Rebellion & R-Fest – Day Three Report

Gary Numan headlining R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

‘VARIOUS ARTISTS’ – WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL & PROMENADE, BLACKPOOL 6.8.22

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.

Winter Gardens complex, Blackpool  during Rebellion 2022 (pic Glenn Sparrow) (click to enlarge)

This year has seen the first expansion of the Winter Gardens complex since the construction of the Opera House in 1939, with the brand new, purpose built events venue called The Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre. The new building is one of the largest venues of its kind in the north of England.

Rebellion is always an event full of colour, these are The Rumkicks (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.

R-Fest in the shadow of Blackpool Tower (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (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.

Photographers Sara and John taking a few minutes off (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Today is Day Three. If you missed Day One, then read our report HERE and you can read the account of Day Two HERE and Day Four 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………………………..

Redlightz in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

REDLIGHTZ – AFTER DARK & RIS (1:15pm – 1:45pm)
Our Rebellion Day Three kicks off a mere 12 hours where it left off this morning. It’s now 1:15pm and Redlightz grace the After Dark & RIS (‘Rebellion Introducing Stage’). They released their self-titled ten tune album back in 2018. These five guys are from Curitiba in Brazil and are built around two brothers at the fore. They have been playing since 2009 and they are apparently influenced by Johnny Thunders, Fu Manchu, Zeke, The Dictators, Neurotic Outsiders and more.

Redlightz in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Today, for the early Rebellion risers they operate a vocals, two guitar, bass and drums format and play energetic fast and normal speed skate punk with often shouty vocals sung in English. There seems to be a few Brazilian acts on the scene these days which is encouraging. Before we knew it the Redlightz eleven track 28 minute set had concluded at 1:43pm. It was a bit early for a mosh, but I’m pretty sure that if they were on later in the day, then it would have been a rather more boisterous affair from the punters. It was a promising start for the day and wouldn’t be surprised if they returned next year.

Redlightz are on Bandcamp
(Nick Linazasoro)

The Destructors in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Chris Hill) (click to enlarge)

DESTRUCTORS – CLUB CASBAH (1:15pm – 1:50pm)
If I thought this was an early start, then my wife beat me to it, as she was up and out at the pub with mates for 12pm – hardcore ha ha! So, today the Casbah was to be termed by myself the UK82 room. It was a struggle dragging myself away from my BNB but there was no way I was going to miss Peterborough legends ‘The Destructors’ back in action.

The Destructors in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Chris Hill) (click to enlarge)

Gizz Butt was fronting this particular line up and was apparently suffering from a bit of a hangover, just like three quarters of the audience in the room at this ungodly time of day. I must admit that it didn’t show as Gizz put in a sterling performance with a few technical guitar solos thrown in the mix. The original drummer was here today (who Gizz describes as defining the term “Bum Tit”) and a new bass player was in attendance. As Gizz said, the original bass player died and the singer is living in New Zealand so this was ‘The Destructors’ for today. They played the classic ‘Electronic Church’ and ‘Bullshit’ so I was happy and later on, my favourite song of theirs ‘Forces Of Law’ which is a top tune. A good start to the day.

The Destructors are on Facebook
(Sonny Tyler)

Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

PETE BENTHAM AND THE DINNER LADIES – R-FEST (1:30pm – 2:10pm)
My Saturday at Rebellion starts at the R-Fest stage with the fantastically monikered Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies. As the name suggests, the female members of the band are dressed as school dinner ladies. The band are a seven piece, consisting of two dancers, a sax player, backing singer, drummer, guitarist/lead vocalist and a bassist.

Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

More than anything else, they remind me of The Fall. Not because they sound like that much-missed band, but because they deal with similarly out-there subject matter, and also the manner in which they present it. For example, at the end of ‘What’s On The Inside Has To Come Out’ one of the dancers ‘gives birth’ to a string of sausages. ‘Do The Don’t’ reminds me of The Cramps, whilst the sax player reminds me of Laura Logic from X-Ray Spex. ‘Dead’s Not Punk’ is about looking after your health, whilst ‘Work’ has a Russian feel about it, although Pete asks us not to “hold that against us”.

Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

The lyrics and between song banter is very witty. For example, ‘Widnes‘ is “the Hollywood of the North” (it really isn’t). ‘A Bas Le Caviar, Vive Le Kebab’ was seen by Pete on a French protest placard. Basically it means down with wealthy people and up with normal people. ‘Queen Victoria’s Knob’ is about a statue of Queen Victoria where she appears to be holding a large male appendage. Pete tells us that “when the revolution comes, this will be the password”. This is one of the most witty and amusing bands that I’ve seen for a long time, albeit with a serious message.

www.petebenthamandthedinnerladies.co.uk
(Mark Kelly)

Gogoponies in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

GOGOPONIES – AFTER DARK & RIS (2:00pm – 2:30pm)
We were staying put at the After Dark & RIS stage for the second of a trio of acts that we were going to catch this afternoon, those being Italy’s Gogoponies quartet, who are here as part of their UK tour, which was to drop into Brighton at The Pipeline just three days after this performance. Check out their little film HERE.

Gogoponies in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Back to today in Blackpool and Milan’s Gogoponies who dropped their 12 song ‘The Greatest’ album back in March kick off at 1:59pm. The album lists the band members as Carolina Galimberti, Michele Bengala, Silvia Toti, Vanessa Aloise and Massimo Volpi, but there are just four people on stage in front of me this afternoon. Other than their outlandish lycra leopard punk style sportswear, the first thing I noticed of difference with this outfit is that their female drummer plays standing up, which is fabulous. In addition to the drums we had an accompaniment of vocals which were almost all in English as far as I could tell, as well as bass and cool cordless guitar.

Gogoponies in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

They all have Jordan/Cleopatra eye makeup which bonds them together and their sound is their own blend of catchy hooks with rumbley bass and tribal drums and sitting at the edge of pop sounds or as they put it “90’s, hard rock, fit metal, punk rock, riot girl”.

Gogoponies in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Glenn Sparrow) (click to enlarge)

Being Italians, they obviously sang about pasta in their earworm track ‘Pasta & Furious’ which includes “Eat lasagna no more drama”. Although it was still early afternoon their singer did well and managed to persuade the crowd to get a circle pit going, which was a very good call. Their penultimate number even had a disco beat and this cheeky lot had a good workout during their seven tune set which finished after 28 minutes at 2:27pm.

linktr.ee/gogoponies
(Nick Linazasoro)

Mau Maus in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

MAU MAUS – CLUB CASBAH (2:05pm – 2:40pm)
The Mau Maus originally hail from Sheffield and were another band from the second wave of Punk that I was looking forward to checking out. Most original members are contained within, with the added bonus of Danny from pop punkers ‘W.O.R.M’ on vocals. Danny does a great job actually and has a similar voice to the original singer. Halfway through their set, they really got into their flow and were dishing out their own brand of early 80’s Punk Rock with smatterings of American hardcore thrown in the mix, which I think set them apart back in the day.

Mau Maus in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Sonny Tyler) (click to enlarge)

Danny proclaimed that their EP ‘Society’s Victims’ was released exactly 40 years to the day and counted in the exact moment from the stage before playing the song in question. Their new songs sounded good too and the lighting rig at one point made me think they were playing Wembley. They played a top version of ‘Running With The Pack’ and I was truly satisfied. A cool set was played to a busy room again.

The Mau Mas are on Facebook
(Sonny Tyler)

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

THE PRIMITIVES – R-FEST (2:30pm – 3:25pm)
Saturday afternoon was another visit outside to the R-Fest Arena and an opportunity to see indie faves from the mid-eighties until the early nineties, The Primitives. Yes, Rebellion isn’t all punk. Formed in 1984 in Coventry they lasted eight years first time around, and then reformed in 2009. They are a band that I liked back in the day and purchased their first two albums, but I was blissfully unaware that they had reformed until post-pandemic. Having sadly never seen them play live I was intrigued to see if they would still do it for me.

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

First impressions as they enter the stage are that lead singer Tracy Tracy (Tracy Cattell) has aged well, being just shy of her 55th birthday. Second impressions are that her vocals are still pretty on point, unlike some other lead singers I have seen this weekend, but that discussion’s for another time. And thirdly they still have great tunes in their locker. Opening with, ‘I’ll Stick With You’ followed by ‘Stop Killing Me’, both taken from their first album, I really am in familiar territory. ‘Lovely’, was released in 1988 when they were arguably at their peak and the album reached number six in the UK charts.

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Third song in and there is a technical issue with Paul Court’s guitar which disappointingly takes about five minutes off the strict set time, but thankfully that is the only hiccup as they impress throughout. Paul impressively takes over the vocal reins for a new song ‘Till I’m Alive’ which doesn’t sound at all out of place in a set dominated by Tracy’s vocals. Paul is the only original member of the band, with Tracy joining in 1986, drummer Tig in 1987, and bassist Paul Sampson in 1989, but not returning until 2020.

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

The jangly guitars and delicious vocals of ‘Thru The Flowers’ gives me my first goosebumps of the festival, not something I was expecting with all the punk bands on offer. Other highlights are ‘Sick Of It’, ‘Spacehead’, and of course their biggest hit ‘Crash’, which peaked at number 5 in the UK Top 40 in 1988. The only song missing that would have made the set complete for me is ‘Out Of Reach’, but I can have few complaints as I’m just happy to have seen The Primitives perform live some 35 years too late and show me what I missed out on first time round.

Read our new review of The Primitives with The Wedding Present in Brighton HERE.

www.instagram.com/theprimitives
(Andy Murphy)

The Webb in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

THE WEBB – AFTER DARK & RIS (2:45pm – 3:15pm)
I have to be totally honest and state that I was really looking forward to seeing The Primitives (see above) playing live again, having not seen them since their heyday. They were one of my must see acts. Like all of the festivals I cover, I do my homework beforehand and listen to some material by all of the acts…….…………enter The Webb a brand new discovery to me! The initial excitement of a new band discovering very soon turned to horror as they clashed with The Primitives. Then I remembered that The Primitives will be playing Brighton as guests to The Wedding Present a mere week later, suddenly all was well with the world again. The Webb were the very exciting new choice. I celebrated by listening online to some of their material and got totally immersed in it, and played them again and again! So you can guess how this particular review will be going!

The Webb in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

We therefore stayed put in the After Dark & RIS stage and the boy/girl duo (Marc and Becki) took to the stage at 2:46pm. Their setup is Novation with Roland Gaia keys and witch style drawn out vocals, plus for effect a host of blow up pumpkins, a blow up ghost and a skeleton, and thus it looks like Halloween has come early.

They label themselves “Goth-electronica-punk-spacerock with DIY ethics in a time of their own with schizophrenic tendencies”, which I wouldn’t argue with, but to me they capture the haunting timeless vocal style as possessed in the past by a band called Poeme Electronique, along with the keyboard work of early Gary Numan (Mr Webb will be reviewed shortly) and strong elements of Sheep On Drugs. Imagine a Goth ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and you have arrived!

The Webb in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

They opened with ‘Murder On CCTV’ and funnily enough ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and then a brand new number titled ‘Dystopian Dream’ which they have only played twice. ‘Haunted House’ followed and is a banging choon, and after that came ‘Negativity City’ which is done in a style akin to listening to Daniel Miller’s (The Normal) ‘Warm Leatherette’.

The Webb in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Any Slaughter & The Dogs fans would have been taken aback by the duo’s Sigue Sigue Sputnik style rendition of their classic ‘Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone?’, but having said that, their final number is a mashup of The Exploited and The Damned tracks ‘Dead Cities’ and ‘Love Song’ and is not surprisingly called ‘Dead Cities (Love Song)’. Some punks reading this might believe that covering the trio of iconic punk tracks amounts to sacrilege, but in my eyes they would be absolutely wrong! The Webb were absolutely brilliant and were my favourite act so far at Rebellion. If only the organisers shoehorned in a few more synth punk acts! After 29 minutes, The Webb were done and I would very much like our paths to cross again in the near future…several times!

The Webb are on Facebook
(Nick Linazasoro)

Chaotic Dischord in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Chris Hill) (click to enlarge)

CHAOTIC DISCHORD – CLUB CASBAH (2:55pm – 3:35pm)
My feet were firmly in this room today and I wasn’t about to leave yet. Chaotic Dischord were quite legendary in my youth and to the school kids around me, but they never played gigs (except one, under the name of ‘Sex Aids’ in their home city of Bristol?). Until today, that is. (well, they have played a few leading up to this, but I’m saying this for dramatic value).

Chaotic Dischord in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Sonny Tyler) (click to enlarge)

Ransid (their singer) sat on the drum riser, waiting for the rest of the band to get organised. The bassist sound checked his microphone with ‘F…k The Tories’ and I think they were ready to go. They came on to the strains of the ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ theme tune and started as they meant to go on, with a noisy version of ‘Never Trust A Friend’. They also played ‘Who Killed E.T’ and other Dischord anthems to a crowd that were now ready to drink some more beer. The guitarist was a little worse for wear from the night before and it looked like it was an endurance test for him to get through the set in one piece. Ransid urged him to concentrate on a few occasions, but was met with a look of confusion. The drummer counted in a song by saying “one…two…three…noise!” which tickled me. Another highlight of the set was the classic ‘F…k Politics, F…k Religion, F…k The Lot Of You’ which went down well with the crowd. Overall, a glorious racket and you couldn’t help feeding off the fun and drunken abandonment emanating from the stage.

