Search God Save The Sex Pistols with freefind
Dead Men Walking

Darwen - Library Theatre
October 16th 2004

GlenReturning to the venue recorded last year for the band's new DVD and CD, the Library Theatre show was another sell-out. The current line-up sees former Big Country guitarist Bruce Watson installed as a permanent fixture, following on from last year, which saw him deputising for Billy Duffy. So, out goes the Cult material, and in comes more variety from the vast catalogues of Glen, Mike Peters, Kirk Brandon, Slim Jim Phantom, and the aforementioned Bruce.

(Left: Glen)

Enticingly, the tour has not stayed static in terms of the songs performed. Whereas Mike's The Drunk And The Disorderly (new this year in the DMW set) was performed at most shows on this tour, tonight saw The Stand (which opened the shows during the Wylie incarnation of the band) reintroduced followed immediately by Never Take Me Alive, which was missing from earlier dates. The songs were performed spontaneously by Mike and Kirk as a duo.

This flexibility is a key strength, and the continuation of DMW has meant a substantial pool of songs that they are all now familiar with. This time we get outings for Whose Side Are You On? and On Something from Glen's new album. Both never fail to go down a storm, and provide an excellent taster for his new material. Bruce pulls out spine tingling supplementary guitar work during On Something, adding something extra to the song in a live environment. I enthused about this to Bruce and he modestly assured me he simply follows the notes of the vocals. Keep following those notes, Bruce! Furthermore, Bruce delivers dynamic solos on both God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant.

Glen's bass is the rhythmic springboard which enables the others to strut their respective styles. In turn, tonight's performance of Burnings Sounds allowed the rest of the group to fall in behind Glen and turn in a particularly strong rendition.

Mike Peters continues to handle the lion's share of the vocals, including the Big Country and (most of) the Stray Cats' material. However, tonight Kirk handled the vocals on Big Country's The Storm (another new addition to the set). Mike's recent Poppy Fields chart success has injected some additional vigour; with the hit single 45rpm providing an adrenaline fuelled punk rock moment during each show. Rescue Me has also undergone a vitality makeover, and is far less pedestrian than during earlier tours. (The previous night in Bolton saw Mike climbing amongst a predominantly seated theatre during this song in an attempt to stir the crowd - he succeeded).

Bruce & MikeThe Stray Cat songs are strategically placed at key points in the set, and the reason is obvious. They're irresistible, and draw the punters into a feel good groove amongst the anthemic rockers. Rock This Town, Stray Cat Strut, Runaway Boys, Rumble In Brighton have injected a great sense of balance to the set and meld in effortlessly. Jim's drumming is totally unique and gives a powerful lift to already powerful material. Sure, he can give a rockabilly twist to God Save The Queen, but he isn't just about converting the songs into Stray Cat tracks. Far from it, he knocks out an incredible beat appropriate to the style of the track. Try standing in front of the speakers and you'll know what I mean. My head nearly exploded.

(Right: Bruce & Mike)

Kirk continues to get absorbed totally in his music, his performance of Westworld ending in a crescendo as he pulled out a climatic solo perched at the front of the stage. Rain, another pounding Kirk song, has been added to the tour, which along with regular fixture I Can See, add moments of intensity to the set.

The Big Country material has added a new breadth of styles, ranging from the poignant Peace In Our Time, to the crowd absorbing Chance and In A Big Country. The two latter songs have a striking effect on the audience, the first providing a rousing end to the first half of the show, with the chorus proving infectious, while In A Big Country proves to be a pogo-fest! There's something of the punk rocker in Bruce, as revealed by the live rendition of these songs coupled with the bondage gear.

Tonight the set was in two parts, (the format varies from night to night), and finished with the encore of Runaway Boys, Pretty Vacant, and the Beastie Boys', Fight For Your Right To Party. Fight For Your Right was introduced in Glasgow and has continued to be the closer in subsequent shows, with Mike and Kirk getting to grips with the vocals.

Having taken in a number of shows on the current tour, each has something different to offer. What they all do have in common is an equal commitment to Dead Men Walking from all five musicians. All of them are clearly enjoying performing as part of the band, and each brings something unique to the mix. It's relaxed, fun, and great entertainment. I just hope this line-up remains stable in the future. It'll be difficult to top.

One final word about Darwen…what did happen when a Sex Pistol entered Greggs The Bakers? Some things will remain private!

Review & pictures by Phil Singleton
Above: Glen / Bruce & Mike
Below: Jim / Kirk

Slim Jim
Above: Slim Jim
Below: Kirk


God Save The Sex Pistols ©2004 Phil Singleton / All rights reserved.

God Save the Sex Pistols

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /