should not be forgotten that they released a new studio album, their eighteenth and their last with Dave Greenfield, last year. Entitled ‘Dark Matters’, we get a couple of songs from it tonight. ‘This Song’ is a cover of a song originally by The Disciples Of Spess, the original being known as ‘This Song Will Get Me Over You’. Also played tonight is ‘White Stallion’ from ‘Dark Matters’.

The Stranglers live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

The bulk of the set though is a festival crowd-pleasing ‘best of’ set. There’s certainly nothing to criticise regarding this. When a band has as many classics as The Stranglers, why not play them? Thus we were served ‘Something Better Change’, ‘Always The Sun’, ‘Golden Brown’, ‘5 Minutes’ and more. Despite the changes in personnel over the past few years, the band still absolutely sound like The Stranglers.

The Stranglers live at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Their humour is still intact too. During ‘Peaches’ Baz Warne mentions Blackpool and sings: “down on the beaches looking at all the fat arses”. Well, I suppose Blackpool isn’t St Tropez is it? The closing trio of ‘Hanging Around’, ‘Tank’ and ‘No More Heroes’ are pretty emphatic. This has been a superb set and the band seem to have had fun. Surely they’ll tour again. Won’t they?

Read our February 2022 review of The Stranglers and Ruts DC HERE.
(Mark Kelly)

Steve Ignorant Crass Set in Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Dod Morrison) (click to enlarge)

I am now warmed up and ready for the Steve Ignorant Crass Set in what is another tough decision as it clashes with The Stranglers and Sham 69. Now I have seen both Steve Ignorant and The Stranglers play earlier in the year, but after the kind words I received from Mr. Ignorant regarding my review of the Concorde 2 gig, (Review HERE) I just had to see him play again, so I remained in Club Casbah. The band are dressed in different attire from last night’s Slice Of Life gig, looking more punkier as they all wear black, apart from Steve sporting an ethically made white polo shirt with the Crass logo and grey jeans.

Steve Ignorant Crass Set in Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

‘Do They Owe Us A Living?’ gets the set off to a great start and already I am thinking the system needs a shakeup from top to bottom. When Carol takes over lead vocals for ‘System’ I once again marvel at her talent as I do whenever she takes centre stage. I fail to find a weak point in this set and the band, all accomplished musicians as proven yesterday, can morph into punk mode to produce the edge that is needed for a Crass song. The fact there is such a large crowd given the competition on other stages shows that there are still many dissenting voices against the system.

Steve Ignorant Crass Set in Club Casbah 5.8.22 (pic Andy Murphy) (click to enlarge)

Picking a favourite track from the likes of ‘So What’, ‘Banned From The Roxy’, ‘Bloody Revolutions’ and ‘Shaved Women’, is always going to be difficult, but as usual the ultimate crowd pleaser appears to be ‘Big A Little A’, and I have to agree with the mosh pit. I am now even more disappointed that I missed Steve Ignorant’s interview on the Literary Stage but in my opinion, I made the right choice in seeing him play tonight.
(Andy Murphy)

Sham 69 in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

SHAM 69 – EMPRESS BALLROOM (9:45pm – 10:45pm)
On our arrival at the Empress Ballroom in order to catch punk legends, the original Hersham Boys since 1975 (yes 1975!) Sham 69, we were a little taken aback as to how full the venue was, it was heaving downstairs and around the balcony too!

Sham 69 in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The performance commenced at 9:49pm with an intro tape pertaining to the 60’s cult sci-fi show ‘The Prisoner’. This is in my personal Top 5 TV shows ever and I have stayed “In the village”, so this was an encouraging start. The lads arrived and 1-2-3-4, they were off with ‘What Have We Got?’.

Sham 69 in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

It immediately became apparent what a fabulous drummer Robin Guy is with his flamboyant drumming style and continual spinning of the stix. I’d have to say that he was the finest one that I witnessed at the whole of Rebellion and R-Fest. As Jimmy Pursey wasn’t initially communicating to the masses in between tunes, thus letting the music speak for itself, it gave me time to study Robin’s work and to spy our photographer Cris whizzing around grabbing shots at the rear of the stage!

Sham 69 in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

As you would expect, track eight ‘Borstal Breakout’, track ten ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ (which was one of the highlights for me), track fourteen ‘White Riot’ (The Clash cover and another highlight) and track fifteen the chantalong ‘If The Kids Are United’ were all very lively affairs! It might not come any more boisterous than this!

Sham 69 in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

After 42 minutes and 15 tunes, they left the stage and thankfully returned three minutes later, to whip the punters up even higher with ‘Hersham Boys’ and ‘Hurry Up Harry’, and in doing so, were the first act thus far I had seen at Rebellion and R-Fest that had actually played an encore. After a mere 52 minutes in total, they were done! It was a terrific performance from the Pursey, Parsons, Tregunna, Guy team. Wouldn’t have expected any less!

Read our January 2022 Sham 69 London gig review HERE.

Sham 69 are on Facebook
(Nick Linazasoro)

The Lovely Eggs later on in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

THE LOVELY EGGS – PAVILION (11:00pm – 11:50pm)
150 minutes after they have finished on the Literary Stage, Lancaster’s very own The Lovely Eggs are gracing us with their presence at the Pavilion with music on the menu this time. The crowd waits patiently as there are a few issues getting set up and a bit of faffing around as ‘The Eggs’ have to be their own roadies too. They aren’t on too late, 11:02pm to be precise, and soon get the crowd going, or at least half of it, as the side I was standing on seem rather subdued apart from me. Holly reminds us that they are not here to entertain, but to be entertained, so we had better get partying and as a result the mosh pit gets a bit livelier.

