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A bright and early start for me begins in the Arena stage for Litterbug. Fresh from last night’s Tache Club warm-up they are once again in fine form. Again, blisteringly fast and bass-heavy. Huge drums also – way too loud this early of a morning. I stay for half the set before dashing to the new “Rebellion Introducing” stage to catch Brighton’s Dirt Royal.


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They make as good an entrance as I’ve seen in a while. Taking influence from Pete Docherty, Alex Turner and a whole host of others I could mention, they deliver an accomplished set of Mod-infused Punk (New Wave if you like)! Definitely one’s to watch.

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The Youth Within soon follow with a more “UK82” Punk sound. The basslines are huge, as are the drums to their driving beat. Halfway thru I head to the Empress Ballroom to catch “Pussycat Kill” again who are first on. Their driving beat; replete with clanging guitars is matched with their enigmatic singer, who has huge range-in such a large room compared to the evening before they still carry it off. Their set ends with the excellent “We Are Criminals” and they leave to great applause.

Pussycat Kill
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A quick sprint to the Pavilion (stage) means I catch Nine Bullets, screeching their way through a competent set of Slits-esque noise. The drums are huge while the thunderous bass leaves my chest pumping!

Nine Bullets
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I then head back across to “Introducing” to catch Werecats. Fem-fronted feelgood Punk/Pop (think Shonen Knife meets head on in a car crash with History Of Apple Pie)! They play with a smile on their faces and seem to be enjoying every minute. They are perfect this early on in the day and again, one’s to watch. Back over in the Pavilion Addictive Philosophy are throwing free Punk rock (the confectionary variety) into the crowd during their set-the spirit of Punk is alive and well. Their ska-infused Punk again raises the feelgood factor on day one. They are energetic throughout, notably on “Oh Harry” and the heavily sampled dub of “Open Anarchist”. I later catch singer Jez for a wee chat about all things Punk, who is very forthcoming.

Addictive Philosphy
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American Hardcore Punks Pears are completely new to me but I don’t stay long during their set. The singer is energetic from the outset, however his shouting is totally lost on me. It’s then back to the Pavilion for another dose of screeching vocals, this time from Headstone Horrors. The thunderous drums and bass match singer Nat’s (at times) gravelly tones.

Headstone Horrors
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Back in Introducing Screech Bats hold my attention for their whole set. Four ladies of great talent; most notably singer Esme, whose vocal is indescribable in the sense that it is unlike anything I’ve heard ever. A huge range which when first listened to seems to emanate from the very base of her lungs. Whether it’s Punk, Goth or quite possibly Operatic it’s a voice one won’t forget in a hurry. I’ll dispense with the cliche’s early – these are 4 beautiful ladies who also happen to make a great noise. Their entire set is (I believe) based on personal experiences and relationships. Their songs are emotional yet honest with a smattering of humour. “Kiss Me In The Rain (So I Get Wet Twice)” being a fine example. Expect to see this band playing larger stages very soon.

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I then make my first journey over to the new stage, the Tower Street Arena (outside). From outside it looks small, however once inside you realise it’s huge (3000 capacity). CJ Ramone is up next as he and band deliver a set of originals and Ramones classics. CJ engages with the crowd between virtually every song, but doesn’t bore us. He plays with a smile on his face as the sun shines on Blackpool. Nick Olivieri briefly joins them on stage and duly murders one song (the title escapes me), but they save the best ’til last. “Sheena”, “Commando” and “Blitzkrieg Bop”. No-one departs this stage disappointed.

CJ Ramone

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Back in Introducing Jaded Eyes deafen us with their driving beat and huge wall of sound. A quick jaunt to the Pavilion means I catch Army of Skanks delivering their very fast “Slits-esque” set. There’s a hint of Ska throughout while “Patriots” is a standout track. The singer is energetic amid the wall of sound.

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Out of curiosity I head back to Introducing for Russia’s “Svetlanas”. What they and their singer serve up is quite possibly the angriest and most aggressive vocal delivery I have ever seen. Singer Olga is quite literally a woman possessed, and is at pains to let this near full room know it. She prowls the little space in front of the stage between band and punters and attempts to engage in aggression and fear. After 2 songs I have to admit it wears a tad thin – she’s made her point. On 3rd song “You Suck” this crowd have got the point and simply laugh at the antics. One punter in particular refuses to rise to it and simply smiles at Olga and that’s when the “theatre” ends really. However; take nothing away from the band, the musicianship is near faultless – loud but faultless.

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I end up in the Arena for perennial Rebellion favourites Monkish, who are debuting new material for the forthcoming 2nd LP. “Cup of Cold Sick” and “OCDC” offer no real surprises. With Monkish one always knows what to expect, humour and lunacy. They are joined by Ratboy in a curious outfit on their last song “Essex Pub Orgy”, which results in him undressing! A strange yet fitting end considering the song in question!

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After a brief dinner break I head to Tower Street to catch the end of the Test Tubes set. As big a fan as I am the setlist and humour are becoming rather familiar. They do however garner good applause and are rightfully this high up on the bill. So, back I head to Introducing for The Tuts. This 3 piece play a poppy strain of Punk. Bev (drums) at first has quite a rigid hitting style, but soon relaxes and lets loose. The set gets harder but it’s all a little samey. Both Nadia (guitar/vox) and Harriet (bass/vox) however decide they too wish to join the crowd, leaving the stage briefly. They are far less intimidating than Olga (Svetlana) and the crowd love them for it.

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At this point I head back to the Pavilion to catch a highlight from last year, Dundee’s finest Salem Street. They look immaculate as ever (think Combat Rock-era Clash), and the influence doesn’t end there. “Rude Boy” and “Bye Bye Billy” are two standout tracks in their Rockabilly/Ska infused set.

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I open-mindedly head back outside to catch Bouncing Souls in Tower Street. They light up this stage with their anthemic Punk songs and leave a great impression on me. I then head to the Empress for Abrasive Wheels who are quite literally making a big noise. They create a huge wall of sound, most notably in the drums and the songs as expected are anthemic. It’s then back to the Pavilion to see The Vibrators midset, playing to a full room. “Dirty Rat” and “Baby Baby” provide the singalongs while “The Ohio” and “Kick Some Ass” are new to me. I’m determined to catch Red Alert in the Arena so head over there in time to catch the brilliant “Somewhere in England” and “Razors In The Night”. “Cast Iron” Steve (vox) has this near full room eating out of the palms of his hands with his terrace chant vocal delivery.

My itchy feet though take me back to the Pavilion for The Members. “Jean Marie” (vox) is entertaining us with his musings and clearly enjoys singing “I Aint Gonna Be Your Bitch No More”. “Chelsea Nightclub” is as popular as ever, as is “Chelsea Aggro”. There’s a theme here! But “Sound of The Suburbs” rightly gets the biggest singalong. Headlining in the Empress are “The Descendants”, again new to this reviewer but I’m not won over and leave 3 songs in. I head back to The Pavilion for another of last years highlights “Mick O’Toole”. They seem to be one member light this year and somehow the current singer (to me) looks to be trying too hard. His voice is gravelly from the outset as he tries and succeeds in getting the crowd moving, but again my itchy feet take me for my first visit to the Opera House. The Pukes are in full flow and never have I felt more at home than during their version of “Part Time Punks” – truly excellent! After a few yawns I decide it’s time to call it a night and head back to my hotel. As first days go it’s not a bad start…..


Pre-showPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Words, Pictures & Videos by Ross Ferrone.

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