PiL, Bristol

Mr Rotten must have a soft spot for Bristol – it’s the third visit to the city in three years.photo (45)

The city’s punk credentials are impeccable. Nearly all the punk and post-punk, art-punk and new wave bands which re-form are guaranteed an up-for-it audience who can’t get enough of reliving their glory days.

Heartening to see similar souls who still share your tastes.

The Selecter

Well no prizes for guessing that this chirpy support band were a million more smiles than what was to follow.

Always wanted to see them and it’s taken this long – 30-odd years – to catch them. Wasn’t even aware they were on the bill.

Pauline Black fronts the nine-piece 21st century version. They were full of vim and surprisingly energetic for a band of their generation. All dressed in grey bank manager chic.

All the hits – Three Minute Hero, On My Radio, Missing Words etc.

Great Sixties-sounding keyboards. Vastly under-rated party band.

Public Image Limited

This was the best of the three concerts here. 2010 was spoilt by Mr Rotten’s ego being pricked by supporters of Palestinian rights demanding he cancel his upcoming gig in Israel. He boiled with indignation which he couldn’t control and his focus was lost.

Last year’s was pretty good.

Mr Rotten *
Mr Rotten *

This one was a lot more business-like. Slick even. Having seen them six times in four years, the initial buzz about them re-forming has disappeared.

Two of the 2009/2010 concerts  at other venues were genuinely amazing experiences – the band pretty much invented art-punk and though I didn’t get it at the time – too weird –  Keith Levene‘s deranged work is breathtaking.

OK, he doesn’t feature in the band but Lu Edmonds does him justice on the early numbers.

This gig even harked back to the heady heyday of punk and post-punk gigs as it appeared that the first two numbers would also feature a wild fist fight in the audience.

A very tall, very loud, very irritating middle-aged guy sporting bushy sideburns and wearing a deerstalker flailed around madly announcing himself with a West Country burr: “Oi’ll be yer orl week, I will.”

People were jostled, thrown around, barged and he was duly, and rightly, warned of what might happen. So he stopped seconds short of being stomped.

Albatross, This is Not a Love Song, Careering were early highlights. It got a bit stodgy as the Krautrock kicked in and This is What You See, This  is What You Get was tiresome.

Picking up towards the end, new numbers One Drop and Reggie Song revived interest.

Once you hit a certain age, you’ve only got one moshpit pogo in you. That was reserved for first encore Public Image. Pogoing is good for the soul.

Rise followed, its slower pace allowing time to catch your breath and Open Up, the Leftfield collaboration was saved for last. The highlight.

* iPhone left behind, so all pics from the 2012 Bristol gig at the same venue

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