Rebellion 2016

Ok. So after a brilliant first day at Rebellion I prepare for Friday with a hearty breakfast; a lie in and a quick call to the Mrs!!! But enough of that, what about the music I hear you ask?

Friday begins early again with a visit to my official new home, “Rebellion Introducing” to catch North Scottish two-piece Bratakus. The vocals are harsh yet the music is great. No drums required here, they make a big enough noise!

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In keeping with my desire to watch as many bands as is humanly possible I leave halfway through to catch “Reaction” in the Arena. This 4-piece deliver “old skool” Punk with fierce drums.

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I then head to Introducing to catch the oddly monikered “I Am A Car Crash”, whose “experimental/emo/shoegaze” noise is quite something. Unlike anything else I will probably hear all weekend they make quite a statement. Like them or loathe them, they’re different.

I Am A Car Crash
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Halfway through I’m off to the Empress for openers The Fuckwits. I’m expecting novelty Punk with a name like that but they actually surprise me. No spring chickens they deliver a confident and accomplished set. “Fairtrade Charlie” is a standout track that hints at The Clash, but they hold my attention for their entire set.

The Fuckwits
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Nothing like a bit of feelgood Punk to get us all in a good mood! Staying with the feelgood theme I head for the Tower Street Arena for arguably one of the weekend highlights, London’s “Wonk Unit”. Alex (vox) is in fine form, berating fellow bandmates early on for overdoing it the night before a big stage appearance. Don’t worry Alex, we’re with you on this one! They deliver a faultless set of oldies and newer material from forthcoming LP “Mr. Splashy”. One could be forgiven for thinking Alex is on another planet with his between song banter, yet those of us who’ve seen Wonk Unit before know this is all part of the show. His dance moves really have to be seen to be believed, including his “Egyptian walk”. So many standout tracks including “Kings Road Sporting Heroes”, “Nan”, “Johnny Rambo” and the speedball Punk of “Go Easy”. Wonk Unit know how to engage a crowd and today’s crowd reacted with a huge moshpit containing young and old. I predict bigger and better things for this band and with a forthcoming American tour the sky is the limit-just watch them go!

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I stick around for Ferocious Dog having seen them briefly last year. I so want to like them as they now contain Fruitbat from Carter USM fame. Sadly once again I’m bored after 3 songs of their largely Celtic/Folk/Punk repertoire and I take an early lunch break.

I make it back in time for Clan of Anarchy in Introducing. This Bradford 4-piece offer a loud and heavy set of what I would describe as “Pub Punk”! The vocals are shouty but they’re decent enough.

Clan Of Anarchy
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I make a quick dash back to the Empress for Reagan Youth whose speedball Punk is also loud. “Acid Rain” and “I Hate Hate” are the standout tracks before another sprint sees me in the Arena for Clowns; who are quite simply the happiest band here, ferociously fast and loud with huge drums! I then venture over to the Opera House for an interview with Alex (Wonk Unit), who is both humble and engaging. Back in the Tower Street Arena and Subhumans are simply owning the stage. A huge crowd greets them as singer Dick furiously covers every inch of the stage while delivering his trademark vocal. Huge energy matched by a willing crowd who are in good voice on “This Is Not An Advert”, “No” and “Subvert City”. Dick’s energy is truly astounding for a man of his years.

On my mate’s recommendation, I head back to the Empress for Italian Punks Guida (pronounced jooda)! Their Glam/Punk I find lyrically pedestrian and the Gary Glitter riffs quite dull and so leave for an early dinner.


On returning I head back for to the Empress for Penetration. Pauline Murray and co. are veterans now and never disappoint. “Don’t Dictate” will always be their highlight but they have other songs too including the excellent “Danger Signs”.



With nothing else particularly grabbing me I head to the Opera House for the Alvin Gibbs (UK Subs) interview. Truly fascinating, talk about a man being in the right place at the right time (more than once). Alvin comes across as being extremely humble and grateful for what he has in life and music. Back I head to Introducing for “Reject Renegades”, who bludgeon the senses with their wall of sound – I don’t stay long!!

Reject Renegades
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As I walk past Almost Acoustic I notice Barstool Preachers entertaining a full house, who are in fine voice. Even the tiny dancefloor is full and it’s standing room only! I then head back outside for ‘Discharge’. It’s a short stay, their 90mph speedball Punk/Thrash does nothing for me other than wake me up! So it’s back to the Empress for ‘Dictators NYC’ who hold my attention for the remainder of their set. Their performance is showy yet tight as. The vocals are clear and audible while the overall sound is huge. They indulge themselves somewhat with ‘Kick Out The Jams’ but I’m impressed.

I make my last visit of the day back to Introducing to catch the inspiringly monikered Revolt-Chix. Furiously fast Fem/Punk; loud, snarly and angry in equal measure. They seem to have a revolving door of guest band members and “Riot in The Streets” is their standout track. One of the biggest talking points at this years Rebellion was the “clashes”. With so many big bands performing at the same time and a new stage to contend with, it was always going to be a point of much discussion.

With this in mind came my first big decision of the weekend; Subs or ANL? Anti Nowhere League in the Empress was my decision and I have no regrets. They absolutely nailed it on a big stage with a full room. Animal (vox) even makes time for a shout out to Charlie (Harper), asking us to sing out loud and be heard at the Tower Arena where the Subs are playing. Cue ‘Uncle Charlie’ and a good ol’ singalong. They won’t be the only band to namecheck Mr. Harper this weekend. With new LP ‘The Cage’ only coming out in May they play newer material, mixed in with the classics. Animal is in confident mood, regularly talking to the crowd while acting out every verse (most notably on crowd favourite “So What”). “Pig Iron”, “Skull and Bones”, “For You”, “Streets…’, “Snowman” – it’s a crowd-pleasing set greeted with huge energy by a receptive audience. They end on a high with ‘We Are The League’ and everyone leaves happy.

Anti-Nowhere League
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At 11pm we are really torn with the band clashes; The Exploited, Buzzcocks, or Peter Hook and The Light. I decide a night of Joy Division’s music will be my destiny and head for the Opera House. Such is the popularity of the band the lower tier is completely full and I end up in the upper tier. Seats, alcohol and tiredness aren’t a great mix but once the opening bars of “She’s Lost Control” kick in I’m wide awake. This is one of those rare moments in live music where the adulation towards Hooky is enormous. All around me people are dancing in the aisle’s – for me it’s a “hairs on the back of the neck” moment when they end with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. The song-ending is prolonged and this crowd respond in raptures. I have not heard applause this loud in a very long time.

Peter Hook And The Light
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I head back next door to the Empress to catch “The Exploited”, with a stage full of punters singing “Sex and Violence”. The whole room is singing but that was their last song. I go back to the Pavilion where “The Cravats” are taking an age to soundcheck. “The Shend” (vox) is a dead ringer for Michael Gambon and sounds like him to boot! However, their music is lost on me as I head to the Empress for The Ramonas. They are as loud and energetic as ever but a near full room seem to be loving it. This is where I stay until they finish, then I head back to the Arena for perennial Rebellion favourites “Menace”. A now inebriated and enthusiastic crowd are joining in on nearly every song. It’s the perfect ending to what has been a brilliant Friday. Finn (guitar/vox) is leading rabble rouser and whipping this crowd up just nicely. For the now legendary “GLC” the stage invasion is actively encouraged, and everyone wants to grab the mic! There really was no better way to end the day. I know I will sleep well as I look forward to Saturday.

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Pre-showPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Words, Pictures & Videos by Ross Ferrone

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