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No school like the old school

No school like the old school

“I know my place and you should know yours!” retorted John Lydon, mainstay and head honcho, of Public Image Ltd, to a member of the audience who was proving to be a nuisance to those around him. Surprisingly the man obliged displaying the respect that Mr Lydon still holds amongst those in attendance and this evenings show more than adequately proved why that is.

Despite looking like a darts player who has been on a heavy session, somehow the former Johnny Rotten was still the epitome of cool. The snarl was in play* but there now with a more operatic demeanour in his command of the stage and an authentic honesty to his usual flair of performance. Which for a man that so much bullshit seems to envelop (a good portion of it his own doing to be fair) is marvellous to see in itself.

Thankfully, there is more to this than the man himself, P.I.L. being made up with Lu Edmonds on guitar, Scott Firth on bass and Bruce Smith on drums are able to create the bombastic sparkle and drag that these songs require, and they don’t waste time in doing so. Things began with an almost teasing start with ‘Deeper Water’ from the new album ‘This is PIL’, however those that were worried about this evening being a showcase of new material didn’t not have long to wait for their foot to enter their mouths.

The groove laden ‘Albatross’ was up next leading to a crowd hypnotised by Lydon’s vocal caricatures for nigh on 10 minutes. After which they erupted into a jubilant rendition of ‘This is not a Love Song’ which led to the first bout of activity from the audience, with all in attendance dancing away under the renowned giant mirrorball of the venue**.

After this initial flurry of songs it was hard to imagine how P.I.L. would be able to top such a strong start to the show. As we were treated to a catalogue of tunes from throughout their career with anthem-like ‘Warrior’*** proving to be another highlight, the band finished up with two choice songs from the aforementioned new album; ‘Out of the Woods’ and ‘One Drop’. They left the stage to uninhibited adulation but there was nothing close to touching the strong start to the evening.

As P.I.L. returned to the stage for the encore it certainly seemed like they left the best till last as they stormed into a glorious and snotty version of ‘Public Image’ where the entire middle section of the floor was awash with flinging bodies surfing over their counterparts and really making the security at the front work for their money. What followed was a bewitching execution of ‘Rise’**** which had the house lights on for a good portion and what seemed like the whole audience singing in unison during the chorus.

And that was it, a few ups and downs throughout but bookended to the highest degree with all truly believing that Public Image Ltd are no nostalgia trip, they can still affect you where it counts.

*Of course…

**Seriously, it’s fucking huge.

***I have no idea why I like that song, my head tells me it’s no very good but still…

****Bloody stunning!