PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?
There was a buzz about town on Friday night as punks gathered in large numbers down Whitworth Street outside the legendary Ritz. The queues had started in the late afternoon with fans of Public Image Limited (PiL) eager to get a good spot at the barrier.
The evening kicked off with one of Dublin’s finest rising stars Meryl Streek. The avant garde post-punk solo artist has made a huge impact on the underground scene and is now hitting the mainstream whilst remaining humble to his roots.
Leaping onto the stage in near complete darkness with a sinister news report (Orwellian style) playing out going straight in hard with grim findings about the Catholic Church only adds to this magical performance, energetic, passionate and much needed in this current climate, Meryl Streek is different, breaking the mould – and it works.
Despite a five and a half hour car ride from the previous evenings gig in Edinburgh, Streek did not disappoint. Bounding across the stage as he performed tracks including the popular ‘Death To The Landlord’ and ‘796’ cover a range of topics from Irelands housing crisis to matters of religion, no stone goes unturned with this guy!
As I walked through the venue after his set to the merch stall (I wanted a t shirt!) people were talking, some looked a bit speechless. An impression was left on these PIL fans, and it seemed very positive indeed, a young punk who is not scared to speak his mind, remind you of anyone?
Love him or loathe him, Mr Lydon certainly knows how to put on a show. Bolshy from the get go, telling the audience to put their bloody phones away and watch the actual live performance. Lydon was dressed to impress in oversized tartan tie (a nod to the 70’s punk years perhaps) and a long overcoat. The am-dram started immediately with exaggerated facial expressions and arm movements, it was difficult to focus on anything else, he has a very unique stage presence.
This was certainly one of the strangest gigs I have been to, but in a good way! The more unusual addition was an onstage bouncer who looked fairly menacing to the left of Lydon. There is a clear line between the rest of PiL and Lydon as he takes centre stage, with the rest of band, literally banned it seems from taking the limelight. It is a bold performance, but the band are tight and the sound was exceptional.
The band have the measure of their audience and songs are interlinked with Lydon’s rants which are all part of the PiL experience. Embodying the true spirit of punk throughout, we were treated to hits including ‘Albatross’ and ‘Rise’. Certainly an evening to remember, but I must say the highlight for me was Mr Streek…big things are heading his way.