Highlights of Day 2 at Rebellion included the likes of Headsticks, Newtown Neurotics, The Boys, Atilla the Stockbroker and the Neville Staple Band.


Day 2 started over on the Pavilion stage where I was drawn to see Headsticks. This group is an intriguing four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent. I just wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a folk-punk band.  They were not your typical rock n roll punk type, in fact, it would be much more appropriate to find them in a barn playing some Blue Grass; that’s what Rebellion are now offering the festival punters with so many eclectic/diverse styles of music.

Headsticks started their set at a steady pace and upped the tempo and gave a polished performance that was very well appreciated by the crowd. They have now played Rebellion three years in succession and have progressed from the Introducing stage back in 2016 and rightly so. They also had a slot on the opening day playing a stripped back set on the Almost Acoustic Stage. Their songs are very strong with addictive melodies and catchy hooks; I personally liked the track “Cold Grey English Skies”. Headsticks are always playing live shows so you shouldn’t have much of a problem catching up with them.

Vertigo Violet

Moving on to my favourite venue which is the Introducing stage we witnessed first timers Vertigo Violet. This Stage does lack a bit of ambience so the bands have to work a bit harder to create an impression. Vertigo Violet are a four-piece from Birmingham formed in 2016 and fronted by Charly Malone who is no stranger to playing live music as she was a former member of Kerosene Queen. Malone’s first band was called Blow Up Doll when she was only 16.

Vertigo Violet are well rehearsed and you could see that they had been working hard to get to the standard of playing in front of a live audience. The band played with attitude, confidence and it was one of those performances that are unforgettable for themselves and the audience. In fact, Vertigo Violet was the best band that I had seen on the Introducing stage for a long time. I’m sure this group will progress at Rebellion and obtain a slot for the 2019 event.

Newtown Neurotics

Newtown Neurotics were up next at the very majestic Empress Ballroom. We are all very fortunate to see them back considering Steve Drewett lead singer/guitarist was very reluctant to get back together and was talked into it and the rest is now history. They formed in 1979 and split in 1988 and spent a long time inactive but reformed back around 2006.

The band are currently working on new material which is their first for 30 years amazingly and also in the process of filming a documentary called “Kick Out”. I believe that some of the filming was conducted at Rebellion.

The band played to a full room and sung their old still relevant songs like “Living With Unemployment” and “Kick Out the Tories”. It was a fantastic set by the lads and even featured a guest appearance from Dodgy’s Nigel Clark. We eagerly look forward to the impending release of their new album and documentary.

The Boys

Still, at the Empress Ballroom, The Boys were next on my list to see and they did not disappoint. This band seem to have been around forever and have such a great rock n roll history rubbing shoulders back in the day with the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Clash and supporting The Ramones on tour. They were there at the start of the punk rock revolution explosion and have helped shape the music of today.

The Boys played all their old hits like “First Time”, “Living in the City”, “I Don’t Care”, and the “Brickfield Nights” anthem and finished with “Sick On You”. This band is definitely one of the first on my list every time. These were definitely a big crowd pleaser and a highlight of the festival.

Atilla the Stockbroker

I could not write a review without giving this guy a mention. We actually asked him if we could sit with him and rest our legs before going next door in the Almost Acoustic room to see the Poetic Punk Verse Fusion act of Cherry and Peesh. He was scribbling notes down and I think making late adjustments ready for his time to entertain. We found out later to our surprise it was Atilla the Stockbroker. This guy is a pure genius and had everyone enthralled with his humorous life stories. It was the up’s and downs of Atilla the Stockbroker all in rhyme and everyone warmed to him making fun of everything even personal serious subjects. He certainly didn’t look like a cool guy but was the coolest person I had spoken to all day.

Cherry and Peesh

Now for Cherry and Peesh I know these two hard-working artists personally and was never going to miss their show. It was their first time at Rebellion on the Almost Acoustic stage. They’ve both been around for a while now plying their art but have recently got together with a fusion of poetic punk poetry to music about life, politics and just anything relevant and topical with humorous lyrics and catchy choruses. Have you heard of the North-South Divide? Well, these two are on a personal crusade by trying to close the gap because they live around 300 miles apart but still manage to function and perform as a unit.  They have just released their first single together called “Punk Mum” and it’s a true story about Cherry and her daughters. They had the place filled and were very well received and enjoyed all the nice comments while selling their merch. Our interview with the incredibly creative duo will follow.

Neville Staple Band

I thought it could not get any better but the Neville Staple Band were electric at the newly converted Club Casbah Stage. It was nice to see the old Olympia venue back and renamed, revamped with new lighting and a dark underground feel.

I do believe Coventry was the birthplace of British Ska with so much talent emerging from there. It didn’t take long for Neville Staple, the legendary frontman of the Specials, and Fun Boy Three to get the party started performing all the classic songs continuously pumping out hit after hit. Staple is also known as The Original Rude Boy and a real innovator of popular music. I know he does not have as much spring in his step nowadays/like the old times but the band delivered the performance of the night if not the whole festival. The entire room was in complete motion; a skanking paradise. There was lots of eye contact and interaction with the audience and you could see him feeding off their energy which generated into a truly memorable night. What a brilliant way to round of the day of live music, skanking all the way home.

I was sorry to hear about The Exploited having to pull out due to Watty having heart problems and being in the hospital. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

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Words & Photos: Garry Urwin

Event Date: 02-Aug-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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