P.I.L – The Assembly, Leamington Spa

I saw P.I.L in June this year at the O2 in Oxford, I was underwhelmed, partly my fault as I was a bit under the weather, but it also felt like a lackluster performance to me. Despite this, I bought tickets for local venue, The Assembly, and went last night. It was an entirely different experience. From the first note to the last everything was on point.

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One thing I have come to realise is that an Iphone is possibly the worst camera you can use at a gig as it seems to spend most of the time focusing, and you have to take the picture in the split second it is focused before it goes on another focusing cycle of blurry, blurrier, blurry, a nanosecond of sharp (ish) and then off again on the blurry cycle. There were people in from of me with Android phones and their images loo

I managed to stand at the front, off to one side but I had a brilliant view and plenty of space among the 600 or so people who were there, capacity being 1000. The band took to the stage and launched into a blistering version of Albatross, with Lydon seeming so much more energised than at the Oxford gig, and the sound quality was better as well (and the temperature, the O2 is bloody hot). This is the link to my previous update The Beat/P.I.L – O2 Academy, Oxford

I took a little video, not much as my battery was running very low but it gives a taster at least:

The Set List was something like this:

Albatross
Double Trouble
Know Now
This Is Not a Love Song
Deeper Water
Corporate
Death Disco
The One
The Body
Warrior
I’m Not Satisfied
Religion
Rise
Open Up / Shoom

Don’t hold me to it though as I wasn’t writing it down at the time.

All in all it was a really good gig, although audience participation was a bit lacking, the fault of the audience rather than the band as we were all a bit old to be honest as clapping along for more than 30 seconds made our arthritis flare up. I did something that could be loosely identified as dancing, some might called it swaying and head nodding, I call it dancing, and I sang along quite a bit.

img_3992Oh, I also bought some overly expensive merchandise, a mug, for a £10 note. I would have bought a T-Shirt that said ‘T-Shirt’ on it, but I was £5 short, so a mug had to do. In case you weren’t aware, this whole concept comes from a P.I.L album called ‘Album’, which in CD form was called ‘Compact Disc’ and in cassette form was called ‘Cassette’, all in the same font and colour scheme. It’s the album from which the single ‘Rise’ was taken, which was quite a hit back in 1986

This merchandise doesn’t seem to be on the official web site so maybe it’s tour only, which would be nice, although I’d still quite like that T-Shirt.

The Beat/P.I.L – O2 Academy, Oxford

I am not really in great physical shape at the moment so attending a gig was very much not something that I would have chosen to do last night, but I bought a ticket months ago and I did not want to not go and then regret it later, so I went. Public Image Ltd were headlining with support from The Beat.

The O2 is about 25 minutes from where I work and there is a nearby car park so it wasn’t IMG_2052difficult to get to, I just needed to work late so that when I set off for the gig I wasn’t stuck in rush hour traffic. I arrived just before 7PM, which is when the doors opened, but decided to avoid the building queue and sit in Subway across the road with a Ham & Turkey sub on wheat bread, it’s the lowest fat one they do. I took a photo of it, don’t judge me.

I wandered over at about 7:30 and found the place to be pretty empty so I walked to the front and hung about 5 people back from the stage, which would turn out to be fortuitous as the heat in the place when it filled up was massive and I’d accidentally chosen to stand right under the air conditioning, which they put on at 8:45, by then it was a little late but it was better than not being on at all.

The beat were really very good, full of energy, getting the audience to join in and happily playing the songs the audience wanted to hear. I did take a couple of minutes to get my phone out and record a song, which shows my proximity to the stage as well.

Frontman Rankin Roger introduced his co-vocalist as Rankin Roger Jnr, which is nice. They did about an hour and it was really enjoyable, despite the heat.

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At 8:50 P.I.L took to the stage and, being entirely truthful, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Perhaps this is my own fault as I love P.I.L and maybe I was expecting more than I should have, but the sound was a bit muddy, the levels on the vocal often made it unintelligible (which sometimes it’s supposed to be, but when it’s not, it shouldn’t be). I stood in the same spot for 4 songs but then had to move further back as space was getting tighter and, as previously mentioned, I’m not in the best of shape to deal with that at the moment.

