Day three of Rebellion. Friday was hard to beat and as the weather maintained the fierce heat, it had become a war of attrition to see who could actually stay in the venue throughout the duration. The Opera House did have air conditioning and this was very welcome and as luck would have it, the line up was very inviting, regardless of temperature. If you had already read Day One and Two then you’ll know how hectic it could be to try to catch so many great bands but after the intensity of Friday, there was no relenting as each venue had its attractions. Of course, there’s more to Rebellion than just music, the art and the talks were a great way to interact with artists on many levels. For some, it’s the camaraderie and social side that is the heart of the festival and it continues to grow year by year. It’s testament to the organisers Darren Russell-Smith and Jennie Russell-Smith, along with their various teams as well as the security and support staff that make this event what it is.
Up first in The EMPRESS was the well travelled band Los Fastidious. They had a 20 day tour which involved driving over 4,000 miles taking them across Europe and the U.K. What made this gig special, something never done before at one of their gigs! It’s hard to beat a marriage proposal during one of the biggest gig you’ve ever played. Enrico (Vocals) got down on one knee and proposed to Elisa. A wonderful moment from a memorable gig for them. Elisa who manages and photographs the band certainly looked surprised but said yes in front of more than a thousand cheering fans.I look forward to seeing the band again, soon. He was joined by Enrico from Los Fastidious for a few numbers.
Back to The OPERA House for Irish stalwarts, The Outcasts. The band draw a large crowd anytime they play and Saturday was no different. They kicked off the set with cover of The Stooges “1969” and ended with another cover, “Complete Control” by The Clash. Inbetween, the eager crowd were treated to the old favourites which included “Self-Concious Over You” and the ironic “Just Another Teenage Rebel” and “Stay Young”. They may have aged since forming in ’77 but the spirit is still there.
Another band celebrating their 40th anniversary were The Cockney Rejects. The EMPRESS was packed out as the capacity crowd were in the mood for an evening of Oi. The ever popular cockney boys are Rebellion regulars and celebrated the anniversary with material from their Greatest Hits Vol 1 and 2. As Jeff ‘stinky’ Turner came flying onto stage like it was a boxing bout, he shadow boxed his way through most of the set. There were not many singers as animated as him all weekend. It was a busy Rebellion for Micky Geggus as well with him doing a book signing. It’s not long before they launched into “Flares ‘n’ Slippers” and Jeff berated the middle class punks that used to walk down the Kings Road in bondage before a cracking version of “We Are The Firm”. Jeff always has a lot of banter between songs and he was on form. The crowd were in full voice as they sang along to “I’m Not A Fool”. Jeff made it onto the barrier at the end of the set for a furious version of “Oi Oi Oi” and this signalled a stream of punks surfing over the barrier.
Decision time for me and I chose to stay in The OPERA House for The Godfathers. With Cock Sparrer in The EMPRESS, I was torn but no regrets. As it transpired, this was to be the final performance from this version of The Godfathers as Peter Coyne, very publicly, dissolved the band as it was. If ever there was a band on a mission today, you didn’t have to look any further. “Birth, School, Life, Death” opened the set and it was 10/10 for intensity from the first words out of Peter’s mouth. The songs actually end up describing their performance, with “This is War” and “Big, Bad, Beautiful Noise” best described what was going on. Steve Crittal was following on from Mick Rossi who had earlier stormed the stage with Walter Lure but Steve’s angular and visceral motions were far more menacing than his rock ‘n’ roll peers. It was a performance that would be later referenced as “I was there…….” High praise indeed for a band that were up against the headliners in The EMPRESS. As the subliminal messages in the songs continued, “If I Only Had Time” and “Til My Heart Stops Beating”, It would be a few days before we would realise that there would be no more performances by this incarnation of The Godfathers. Yet more irony in the song tiles as the penultimate number “Defibrillator” kicked the band into life before a well deserved encore of The Ramones “Blitzkreig Bop”. As a performance, blitzkrieg was a fair appraisal of what was a blistering, relentless show.
Tickets are available for Rebellion Festival 2020 now from the website.