Rebellion Festival 2016 - Thursday
This was my third trip to Rebellion Festival and the line up seems to be getting better and more diverse as time goes by. It’s getting more popular now, and this was shown through Day Tickets being sold out for Thursday and Saturday. I decided to take in the Thursday show with bunch of friends, and we started the day off with a mandatory game of mini golf on the pier. Adventure Golf by the entrance to the Pleasure Beach is always a treat to play as it’s taxing and was once the venue for the UK Mini Golf championships. This means we missed Leeds band GEOFFREY OI!COTT whose lead singer Jason claimed had the second largest crowd on the stage that day.
First up was PEARS on the Main Stage – fast, slightly technical hardcore with somewhat melodic vocals – it’s a shame because due to their style it would have been better to see them in a smaller room or club show. Then we went to see CJ RAMONE on the new outdoor ‘Tower’ stage. This is the second band I have seen with a Ramone in them, the first being Marky Ramone playing drums for the Misfits but also playing Ramones songs. The stage was situated in a car park with the Blackpool Tower looming in the background – a great setting. The sun was shining and the band got the festival vibe right by playing 80% Ramones songs – the crowd was full of smiling faces – it was beautiful. There was an awkward moment when CJ asked, “Is anyone here in the military?” To which 2 or 3 people raised there hands and everyone went quiet. He then dedicated the next song to those people who “do what’s right for their country” – cue awkward silence. Despite that blip, it was a great set, and everyone loved it.
|The new outdoor 'Tower' Arena|
The next band outside was FLAG, thankfully without the aggrandizement of egomanic HENRY ROLLINS on vocals, and KEITH MORRIS instead. There were also two guys from Descendents in the band. They played a greatest hits set, the pit was brutal, and there were lots of singalongs. In true buzzkill style they ended on ‘Damaged’. Then we got to see THE BOUNCING SOULS, and the crowd was much smaller than the packed CJ, so we got real close to the front. The Souls were full of energy and played a range of their greatest hits. If you’ve got kids, the singer has another band with his wife called PLAY DATE that play punk inspired indie pop anthems designed for kids – check ‘em out. There were lots of good singalongs throughout the set for classics such as ‘Hopeless Romantic’.
We were going to see T.S.O.L. but we got carried away with cheaper street drinking, and we needed a fish & chips pit stop. In order to ensure entry to the venue we went to the Main Stage early, and caught the last few songs of another Leeds band ABRASIVE WHEELS. Box ticked. A couple more Gin & Tonics set us on our way, and then we headed right down the front for the main event, and the real reason we were here, DESCENDENTS. For some reason the new record feels more exciting than the 2004 comeback, and this gig feels more special than when I saw them at Berlin Monster Bash in 2007. I guess with it being the first show of their world tour to promote the album, and the historical significance of it being at Rebellion added to it.
From the moment they kicked off launching into ‘Everything Sucks’, it was immense. They played 30 songs in just over an hour, with minimal talking in between. They played stuff from all four decades of their existence, and mixed it all around, so you were never quite sure what was coming next. I had some great singalongs to ‘Talking’, ‘Nothing With You’, and ‘Suburban Home’. They also played a bunch of songs from the new album, which is classic Descendents, and combines manly elements of their previous work in the songs. Particular highlights are the tearjerking ‘Without Love’, and the humorous ‘On Paper’, which I would recommend as a starting point if you are jumping in as a casual listener. It was a great set, with a great pit, and made us leave the venue with big smiles on our faces. Top work Rebellion Festivals! That’s BAD RELIGION, NOFX, and DESCENDENTS from the USA side of punk rock I have seen headline now. Who’s next? RANCID I hope. Or BAD RELIGION again. Looking forward to more great Rebellion Festivals in the future.