On Saturday I went to see the Sex Pistols at the Brixton Academy. Don’t really have a lot to say about the Pistols themselves (they’ve become a pretty tight band over the last thirty years I enjoyed them a lot) but there were a couple of things that interested me.
Firstly the support acts. We arrived just as the Cribs were finishing, so I can’t really comment on them. But the other support act was Goldie. I confess that it was me who said “let’s get there in time to see Goldie, he might be interesting”. And I’m happy to admit that it was a huge mistake.
As soon as the Cribs finished, the PA started playing some terrible drum and bass music (Is that a tautology? Is there any other kind of drum and bass music?) Initially we assumed that this was a bad choice of background music whilst Goldie was setting up, but after twenty minutes or so (of what sounded to our untutored ears to be the same record) we realised that there was a DJ deck on the left of the stage and this was actually Goldie’s set that we were listening to. This torture went on for about an hour. At one point there was some slight relief when he played Public Image’s “Public Image”, but immediately afterwards he went back to (the same?) drum and bass. We obviously weren’t alone in our opinions on the entertainment. Towards the end of his set there were two or three gaps between tracks. And those gaps were filled with the loudest boos that I’ve ever heard an act get. The Sex Pistols fans were not enjoying Goldie one bit. But he ignored our obvious dissatisfaction and continued to the end of his set.
Whoever decided that Goldie was a good choice of support needs their head examined. I’ve seen some crap gigs in my time, but this was by far the worst.
The other thing that I wanted to talk about was the way that Sex Pistols fans have grown up. One of the friends that I went with is the same age as me and we were joking about how we’ve become the blokes who stand at the back at gigs and wondering whether the venue would be full of blokes who wanted to stand at the back.
It looks like the Sex Pistols fan base these days is largely drawn from the same gene pool as the people that Lloyd met at the faux Black Sabbath gig he was at on the same night. They were all “fat, bald and a mite grumpy”. But here’s the difference between the old metal fans and the old punks. The old metal fans all wanted to sit down and enjoy the gig. The old punks still thought it was 1977 and they wanted to pogo the night away. We were standing about three quarters of the way to the back of the hall. Far enough, we hoped, to avoid any moshing that might happen. But as the Pistols came on and played their first song – “Pretty Vacant” – the crowd around us erupted in a way that I haven’t seen for thirty years. People were throwing themselves (and their friends) around in a manner that sixteen-stone men shouldn’t really be thrown around. We let as many as possible of them push past us and positioned ourselves about ten feet nearer the back wall.
Of course after three minutes of these intense exercise, age, weight and fear of a heart attack caught up with these people. Most of them spent the rest of the gig standing still, pointing at the roof and singing along at the tops of their voices.