John Lydon at Heaven
1st April 2012
I have a patchy relationship with PiL. I first saw them back in '86 (gig posted on this site) when they were a force to be reckoned with. In 1987, on the 'Happy' promotional tour at the National in Kilburn, they were great once again, but come 1989 on the '9' tour, they were spent and they were very poor, putting in an extremely lacklustre performance at what I consider to be London's worst venue, the Hammersmith Odeon as was.
John Lydon then put PiL on ice for the next 20 years! PiL and I next crossed paths in December 2009 at The Electric Ballroom in old Camden Town. This was a revelation, I could not believe how good they were. This was no take the cash reunion for certain.
Skip forward 18 months and PiL announce 2 nights at Heaven Under the Arches at London's Embankment. A small venue (capacity 500?), with their first new material since 1992's rather weak 'That What Is Not', John and the boys have something to prove. This was gonna be a real treat!
Opening the set with the first of the evenings new material, the pace of the night was set. As yet, I'm not familiar with the new songs, other that next month's vinyl EP release 'One Drop'. What I would say is that the new songs cast an unapologetic over the shoulder look back to 'Metal Box', generally considered to be PiL's finest hour.
With John, Lu and Bruce, the PiL of 2012 have retained the core of their last successful line up from the 'Album' period. On stage, they are comfortable and confident in their work, including the new material.
Whilst the Pistols are public property, Public Image Limited are paradoxically private property and a project that JL will never again compromise. This attitude is certainly reflected in the new material.
'Lollipop Opera' at Heaven
1st April 2012
Of the old material, all the classics were present and correct, 'Death Disco', 'The Flowers of Romance', 'This is Not a Love Song', 'Rise' etc etc. The extreme bass line of 'Religion' was especially bone shaking on the night in such a small venue!
This is Pil is released on 28th May.