LIVE REVIEW: Public Image Ltd at Kentish Town Forum

Credit: Andres Poveda Photography

With an eight-year hiatus, since PiL released their last LP, PiL’s devoted fan base was elated that not only a new album, End Of World, has finally been released but an impressive 38-date tour, including a leg at Kentish Town Forum is now taking place to support this new release.

Before PiL took to the stage, politically outspoken Irish avant-garde punk producer Meryl Streek exhibited the confidence and talent of an experienced headline act. Meryl Streek demonstrated the things in society that required howling against and a masterclass on how people can effectively howl in solidarity.

When XS Noize interviewed John Lydon recently, he spoke positively about this new album and live dates because the band was in the driving seat and didn’t need to compromise on their creative integrity. John wanted PiL’s finished product to be witnessed live in its entirety. John quickly captured the crowd’s attention by testifying, “We didn’t come here for you cunts to be waving your daft cameras around…” Slightly out of trepidation, but mostly out of sincere awe for PiL’s new material, the Forum quickly dug the opening song “Penge” from End Of World.

Crowd elation soared further when PiL performed “This Is Not a Love Song”, the band’s biggest commercial hit. Apart from being 40 years since its release, its brilliance owes to the inevitable synth, rock, and disco influences this song probably subsequently had on artists such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Likewise, “Death Disco’s” live rendition proved likely to have inspired “The Gossip’s” debut material.

With the exception of “Public Image” and “Shoom”, performed before the encore, very few of the songs PiL played were punk-led. For instance, “Memories” drew from the early eighties new romantic era. “The Body” live had synth sounds associated with early eighties hip-hop alongside eighties R’n’B grooves.

PiL demonstrated at the Forum that they were more than the lesser-known outfit John Lydon formed after the Sex Pistols, who had a brief lifespan with an everlasting legacy. PiL has been fortunate to have explored a broader spectrum of music that possibly would have been closed off to the Sex Pistols, enabling them to have influenced many artists over their four-decade career. This enabled Lydon to provide vocals for Leftfield’s 1995 hit “Open Up”, which PiL performed perfectly. Most importantly, PiL knew which songs they needed to deliver from their back catalogue and how to leave the hopeful “Rise” till last.

From the outset, there was a constant growing unison of energies at the Forum between PiL and the audience, but anger did not form any part of it.


Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 346 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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