4.) Rebellion Festival

August 2nd 2018

Rebellion Fest

Winter Gardens

Blackpool, UK

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Woke up a little late. Let’s give it a soft noon. Left the bus and was greeted by the sight of shirtless men and pantless women with spiked hair and faded tattoos drinking beer on the beige sidewalks, some of them literally making the “blahhhhhhg” noise so associated with a snarl-lipped punk. Most of them, however, were grasping one another in reunion hugs with laughter. It warmed me right up.

The couple of ciders I had the night before with Greg, Joe, and Dave, along with the vinegar soaked late-night chips, took my pH levels for a bit of a ride. My teeth felt like they belonged in an erlingmeir flask with my liver in a centrifuge. Fuckin hell. I forgot how dangerous an English diet can be if you let it get loose.

I took a trip to Poundland. Think Dollar Tree full of punks, except on the beach. Did you know in England you have to be 18 to buy Red Bull? That’s hilarious. Next stop was the Post Office to get stamps to send postcards. I fucking love sending postcards. Now, there was a queue, or a line, inside the post office. When a sea turtle hatches it sprints for the sea. When an Englishman hatches she gets right in the queue. After the AI take over, many years after a huge natural disaster plagues us into a resource-driven tribal society, they’ll look back on British queuing as the pinnacle of our civilization. It’s so polite and quiet that it’s equal parts unnerving and awe-inducing.

Now the mission. We’ve been getting ready to do some writing, and I want a cheap acoustic guitar to keep over here. This life has been good to me and I can do shit like that now. I’m also working on a cover for an unannounced charity compilation.

I walked about a mile, hungover, in the very out-of-place English sun to a music store. It was kind of nice to walk through the neighborhoods, to see people living their lives. Two twenty-something girls gossiping, an overweight Southern-European-looking guy fiddling with his car, and an old lady on a bicycle inquiring about the location of a wall paper store that she went to years ago and must only be a few blocks up.


I picked out a sunburst Epiphone something-100 and tried to buy it.

Nope.

In a comedic purgatory we spent the next 15 minutes trying to get the card to work. Well..it worked just fine, too well I guess? It was their company policy that they could not take a credit card unless it prompted for a pin. It went through fine then they would manually refund it. A bizarre experience. I took it as a message from the Earth Coincidence Control Office that it was time to pound the pavement.

 

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Your boi stopped at a pawn shop on the walk back and bought a Taylor Big Baby that Dave saw earlier in the day. It’s a perfectly me-sized guitar. I’m ecstatic.

Back at the venue I ran into none other than The Lawrence Arms. Best fucking band, Best fucking guys. They killed it that night.

I did the Punks in Pubs with the host, Liam. He worked on the Punk Rock Hour on Radio 4, and produced a series for the BBC on Hip Hop in the Middle East. It was a great chat.

 

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Rebellion Fest was punk. It’s a punk (street punk, D beat, 77 punk, ……….us for some reason) fest. The whole thing takes place in a massive early 20th century ballroom-filled complex. The rooms were ornate. They were lit like a movie from the twenties.


 Best score of the day: Clash postcards I got to send to those I don’t get to see enough.

Best score of the day: Clash postcards I got to send to those I don’t get to see enough.

The marketplace on the second floor had everything from chokers that said “Fuck You” to Clash bootleg Tees (scored a great one), Trojan Box Sets, Choking Victim back patches and a Doc Martens free-mohawk cut booth.

Each ballroom shrieked with piercing snarls and machine gun snare and kick beats whose echos bled into a thunderstorm. My highlights were Shetland’s, TLA, The Buzzcocks, and Lagwagon.

Our set was awesome. It felt great to rip through the sounds again, especially at such a wild festival.

 I am a sucker for most themed bars.

I am a sucker for most themed bars.

Late-night I went wandering around the complex and ended up at The Spanish Room, a galley-styled room covered in wood-carved mermaids and geometric tropical shit with long tables and a huge bar. It was perfect.

By then the punks had taken their shirts off and had totally moved in to the venue. It was theirs now. People smoking joints, wrestling, couples making out and fighting, and acoustic acts just everywhere. The only things missing were the dogs. That - and the fact that everyone was 50+.

Two fellow bald men were sat next to me at one of the long tables. Scotland’s best. After a bit we got talking. They had been going to punk shows together since before I was born. They were such legends. They had seen everyone. They were totally floored to find out that I played the festival in The Menzingers earlier. One of their sons got them to come along and watch our set because he was a huge fan. We had a couple of pints and a couple of laughs. The perfect ending to a great fucking day.

Listen - Cocksparrer - Take Em All

Watch - Just go outside for a while instead

Eat - Jacket Potatoes!!  (I haven’t tried any of these but I ate like 6 fucking potatoes over the last 72 hours)