Chaotic Dischord are on Facebook
(Sonny Tyler)

999 in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

999 – EMPRESS BALLROOM (3:25pm – 4:10pm)
We make a swift dart over to the Empress Ballroom to witness the 999 set. They are one of those bands that never stays away too long or changes personnel much, as they initially formed at the very tail end of 1976 and flew the flag until 1992, but were almost immediately back at in 1983 until 1987, and then bounced back in 1993 and have remained together ever since. In all that time, the only changes have been on bass with co-founder member John Watson lasting the first decade and Danny Palmer for a couple of years in the mid 1980’s and now Stuart Richard Meadows is on drums. The last formation saw the inclusion of The Lurkers’ Arturo Bassick, who we exclusively interviewed back in 2019 (Read it HERE). The trio of members that are here this afternoon are Nick Cash (lead vocals/guitar), Guy Days (guitar and vocals) and Stuart Richard Meadows (drums).

999 in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Clearly, this is where everyone is hiding this afternoon as the venue is rammed full including the balcony. Arturo began by announcing that Nick had been in hospital only the day before with a high heart rate and yet he has come here today to perform for us. They kicked off their 13 track 41 minute set at 3:22pm with ‘Inside Out, ‘Shoot’, ‘Hit Me’ and ‘Feelin’ Alright With The Crew’. It’s fair to say that 999 are purveyors of often melodic 1977/8 punk rock, and arguably have always been a Championship band, but judging by this afternoon’s attendance and crowd enthusiasm, they have just won the Champions League, ‘The Biggest Prize In Sport’ (couldn’t resist!).

999 in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Singer Nick shouts each song title in between tunes and sounds like Noddy Holder, which is rather helpful when trying to take notes during the performance. Thus the highlights for the set were the final four numbers: ‘Emergency’, ‘Nasty Nasty’, ‘Homicide’ and ‘I’m Alive’. They concluded at 4:03pm, which by my reckoning was seven minutes early. They would have had time to play one of my fave 999 tracks ‘No Pity’ as it only lasts two minutes! Oh well, hey-ho!

www.nineninenine.net
(Nick Linazasoro)

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

THE WEDDING PRESENT – R-FEST (3:45pm – 4:40pm)
I decide to hang around the R-Fest stage for some more indie, not punk, music. If there is one band that I regret not listening to at their peak then The Wedding Present are that band. I wonder how many other Manchester City supporters ignored them because they named an album ‘George Best’?! It has only been in recent years that I have listened to them after noticing a friend’s obsession with them. I have now seen them twice in intimate surroundings at The Booking Hall in Dover and Tunbridge Wells Forum, with both venues possibly smaller than the stage here, so this is a big upgrade. A large selection of guitars are wheeled side stage and they alone could do with their own entourage.

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

The dry ice machine sets the scene as Nicholas Wellauer takes up his place behind the drums, is then joined by Melanie Howard on bass, followed by a supersub replacing Jon Stewart on guitar. Then the main man himself Mr David Gedge enters the stage much to the delight of the crowd as they get into the full flow of the excellent ‘My Favourite Dress’ from my least favourite named album.

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Having only fairly recently gotten into the band, there is a hefty back catalogue to catch up on, but even without knowing every song that’s played there isn’t that feeling of hearing a ‘new’ song for the first time live which isn’t always to my liking.

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

David makes it an even more entertaining set with his dry humour. He apologises for not saying “Hello Blackpool” but as we know that isn’t really him. He reminisces about having previously been on holiday to Blackpool, as has Melanie, but quickly points out not together as that would be weird.

‘Brassneck’ gets the crowd going including myself and David thanks the crowd for singing along in Northern accents as it doesn’t sound the same when you have a Southern crowd singing along. Fair comment which I’m sure he will make when he returns to Brighton!

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

There is a scare when halfway through the set he looks at the onstage clock and is under the impression that he has seriously mistimed the set but thankfully there is still 32 minutes left. During yet another guitar change some ten minutes later David is again reminded of the time much to his amusement.

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The musical highlight for me is predictably ‘Kennedy’ but there are some serious contenders up there. They released a single every month 30 years ago and play ‘The Queen Of Outer Space’ which was released in November 1992. Fast forward 30 years and they are doing the same again and on this afternoon’s setlist is February’s offering ‘I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You’, which Mr Gedge confidently tells us we are going to like and he isn’t wrong. He plays the guitar with such gusto in the second half of the song that I can only watch on in admiration.

The Wedding Present  at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

They end the set with ‘Crawl’ and David says his goodbyes to the crowd with the parting words, “I’ve been meaning to come for years but this is the first time I’ve been asked and I got in for free so everybody’s laughing.” Well David you certainly had me laughing and dancing throughout.

Read our review of The Wedding Presents ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ festival HERE.

More on The Wedding Present HERE.
(Andy Murphy)

The Samples in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic The Samples/Rob Fletcher) (click to enlarge)

THE SAMPLES – CLUB CASBAH (3:50pm – 4:30pm)
Yes, I’m still here and I wasn’t about to leave the room while Worcester’s finest, The Samples, were about to take the stage. The outfit originally formed in 1978 and split up in 1986 and thankfully reformed in 2019.

The Samples in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

Everyone knows ‘Dead Hero’ from various 80’s punk compilation albums and it was a long time coming seeing them perform it in person. This band was also hit by the Covid delay in their reformation plans and also suffered the tragic death of their singer Sean “Badger” Taylor during this period in 2021. Thus leaving original bassist Pascal Smith and 1980 recruit Dave Evans on guitar and new boy (2019) Jake Powell on drums.

It was great to see them up and running again playing their own style of early 80’s melodic Punk Rock to an appreciative room. ‘Dead Hero’ went down a storm of course. I chatted briefly to Pascal at the bar afterwards, who was about to relish his first pint of beer of the day after playing. I would say he deserved it.

www.instagram.com/thesamplesukpunkband
(Sonny Tyler)

Wattie Buchan talking to fans at Literary Stage 6.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

WATTIE INTERVIEW – LITERARY (4:35pm – 5:05pm)
I then challenged myself to head on upstairs to the Literary Stage in order to endeavour to decipher exactly what the one and only Edinburgh born 65 year old red Mohicaned Wattie Buchan from The Exploited had to say for himself. Whatever was going to happen, I knew it would have its comedic value and that I might learn a few new things. I was indeed correct!

Wattie at Literary Stage 6.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

He was on the stage and in conversation from 4:35pm to 5:04pm with an American lady called Diana, who he divulged to us all mid interview that someone had told him that she used to be a porn star. Diana swerved as best as she could, but maybe we are none the wiser on that front. Anyway, we were in attendance to gain knowledge from this potty mouthed Scottish vocalist and not about Diana. I’m not sure if I have ever heard anyone utter the ‘F’ and ‘C’ words with such frequency in my life, Tourette Syndrome sprang to mind, but he delivered them every time in an endearing Wattie way that brought smiles and laughs to all those present. If anyone published a word by word account of this in conversation, it would be so f*cking funny!