I did do a quick snippet of ‘This is not a love song’, which is below, and listening to it back this morning, it sounds better on the video than it did being there. John Lydon, as he does nowadays, read the majority of his lyrics and still forgot some of them, or more likely lost his place. It was song after song with almost nothing in-between and I felt at times like I was present at a practice session and felt that they weren’t really up for it and were going through the motions somewhat. I could be entirely wrong about this and it may have been me projecting how I was feeling on to the band. Oh, the video is the wrong way up, bloody phone (because it can’t possibly be my fault! It’s been corrected in youtube, so that’s better)

I was still enjoying the gig but I had to leave early as it was all getting a bit too much for me to deal with and I had over an hour still to drive home.IMG_2062

I did try and take a few pictures of P.I.L but they were bloody awful so I quickly gave up.

I was glad I had the opportunity to see P.I.L. live and do wish I had been in finer fettle and could have stayed until the end.

Why?

Because it is extraordinarily good, that’s why.

WHAT’S IN THE BAG? (77)

P.I.L – – What the world needs now…

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I was in Seismic Records at the weekend and the nice chap behind the counter, the owner I guess, was playing the new P.I.L album, which I have to say is not very customer friendly, unless that customer is me as I knew it was coming out, but didn’t know if it was going to be on vinyl. I asked and there it was, so I bought it at the same time I bought ‘Sapphire’ by John Martyn, which, admittedly, are strange bedfellows.

I had listened to the last three tracks in the shop and liked them already so picking up a copy was an easy decision really. Now, I had been a tiny bit disappointed by Lydon being the frontman for the advertisement of Country Life butter, until I discovered that the purpose of that perceived conformity was to fund the production of a new P.I.L album. I am in no position to judge anyway, if I’d have been offered the same money, I’d have done it, in a pair of string Y-Fronts if needs be.

The toilet’s f–king broken again / I repaired that, I told ya / Get the plumber in again and again and again” bemoans the first lyric on album opener ‘Double Trouble’ (which I think may also be a single). So he’s still an ornery bastard then, which is good to know. I did read a couple of reviews last week before the album release and having now listened to the whole album a couple of times I disagree with them on several points, particularly the NME who say:
“‘What The World Needs Now…’ sounds much the same as PiL’s last album, 2012’s ‘This Is PiL’ – a mite scuzzier, perhaps, and with added bloopy synthesizer, but broadly conforming to the same formula.

I don’t really think so, I like ‘This is PIL’, but I like this new release considerably more. To me it is more consistently good, in both writing and production values. There are often tracks on albums that I want to hurry up and end because either I’m not that keen on them or the next one is better, a favourite, but with vinyl it’s not as simple as pressing the skip button so I tend to sit through them patiently, well, a little impatiently sometimes, but I do sit through them. This was not the case for ‘What the world needs now’, I happily sat through, and enjoyed in one way or another, every track. It’s probably fair to say that this new release is a progression from ‘This is PIL’, but it is not, as the NME infers, the churning out of the same as last time.

Track listing:

“Double Trouble” – 3:52
“Know Now” – 2:45
“Betty Page” – 3:21
“C’est la Vie” – 6:08
“Spice of Choice” – 5:43
“The One” – 3:42
“Big Blue Sky” – 8:14
“Whole Life Time” – 3:46
“I’m Not Satisfied” – 5:43
“Corporate” – 5:23
“Shoom” – 6:30
It looks like ‘Double Trouble’ is a single as there’s an official video, which is below:


There’s also a short ‘Making Of Double Trouble’ that I watched a couple of weeks ago, have a watch:

And finally, Glastonbury 2013, just because I love it!

As with much of the cover art recently this one has been done by John Lydon, and I read somewhere it is an anti-religious piece, which it might well be, but I have little or no idea about these things.

What I did very much like is album closer ‘Shoom’, which loudly proclaims that ‘“What the world needs now is another fuck off!” and in keeping with the last two words of the album, I am going to do as suggested, ‘Fuck off.’

8/10