PiL, Marquee Theatre, 10/30/12
PiL @ Marquee Theatre|10/30/12
"You all look so fucking happy!" Public Image, Ltd. frontman John Lydon called out the crowd about halfway through the band's Marquee Theatre performance. And he was right; the surprisingly small crowd was truly caught up in the moment because; well, simply because the music was so damn good.
Looking about it was unclear if the audience was expecting such a deeply satisfying performance. Perhaps word of Lydon's notorious temper and foul mood swings, his sneering looks and me against the world attitude might have put some off or on the defensive before the show even began. And yet, here was an audience grooving blissfully to the hypnotically deep bass lines, pulsing drums and stinging guitars. Lydon was clearly enjoying it too. Even when he tried to sneer, or sound crass--belying his former Johnny Rotten persona--he couldn't quite pull it off. This was a dance party; after all, Lydon's trashy punk days are far behind.
The band kicked things into high gear right from the start with "This is PiL," the title track from the band's latest album and "Deeper Water," also from the new release. Both songs carried a high octane blend of electronic dance rhythms washing over heavy bass and drums, "Albatross" followed with gritty, looping guitar lines from Lu Edmunds and, mixed with Scott Firth's bass and Bruce Smith's drumming, shook the body and rocked the soul. This extended number really set the crowd in motion and set the tone for the evening. It was one of the highlights of the two-hour performance.
While the band members mostly stayed in the background, Lydon was front and center. The vocalist began the night with a skinny blue tie over his otherwise black attire, but the old school admonishment was soon cast aside. It was interesting watching and hearing Lydon, never the most polished of singers, make the most of his limitations and trademark idiosyncrasies.