Friday 29 June 2018

Public Image Limited, Rock City, Nottingham

It's been a while, since the 'Album' tour in 1986 in fact, so this is probably a good time to catch Public Image again. I mean you never know when it might be your last opportunity. Then again John Lydon is only 62, a mere youngster, so he’s not reaching for the zimmer frame just yet.

Although he seems to have brought his own alter, from where he conducts his performance and places his lyric book. Perhaps he is feeling 62 after all and forgetting a few things... This comes in as a very useful prop for the weird spoken-word number 'The Room I Am In'. 

There has been no support tonight, despite doors opening at 6:30. PiL were promised at 8:00 but didn’t arrive until 8:30. Most bands tend to obey stage times these days but not John Lydon, he’s old school.

It’s also a 10:00 curfew, so he won’t be on stage that long. I’ve never been totally clear why bands play Rock City on Fridays and Saturdays. Is it cheaper or do they secretly prefer an early finish?

Lydon is not known for long sets or crowd pleasing ones for that matter but this is a pretty popularist setlist by his standards. In amongst songs from their most recent album 'What The World Needs Now' from 2015 comes some early classics such as ‘Memories’, ‘Flowers of Romance’ and a pulsating ‘Death Disco’ along with tracks from their late eighties renaissance bringing us the likes of ‘Warrior’, ‘The Body’ and the brilliant 'Cruel'.

The really big crowd pleasers bring a close to the main set where ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ tumbles straight into ‘Rise’.

The band return for the not often performed ‘Public Image’ before playing ‘Open Up’ which Lydon recorded with Leftfield. The night ends with ‘Shoom’ which appears to an ode to his late father who was apparently fond of the word 'bollocks' and other choice words, which make up the majority of the lyrics. Lydon ends the night by leading us in a chorus of “fuck you!”. Nice tribute.

Public Image Ltd Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2018

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Psychedelic Furs, Leicester Academy

Supported by The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange

Tonight’s support is the exceedingly strange Richard Strange, who has arrived with a seven piece band who are a real mix of oldies and youngies. Richard Strange himself is 67.

As I understand it his show is based on his 1981 concept album ‘The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange’ which was described as a ‘political fantasy’. I take it that Strange now sees this as shockingly relevant given the election of Donald Trump and Brexit. In fact he unveils a banner proclaiming ‘Enemy Of The People’ at the end. 

It’s more theatre than music, with Strange wearing a balaclava at one point, which I gather it’s supposed to be and some of the ‘acts’ are quite long. In fact when he promises us ‘one more’, a man somewhere said 'no'. Out of time.

The last time I saw the Psychedelic Furs was here in Leicester in 1991 on the ‘World Outside’ tour. I’m not quite returning to the scene of a crime as that was at the wonderful, yet now sadly demolished, De Montfort University’s old Student Union.

These days it's good to see that one of the bands of your youth are not only still together but still alive. Sadly it's the way things are going.

Currently the group consists of the Butler brothers Richard on vocals and Tim on bass along with Mars Williams (saxophone), Amanda Kramer (keyboards), Paul Garisto (drums) and Rich Good (guitar).

Richard Butler took the stage last and it’s reassuring to see he’s still not taken that coat off.

There's no John Ashton in the band these days but returning tonight is original guitarist Roger Morris. He left the band after the first two albums at which point the band's sound mellowed somewhat and became famous for not just Richard Butler’s outstanding voice but for the addition of quite a bit of saxophone as well.

Morris only plays on the stuff he knows which means he’s busy at the start as they open with ‘Dumb Waiters’ and ‘Into You Like a Train’. Then he takes a break as they tackle the likes of ‘Highwire Days’. It’s a nice moment when halfway through the set old and new guitarists shake hands in mutual respect.

It’s pretty much a ‘hit’ filled set, not that the band had many actual hits, although there are quite a few omissions that I won’t grumble about.

The band haven’t released a record for 27 years and quite openly just enjoy playing for the fun of it without any pressure from record companies or the like. This sense of fun really stood out and the whole band seemed to have a ball.

They close the set with the poppy ‘Heaven’ before returning for the awesome twosome of ‘India’ and then ‘Pretty in Pink’.

The Psychedelic Furs Setlist O2 Academy Leicester, Leicester, England 2018, 2018 European Tour