The Lovely Eggs later on in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Andy Murphy) (click to enlarge)

‘Wiggy Giggy’ is dedicated to “Sh*tsville United”, as in for all those who live in small dead-end towns where there is nothing going on and the reason that drugs were invented in order to entertain the locals. My favourite song of the set is ‘Dickhead’. The first 40 seconds sounds like a slowed down glam rock number until it explodes into life for the rest of the song with a very brief respite. The singalong ‘You Can Go Now’ is improved with the addition of the lyric “Boris Johnson, you can go now” much to the approval of the crowd. The glaring omission from the setlist is that of the anthemic ‘F*ck It’ as the show ends some 8 minutes early after Holly has finished her drink and isn’t opening another can as that would be a waste. Their 39 minute set concluded at 11:41pm. Having described it as the best underground/genuinely alternative festival ever, hopefully The Lovely Eggs will be asked to return in future years.

Read our 2018 review of The Lovely Eggs in Hastings HERE.
(Andy Murphy)

The Ramonas in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

THE RAMONAS – EMPRESS BALLROOM (11:05pm – 11:55pm)
The Ramonas are a band that have escaped me over the years for some reason, which is strange because they have been going since 2004 and many members of the band are Sussex based. I was about to put this misdemeanour right tonight by checking them out on The Empress stage as this reasonably late hour at long last.

The Ramonas in Empress Ballroom 5.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

They were on after Sham 69 and the room was still full to capacity in anticipation of this aftershow band of Ramones worshippers. They play a healthy mix of Ramones covers along with plenty of their own material and have become very popular in recent years. The vocalist is called Lisa (aka Cloey Ramona) and there was definitely more than a touch of Joey Ramone in her vocal style and delivery. The band also consisting of Maxine aka (Rohnny Ramona) on guitar, new recruit Sadie (aka Skitchy Ramona) on drums and a brand new or stand in bassist. They were solid and the crowd were totally won over by these Ramones styled songs that would put a smile on the most grumpiest of faces I reckon. A fun set indeed.

Read our January 2022 review of The Ramonas in Worthing, Sussex HERE.
(Sonny Tyler)

The Outcasts in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

THE OUTCASTS 12:05am – 1:00am (PAVILION)
Having just witnessed The Lovely Eggs set, we stayed put in order to catch The Outcasts who started at 12:04am with The Stooges ‘1969’.

Back in the day, 1978 and 1979 to be precise, I was immediately on board with the Irish punk bands via Mr Peel (weren’t we all!). This began with Stiff Little Fingers timeless classics ‘Suspect Device’ and ‘Alternative Ulster’, which rarely strayed from my two Pioneer SLD2 record decks and immediately expanded to everything ‘Good Vibrations’ with their wonderful 7” singles with DIY foldout sleeves – thank you Terri.

The Outcasts in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

Almost every one of their releases was snapped up by yours truly – Rudi ‘Big Time’, The Moondogs ‘She’s Nineteen’ and of course The Outcasts with ‘Justa Nother Teenage Rebel’ / ‘Love Is For Sops’ plus ‘Self Conscious Over You’ / ‘Love You For Never’. My favourite of the bunch being the double 7” ‘Battle Of The Bands’, featuring one song by Rudi, The Idiots, Spider and of course ‘The Cops Are Coming’ by Belfast boys The Outcasts. I think that I might have even seen The Outcasts live in the early 80’s, but I just can’t verify that. It wasn’t always possible to keep your gig tickets as after a jolly evening of pogoing, the thin piece of paper in your pocket (the gig ticket) had often turned to mush and was not salvageable or even worse, you forgot to take it out before it was washed.

The Outcasts in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Adrian Ingram) (click to enlarge)

This morning, The Outcasts, who formed in 1977 and whose name is in reference to the fact that they were banned from five clubs in one week, grace the Pavilion stage with their vocals/bass, two guitar and drums format. Buck Defect is now the permanent replacement for Petsey Burns on guitar. We would see Buck at Club Casbah tomorrow teatime with The Defects.

The Outcasts in Pavilion 5.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

Pleasingly there are still many in attendance as they begin song two ‘Self Conscious Over You’. A few more songs in and we get a highlight with ‘Justa Nother Teenage Rebel’ and even a Rudi cover with ‘The Pressure’s On’. They are giving us what some would refer to as standard punk fayre which sometimes has a rock n roll edge. Not surprisingly their final two numbers are the choice cuts ‘The Cops Are Comin’’ and ‘You’re A Disease’. The performance was slightly marred by bass guitar feedback gremlins throughout the set, which sadly wasn’t sourced, but other than that, I would suggest that we all had a jolly decent time. At ten to one, after 46 minutes, they called it a day and so shall we for Day Two of Rebellion. More shenanigans to be had tomorrow!

The Outcasts are on Facebook
(Nick Linazasoro)

Photographer John Bownas having a break from shooting at R-Fest 5.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Rebellion will return in 2023. The dates are Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th August. You can purchase your early bird tickets HERE.

Once again, if you missed our Rebellion & R-Fest Day One reports, then click HERE. Plus find our Day Three reports HERE and Day Four reports HERE

Rebellion flyer

R-Fest flyer

Rebellion 2023 flyer

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