Sex Pistols

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Average User Rating 9.03
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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Sex Pistols show why they still matter
Venue/Date: The Roxy Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
Concert Date:  
October 27th, 2007
Reviewer: aceshooter

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Sex Pistols stagger down memory lane

Along with its own noisemakers, the group throws in covers in an hour's uneven barrage.

By Greg Burk, Special to The Times

The Sex Pistols rock-and-comedy revue mounted another of its periodic resurrections Thursday at the Roxy. Having offered free tickets to fans through Indie 103.1 (KDLD-FM), the radio station at which Pistols guitarist Steve Jones is a DJ, the heroes of rock destruction assembled for their first-ever L.A. club gig to commemorate the initial digital download offering of their gate-crashing 1977 album, "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols."

They've also re-recorded a couple of their hits for the "Guitar Hero III" video game and will be soiling several stages in their native Britain next month.

Bragging that the group had labored for three full hours rehearsing for this gig, lead taunter Johnny Rotten (a.k.a. John Lydon) marshaled Jones, drummer Paul Cook and early bassist Glen Matlock (whose replacement, the more famous Sid Vicious, died of an overdose in 1979) through an hour's half-tight, half-slop memory junket.

"Just remember, we're the ones who brought [punk rock] to you first!" declared Rotten early on, and then he made himself a liar by sprinkling hints of the American bands he'd ripped off, starting with "New York," the Pistols' backhanded tribute to the New York Dolls, and later ticking off time-tested covers of other punk bridge builders: the Stooges' "No Fun" and Paul Revere & the Raiders' "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone." (What about the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner"? The Pistols used to do that too.)

The irony was only one blat in an overall symphony of goofery that commenced pre-show, when the audience was subjected to a half-hour of mirror-ball sparkle and disco music (the '70s dance craze the Pistols were supposed to have demolished).

The self-deflation continued with the opening selection, the formerly class-conscious "Holidays in the Sun" (Rotten and Jones have enjoyed permanent holidays in Los Angeles for decades), and spiked with Rotten mock-pitifully singing "I'm a lazy sod" ("Seventeen") and hugging himself while sobbing, "No future for me!" ("God Save the Queen").

Resplendent in polyester vest and plaid pants, Rotten worked his showbiz outrage to the point of near collapse, taking a break after 40 minutes for what he claimed was an irresistible response to nature's call -- well, that middle-aged prostate can indeed be a bummer.

He popped his eyes for "Did You No Wrong," rolled his gut and gargled cognac for the standout "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone," blew snot and spat liberally throughout. "You're ugly," he informed the crowd, "but I can yell all night, 'cause I'm . . . uglier."

His complaining tenor rang in mighty condition.

The T-shirted and truck-driverish Jones, meanwhile, wearing a look of bluff stupefaction, raked his Les Paul diligently; dapper Matlock nailed the groove like a musician; Cook kept up a rat-battering racket. Volleying clean and hard at first, the Pistols' mid-tempo barrage began to misfire halfway as Rotten ceded vocal duties to the chanting crowd, which knew the words better than he did. But the band regrouped after Rotten's excursion to the loo, even inspiring a bit of a slam-dance for "EMI" among the mostly unyouthful fans, who were packed in like war refugees.

Nobody indulged in the '70s tradition of spitting on Rotten, though he pretended to be incensed when some boor doused him with a drink.

He left the stage raining theatrical abuse on nameless oppressors and "all that . . . they used to call music."

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