BravEar, April 1982

Californian fanzine from Hayward, CA

Transcribed by Karsten Roekens

© 1982 BravEar

San Francisco, Galleria, November 5th 1982

PIL The Galleria SF Nov. 5

by Elma Gibble

I don't get it… I just don't get it. This show was everything I didn't expect. From the start:

The Galleria. A nice place, y'know? N-I-C-E. In what seemed to be a sort of little shopping area à la The Cannery… lots of brick, nice lighting, and inside… friggin' incredible! Once
inside you got yer choice… main floor, elevated sides and back for shorties like me, a
non-alcoholic bar (never very crowded), and if you wanted to be really elevated, sans drugs, you got three, count'em, THREE levels above you. Lotsa room, great sound, good lighting… My only complaints: only one beer/wine bar, on the third floor, which translates into one very long, hot and crowded wait for a beer. Just as well I drink Coke anyway… Could use a
couple more bathrooms too. (I kept thinking to myself "Hey… at least there are bathrooms and not out-houses" - as was the case at the last PIL appearance, leaking, overflowing, lines and lines of people standing in pissy mud to go…)

Caught only the last two songs of 54/40. (Oh, the other complaint - took much too long to get in, too few doors, what with all the checking for ID's, cameras, tickets, guest lists, etc. The masses appeared ready to revolt just as I squeezed inside.) What I heard/saw of 54/40 I liked mucho. Wished I'd seen a lot more. Crowd responded fairly favourably.

Savage Republic: had heard the album recently, loved it, intrigued by these independent project people's experiments with sound/noise/music. Wasn't let down by their performance. Was let down by the people there finding it so necessary to poo-poo S.R. without seeming to listen. Poo-poo-ing an L.A. band? The opening band?? Too arty? Didn't understand it bunky?? I look forward to their return to the Bay Area…

PIL takes the stage. Their music bursts forth over the audience, taking hold, gripping, the dance floor erupts. A new song 'Where Are You?'… gawd, is this rocknrollorwhat??? Grabs ya like their song 'Public Image', Lydon screeching "…where aarre yoouuuu…"

The 'performance' never lets up. It rocks, rumbles, pounds, screams, a great mixture of old and new (NOW we do know what the new stuff's like, eh?) and is never boring. No senseless self-indulgent monotonous thrash experiments here… (well, perhaps a few moments - but from my vantage point, being able to watch Johnny L. most all the time, I didn't notice.)

Numbers from 'Metal Box'/'Second Edition' ('Chant', 'Bad Baby', 'Swan Lake'…), from the 'Public Image' album ('Low Life', 'Annalisa', 'Religion'), all interspersed with new material that was tight, cutting, jarring.

The Lydon tongue was in top shape, twisting words and sounds with that hissing, spitting
pronunciation/sneer that only he can do. Twice our ears were treated to one of my all-time faves, 'Public Image' ("…for all of you who missed it the first time," Lydon growls). More
evidence of PIL's mysterious commitment to please. This is the part I really don't get. All through the show Lydon is charming, smiling, flasing those brilliant dimples, talking to the crowd in front, even (are you ready for this -) signing an autograph or two, cupping his ear to hear comments, suggestions… Someone hands him some flowers, he takes the flowers, kisses them and holds them to his heart. Ah, but when he turns to smile at the giver, it is hard to tell how much of it is a smile and how much is a sneer.

At the beginning of the show a stagehand is extremely rough in keeping would-be divers off the stage. Lydon grabs him, says something in his ear, and we see the stagehand no more. The first kid to enjoy the glory parades a bit on stage to the sound of cheers, the music is pumping, Lydon stands to the side watching and grinning, and smiles and shakes his head when the young punkster dives into the audience. HE'S ENJOYING THE SHOW. Lydon
smilingly shares the stage with kids wanting their moment of glory, of participation in this event.

Of course there's always one fool in the crowd. The stage is periodically showered from the third level with shattered lightbulbs, beer (or some liquid), and Lydon understandably is very annoyed at this. I wondered about his frustration with those who seem to think it's still 1977, and half expected him to say "fuck you all, good night" and walk off stage. But no, after a few threats to the joker and to security ("If I have to catch him myself… I'll killll him… and that's a promise…") Lydon mostly ignored it, and the showering eventually subsided.

It was a lengthy set and ended with an encore ("Oh, you knew we'd come back, didn't you? We care about our audience," Lydon snickers), a number from the 'Flowers Of Romance' album which had all three musicians pounding drums furiously. The Galleria was thumping, pulsating - alive with a very happy crowd, who tried in vain to bring PIL back for more.

The evening ended in very little damage/injury, I suppose the usual that can be expected at any event. A superb show put on by Go! Productions and Public Image Ltd. … hopefully we'll see more at The Galleria in the future.


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