gig reviews

Public Image Ltd

Where: 02 Academy // When: 20/07/2010

by Kevin Humphries

Public Image Ltd

Having been a long time fan of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd, as well as a great admirer of John ‘Johnny Rotten’ Lydon, I jumped at the chance to see PiL make their long awaited return to Bristol. Myself and the hundreds of people that crammed themselves into what must have been a sold-out show, may have had a bit of a wait as there was no support band to entertain us prior to PiL, but the wait was worth it. This is one band that doesn’t disappoint their loyal fans.

Finally a smiling John, along with the rest of the band entered the stage – “hello Bristol - back by popular demand.” The crowd went wild as they launched straight into ‘This Is Not A Love Song’. The musicianship which goes into this band is of the highest quality imaginable. The musicians were amazing with powerful drums, a really heavy bass and a multitude (that was a big word!) of different guitar type instruments from the guitarist. What was clear was this band wanted to be here, wanted to be entertaining each and every person present, and wanted to be making music.

With my mind not being what it used to be, I can’t remember every song they sang, but who can after a gig that you’ve been so wrapped up in. But they did play greats such as ‘Poptones’, ‘Chant’, ‘Albatross’, and what was a brilliant, memorable version of ‘Disappointed’. One track that stuck out in my mind was ‘Religion’, it was not only one hell of a powerful track, but a controversial one, but that’s what makes John Lydon, Johnny Rotten, the man known for speaking his mind. As the pace built, John demanded “more bass, more bass,” and what John wants, John gets, and the whole place vibrated as the bass got louder.

Throughout the set, there was a lot of banter between John and the audience, and even a lot of Johnny Rotten stares. Despite the rumours, it was all very friendly, and he even thanked the bouncers for being good boys. After nearly two hours of great, pounding music, and John gargling with what looked like brandy and clearing his throat through his nose, they went off so John could “have a ciggie.” Swiftly they were back on stage with ‘Public Image’ and ‘Rise’, before finishing off with a really stonking version of the song John did with Leftfield, ‘Open Up’. After just over two hours of music, John and the rest of the band said their thank yous and goodbyes in a very genuine fashion. I can’t recommend going to see Public Image Ltd more. For me, this gig ranks high in the list of all the bands I’ve seen over the years. I’ll be there the next time they play Bristol, and if you have any sense, you will be too.

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