Rebellion 2017

So, after such a great opening day we arrive back around midday for the next instalment. A large queue meanders down the hill but is steadily moving. First port of call for me is outside in the blazing sunshine of the Casbah Stage to catch Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs. They provide the days early entertainment and are simply great fun. A set of mainly originals is peppered with a few choice covers and self-deprecating humour. A good sized crowd warmly applauds them as they leave the stage.

Hobo Jones And The Junkyard Dogs

Hobo Jones And The Junkyard Dogs 1234567

I head back to the Pavilion for Top Dog who are ferociously loud and too much for me this early in the day. Back out in the sunshine, London’s Kenneths are whipping up a storm in the mid-afternoon sun. Lead vocalist Josh Weller (no relation) is energy personified-this is a “new” band out to make a statement. In fact, he is a dead ringer for a young Phil Lynott, but the similarities end there. He uses every inch of the stage while making every effort to get in amongst the punters. The drums are huge while the bass is even bigger. On their final song the brilliant “What Happened To My Sex” Josh plays right up against the crowd barrier, thrashing the hell out of his guitar. It’s pure adrenaline-soaked fun while the bassist is chief shapeshifter back on stage. This is definitely a band to keep tabs on and I fully expect to see them return next year.

Kenneths 1

With the new layout, the nearest stage to visit is the Opera House where Brains All Gone are banging out their powerful “Girl/Punk”. Onto the Empress Ballroom for me to catch another band making a big noise these days. Heavily tipped newish band Heavy Drapes are banging out some quality old skool Punk circa ’77 influence. Great both lyrically and musically and in singer De Liberate they have a man who has studied the past in his stage presence and manner. Equal parts Rotten/Iggy/Liam Gallagher he struts and cavorts around this large stage, making it his own. “Into The Blue Again” is just one of many highlights from their set which is a good mix of slower and faster material.

Heavy Drapes
Heavy Drapes 1234567

I depart just before the end of the set and head next door to catch another Friday highlight, Stroud’s finest Chinese Burn. More old skool Punk Rock from this quintet who in singer Ben Rigsby have their very own cloned David Johansen (New York Dolls). Again this band have a singer who has studied the past and created a persona that works perfectly with their brand of Punk. They have so many great songs including “Defeated” and “Long Live the Underdog”. However, they save the best ’til last. “I Wonder Who She’s Fucking Now”, complete with mid-song break to glance through the week’s OK Magazine is pure theatre. I buy their latest LP on the strength of this performance alone. If they keep this up they won’t be the Underdog for long.

Chinese Burn
Chinese Burn 12

I head back over to my favourite room, The Introducing Stage to catch energetic North West young Punks Strange Bones. There’s quite an atmosphere and I’m assuming they’ve enlisted their entire fanbase to come and support them – there’s a huge moshpit happening with the singer held aloft and still managing to play his guitar (just)! I don’t stay long though and catch a bit of the External Menace set in the Pavilion. I have to say they are on form today, in fact much better than last time. Honest; heartfelt vocals and lyrics, sung with real emotion throughout.

Strange Bones
Strange Bones 1
External Menace
External Menace 12

A late lunch is taken before a quick look in at Almost Acoustic where Alex Wonk (and band) are holding court to a full room. Whether stripped back or full electric, these guys are the real deal. His humour is on another level but this is frankly just a warm-up to this evening’s stellar set.

Alex Wonk
Alex Wonk 
Rat Scabies
Rat Scabies 1

Back over at the Pavilion, interviewer Barry Cain has the pleasure of chatting with the one and only Rat Scabies. The room is almost full and Rat really pulls no punches with his likes and dislikes of all things Damned related. At times you are left thinking he’s a bit bitter and at others, it’s quiet contemplation. He fields all questions and clearly harks for that one last chance to make a classic Damned LP. Encouragement is loud though for the chance to get Rat back behind the kit on the stage, to play the opening sequence of “New Rose”. He has clearly not lost the power, but we leave wondering about his “apparent” bitterness towards the current line-up and what the future might hold. Nevertheless, he leaves the stage to generous applause and I head to the Arena to catch Psychords.

Psychords 1

This stunningly beautiful 3-piece Girl/Punk band use the slow/fast formula to good effect. Not the biggest audience and not blowing me away I head back across to Introducing to catch The Mis-Made, a 4-piece Hole-esque Riot/Grrrl/Punk band from Sydney. Their sound is huge, matched to singer Jessamine’s snarly vocal delivery. Too huge for me though which gives me time for dinner, before heading back to catch the end of the set by Sick On The Bus. Their ferocious onslaught pleases a two-thirds full room, it’s just all a bit loud and fast for my liking.

The Mis-Made
The Mis-Made 1
Sick On The Bus
Sick On The Bus 

My last venture to the Casbah means the annual Subhumans performance. The usual entertainment from the amusing Dick (vox). Political insight and viewpoints, transposed with all their great songs. “This Is War” and “No” are as popular as ever but the real highlight and sing along tune is “Subvert City”. I rush to the Empress to catch “Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes”. Rewarded with a full room Frank energetically paces every inch of the stage; singing songs about babies, (his words)! They are loud; but their wall of sound, even from the back does little for me so I depart after four songs. Once again I find myself back at Almost Acoustic where Barstool Preachers are owning the room. Last on and it’s one big sing along and standing room only! I stay for four songs before heading back to the Empress for Wonk Unit. This band are on the rise and have been awarded 2nd headline status which they fully deserve. They pull out all the stops and Alex (vox) in in fine, humorous voice. All their best songs and a few from latest album “Mr. Splashy” are played tonight, some at breakneck speed keeping the young moshers happy. “Nan”, “Horses”, “Go Easy” and to finish the frankly brilliant “Kings Road Sporting Heroes”. Hard touring has clearly paid dividends as Wonk Unit are a tighter, more experienced unit these days. They need to get used to crowds this size as their stock is clearly rising.

I stick around for headliners Slaves as the room slowly fills once more. They have an impressive stage set and no expense spared considering where their career is now. But again they do nothing for me; and so after four songs that (to me) sound identical, I head for the Opera House.

Slaves 1

The downstairs stalls are full so I venture upstairs and it’s nearly full up here too. Having seen The Professionals only six months previously to a much smaller crowd, it is good to see them rewarded with a full room. I know what to expect with their back catalogue and I’m not disappointed. Highlights include “Silly Thing” (Pistols), (Join) The Professionals, “1-2-3” to name three; but like Peter Hook this time last year, they are the perfect band to be closing a day’s music in this particular room. Paul Cook’s powerhouse drumming is the engine room to this band and with Chris McCormack on board, they now have a new vigour about them. With the promise of new material in the pipeline, things look to be on the up. And that folks was my Rebellion Friday. A well-earned night’s sleep is taken and my faulty mobile allows me an unplanned lie-in as my alarm fails to work!

The Professionals
The Professionals 
Rebellion 123


Words, Pictures and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace