Review and gallery: Public Image Ltd, The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

Anarchy In The UK may be a thing of the past for John Lydon but anger is still the energy which keeps his fire burning.

Review and gallery: Public Image Ltd, The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

Public Image Ltd at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton

It is strange to think that the man still so strongly associated with the Sex Pistols to the general public has actually been leading his second band, Public Image Limited, for nearly 40 years, compared to the 24 months he spent with the Pistols.

During a spectacular, intimate show at Wolverhampton's Slade Rooms, it became clear exactly why PiL have lasted so long.

Even today, their music sounds incendiary, fresh and powerful.

They are a band who have moved with the times, embracing all styles of music, from reggae to rap, heavy rock to techno and everything else along the way.

Lydon is still an unbeatable front man, completely at one with the music and the audience at all times.

His voice now is a far cry from the whiny teen who vocalised the destructive energy of punk back in the 70s, resembling something more of a warped opera singer these days.

When he hits the big notes, you can physically see him summoning the strength from somewhere deep inside.

When he decides it is time to mess with people's heads, he can call upon all manner of vocal tricks, from howling to shrieking, to create that unmistakable PiL atmosphere.

The band started the evening with Albatross, from 1979's Metal Box, before playing two new songs, Double Trouble and Know Now, from reunion album What the World Needs Now.

It was then time for This Is Not A Love Song, one of PiL's trademark anthems, which was greeted with rapturous applause.

There was barely time to breathe in between songs during the two hour set, with the band seemingly on a roll they had no intention of letting slip away.

After 'Love Song', Lydon noted there was a 'good atmosphere' in the air and encouraged his gang of rebel musicians to proceed with the music.

Picking a stand-out moment from the evening would be difficult, with the one-two set closer of Religion followed by Rise both equally moving, for different reasons.

While Religion was a startling moment of brutal honesty, Rise was a moment of sheer joy and release.

The middle ground between the two is how I would describe the band as a whole.

Sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful but always real.

By Jordan Harris

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