Wattie later on with The Exploited in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

OK then, down to the nitty gritty, what juicy facts did we learn? Well then, here’s a taster……1. The Exploited played their first ever gig at a YMCA (yes he did the arm movements) and they went down so badly that the venue cut the mics. 2. He did speed every day for 34 years and is not proud of the fact. 3. The Exploited’s scariest ever show was at the New York Ritz. 3. His favourite country to play live with The Exploited surprisingly isn’t Scotland, but right across the planet in Chile in South America as they are so up for it. 4. He’s not a Jello Biafra (former Dead Kennedys frontman) fan as he heard him in the UK citing one set of bands as his favourites and then a short while later in the USA he saw him again and Jello cited a completely different set of bands. 5. Wattie has had no less than five heart attacks and has a pacemaker fitted. This all sounds doom and gloom doesn’t it, but boy did we laugh! He was terrific!

www.the-exploited.net
(Nick Linazasoro)

Spear Of Destiny at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

SPEAR OF DESTINY – R-FEST (5:00pm – 5:55pm)
My afternoon outdoors continues with an appearance from ex-Hastings resident and now Brighton local Mr. Kirk Brandon, in the guise of Spear Of Destiny. The band enter the stage to the theme tune from the 1970’s cop show ‘The Sweeney’. Kirk is another music star who has been beset with health problems in the form of heart disease and had major surgery some 11 years ago. The health professionals concerned obviously did a brilliant job as he continues to tour regularly, and the fact that I once saw him participate in the Hastings Old Town Week Bicycle Race where you cycle up a steep hill on an old butcher’s bike without being allowed to raise your bottom from the seat is testament to his determination, though I’m almost certain he didn’t beat my time of sub-19 seconds that year. Sorry Kirk but I just had to get that in.

Spear Of Destiny at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Spear of Destiny were formed in 1982 and having been a big fan of Theatre of Hate it was a natural progression for me to follow his career path. I was first drawn to Kirk by his outstanding and unique vocals, and he is a prime example of someone who can hold it together 40 years later.

Spear Of Destiny at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Again, this is a band that I am more familiar with their earlier material, and I am not disappointed as all but one new song on this afternoon’s setlist are taken from their first five albums which were released in their first six years of existence, as beyond that I would have been a bit lost. Kirk even jokes that he has played the new song ‘Coward’ as a laugh because he can.

Spear Of Destiny at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

As any fan will tell you the saxophonist is key to any S.O.D gig and can determine just how good it is. Clive Osborne has mastered this, and his consistency ensures the crowd are never disappointed. Kirk leads from the front and conducts the crowd as they singalong. The inclusion of ‘Young Men’, ‘Never Take Me Alive’, and the rousing finale of ‘Liberator’ make this set extra special. Blackpool is far from being the ‘Playground Of The Rich’, but this set has certainly enriched my Rebellion experience.

Read our review of Spear Of Destiny in a Church in Brighton back in 2019 HERE.

kirkbrandon.com
(Andy Murphy)

Memories Of Mensi at Literary Stage 6.8.22 (pic Tony Patterson) (click to enlarge)

MEMORIES OF MENSI – LITERARY (5:15pm – 5:50pm)
We ventured upstairs to the literary stage in order to watch a panel discussing Thomas ‘Mensi’ Mensforth, who was the legendary frontman of punk rock/Oi! band Angelic Upstarts who he formed in South Shields in 1977 and operated under an anti-fascist and socialist working class philosophy.

Remembering Mensi with The Angelic Upstarts live at Glastonwick 2019 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

This ‘Memories Of Mensi’ session was a completely different ballgame from the previous literary session, which had seen The Exploited’s Wattie lay down the law (see above). This more reverent discussion involved various people reminiscing about Mensi who sadly passed away at the age 65 on 10th December 2021 after being infected with COVID-19, which had also claimed the life of former ‘Upstart’ Tony Morrison (aka Tony Feedback) on 22 February 2021.

Present on the literary stage were Max Splodge and other band members along with his daughter. Many amusing anecdotes were shared which left people giggling along with a few teary eyes too. I’m glad I attended this and what an ideal way to get an introduction to the man and his band which were about to perform in the Empress Ballroom in less than an hour.

www.instagram.com/angelicupstartsofficial
(Sonny Tyler)

The Defects in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

THE DEFECTS – CLUB CASBAH (5:40pm – 6:25pm)
We head on down to the Club Casbah in order to give Belfast punks The Defects a go from 5:40pm until 6:21pm. They had originally formed in 1978 and then called it a day in 1984, only to again pick up the mantle again in 2010.

The Defects in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

I can recall having seen them play live back in August 1982 at the Top Rank Suite in Brighton as part of the Anti-Nowhere League’s ‘So What!’ tour. The Meteors were also on the bill, but I wasn’t a psychobilly fan.

The Defects in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Tonight, there are two remaining members of the original four, those being drummer Glenn Kingsmore and frontman Ian “Buck” Murdock, who incidentally I had seen live in the early hours of this morning as part of The Outcasts. I guess the Belfast punk scene is rather a close knit community.

The Defects audience including me on the right hand red crowd barrier with hands raised 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

The Defects offer up the usual normal second wave punk rock platter, with the trio of first tunes being ‘Hill Street’, ‘Head On Collision’ and ‘Traffic Island Castaway’. Unfortunately they wander into rock and metal guitar playing which is certainly not my bag, but other than that, all is almost relatively fine with the world. ‘Survival’ the 1982 hit single (No.75) was a decent drums led anthem and the highlight of their set. First single ‘Dance (Until You Drop)’ was a decent tune. They informed us that the composition was about sniffing glue in Belfast. Their thirteen tune set surprisingly concluded with a cover version of Stiff Little Fingers ‘Alternative Ulster’, which I found to be a far superior tune.

The Defects are on Facebook
(Nick Linazasoro)

Grade 2 in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

GRADE 2 – PAVILION (6:35pm – 7:15pm)
I move back indoors for the evening, forfeiting the chance to see Peter Hook And The Light. Some may say I’m crazy, but there was some not to be missed hardcore punk on tonight’s itinerary. The one and only time I saw Grade 2 previously was supporting Maid Of Ace at The Palace (now The Pig) in Hastings back in April 2018. Now it seems like a lifetime ago, but I was suitably impressed by their performance that night to take up the opportunity to see them play in the Pavilion. The word had obviously gotten out about these three lads from Ryde on the Isle of Wight as the venue was packed and I paid the price for arriving late and annoyingly missing close to half of their set. A mistake that I will not be making again in future. What I did see though was classic, fast paced, guitar punk with a hint of Oi!

