Rebellion 2017

After my nice long lie in I get downstairs just in time for breakfast and fill up ready for a long day of live music. The early part of my day will be largely spent in Introducing as I have a healthy interest in one of the artists performing today.

Opening up on this stage are Wreck-age, a band I first heard recently on the charity LP “Top Of The Punks”. Their forceful, driven Punk is ferocious before mid-set they briefly go a bit mellow. I leave at this point for the short stretch to the Pavilion for a new band to me; The Youth Within. Their driving three chord Punk is accompanied by some harsh vocals and some humourous banter with one of their fans! It’s classic 3rd Wave Punk and “Scum Of The Earth” with its driving rhythm is huge, and a standout track.

Back in Introducing my good friends from down South are making their Rebellion debut. “5 Go Mad” are a busy quintet from Pompey who have built a certain rep in their Southern surroundings, but this will be a new test. Buoyed by a massive turnout of friends and fans alike they take to the stage and simply deliver. Alan (vox) is in fine form and the band are tight as. Even Weab (DBD, Kid Klumsy) is in the audience! They play their best set yet with songs old and new including “Sid Mankini”, “Punk Police” and “She’s Not Like That”. It’s a virtually faultless performance in a room at least two-thirds full. 5GM have arrived and the applause tells its own story.

5 Go Mad
5 Go Mad 12345

Over in the Arena I catch Spirit Bomb, a quintet with a big sound. Anthemic with a huge snare-driven sound and heavy bass to match. I only stay for half the set before I return to my 2nd home for The Eddies. They deliver a “lumpen” Pub/Punk with huge drums. After 5GM they have successfully managed to swell the ranks to a near full room, must be the “Saturday effect”! “Punk for Life” seems somewhat apt as they too garner good applause and appreciation.

My first venture today into the Opera House means another act new to me. V2.2 play 3rd Wave Punk with “New Wave” sensibilities. They have all the classic song titles including “Nothing To Do” and “I Don’t Wanna Be An Insect” (dedicated to Trump). The brooding bass, anthemic vocals and all round wall of sound complement perfectly a great cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay”, which is delivered somewhat faster. They end on another cover, the bass-heavy “I Feel Alright” (Damned) before departing to great applause. I then trot next door to catch the end of “Rhythm-ites” set as they drop the beats with a chilled out vibe. Back I then head to the Opera House for The Proles in their mixed floral attire. This quartet deliver feelgood Punk with a quite distinct vocal and intelligent lyrics.

Rhythm-ites 1

Lunch is taken and I chance upon “Uber You” in Introducing. This American-sounding band offer a deafening hard and heavy sound. Anthemic vocals matched to hard hitting drums. All a bit too loud for this middle aged Punk so it’s back outside in the sunshine of the Casbah for Dick (Subhumans) other outfit Citizen Fish. Seeing Dick alongside a brass section is quite a contrast for me, but no less entertaining. Another great afternoon experience and near to the end of their set we take an early supper, giving us time to catch many of the “big name” acts of the day.

Citizen Fish
Citizen Fish 1

On our return, we head for the Pavilion where none other than Glen Matlock is playing an acoustic set with snippets of anecdotal memories for good measure. “God Save The Queen” is the first big singalong while “Steppin’ Stone” (Monkeys) is a highlight. Glen is amiable and happy to talk and name drop. He departs on “Pretty Vacant” and sounds better than ever.

Glen Matlock
Glen Matlock 

Back over in the Opera House, “Lurkers” are playing to a full room. Arturo (bass/vox) happily holds court and again one or two anecdotal memories are shared. All their best songs are aired including “Shadow”, “Freak Show” and “Aint Got A Clue”. I remain for the entire set before heading for the Empress for festival favourites Anti Nowhere League. As always they are in fine fettle despite bassist Shady being absent through illness.

Anti Nowhere League
Anti Nowhere League 1234

As always “Animal” takes centre stage. We never tire of his onstage antics and tonight as in other years they are rewarded with another full room. “I Hate People”, “Woman” and “Charlie Harper” are my standout tunes but their entire set is just great. They depart on “(We Are), The League” and I head to the Opera House once more for The Drones. I have been recommended this band by a mate who says I should check them out. On his recommendation, I pass on the UK Subs and watch The Drones speedily whizz through their entire first LP “Further Temptations” back to back. Mainstay Wispa (bass/lead vox) is energetic with a harsh, angry vocal. It really is classic old skool Punk. “Bone Idol” is the standout song of the set and they get good applause at the end.

The Drones
The Drones 1234

I race back to the Empress for the end of UK Subs set. Good timing as I join in on the now customary “Warhead” singalong. I remain until the end and stick around for Angelic Upstarts. The band have gained a female backing singer since I saw them last but they are no less impressive than that performance. Mensi (vox) delivers his usual between song banter and sniping, yet it all adds to the performance. “Teenage Warning” and “I’m An Upstart” are the absolute highlights but “Who Killed Liddle Towers” is the real crowd pleaser. This Empress crowd has come alive and are getting warmed up in anticipation of tonight’s headline act.

Angelic Upstarts
Angelic Upstarts 1

Sham 69 need no introduction and one by one Dave, Robin and Dave take their places on stage. Not long after Jimmy (Pursey) runs on, showers the audience with water then dives straight into their set. Jimmy (vox) is in fine voice and looks happy-there seems no anger on show tonight. They play a classic set of originals, broken up only by the addition of “White Riot” (The Clash). Songs are taken from mainly the first four LP’s including “That’s Life”, “I Don’t Wanna” and crowd favourite “Hurry Up Harry”. They save the best until last with “If The Kids Are United” and depart the stage. With a full Empress singing the chorus for a good five minutes solidly there was no way they weren’t coming back. A two song encore and they are off again. This time the wait is longer, but they return for a one song finale. “Hersham Boys” is hugely popular and the chorus is just one big singalong. Sham 69 tonight reminded us why we all loved them in the first place. Classic anthems and a lively crowd, all up for a good old knees up. Jimmy managed a smile more than once tonight and I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ll be seeing and hearing from them.

After that, one could be forgiven for having an early one but no, the night is young! Over in the Opera House, The Vapours are playing to a large crowd. However; after the euphoria of Sham it all seems a little flat. Even when they play “Turning Japanese” it doesn’t seem to warm up at all. After four songs I head to the Arena for “The Violators”. They are truly deafening and I don’t stay long, opting instead to catch American Punk legends “Fang”. It seems volume is the order of the day this late on and again this bludgeoning of the eardrums doesn’t keep me in the room for more than four songs. I head back for some more Violators but they haven’t improved, so I now call it a night. And that was Day 3.

Words, and Pictures by Ross A. Ferrone.

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