Orange County Register, April 17th, 2010

© 2010 OC Register

Coachella Festival, Outdoor Theatre Stage, April 16th, 2010

Coachella 2010 Day 1: PiL


Although its heavy competition was Jay-Z on the main stage, John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. drew a bigger-than-expected audience at the Outdoor Theatre. Going onstage late, at 11:35 p.m., due to some technical difficulties (the lighted band logo backdrop precariously swayed with the winds and Lydon complained about the sound), they performed until around 1 a.m. The former Johnny Rotten/sometime Sex Pistol was in fine snarky and caterwauling form throughout. The dancey “This is Not a Love Song” kicked things off and worked well without horns. Lydon – in only his second U.S. performance in over 15 years – had a lyric stand as a safeguard, but rarely seemed to use it.

PiL proceeded to do a tight, riveting set that focused on searing late ’70s/early ’80s material like “Poptones,” “Death Disco” (a young female concertgoer behind me exclaimed “wow” when it was over) and “Flowers of Romance.” Guitarist Lu Edmonds unleashed chilling shards of punkish sound at every turn as the taut rhythm section kept the funky undertow. Those who stayed until the wee hours were rewarded with fiery takes on “Public Image,” “Rise” and the electronic rock of “Open Up,“ Lydon’s hit 1990s Leftfield collaboration.


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