Grade 2 in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The energy of Sid Ryan on bass and Jack Chatfield on guitar, both on vocal duties, bounding over the stage and regularly swapping microphones is very refreshing to see. Jacob Hull on drums looks remarkably cool considering the unrelenting pace of the music. From hearing ‘Dover Street’ and ‘The Only Ones I Trust’ it is plainly obvious to the Punk aficionado that they have some cracking live songs. They’ve certainly come a long way in nine years from when they started off by playing covers of songs by the likes of The Stranglers and The Jam This band gives full value for money, and I only wish I had caught the full set and been in the mosh pit.

grade2official.co.uk
(Andy Murphy)

Del Test Tube at Literary Stage 6.8.22 (pic Sam Fuller) (click to enlarge)

DEL TEST TUBE – LITERARY (6:40pm – 7:10pm)
We then head back upstairs to the Literary Stage from 6:40pm to 7:09pm to hear what the witty Brighton resident Del Test Tube (aka Del Strangefish) from Peter And The Test Tube Babies has to say about his forthcoming new book ‘Jinxed: How Not To Rock’N’Roll’ which you can pre-order HERE. Sadly this is the only Test Tubes action going on at this Rebellion as the band were unable to play as frontman Peter was apparently under the weather, although I hear he will be back out there and at it when they support the Dead Kennedys.

Cockwomble drop into Rebellion Radio to have a talk with Del Test Tube & Jimmy Skurvi 2019 (pic supplied Del)

Back in the room and Rebellion Radio DJ (of 10 years) Del was being interviewed by a chap called Rich, who had prior to the encounter only been able to read the first chapter of the forthcoming masterpiece and that was on his phone. Not ideal preparation methinks! Del informed the room that he never plays a song that is longer than 3 minutes on his Brighton Radio Reverb show……hmmmm are you sure, or was that in jest?

Del Test Tube at Literary Stage 6.8.22 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

We also learned that Del had first met Peter Test Tube at local punk gigs back in the day, and that Del’s first punk gig was to see The Piranhas in Brighton as he stumbled across punk rock having one day left the Hungry Years rock/metal club. When the Test Tubes played their first ever gig, they only had a handful of songs and so played them twice. Then Rick Blair, owner of Attrix Records, which used to be based in Sydney Street, heard them and signed them for the excellent ‘Vaultage 78: Two Sides Of Brighton’ 14 track compilation album, which also includes the rather wonderful ‘Lord Lucan Is Missing’ by The Dodgems and a trio of class cutz from the aforementioned Piranhas, with The Test Tubes track being ‘Elvis Is Dead’. Legendary Radio 1 DJ John Peel loved the album and played ‘Elvis Is Dead’ and the rest as they say is history. The band have continually been on the case since 1978 and the key to their staying together according to Del is “that they are too lazy to split up!” – There you go, that’s the key to success then guys!

Read our February 2022 review of Peter And The Test Tube Babies Brighton gig HERE.

www.testtubebabies.co.uk
(Nick Linazasoro)

John Robb with The Angelic Upstarts in Empress Ballroom (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

THE UPSTARTS TRIBUTE TO MENSI – EMPRESS BALLROOM (6:45pm – 7:45pm)
The Angelic Upstarts were playing their last tribute to their frontman Mensi tonight who sadly died of Covid complications last year. Many guest singers were to perform his songs with the band and the first one up was John Robb with his rendition of ‘Two Million Voices’ which soon got the crowd going. ‘Teenage Warning’ and ‘Never Ad Nothin’ both called upon the services of Patty Smith.

The Angelic Upstarts in Empress Ballroom (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Max Splodge came on and sang ‘Out Of Control’ and ‘You’re Nicked’. Rum Lad did the honours for ‘Tories, Tories, Tories’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’, which was followed by ‘Police Oppression’ with Gaz Stoker on bass and Chris Wright on vocals. Chris stayed on for the classic ‘Murder Of Liddle Towers’.

The Angelic Upstarts in Empress Ballroom (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Tim Smith (aka TV Smith) performed a couple of songs (‘Woman In Disguise’ and ‘Last Night Another Soldier’) with the band and was one of the highlights. The singer from Crashed Out out got up, soon to be accompanied by the vocalist from Crown Court. All the classics rang out tonight including a rousing and emotional rendition of ‘Solidarity’ (my wife, Mel, even had tears rolling down her face!). There was only ever one way to end and that was a final rendition of ‘I’m An Upstart’. It was a brilliant tribute to the man and I’m so glad I attended.

More on The Angelic Upstarts HERE
(Sonny Tyler)

GBH in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

GBH – CLUB CASBAH (7:40pm – 8:30pm)
A trip over to Club Casbah was on the cards for some Saturday night hardcore UK punk. I have not seen GBH play live since October 1986, when I saw them at The Clarendon Hotel in Hammersmith, but the line-up is still the same from way back then with Colin Abrahall on lead vocals, Colin ‘Jock’ Blyth on guitar, Ross Lomas on bass, and Scott Preece on drums. I had forgotten just how fast and loud they are, or maybe that’s me showing my age as I was down the front close to the speakers at the right of the stage.

GBH in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

Opening with ‘Time Bomb’ and ‘Sick Boy’ taken from their 1982 album ‘City Baby Attacked By Rats’ is the perfect start in my opinion as it is definitely up there as one of my favourite LP’s by them. They obviously realise this and play at least five more songs from it including the title track, ‘The Prayer Of A Realist’, and their cover of ‘Boston Babies’ by Slaughter And The Dogs.

GBH in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

I hear someone saying that the vocals are a bit muffled which did seem to be a complaint from a couple of bands at this particular venue. Even with my earplugs firmly inserted, I feel like they are close to bleeding, but there is no way I’m giving up my prime spot in another packed hall. Once the vocal sound is rectified, there is little stopping the band in full flow and the mosh pit is relentless with crowd surfers galore keeping the security guards extremely busy. I remain on the periphery of the mosh pit saving myself for the last knockings so to speak. Finishing off with a blistering cover of Motorhead’s ‘Bomber’ I feel the need to rest my ears, but Discharge are next on stage!

gbh-us.myshopify.com
(Andy Murphy)

Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT – R-FEST (7:45pm – 8:55pm)
We make our way out of the Winter Gardens complex and across the tram lines to the promenade in order to catch Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest for an enthralling 65 minute, 16 Joy Division tunes set, which ran from 7:41pm to 8:46pm. The outdoor area is as you would expect, rather busy and the evening sun is still beaming down on us all.

Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

Bassist and vocalist Hooky and the boys are always value for money these days and they don’t really in a normal gig format have a support act as they support themselves with a different set, whether it be a New Order (when playing Joy Division albums) or vice versa. Their on stage appearances are in excess of two hours with no messin’. They are very hard working and over the past 12 years they have whizzed their way around the globe performing the cherished Joy Division and New Order material that Hooky was involved with. Around 14 live albums have been released since the band’s inception.

Here’s Sara in action getting the Peter Hook shots at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

This evening Hooky is joined on stage by another bassist, a guitarist, a drummer and a keyboardist and they kicked off with ‘No Love Lost’ and ‘Leaders Of Men’ after which his Rebellion wristband had to be cut off as it was obviously cramping his low slung bass style. ‘Digital’ followed, but ‘Isolation’ blew the previous tracks out of the water, with the keys and drums sounding absolutely fabulous.

Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

I was at college during the duration of Hooky’s time with Joy Division and some of it with New Order and I can honestly state that I was totally obsessed with both bands. I used to play their material constantly and collect music press cuttings of Joy Division and more. So still being able to relive my formative years right now is a wonderful thing and I think Peter and the lads for providing this service.

Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

As this Rebellion set was comparatively a short one for the outfit, there was almost no room for any idle banter, they just let the music do all of the talking, although Hooky did dedicate ‘Transmission’ to Kirk Brandon, which was a nice touch, I’ve no idea why, other than it had been Kirk’s birthday three days prior.

Peter Hook & The Light at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Set highlights, other than saying “everything”, would have to be the aforementioned ‘Isolation’, ‘Failures’ (which blended perfectly at a punk festival), ‘Ceremony’ (which got a cheer as it started and was epic), as well as the extended version of ‘Shadowplay’ and obviously set closer ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Not seen Peter Hook & The Light before……Then do yerself a favour and go!

Read our April 2022 gig review of Peter Hook & The Light live in Brighton HERE.

peterhookandthelight.live
(Nick Linazasoro)

Discharge in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

DISCHARGE – CLUB CASBAH (8:50pm – 9:40pm)
Well, it was time to head back to this room again for one of my all time favourite bands. I’d previously visited their merchandise stall and bought myself another shirt and some hot sauce, so tonight I was more than up for Stoke-on-Trent’s finest hardcore punk band Discharge. It was a packed room again unsurprisingly and the crowd (many sporting black t-shirts with white text) were up for the noise that was about to be unleashed.

Discharge in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

‘Decontrol’ was a highlight for me along with a cool rendition of ‘State Violence State Control’. The set was a mix of old and new (‘New World Order’ is a new one and up there with their best in my opinion). I had heard that they’d had issues with the sound, but I suppose the tall ceilings will make the sound scatter. Sounded cool to these ears though. Bones (guitar), Rainy (bass) and Tezz (drums) were blasting out the classics and Janiak did a great job with the vocals. Mission accomplished….‘The End’ (from ‘Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing’)!

Discharge fans in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Discharge will be playing a rare Sussex concert in Hastings at The Crypt on Saturday 19th November – Purchase your tickets HERE.

www.instagram.com/discharge.official
(Sonny Tyler)

Rezillos in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

THE REZILLOS – PAVILION (9:30pm – 10:20pm)
I go back inside to the Pavilion for The Rezillos. The nucleus of the band today are vocalists Fay Fife (Sheilagh Hynd) and Eugene Reynolds (aka Alan Forbes). Their partners in crime are Phil Thompson on guitar, Chris Agnew on bass and Angel Paterson on drums. I last saw The Rezillos at London’s 229 Club in February 2020, (Review HERE) when they proved themselves to be a fantastically exciting live proposition, as they do tonight.

Rezillos in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

Their set kicks off with ‘Destination Venus’ from their debut album ‘Can’t Stand The Rezillos’. Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds are now in their mid to late sixties, but their voices still sound exactly as they did over forty years ago, which in itself is pretty astonishing. Fay Fife dedicates ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ to “those guys up in the sky”. The Rezillos’ back catalogue is crammed with classics, so much so that it’s surprising to remember that before they split up in 1979 they had released only one studio album. However, their live album ‘Mission Accomplished….But The Beat Goes On’ did feature original songs that were never recorded in the studio. They did release another studio album, ‘Zero’, in 2015.

Rezillos in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

It should be remembered that Fife and Reynolds formed another band, The Revillos, in 1979, and that band continued until 1996. Unsurprisingly one of their songs, ‘Do The Mutilation’, gets an airing. This features Eugene Reynolds playing some pretty impressive sax. At one point Reynolds gets heckled. He invites the loudmouth to come up on stage and do better than him. Frankly, that would be a tall order for anyone. Reynolds is a master of his craft.

Rezillos in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Dick Slaughter) (click to enlarge)

One of their newer songs, ‘20,000 Rezillos Under The Sea’ sounds an awful lot like ‘The William Tell Overture’ to me. No matter, the classics keep on coming. There is absolutely no arguing with the likes of ‘It Gets Me’, ‘Bad Guy Reaction’, ‘Mystery Action’, ‘Top Of The Pops’ (a bona fide hit!), ‘(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures’ and ‘I Can’t Stand My Baby’. The set closes with ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’, which somewhat astonishingly was written by Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac, and originally recorded by that very same band! Not a lot of people know that!

www.rezillos.rocks
(Mark Kelly)

Gary Numan at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

GARY NUMAN – R-FEST (9:30pm – 10:45pm)
It’s now time for the big one……The Saturday night R-Fest headliner to grace the outdoor stage for 79 minutes with a 16 song set from 9:26pm to 10:45pm. As a tradition fans were baying “Nuuuuuuumaaaaaaannnnn” prior to the arrival of Gary Numan. I have to say that I was (very pleasantly) surprised when I first saw that Rebellion had added him to the bill as he hasn’t really been punk for decades, but then I knew he would draw in the crowds, including those obsessive Numanoids that would purchase an R-Fest ticket solely to see Gary Anthony James Webb. My mind got racing at the thought that as it was a punk festival, that just possibly Numan would be performing a special one-off setlist of solely Tubeway Army numbers, now that would be extremely interesting and hopefully an idea that someone in his sphere of influence (Gemma) will put to him. Oh my word, just the thought of it is giving me goosebumps, especially as I’ve been a constant fan since ‘Down In The Park’ and purchased the previous material as soon as it was all available again back in the day.

Gary Numan at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

It was interesting to note that 64 year old Santa Monica based Numan had posted on social media that he and his band, Steve Harris (guitar), Tim Slade (bass), David Brooks (keys), Richard Beasley (drums) and of course Numan himself on vocals and occasional (keys and guitar), had been rehearsing in Brighton for this concert. If only I had known. The soundproofing would have had to be top notch as following on from Peter Hook & The Light, it immediately became obvious that the sound engineers had cranked up the volume, for this, the final UK gig of his ‘Intruder’ album tour. A successful platter that had dropped in May last year and had catapulted to No.2 in the official album charts, which matched its 2017 predecessor ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ back in 2017. There’s now even a new 90 minute Sky Arts documentary titled ‘The Numan Method’ of his return to Wembley Arena after 40 years. I was there for the original trio back in April 1981. So life is extremely good in the Numan household right now. He’s even assisting his daughters to get into the music business, something which I hear will be taking up quite a portion of his time over the next couple of years.

Gary Numan at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

Back to tonight and tingly arms time began at 9:26pm with the intro tape and we were off with ‘Intruder’, ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ and ‘Halo’. I was watching the performance with a Brighton concert promoter and his jaw had dropped and at this stage he turned and said to me “How long has he been like this?” as he was absolutely totally blown away! The sound was so powerful and the lighting (a Numan obsession) was terrific as well, we had all (unwittingly or not) been absorbed into the ‘Cult Of Numan’. The current look of the five-piece is very imaginative, and guitarist Steve Harris (stage right, our left) and bassist Tim Slade (stage left, our right), acted as pillars for Numan, especially Harris with his strange jerky unpredictable movements. They were both allowed freedom of movement across the front (which no doubt is rehearsed) as their instruments are cordless. A Numan gig has nearly always been a spectacle that lives long in the mind and tonight was no different.

Gary Numan at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

First of the oldies ‘Metal’ was the third track choice, but down the decades this (like many older Numan compositions) has morphed into something more than its relatively tame beginnings. There was no time for idle banter this evening as the tracks flew by, ‘Pray For The Pain You Serve’, timeless No.1 hit single ‘Cars’, ‘Is This World Not Enough’, ‘Pure’, ‘Resurrection’ and the first Numan song I ever heard ‘Down In The Park’ (thank you Diplomat Records in London Road, Brighton, my old mate Mark Brady, and ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’).

Gary Numan at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

By now, the sun had set and there were a mere half a dozen tunes left and my energy levels were dropping fast. I had been overdoing it during this set. ‘Here In The Black’ and a big return to form with the Arabesque sounding 2017 single ‘My Name Is Ruin’ were given an outing. ‘The Gift’ and ‘The Chosen’ followed. The penultimate number ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ was obviously given an airing and at 10:39pm, they left the stage on a massive high, but briefly returned for six minutes in order to offload ‘The Fall’. There’s no doubt about it, this was (yet another) terrific performance, and I’m certain that Numan won over many new converts this evening and one of them was standing immediately next to me. This had been (for me) the best Rebellion/R-Fest performance to date!

Read our May 2022 Brighton gig review of Gary Numan HERE.

garynuman.com
(Nick Linazasoro)

The Exploited in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

THE EXPLOITED – CLUB CASBAH (10:00pm – 11:00pm)
No need to leave the room just yet as UK82 legends The Exploited were set to take the stage. I hadn’t seen them way back when so I was definitely up for seeing them tonight. Earlier on, I had been to see their singer doing a Q&A on the Literary Stage which was definitely value for money 9see above). As you probably know, he doesn’t mince his words and many people were in the firing line.

The Exploited in Club Casbah 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

As soon as ‘Let’s Start A War’ rang out the crowd were going for it. I always thought that their songs sounded more metally over the years, but not tonight, as they sounded punk for sure. It was a bit of a treat hearing ‘Dead Cities’ and ‘UK82‘ again I must admit. ‘Troops Of Tomorrow‘ got an airing and our friend Sean hijacked the microphone in between songs to get the crowd to chant the obligatory ‘Exploited Barmy Army!’. All the classics were played and a great end to a night and day in the Casbah for me.

www.the-exploited.net
(Sonny Tyler)

The Godfathers in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

THE GODFATHERS – PAVILION (10:35pm – 11:25pm)
I stay put in the Pavilion in order to witness The Godfathers. I last reviewed them at the Prince Albert in Brighton back in 2019, (Review HERE) and I am glad to report that they remain every bit the ferociously good live band that they were then. Vocalist Peter Coyne prowls the stage very much giving the impression that it wouldn’t take very much for him to become pugilistic. The band’s muscular approach to playing also gives the impression that it wouldn’t take very much to persuade them to back him up if the situation required it! Theirs is another set that is stuffed full of classics. However, in no way is it all about old songs and nostalgia. They have a new album out on 16th September called ‘Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta’, and they play ‘I Despair’ from it. If that song is representative of the rest of the album, then it will be very well worth waiting for.

The Godfathers in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click to enlarge)

A live demonstration of Peter Coyne’s pugilistic skills seems to become more of a possibility when he complains about people in the crowd vaping. The music carries us past that moment however, with the likes of ‘Unreal World’ and ‘She Gives Me Love’ driving us towards the set closer ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’, which despite its mention of Thatcher still seems depressingly current. What a band! If you haven’t seen them live, then you absolutely ought to.

www.thegodfathersofficial.com
(Mark Kelly)

The Chisel in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

THE CHISEL – AFTER DARK & RIS (11:00pm – 11:30pm)
I had heard a lot of things about London band The Chisel, so I thought I would check them out today on the ‘Introducing Stage’. They are described by some folk as ‘Oi!’ music, but I would say they sounded more modern day hardcore to these ears, with their material all sub-two-minute sing-a-longs for the punters to get their teeth into. Charlie from Chubby And The Gang is also a member of The Chisel, where he is on guitar and leaves the frontman work to Cal. They have been going for a few years now and have been making literally quite a big noise on the scene with the release of their 2020 ‘Deconstructive Surgery’ EP and 2021 ‘Retaliation’ album.

The Chisel in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The After Dark & RIS room was packed again for these and they had a big mosh pit going on in the crowd. A band to watch out for, as Sham 69 will confirm as they have them as their support act for the Friday 18th November 2022 concert at The Fleece in Bristol – Details HERE.

Read our March 2022 gig review of The Chisel live in Brighton HERE.

thechisel.bandcamp.com
(Sonny Tyler)

Sex Gang Children in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

SEX GANG CHILDREN – PAVILION (11:40pm – 12:30am)
It had been a long day, but I wasn’t about to hit the fart sack before seeing the Sex Gang Children. I got the feeling that a fair few Gary Numan fans hot footed their way back from R-Fest to catch this performance from these Gothic Post/Punk pioneers.

Sex Gang Children in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

The band originally formed in early 1982 by vocalist and songwriter Andi McElligott (Andi Sex Gang)​, and they swiftly made a name for themselves in the London underground scene as a direct result of their intense theatrical live performances and unique brand of sound and onstage visuals. The Sex Gang Children’s first EP ‘Beasts’ dropped in June 1982 and became one of the best selling UK 12″ singles, remaining in the indie charts for the next 18 months.

Sex Gang Children in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

Their seminal debut album ‘Song And Legend’, released in 1983 shot straight to No.1 in the indie charts, entering the top 30 in the UK mainstream. The band went on to headlined the major alternative and Goth festivals in Europe including headlining Wave-Gotik-Treffen no less than on a handful of occasions, but today’s gig in the Pavilion is a rare outing for them.

