It’s a fantastic time to be living in London as the birthplace of punk is currently in the midst of celebrating 40 years of the industries most outlandish musical heritage. As an expat who’s been living here for only five weeks I was lucky enough to catch one of the biggest names in punk rock pay tribute in his own unique way. Original Sex Pistol Glen Matlock played a punk-infused rockabilly set at the Brooklyn Bowl in London and it was absolutely brilliant.
Matlock’s his all-star lineup included Chris Spedding (British session ace and producer of the early Pistols demos), Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) and Mark Halligan (Furious). The setlist was as diverse as the band itself but there was never a dull moment. Matlock of course included a couple of Pistols classics, including “God Save the Queen” and “Pretty Vacant”, and gave them a sort of raw twang treatment that sounded quite refreshing. Another highlight of the set was a stellar version of the Pharrell Williams hit “Happy” which now I can’t get out of my head for a second time, but that’s a good thing in this case. Other remarkable moments were the two Stray Cats classics, “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut”, (I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone all along with a song or two from the Rick Kids, Faces, and Matlock’s Philistines.
A few other random observations: Chris Spedding is one of the most incredible guitar players I’ve ever seen before, Slim Jim Phantom could outplay most drummer standing up with one hand tied behind his back, Mark Halligan pulverized the standup bass, and Glen masterfully led the ensemble and worked the crowd into a controlled fury. Oh, and Matlock’s a very cool dude. I got to say hello to him after the show and got to ask him one question; was Pretty Vacant really inspired by an ABBA song I asked him? His reply, “yes the main riff was inspired by the song SOS.” Now that’s fucking punk rock.
Earlier that day I went on the original London SOHO punk rock tour and it was amazing. The guide Aiden takes you on a tour of where punk rock was born and shares some incredibly entertaining stories along the way. If you are in London or planning to visit, book a tour with him, you won’t regret it.
Check out more photos from the incredible show in the gallery here.