Anarchy At The Apollo

What was it like finally seeing the Sex Pistols, after 30 years of unrequited fandom? That gang of raggy rockers that blew me out of my boots , into vinyl heaven and sent me reeling towards Bowie, Eno, The Stooges, The Velvets, Roxy Music and ton of others. A group of uniquely original, influential and inspirational, ground breakers I consider as musically and culturally important as Elvis, The Beatles or Bowie. What was it like to experience them live, loud and in their original line up?
Everything I’d hoped for at twice the volume.
Johnny Rotten is a punk Pied Piper meets Mr Punch, a rock ‘n’ roll ringmaster that’s more Max Miller than Iggy Pop, and on those magical moments when the Pistols locked and loaded together – Bodies, Problems, Liar, Anarchy, Holidays In The Sun, God Save the Queen – were more lethal than a firing squad with itchy trigger fingers, and had me forgiving the occasional bum notes and forgetting the few jeery, beery bulldog boneheads and pinch faced middle aged mohicans, in an almost adolescent adrenaline rush. The Pistols are swank and swagger, pantomime and music hall, ‘Carry On’ films wrapped in rock, stock and roll out the barrell sweaty sing-a-longs and a wall of high volume, hi-deaf, heavy level wallop that atomises rock’s chest beaters, indentikit indie kids and pop pretenders . To quote the band themselves ‘God Save The Sex Pistols’.

Hereeeee’s Johnny!
Punk’s Artful Dodger – not happy with gobbers and bottle lobbers
Cook and Jones return to the scene of the crime (they nicked several mic’s and amp’s from the Hammersith Odeon, during the soundcheck for Bowie’s Ziggy’s Final Gig in ’73)

How loud? Ear bruisingly loud! Had my chest quaking and my troos shaking

Steve Jones turns 21 …. inch neck in about 2 hours.” Hammersith sings ‘Happy Birthday Dear Fatty‘- to Steve Jones (his record for pies eaten in one session is 8).

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Ringmaster

Mind the gap – stand clear of the jaws please.

The group that launched a thousand riffs.

‘Cocktail sticks’ stage right and ‘cocktail drinkers’ stage left. The band as described by Rotten.

All photo’s courtesy of Mr T.Youth


11 Responses to “Anarchy At The Apollo”

  1. Hi Mondo, good to catch up with you at the gig last night. I’ve just put my review of it up over on my blog, but have to say i've not been as charitable as you!

    For me it didn't live up to what I was expecting (& what i've seen them do before), and I felt Lydon let the side down somewhat. Maybe it was just an off night for him, but at £45 a pop, I don't expect to view many off nights these days.


  2. Planet Mondo Says:

    I know what you mean about certain moments, when they may have seemed ‘fatigued’ or ‘Ranty’ but I’ve never seen them live before so had no basis for comparison. Overall, I’ll forgive them any rough stuff for those moments when it all came together and connected (on the tunes that I didn’t expect it to either) Submission, Problems, EMI, Liar and took me straight back to being a bedroom based teen – which rarely, if ever, happens at gigs for me now. I’d definitely go back for more if they tour again.

  3. Nice review Mondo. Unfortunately I missed the Hammersmith show, Though I was at the Brixton shows last year. I did enjoy seeing them on stage again, though I think its time now for a new album , if they are to continue the reunion. Thirty years of the Bollox is quite enough now , just my personal view mind.. Cheers and keep up the great work mate. Jock Strap.

  4. Well I wasn’t there either but I do like the writing PM and I love the pics.

  5. Planet Mondo Says:

    Thanks Jock, Davey

    As P says the Pistols may have played more polished, accomplished gigs – but this was my first gig with the first band that had me sticking scraps in books, studying every detail of what they wore, got me traveling beyond Boots, Woolworths, Smiths looking for oddities or obscurities, and becoming an active guitar player rather than a passive listener

    With most legends/acts there’s a sonic patchwork of albums – the acoustic one, the experimental one, the naff but buy it anyway and make excuses one – with the Pistols there’s just one atomic splitting selection that after 30 years of perma-play has never dated or dissolved into drudge or dreariness, and I’ve never become numb-eared to.

    I know every note. I can play every note. So to see living ledges with an impact that mighty, in a venue that tiny was worth every earth pound.

  6. I do worry about high ticket prices affecting how we feel about gigs, how good does a gig need to be for 45 sheets? For half a tun should you expect the tunes you like or can tom waits get away with whatever guff he fancies that night? when gigs where a few quid you could take a chance but now they want the thick of end of a £100 quid 9 months in advance bands need to raise their game oh and have nice seats and good beer!

  7. Planet Mondo Says:

    It depends what you’re prepared to pay for what you want –

    I’d love to see the Stones won’t pay a ton to do it – Equally, Blondie and The Stranglers and are going out for around £35 near me – I’m interested in going but not at those prices for a mix of hits and new stuff

    With the Pistols you know it’s that album, with those singles and B sides, so there’s no stodge. (The worst you’ll get is a couple of dodgy covers). Personally I though the gig was great value for money and real event. – you can check some clips from the show here…

  8. Ishouldbeworking Says:

    Loved the review, Mondo. Sounds like you went along in the right spirit, and got just what you needed from the night. Nice one.

  9. Devil Dick Says:

    great photos and captions!!!

    wish i could have been there!


  10. Planet Mondo Says:

    ISB and DD – you can catch a few clips from the night right here

    And don’t forgot to double click on the snaps to ‘full size’ them, they’re better for being bigger

  11. Thanks for the message – great pics!

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