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Rottencrop With the music business dead and buried, who better to dance on its grave than those arch-celebrants of decay, the Sex Pistols? MOJO’s Stuart Williams gasped in awe at last night’s London show and muses that some comebacks are more timely than others.

Click MORE for his frontline report…

“Never ever trust the middle classes.”  So says John Lydon, Santa Monica resident and ITV primetime favourite, before launching into another spat invective in front of a sweaty, packed Brixton Academy.  Last night was the fifth and final London show of their mini-reunion celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Never Mind The Bollocks. “We’re here together for one reason”, he smirks, “Your money”.

If that’s true, it’s a shame. Nearly three decades on from the Winter of Discontent, The Eagles have a global Number 1 album, a Led Zeppelin is creaking back into the air and there’s as great a need as ever for four snotty Londoners to stick a safety pin or two into a few plump midriffs.

The four men on stage last night looked about as scary as Take That on an M&S photo shoot but close your eyes and the music is as spiky and visceral as ever. Their previous comebacks in 1996 and 2002 were mixed affairs: the first great, the second sloppy. With thirty years of improvements in audio production since their 100 Club days behind them, however, the sound is now a chunky, crashing, glorious noise. Glen Matlock (the “musical” one”) powers a driving bassline that could knock a pacemaker out of action while Steve Jones’s Les Paul throws out a steely sound worthy of Johnny Thunders at his greatest.

The star of the show, though is, of course, Johnny Rotten, a pot-bellied, potty-mouthed panto dame for the 21st century.  Dressed like a fluorescent Bagpuss, the gig is as much fun for his inter-song chats as for the music.  “Hello, fatty” he calls to Steve Jones before Holidays In The Sun. “This is dedicated to a pop genius called Malcolm,” before Liar and a bizarre attack on Madonna and Guy Ritchie (“a plastic gangster”) precedes Bodies. All along he maintains his mock disdain for his own songs, especially for EMI – hard to have a kick at a record company which is already down in the doldrums and could do with a comeback of its own.

The set finishes with an ear-blistering Anarchy In The UK and the crowd starts leaving before the band takes to the stage for one more (“Now the wankers have gone we can pull out the good stuff,” croaks Lydon). A scrappy cover of Jonathan Richman’s Road Runner brings the show to a close in a tight 70 minutes.

In contrast to the global hype surrounding most major reunions, the four original Sex Pistols have crept in under the radar and delivered one of the most impressive comebacks of 2007. If demand for these shows is anything to go by (all shows sold out in minutes), 2008 could be an opportunity for the band to take their circus on the road and play to tens of thousands. Interestingly, 72-year-old Michael Eavis CBE was in the front row of the circle for the last show. The Sex Pistols headliing Glastonbury 2008?  Take that, society.

Sex Pistols play Manchester MEN Arena 17th and Glasgow SECC 18th.

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 06:15PM | Categories: Opinion


You want a comment? Here's one. Where the hell are my daily MOJO news items! I love to read them. Don't tell me your writers are on strike!

Posted by: greg d walker | 21 Nov 2007 03:53:28

Greg! No need to fret. The new site will be up and running very, very soon. Watch this space...


Posted by: Ross | 22 Nov 2007 16:51:23

Ross - And so it is! Thanks, and keep up the great work!!!!!!!1

Posted by: greg walker | 23 Nov 2007 23:28:36