Rancid steal the show
Rancid - Rebellion Xmas Bash - Live At The Ballroom, Birmingham

For most people Christmas means too much food, a man in a big red suit, and Noddy Holder on constant repeat in the background. But thankfully for the punks of this world it means the Rebellion Xmas Bash - three stages, over thirty live bands and performances running from 12pm through to 2am.

As we make our way through the doors of the venue, we’re thrown into what can only be described as a punk circus. People are constantly weaving in and out of the building, buying drinks and moving towards the choice of stages. Merch stores and bars consume the balcony, where people are gazing over to get a better view of the main stage.

A few bands in and it’s time for Vice Squad. Beki Bondage’s hair blows in the wind that has suddenly begun moving to the stage so that she and the whole band now look like a set of superheroes. As the night draws on the crowd are still going strong, knocking back drinks and skanking away. UK Subs and The Exploited tear the crowd apart with their explosive songs. There are so many punk legends here today it’s hard to keep track.

The time finally arises for Rancid. The room is absolutely crammed, and people are getting last minute drinks just in time for the start of the show. For many fans today has just been a warm up for this moment, and as the band storm the stage a massive circle pit fills the floor.

Rancid are really on form tonight. The band gives a strong performance, playing hits such as the amazing ‘Roots Radicals’, ‘Maxwell Murder’ and ‘Salvation’ powering through their songs to their faithful audience. Right now, there’s not one person in the room who's not moving. Bar the guys passed out on the floor. And even they’re rolling over every now and again.

The room has become more of a party than a gig. 'Red Hot Moon’ chills out the atmosphere and allows people to have a quick breather before continuing the party.

As the band leave the stage, their audience demands more. They aren’t ready to calm down just yet, some could (and will) carry on all night. It’s not long before the band return with two of the best tunes from ‘...And Out Come the Wolves’: ‘Time Bomb’ and the amazing ‘Ruby Soho’.

Tonight, some will stay to see the main event, punk legends Cock Sparrer, some will even stay to the after party that goes on until 6am, but for this reviewer, it’s time to leave in the classy Brummy style: getting 95p chips from a dodgy takeaway round the corner and stumbling home.


Words by Sophie Sparham


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