Review: John Lydon’s power fuels Public Image Ltd show at Roadmender

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson
John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

David Jackson reviews Public Image Limited, fronted by John Lydon, at the Roadmender in Northampton

Angry, confrontational and witty, John Lydon may have clocked up four decades in the limelight, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down and remains one of (post) punk’s most captivating front men.

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

Following a prolonged hiatus, Public Image Ltd returned in 2012 and released their latest album What The World Needs Now last year.

On Saturday night, the band brought their UK tour to a close in front a packed Roadmender in Northampton.

Forgoing any support, PiL walked on stage minus Lydon and kicked off proceedings with the brooding, stomping 1979 track Albatross.

The frontman’s arrival was greeted with cheers from the audience as he walked on stage, clutching a folder.

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

PiL followed with Double Trouble, a faster, punker track than their opener.

During a brief moment of calm early on in the band’s set, someone shouted “John, you’re God”, to which Lydon replied, “I’m God with the flu – but we do the best we can”.

Masters of the post-punk genre, PiL played a clutch of songs from their latest album including Know Now, Corporate and The One with Death Disco and Warrior among other stand out tracks.

Although Lydon remained relatively stationary during the band’s set, he dominated the Roadmender stage, flanked by his bassist, guitarist and drummer.

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd. Picture: David Jackson

He’s still got the glaring, dangerous look in his eyes and a powerful voice which drives PiL’s sound.

Lydon was quick to launch a torrent of abuse at someone who spat in his direction while also jokingly mocking another (“did you come here to steal, dance or copy my hair?”).

Public Image Ltd are at their best when combing strong hooks with their post-punk sound.

While at times, things threatened to drift into one menacing drone of angry noise, the likes of

Rise was a reminder of PiL’s pop credentials.

Forty years on from his time in the Pistols, Lydon and PiL still remain a force to be reckoned with.

Public Image Limited played:

Albatross

Double Trouble

Know No

Love Song

Deeper Water

Corporate

Death Disco

The One

Order Of Death

The Body

Warrior

Religion

Rise

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