Blackpool is only an hour away by train, and I've been all the way to Berlin to see Killing Joke, so you can bet your primitive blood I'd be at the last day of the Rebellion punk rock festival. Credit to the organisers, it seemed the most well organised rock festival I've ever been to. There were six stages in five rooms at Wintergardens, which synchronously is the best song from Killing Joke's 1986 album "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns." They didn't play that song but to the best of my recollection they did play sixteen better ones:
Requiem, Wardance, Change, Primitive, Turn to Red, Madness (deadicated to our beloved hyper-hypocrite Mr Blair the peaceful warmonger), Love Like Blood, Eighties, Unspeakable, Fresh Fever From the Skies, The Wait, pSSyche, Pandemonium and then an unrehearsed encore...
It was one of the shortest sets I've seen Killing Joke play, but their selection of songs was brilliant, compact and immensely intense. This is one of those rare bands where my rational mind switches off and the whole event becomes pure experience. That happened when they kicked into Change. Wire can also get me there, but I suspect they'd be wary of playing Rebellion, maybe dismissive of a retro element? I was applauding by clapping out the drum part of The Fall of Because and what did they start the encore with? The Fall of Because! Tension & Complications ended the long day.
The next morning the sky turned grey over Blackpool. The backfiring Empire took its heaviest casualty toll since June in the illegal Iraqi oil war and a Taliban leader killed by remote control rose from the dead just like the baby Jesus. The other Rebellion bands I heard couldn't help but seem like supports. UK Decay had a great guitar sound, and would actually make a good opener for Killing Joke should they deign to grace us with a proper UK tour like back in the Raven days (RIP). I could have done without the singer's overblown bombast, but he seemed like a good bloke. The Dickies played the same stage before the Joke and as a warm up were a bit of mindless fun, until they threw in a surprise cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." I could just imagine Jaz Coleman taking issue with the concept of our world being free, but instead he chose to rant about UFO conspiracies before new song Fresh Fever, triggering some get-on-with-it glares off Geordie. "I have it on good authority," he announced before Wardance, "That Israel will bomb Tehran before Christmas, so lets celebrate!" The Stupids were slammin' fun, the King Blues engaged in energetic anti-BNP folk rock, Aggrolites played laid back reggae grooves, and Chron Gen sounded way less hardcore than I remembered. It was nice to meet up with some old friends and have a chat to a backdrop of the Casual Terrorist playing an acoustic "Banned from the Roxy." No one bothered to tell him that the Roxy closed down years ago, before talibash beat combo O'Summer Bin Liner and the Headless Group Four Skins could drop some hits.
Best songs heard loud over PA between bands:
Ramones - Teenage Lobotomy
Buzzcocks - Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
The Ruts - Jah War
The chilli, rice and chips was way nicer than I expected it to be! Why the hell can't they get just one edible vegan gluten free meal on the menu at All Tomorrow's Parties?
First Law of Joke gigs:
Always stand on the Geordie side to get the full on guitar blast!