Sex Gang Children in Pavilion 6.8.22 (pic Tony Ghirardi) (click to enlarge)

I had never gotten around to seeing these before, but I am glad I got to see them tonight. The bass was high in the mix which sounded good to these ears and the songs were original in their structures I thought. The singer had a very unique voice and they mixed songs from their back catalogue along with some from their new album. Highlights for me were ‘Death Mask Mussolini’ and ‘Sebastiane’. Nothing else sounded like these all weekend which was a good thing. It was good to see them at last.

www.sexgangchildren.com
(Sonny Tyler)

Grandmas House in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Gary Trueman) (click to enlarge)

GRANDMA’S HOUSE – AFTER DARK & RIS (11:45pm – 12:15am)
I paddle over to the somewhat smaller After Dark & RIS stage for Grandma’s House. I had previously reviewed them at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch back in January, when I had been particularly impressed by them – Read my review of that night HERE.

Grandmas House in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Gary Trueman) (click to enlarge)

They are no less impressive tonight. These are three girls who rock really hard. However, on their Facebook page they describe themselves as a “Bristol based surfy post punk 3 piece with too much energy.” Well, they certainly don’t lack energy, but I certainly wouldn’t say that they had too much. Rather that they have precisely the right amount of energy that their material requires. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing them perform in their home city of Bristol at the ‘Ritual Union Festival’ in October.

linktr.ee/grandmashouseband
(Mark Kelly)

John in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Gary Trueman) (click to enlarge)

JOHN – AFTER DARK & RIS (12:30am – 1:00am)
My final band of Saturday (at half-past midnight!) is John, formerly John Times Two. As their former name suggests, the Crystal Palace based band consists of two Johns: John Newton on drums and vocals, and Johnny Healey on guitar. I first saw them at Brixton Windmill in early 2019, and saw them again at the ‘End Of The Road Festival’ last year, where I was astounded by how they had matured as a live band in the intervening two years. This continuing maturity comes as no surprise as the band are now three albums into their career. Their most recent album, ‘Nocturnal Manoeuvres’, having been released last year.

John in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Gary Trueman) (click to enlarge)

John’s music is energetic and dramatic, and indeed it seems to fuel drama too! Early on in their set, a bald middle-aged gentleman proves himself to be unaware of the etiquette of moshing, when he angrily begins strangling a much younger (and smaller) man who has accidentally cannoned into him. Two other men try to separate him from the young unfortunate, whilst the band stop and tell the crowd that “this doesn’t happen at our gigs”. The situation is defused. Everybody makes up and is friendly, and the band continues with their set.

John in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The set had commenced with ‘Sibensko Powerhouse’ from the most recent album, a song which already seems to be becoming a live favourite. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of tonight’s set comes from ‘Nocturnal Manoeuvres’, with only two songs (‘Western Wilds’ and ‘Future Thinker’) from second album ‘Out Here On The Fringes’, and only one song (‘Squad Vowels’) from debut ‘God Speed In The National Limit’. It’s always good to see a band progressing the way that John are. I suspect that we won’t be seeing them on small stages like this for much longer.

John in After Dark & RIS 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

And thus Saturday finishes! It’s been a marathon rather than a sprint, but nevertheless a very enjoyable one. Time to find my cot and gird my loins for the exertions of tomorrow’s finale.

Read our review of John in Brighton in October 2021 HERE.

www.johntheband.co.uk
(Mark Kelly)

Bob Vylan in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

BOB VYLAN – EMPRESS BALLROOM (1:15am – 2:00am)
With my body on the verge of giving up on me after three days of standing up pretty much continuously, with some moshing added in for good measure, I was somehow still going strong and at 1.10am. I made my way the short distance from the After Dark & RIS having had my ears blasted by John, into the 3,000 capacity Empress Ballroom for one of my highlights of the whole festival.

Bob Vylan in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Unusually, the Grime Punk duo that are Bob Vylan came to prominence during lockdown when their video for ‘We Live Here’ started appearing on the internet and rapidly gathered pace in music circles. I recall being blown away when I first heard it blaring out of my computer’s speakers whilst I worked from home. Music was sometimes the only way to keep sane.

Bob Vylan in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

The anger is real and rightly so. If anyone has any doubts over why black lives matter then just give this duo a listen. Their impact on the punk scene is there for all to see and lead singer Bobby probably unwittingly helped the rise by wearing a Crass t-shirt in the video. Less than three months ago I was watching them play The Crypt in Hastings which has a 450 capacity and here we are at 1.15 in the early hours of Sunday morning in a packed out Empress Ballroom. Thankfully the organisers saw sense earlier in the day and upgraded the venue from the much smaller After Dark & RIS Arena to prevent what could have been a potential disaster.

Bob Vylan in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Bobby enters front stage whilst Bobb13 (Bobbie) takes his place behind the drums. There are virtually no Bob Vylan t-shirts on show, but I proudly wear my VYL one which is similar to the PIL logo. It’s always nice when you wear a t-shirt that no-one else is sporting and that was the case for the first three days of the festival. Proceedings start off with the regular meditation and stretching routine before erupting into the set. It doesn’t take long before Bobby has his shirt off and is crowdsurfing to ‘I Heard You Want Your Country Back’. There is a lot of interaction with the crowd from Bobby and he tells the backstory to the band’s success with which he still can’t really believe himself.

Bob Vylan in Empress Ballroom 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (click to enlarge)

Their lyrics are provocative and definitely get you thinking about society and our place in it. There is no hiding place be it for the Queen, Winston Churchill, or anyone of a right leaning political persuasion. This band hit hard at authority. There is singalong crowd interaction for the slower ‘Sing A Little Song’ for which I’m grateful as it gives some of us older members of the crowd a breather. This is
probably the youngest crowd for all the bands I have seen so far and the energy shows in the mosh pit. ‘We Live Here’ is an obvious candidate for the song of the whole festival let alone this set and the reaction from the crowd is in sync with how I feel.

Stage invasion at the end of Bob Vylan set 6.8.22 (pic Dod Morrison) (click to enlarge)

Finishing off the set with ‘Wicked And Bad’, a final show of defiance follows as Bobby invites the crowd to join them on stage and a mass exodus from the mosh pit follows. A memorable ending to a long day as I exit the venue after 2am and walk back to my hotel with a revitalised spring in my step in spite of being on my feet for 12 hours. I hope that Bob Vylan will return to Rebellion one day and be given a longer time slot, providing they don’t outgrow this festival too quickly.

Read our August 2021 Brighton gig review of Bob Vylan HERE.

www.bobvylan.com
(Andy Murphy)

Fans at Rebellion 6.8.22 (pic Cris Watkins/PunkInFocus) (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 and Day Two’s reports can be found HERE and Day Four HERE

Rebellion flyer

R-Fest flyer

Rebellion 2023 flyer

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