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REVIEWS - Events

Sex Pistols Weekend
Friday, 3rd March & Saturday, 4th March '06
The Cavern, Liverpool

Friday, 3rd March - The Philistines

The Philistines on Friday night was the perfect way to get in the mood for the weekend, and an ideal antidote to the snow outside.

Glen Matlock's rock 'n' roll outfit gave a nod towards the nature of the weekend by opening and closing the show with Pretty Vacant and God Save The Queen respectively.

The sound was clear and crisp, which enhanced the power of the the dual guitar onslaught of Koozie Johns and Ray McVeigh. Chris Musto is one of the most solid stixmen in the business; he put such energy into his performance he was literally out of his seat on occasion!

(Right: Ray McVeigh)

The rock 'n' roll songs kept on coming in the guise of Whose Side Are You On, Burning Sounds, Idiot, White Knuckle Ride, Piece of the Action, and the ever-wonderful, On Something. The two new songs on offer, Yeah Right and Somewhere Somehow, sounded fresh and exciting, boding well for the next album. The appreciative crowd was swelled by an influx of European tourists, who were fascinated by the spectacle, and approached me on the Merchandise stand, enquiring about the 'Sex Pistol' on stage. A couple even dug into their pockets!

Another great night in the company of The Philistines.

Special mention for support band Love Battery, who performed a great set of punk covers. The band are blessed with both male & female lead singers, therefore The Damned and Sham 69 rub shoulders with X-Ray Spex (complete with sax) and the Banshees.

Friday, 3rd March - Sex Pistols Convention
Saturday, 4th March - Sex Pistols Convention
Featuring Glen Matlock, Jamie Reid, Ed Tudor-Pole, Sex Pistols Experience

Conventions are a strange beast. With doors opening at 12 noon, and not closing until 3 am the following morning, you need a lot of staying power, certainly more than I've got! Admittedly, it got off to a slow start and where was the rare footage? It also got confusing as the timetable went to pot, partly due to heavy snow delaying the arrival of support band Love Battery, but that's a hazard with this kind of event. However, it kicked into gear big time when Glen took to the stage at 3.15 pm. Having a Sex Pistol present and performing really was the highlight, and the punters were still sober enough, just, to really give something back.

Glen was on top form with his acoustic set, and gave it such full-on commitment, he broke a couple of strings (a spare guitar and lightening re-stringing by fellow Philistine Koozie, kept the show moving without a hitch!) From the Pistols repertoire, Glen gave us God Save The Queen, Stepping Stone, Pretty Vacant, and in response to the shouts from the crowd, Anarchy In The UK. Glen got the audience to sing Anarchy and this was an inspired move; the crowd belted it out at the top of their lungs. A great moment. Rich Kids' classics Burning Sounds and Ghosts Of Princes In Towers were also performed along with Ambition ("for the ladies"), and a selection of his Philistines highlights.

After the set, Glen hung around to sign autographs and have his picture taken with the punters.

A surprise guest also turned up. None other than Pistols' graphic designer Jamie Reid, who arrived in time to see Glen perform and then hung around for a few hours meeting fans and watching the live performances.

(Right: Jamie Reid & Glen)

Ed Tudor-Pole

Next on stage was Ed Tudor-Pole, armed with his battered acoustic guitar and good natured banter: "I was only in the Sex Pistols' two weeks, I've spent longer in Lyme Regis!"

Ed performed a mixture of new material such as Terrible Thing and Made It This Far, as well as the evergreen gem Swords Of A Thousand Men. It was, of course, the set closing Who Killed Bambi that the punters were demanding; afterall, it was a Sex Pistols weekend. A combination of the craziness of the song, and the zany personality of Ed himself, ensures the song never sounds the same twice.

Ed is always willing to interact with the audience; "I've just insulted my only fan!" he quipped after having a joke with one of the crowd. A fine performance to keep everybody entertained and amused as the evening approached.

Top tribute band, Sex Pistols Experience, followed in the evening and played two sets, the second featuring Ed Tudor-Pole. They always provide a faithful rendition of crowd pleasers, and did so again tonight. Basically, tribute bands are about hassle-free, feel good enjoyment. If you can add a dash of originality, then even better. The inclusion of Ed Tudor-Pole to many of their shows achieves this. (I think I had a hand in this, eh lads?!)

One of the things you notice about them is the speed at which they move from one song to another with barely a pause inbetween. They throw the less obvious songs in as well, such as Watcha Gonna Do About It. While there is a demand to hear the Pistols songs live, there will always be a place for a group who reproduce them, and who do it well.

I missed the end of the convention. After a hectic previous night, followed by the long day, I was flagging. Rock 'n' Roll, that's me! Reflecting on the Saturday, I feel the convention would have been better served by a later start and tighter timetable. With a bit of tweeking, it could be even better next time. Having said that, it was a success and had lots to offer the attendees who were clearly having a good time. I also enjoyed catching up with lots of old friends, and meeting a number of email/message board regulars for the first time. Cheers to you all!

Review and photographs by Phil Singleton

ST MARTIN'S 30th ANNIVERSARY 6th November 2005
The plaque was commisioned by Jeremy Diggle, the man who as Student Union President at St Martins in 1975, unplugged the Pistols first gig. It was designed and made by potter Douglas Fitch and graphic designer Mike Endicott.

Pictures provided exclusively to God Save The Sex Pistols by Douglas Fitch.

Sex Pistols' 30th Anniversary Debut Gig Party. St Martins College Of Art, London.
6th November 2006  Review by Ray Morrissey

How many bands can have a party the size of this just to celebrate their first gig? The answer is probably none because no band left such an impression on their first gig. In a small room a few floors up, the Sex Pistols played this venue on 6th November 1975: a short 20 mins set where someone pulled the plug on them calling it "rubbish" .

