'For a band who cared so little for public approbation, this reunited Pistols seem determined primarily to scotch one lingering myth in particular: that they were crap musicians'
Sex Pistols Filthy Lucre Live Virgin CDVUS 116
Friday 26 July 1996
The old Rotten paranoia, long simmered in Santa Monica sunshine, seems all the cheekier set against the backdrop of blown-up tabloid outrage which constitutes the band's budget set-dressing. After all, have any other band of such limited musical means ever made quite such spectacular mileage from their relationship with the press? Or, to put it in academic terms, has myth ever outdistanced reality quite so brazenly?
Oddly enough for a band who cared so little for public approbation, this reunited Pistols seems determined primarily to scotch one lingering myth in particular: that they were crap musicians. "We're not that fucking bad after all, are we?" asks Lydon almost plaintively after one song, as if that was ever the point.
Perhaps befitting a band whose finest moment was the chorus "no future", the Pistols have a great past ahead of them. It's all here, Bollocks and B-sides, bashed out with scuzzy aplomb for a few dollars more. Not that there's any shame in that - this is, after all, a group whose later albums boasted of their status as Swindle and Carri On.
Here, they start with the most gratuitously offensive part of their oeuvre, the charming abortion tale, "Bodies", chanted along en masse by the crowd. As Lydon notes later, "It's singalong with Johnny time!" He's up for it, too: whatever his vocal shortcomings, Lydon has an instinctive gift for rock pantomime, satirising himself just as wickedly as he does his audience. Here, he concludes "No Feelings" with a brag of "fat, 40 and back!", receiving for his trouble the chanted response "You fat bastard! You fat bastard!", as if he were Roy "Chubby" Brown, which he very nearly is. "Don't be naughty," chides the quick-witted, albeit portly, fortysomething, "I've done you no wrong!" - swiftly transforming the indignity into an introduction to the next song, "Did You No Wrong".
Produced and mixed by the infallible Chris Thomas, Filthy Lucre Live springs from the speakers with more spunk and drive than we have any right to expect, sounding just as angry as a two-decade grudge should. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to recall the issues: "EMI" now sounds like a war poem every bit as distant and mysterious as anything by Sassoon or Owen. What was the battle about? Filthy lucre, of course.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Fifty Chefs exhibition: Photographer Katie Wilson documents the injuries sustained on the culinary front line
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew