DS recently attended the annual, 4 day punk rock extravaganza that is Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, North West England. Read the first of our reviews of the festival below – looking back at the ridiculously strong line up on day 1.
Rebellion – Day 1
High summer in the UK is unpredictable down in London. One day it’s beautiful, sunbathing weather. The next it’s pissing it down. But, in Blackpool, as a soft southerner, you can be sure to be freezing, regardless of the fact its early August. You find yourself swept off your feet by the blasting wind and greeted by people in t-shirts looking at you funny for shivering. Luckily, the annual pilgrimage up there is for Rebellion – the unique, 4 day punk festival held in the cavernous Winter Gardens. And a couple of us were there for Dying Scene. [Continued below]
Following the customary few pints on the seafront, we made it over to the main stage (the Empress Ballroom) for In Evil Hour, the Melodic Hardcore quartet from North East England, who have become a little bit of an institution at the festival. Playing to a sizeable crowd for a mid afternoon slot, the band burned through 2015’s ‘Built On Our Backs’, along with tracks from ‘Lights Down’, the band’s new album, which exclusively streamed on DS last month.
A sprint followed, over to the festival’s growing ‘Introducing’ stage, for Traits – the pop punk project from members of The Human Project and Random Hand. The band’s EP, ‘Limits’, came out earlier this year and they rattled through it in a lightning quick set, heavier than the EP suggested it should be.
This reviewer’s Pears virginity was then taken; vocalist Zack Quinn looking like a man possessed, running around topless and screaming his head off. Their guitarist (Brian Pretus) had a pretty strong stand up routine going on between songs – and they powered through various tracks from ‘Green Star’ and ‘Go To Prison’ like they owned the place.
A congested evening of absolutely top quality bands then started with Face to Face. Playing on the Casbah stage (which housed a lovely vegan burger bar), the band pulled out the kind of career spanning set you’d hope for – only hampered by some slightly dodgy sound. No sound issues seemed to bother the sizeable Face to Face fanatics faction though. And the heavens held off for them too.
Back inside, Leftover Crack made their seemingly bi-annual trip to the festival. The lineup for LC seems to lower in average age every time they come over – and their enthusiasm for playing doesn’t seem particularly high either. A vocal performance from guest Alice from In Evil Hour added to the spectacle, but they’ve definitely been better.
Festival clashes are painful, but Good Riddance and Pennywise as a clash is about as painful as you can get. Many punters were in the same boat as myself – 15 minutes of the ‘Riddance before belting it inside for some Pennywise. There was actually no need, because they decided to go on late to let people watch both – I just wish they’d fucking told us earlier. In any case, the start of GR’s set was tight to the point of perfection. I wish I could have stayed for ‘Fire Engine Red’.
Pennywise were performing at the festival for the first time with Jim on vocals, having played once before when Zoli was out injured with a back injury and no one quite knew who the stand in actually was. At full strength, they were clearly pretty jaded by an incident at the airport earlier in the day – that may or may not have involved Randy getting a bit too intimate with some security guards. They spoke about it with some vitriol, between beers. Because of this, they played with a bit more venom than usual – and seemed to want to play more covers and earlier material than usual. Nothing wrong with that.
Only one band could follow Pennywise – and that band is Bad Religion. Vocal fans of the festival (Brian Baker made a video for the festival about how it is his favourite punk festival in the world – hyperbole though it was), they were back for their second helping of headlining Rebellion – but did seem to be going through the motions this time. Greg was strangely quiet between songs – but then, with an hour of wall to wall sing alongs, you can’t really complain.
And complain we didn’t. We just saw Face to Face, Good Riddance, Pennywise and Bad Religion in the space of 5 hours. It was like 2001 all over again.