Event Review: Rebellion Punk Festival [The Winter Gardens, Blackpool] August 6 – 9, 2009

SPHERE‘s Dan Buckley got down and dirty to dropkick the punks at Rebellion…here’s some of the weekend’s best bits… Blackpool… It’s that place in the north-west where people go to […]

SPHERE‘s Dan Buckley got down and dirty to dropkick the punks at Rebellion…here’s some of the weekend’s best bits…

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Blackpool… It’s that place in the north-west where people go to drink, fight and appear on tv being led into the back of police vans. For four days of the year however, the people of Blackpool swap hen and stag parties for one of the biggest independent punk festivals in the world…

The festival takes place in The Winter Gardens, an indoor complex with multiple large spaces including a massive ballroom as well as plenty of bars and food outlets. Someone must have made a sacrifice to the god of logistics as all the bars stayed stocked until well into the last day. This year there were also two large areas for clothing and various record stalls. It’s a great setup which negates the usual festival problems of bad (and sometimes dangerously hot) weather and questionable toilet facilities. The festival security were excellent, and always did their job keeping everything safe and legal without provoking a negative response from what is essentially a huge riot waiting to happen…

It would be impossible to review every band at the festival so here are some SPHERE highlights:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 6:

Flogging Molly – They may have been on the opening day but in this reviewer’s opinion they were the best band at the festival. Flogging Molly make you want to dance, possibly arm-in-arm with the person stood next to you (although that maybe the beer). Flogging Molly make you shout your lungs out and make you wonder if you should go and buy a penny whistle. Everyone in the room dances to such favourites as ‘Drunken Lullabies‘, ‘Salty Dog‘ and ‘What’s Left Of The Flag‘ and the band somehow manages to ramp it up further for the final song of the set ‘Seven Deadly Sins‘. Sweet stuff.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 7:

3CR – They may be crude but they’re very funny. D-beat punk with song titles like ‘Spit Roast Groupies‘ and ‘Thieving Scouse Bastard‘. Well worth checking out then.

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The Restarts – I am checking these guys out on the recommendation that they were simply, ‘punk as f*ck’ and I’m happy to report that it is an accurate description. They’re loud, they’re fast and they write great singalong lyrics. Standout tracks include ‘Timewaster‘ and ‘Double Standards‘.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 8:

The Dead Pets –  These guys are good, but they can be better. From the opener ‘Revenge Of The Village Idiots‘ it’s clear that the band’s recent line-up changes have affected their live show. Hopefully it will be a short-lived problem and the band will return to form soon.

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Captain Hotknives – This is comedy songwriting at it’s best – Even after being threatened with the death of our dogs we continue to sing-a-long. Standout tracks like ‘I Hate Babies‘, ‘Glue‘, and ‘Antigravity Cats‘ have the hardcore punks rolling around on the floor.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 9:

Napalm Death – Tight as a gnat’s chuff and louder than Satan, these guys are simply amazing to behold live. Their cover of the Dead Kennedys‘ song ‘Nazi Punks F*ck Off‘ nicely rounds off their set.

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Goldie Lookin Chain – These guys obviously work very hard at getting the live show right and it really pays off. Here the eight-piece  making the step up from creating a novelty act that has served them well over the last few years to producing an extremely competent and entertaining show. The set end with with an invitation to invade the stage. Let me ask you this; Have you ever seen someone crowdsurfing ON the stage? Really? Because we hadn’t before this weekend.

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For more information visit the festivals official The Winter Gardens.

About Dan Buckley