Melody Maker, June 1986

© 1986 Melody Maker

London, Brixton Academy, 27th May

Spittin' Image

by Ted Mico

Fired by hatred and detestation, John Lydons repelent presence onstage is still as combustable as a reactor meltdown.

From the opening salvo of 'Flowers Of Remake' (?) and 'Pretty Vacant' to the pummelling authority of 'Round', the hundreds of safety pinned clones jostled and kicked - safely pinned down by their innane desire to rekindle a moment when most of them were too young to remember, and the rest to old to care.

Tonight proved that the irrascible Mr Lydon can still incite riot and sedition just by being himself - a contrary, clever and intolerant man who despises the redundant violence that wants to be mean but is really just meaningless shadow boxing. The acutely sharp and razor timed PiL led by John McGeoch, supplied the perfect platform for Lydon to launch his finest cauterised attack on nostalgia since the PiL was first prescribed.

Dressed in a flapping smock the Oswald Mosely of a bygone generation stood resolute, glowering, chastising and desperately trying to avoid the pin prick effigy of historical caricature. After polite requests to cease the incessant showers of saliva failed, Lydon resorted to hails of abuse, as when PiL finished 'Bags'.

'Well, well. At last we almost got through a song without spitting. You're learning...'

But not fast enough. The echoing chorus of 'Home' lashed out into the studded stupid throng as beer cans followed trails of mucus. The news was meseric, the weather was appauling. Lydon stopped prancing about like an epileptic rag-doll and leered down at the pathetic stormtroopers.

'Right, thats it. I was really looking forward to this gig, but you don't deserve it...'

He was right. PiL blasted, keyboards soared, Lydon wailed, but the audience remained locked in oblivion - still caught up in their ugly time warp. They looked back in anger at the manic stare of the orange spiked Medusas head, and turned to stone.

'Go back up North. You deserve nuclear war, you really do...'

Disgusted and dismayed, PiL strode off the battlefield, leaving a phalanx of Larry Holmes look a likes moonlighting as bouncers to guard the stage from attack.

Sadly, a bloodbath was narrowly averted when PiL re-entered the lionised den and issued their final thunderous decrees. 'Public Image' and 'Rise' sated the morons thirst, but the sneering farewell left a bitter taste in the mouth.

'You got what you wanted...Goodbye.'


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