Rebellion is the worlds premier punk rock festival. The venue is the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and it is a remarkable venue. Seven stages, bars, restaurants and shops all under one roof, an amazing location to hold an amazing festival. This year we had over 300 acts appear across those seven stages covering punk old and new, skinhead, ska and alternative music. Bands for everyone.
The ‘Introducing’ stage is a dedicated stage for new acts to the festival. Bands that go down well on this stage can find themselves appearing on bigger stages at future festivals. This year we’re going to give a special mention to The Babes for their unique bagpipe fronted folk-punk and The Vulpynes, a 2-girl Dublin noise machine. Two great sets from bands we’d love to see on the big stages, check ‘em out online.
Before the festival we carried an interview with Evil Blizzard and there’s was a set we were very much looking forward to. We were certainly not disappointed. The Lancashire outfit absolutely rocked the Casbah (stage) with their mask’n’bass chaos featuring tracks from their recent album ‘The Worst Show On Earth’.
California ska-punks Voodoo Glow Skulls played a great set at a million miles an hour, as did D.R.I with their
American hardcore. A special shout-out goes to Californian band The Adolescents for sharing such a brilliant and emotional set so soon after the sudden passing of founder member Steve Soto.
We didn’t get to see The Exploited as singer Wattie was unwell and in hospital. We at The Revival Music would like to wish him well and look forward to seeing him back on stage asap.
The old school punk bands were well represented again. The main-stage was so full for the UK Subs that they had to implement a one in one out door policy! The Anti Nowhere League played to a packed crowd in sweltering conditions for one of the biggest singalongs of the weekend! GBH, Cockney Rejects and Subhumans all played sets that we really enjoyed, and an honourable mention goes to 999 for keeping up their record of being the only band who have played all 22 Rebellion festivals.
One band that certainly improves with time is Discharge. Their live show is loud, intense and relentless. Singer Jeff prowls the stage in a whirlwind of energy and the band back him up with their high-speed wall of noise. They are a must see!
In our review from Rebellion 2017 we included the Heavy Drapes. We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of their iconic frontman Garry Borland earlier this year. He owned the Empress Ballroom stage last year and should’ve been on there annually for years to come. Some wonderful tributes were paid to Garry across the weekend and we at The Revival Music would like to join the whole Rebellion family in sending our condolences to his family, friends and bandmates.
Steve Ignorants Slice of Life played a lovely theatrical set on the Opera stage, The Blue Carpet Band put the punk firmly back into rock’n’roll, The Svetlanas gave us another helping of their fast’n’furious chaos while Wonk Unit entertained us with their tongue in cheek world view set to high tempo punk rock.
We enjoyed Hands Off Gretel last year so made sure we went to see them again this year. The passing time has made this band even more assured on stage and we were rewarded with a really great set, a perfect start to Sunday’s fun.
Great surprise of the weekend was Michael Monroe. The Opera House stage managed to turn their lights up to shine on the ex-Hanoi Rocks frontman. Could this glam rock star win over a punk crowd? Yes, a most emphatic yes! Monroe has the energy of a man half his age and is a ridiculously good showman. His band were perfect which gave him the backdrop to perform on the stage, on the speaker stack, in the crowd and with the crowd. Bring him back every year!
Public Image Limited closed proceedings on the mainstage. John Lydon is no stranger to controversy, and his political rant before their set had started was met with some cheers, some jeers and a fair few people headed to other stages! What followed was a strangely lacklustre set, all the more perplexing as Mr Lydon had entertained a large crowd that afternoon with an onstage interview.
Rebellion is an amazing festival. They always bring the highest calibre of bands to Blackpool and provide a weekend to enjoy music old and new. The festival is also an amazingly social place. Meet up with old friends, make some new friends, meet the bands and get autographs and photos, its all part of the Rebellion experience. 2018 was a blast, just 51 short weeks until we can do it again! Can’t wait!