At 6.45pm on the seventh floor, to media and close friends, Glen Matlock is the centre of attention as he uncovers the blue plaque to celebrate the 30 years anniversary. From 7pm onwards some 500 invited guests are treated to live bands, DJs and free booze in an evening that turned into a real rock 'n' roll event. In between the DJs we had up and coming live bands, Comanechi, and The Paddingtons.

Pictured: Glen unveils the plaque.

For the finale, Glen Matlock joined The Paddingtons for a frenzied Pretty Vacant, as the crowd jumped around at the front of stage, just like "the old days".

Pictured: Glen & The Paddingtons

The Press attended and took photos of Glen with guests like The Towers Of London who love the Pistols. Other guests included Chris and Koozie from The Philistines, Marco (Adam And The Ants), Rodent (Pistols roadie), Patti Palladin, Tony Barber (Buzzcocks), and Julien Temple, the director of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and and The Filth And The Fury. Sadly, Don Letts was not in attendance with his punk films.

All in all, a superb evening and top marks go to St Martin's and everyone else involved in putting on such a great event to mark this special anniversary .

Pictures © Douglas Fitch 2005

PUNK - Sex, Seditionaries & the Sex Pistols 26 May - 7 August 2005: Urbis, Manchester.
(Curators: Paul Stolper and Andrew Wilson)

The media preview evening, held 25th May, was packed solid, showing the amount of interest the exhibition has generated in Manchester. In addition to performances by John Cooper Clarke (pictured left) and Goldblade, it was great to see Pistols fan, England football hero and Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce, in attendance.

Based on the exhibition first shown at The Hospital, Covent Garden, London, the Urbis show has a personality all of its own with the inclusion of a 'Manchester Room' focusing on the emergence of punk in its host city.

In a world of reproductions and fakes, I was wondering how much genuine Seditionaries and Pistols related items there was going to be. I was not disappointed. The exhibition brings together not just the clothes, but also a wealth of memorabilia. Gig and promotional posters, stickers, original hand written lyrics, flyers, Jamie Reid sketches, animation cells from "Swindle", all come together to cover the full visual spectrum and impact of the band.

The highlights are numerous. The clothes alone look so much more stunning up close than in any picture. The Two Cowboys, Rape, Tits, and Mickey and Minnie designs, would, even in the 21st Century, cause outrage if worn in the street. The passing of time has not diminished their impact. Seeing the Epstein Cambridge Rapist design up close was another highlight along with the Vive Le Rock muslins. The exhibition is littered with other gems, such as the Anarchy Mask muslin short-arm T-shirt and the Destroy design worn by Steve Jones at the A&M signing. Perhaps most unsettling of all is the Thalidomide mohair. The parachute shirts always look stunning. Fabulous.

The treats don't stop with the clothes. Promotional posters, from Anarchy In The UK through to Cosh The Driver, are all striking and derivative. The hand written lyrics to No Feelings and Holidays In The Sun are befitting of a close study, as you spot the differences to the recorded versions. Unrecorded hand scribed lyrics by Sid Vicious are also of fascinating historical interest, even if they fall well short of the scathing anger and wit displayed by John Lydon's lyrics.

The Manchester display features items covering all the main local heroes. Original posters, tickets and photographs from the Sex Pistols' gigs at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, sit alongside posters, tickets and record sleeves for Slaughter and the Dogs, Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds, V2, The Drones, Magazine, and of course the Buzzcocks. The local DIY ethic is represented by fanzines from the era, such as Shy Talk and City Fun. With Manchester regarded as the second city of punk, the exhibits serve as a reminder of the link between the city and the punk movement.

Neatly displayed in the spacious surroundings of Urbis, and augmented by flat screen video screens running Granada punk shows, the exhibition is vital for anyone interested in punk, the Sex Pistols, culture, or fashion. Do not miss this chance.

Review by Phil Singleton (May '05)

Picture of John Cooper Clarke at the launch of PUNK taken by Joel Chester Fildes.

PUNK: Sex, Seditionaries and the Sex Pistols is accompanied by a fully illustrated book, No Future, with essays by Michael Bracewell and Andrew Wilson, on sale now priced £18.99 from the Urbis bookshop.

Listings information
PUNK: Sex, Seditionaries & the Sex Pistols
Exhibition open Thurs 26 May - Sun 7 Aug 2005: Tues - Sun 10am - 6pm, closed Mondays except Bank Holidays (30 May).
All Tickets: £3 (Last admission to exhibition 4.30pm). Entry to Urbis Levels 2 - 4 free of charge. Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG.
Tel: 0161 605 8200 www.urbis.org.uk

Punk - A True And Dirty Tale. The Hospital Gallery, Covent Garden, London.
The first thing you wonder is how did it come to this?? The Hospital Gallery is a very trendy upmarket venue which is totally opposite to what punk rock stood for back in the day. However, if you can get past this fact you can view a stunning collection of Sex Pistols T-shirts, posters, handwritten items, original clothing and other rare items that is a must-see for any Sex Pistols fan. They seem to have avoided the vinyl side of things, so sadly there is not a copy here of God Save The Queen on A & M. On a bonus side you can see my face on the "Dance To The Sex Pistols" Pretty Vacant poster they have on display!! This came from picture stills taken from Pistols' legendary 1976 Notre Dame concert footage.

The event runs until 23rd January. There is also a series of talks by Paul Stopler and Andrew Wilson, who assembled the collection, over the next three months. Box Office: 0207 170 9292. www.thehospital.co.uk

Review by Ray Morrissey (October '04)

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