Sex Pistols review (4 stars)

SECC, Glasgow, Sun 18 Nov

They were never gonna provide the filth and the fury of their 70s heyday, but there are few bands that stand for an entire genre as succinctly as The Sex Pistols so resolutely stand for punk. Fair enough, a 30th anniversary tour (marking the release of Never Mind the Bollocks) sponsored by a videogame (Guitar Hero III) isn't exactly kicking against the system, more like adding to the pension fund.

Taking to the stage with 'I Belong to Glasgow' blaring out of the speaker system, then powering into 'Pretty Vacant', John Lydon is still full of acerbic banter. Snarling from the stage, launching into tirades about Malcolm McLaren (dedicating 'Liar' to their ex-manager), London crowds and the joys of whisky, he's genuinely funny and totally engaging.

Admittedly, he's put on a bit of weight and is far less relevant than he believes, but it's thrilling to see him in such fine form, the gobby pantomime dame of punk rock. Of course you know all the tunes - they only ever really had one album - and predictably 'Bodies', 'Holidays in the Sun' and 'EMI' are highlights. Their cover of The Monkees' '(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone' and the Stooges' 'No Fun' are also greeted like old friends.

And, of course, there are the dual highlights of 'God Save the Queen' and a towering 'Anarchy in the UK', still sounding as raw today and reminding you how few truly subversive acts there are in the current rock world.

It's a triumphant show - not the shambolic mess many had predicted, and they still boast the full original line up. Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook are tight as hell and can all probably play their instruments with far more finesse than they could back in the day.

You'd never expect to use the word 'professional' to describe the Sex Pistols, but they truly were. It’s ballsy, raucous fun that left several thousand punks grinning from ear to ear as they wandered home into the rainy Glasgow night. (Henry Northmore)

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