At 9 pm sharp on a Sunday, Public Image Ltd (commonly referred to as Pil) took the Opera House stage with their signature logo behind them. Their first album, which highly rejected branding and order, rang true this evening. There weren’t any promoters. There weren’t any openers. The night was nothing but avant-garde, post punk and death disco. Sure, the band had their logo featured and a merchandise table, but it was controlled by them. John Lydon has had a firm sense of what he’s wanted Pil to be from the start, and with this kind of control, he clearly still has that notion.
As the man in charge, Lydon put on his reading glasses and opened up the gospel (his sheet of lyrics). Dressed in all black and with his music stand as a podium, Lydon was the minister this evening, and he was here to speak the good news. He started off with a cheerful and cheeky greeting and then went on to talk about plumbing. This lead into the band’s set, and it was nothing but fun from here. The bass was as if the Opera House became somewhat of a night club, the guitar tones were sharp like drills and the drumming was the wavering pendulum that hung just slightly above our heads. It was dangerous fun, and a good reminder that Pil’s formula for post punk had the capability to transcend time all along.
Lydon himself– a man clearly proud of the project he accomplished– had as much fun as the rest of us. He danced in place in between his screams and chants into the microphone. He would step aside between songs to take a swig from a bottle of alcohol and a sip from a mug (which possibly contained coffee). He’d occasionally encourage the crowd to sing along, but I don’t think he’d have to try very hard. There were many superfans, both old and new, wearing their respective generation’s take on the Pil logo on their shirts. The night was nothing but pure Public Image Ltd fun, without any frills and middlemen, and it was bloody awful (which, seeing as this is the kind of phrase that appears on their merchandise, is a good thing). The band may wander some eerie territories on album, but they are an absolute party live.