PiL Gig review – Rock City Nottingham.

We are at Rock City for the last night of the PiL tour. First up is Brix Smith. You may know her as the ex wife of The Falls Mark E Smith, but she is a musician in her own right. She was a member of The Fall and numerous other punk bands. She is now back with a new all female band made up of Deb & Jen from My Bloody Valentine and Vas & Ros.

Unfortunately Ros isn’t with them tonight as she has covid, so they are performing as a 4 piece. Quite a few of the songs we hear are from the new album Valley of the Dolls. Brix gives it her all and the songs are well received. She says she knows it’s hard to come out to a show and not know all the songs and appreciated our enthusiasm.

PiL Gig review - Rock City Nottingham.
PiL Gig review – Rock City Nottingham.

Brix Smith setlist
1. Aphrodite
2. Fast Net
3. Black Rainbow Sky
4. California Smile
5. Valley Girl
6. All My Love
7. Totally Wired (The Fall song)
8. Living Through My Despair
9. Say I’m Your Number One
10. Black Butterfly

PiL Gig review – Rock City Nottingham.

The stage is cleared for Public Image Limited. A band I have never seen live and I’ve no idea what to expect. The drum is at the back on a small riser. In front of this is a large bin (more on this later) and at the front 3 monitors in a semi circle with a music stand in the middle. The drummer, bass & keyboard player and guitarist come onto the stage and take their positions, which seem to be in the back half of the stage. Then the man himself, John Lydon walks onto the stage, arms aloft enjoying the cheers.

I have the say, this is by far the most bizarre gig I have ever attended. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it that it wasn’t good, but my goodness, it was odd. Johnny Rotten sneers, sings, snorts, grunts, twitches, contorts and gurns his way through the set. The rest of the band stay in their places, as if marking out a clear line between band and frontman.

There’s also an onstage ‘bouncer’ (in addition to venue security) that is keeping an eye on John and the crowd, moving several times to talk to people he obviously thought were likely to be an issue. A crowd member throws something onto the stage and John raises an eyebrow, but continues singing. This goes on for a few songs and John retrieves a couple of these projectiles, which he reveals are ‘little rubber duckies’ and points out that there are far worse people to throw things at besides him.

So why is there a large bin on stage? This is because it seems that throughout the set John swigs from a bottle of whiskey, gargles it, then spits it into the bin without seeming to swallow it. No idea why! The intro for ‘This is not a love song’ kicks in and the crowd jumps. It’s the bands biggest hit and was released in 1983. Definitely my highlight of the night. Such a great song to dance and sing along to.

John asks who has watched Pistol, the biographical miniseries currently showing on Disney. He shares his distaste for the project and for Danny Boyle. The encore includes ‘Open up’ and ‘Rise’. At the end Johnny introduces the band and gives thanks to everyone that is part of the Public Image Limited team. Then to a rousing cheers, the band leave the stage.

And so ends my evening in the same room as the legendary Sex Pistol.
PiL setlist
1. Religion II
2. Memories
3. The Body
4. Warrior
5. Corporate
6. The Room I Am In
7. The One
8. Death Disco
9. U.S.L.S. 1
10. Bags
11. Chant
12. Disappointed
13. This Is Not a Love Song
14. Public Image Encore:
15. Shoom
16. Open Up (Leftfield cover)
17. Rise

PiL Gig review – Rock City Nottingham. @ Rock News.

You can check out even more from PiL here.


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