Photo: Sarah Monrose
As Big Ben chimes on an eerily quite Sunday London evening, a few yards down the road a man who, arguably, changed the face of modern music forever prepares to relaunch his reformation of his post pistols outfit, Public Image Ltd, to the masses.
Heaven nightclub, a modest place to start, is quite rightly jam packed with Dad rockers, old school punks and a mish mash of people from all walks of life accompanied by a somewhat friendly if not apprehensive atmosphere. As Lydon graces the stage, looking more like acid induced attempt at a public school headmaster (note the glasses, lyric board) he is greeted by a familiar roar. A very long version of the Metal box opener ‘Albertross’ gains him a few heckles to which he fires back ‘You trying to get my ragg up with nonsense like that?’
The band blow into nine singles including ‘Disappointed’ and ‘Warrior’ which have a dramatic effect of smoothing the crowd over from the latter. “Lock up your children the priest are coming” Lydon roars as he begins an attack on organised religion, something which is to be expected from a PIL gig. The song is a bass fueled anarchic sound scape in which the bass at one point feels likes its tearing the insides of your stomach up to towards your throat, he then states the intended bass was to ‘drive religion out of your soul’.
He then dedicates ‘Death Disco’, which was originally written for his mum before her untimely death to ‘all those who have sadly departed’. This is actually a highlight, as there is emotion within the intent for the song which is equally relayed back from the crowd. “Its odd, its a song about death but it can be really fucking enjoyable the Irish way, a pleasure, thank you”.
The band then enter into an almost fifteen minute new song “From the view point of a confederate soldier” before disappearing for a pre encore cigarette(s).Pil then play ‘Rise’ which reinvigorates the audience and atmosphere to a point where it is impossible to stand with your drink without being knocked from all sides. They then close with Lydons Leftfield collaboration ‘Open Up’, a clever move on Lydon's part as it deters from alienating any of the younger audience in attendance, however it is received greatly from both parts and leaves you with an energetic buzz that most shows of this type would fail miserably. The reformation of PIL could quite possibly erase all of Lydons commercial wrong doings and if the Country Life Butter advert was purely to fund the PIL reformation and tour, then so be it.