The Sex Pistols at Screen on the Green, Islington, London, April 1977

Like the Pistols last gig, this was an unpublicised, word-of-mouth affair where you just had to turn up at the door and take your chances.

I arrived early at the Screen on the Green, Islington only to be told the Pistols were playing for a ‘private party’ and that I’d have to see Malcolm McLaren if I wanted in. Undaunted, I retired to a nearby hostelry where I encountered many kindred spirits.

At closing time a crowd began to form, but the back door was soon opened and amid much surging I managed to grab a seat in the second row.

After this we were treated(?) to the Slits. This was only their third gig and by ordinary standards they were awful, but I liked ’em. They were already semi-legendary before they ever played, mainly due to a News Of The World expose on new wave all-girl groups, and they enhance the legend by having every song sound the same.

It’s an old cliche, but really they were so bad they were good.

At last the Pistols. They stride on purposefully and blast into ‘God Save The Queen’, which has already been played in its unreleased single form over the PA, just so we get the message. You have to hand it to them – these guys have a knack for killer singles.

Rotten leers into the audience manically, his whole body exuding a presence which really does rank with the greats. He’s one of those performers who simply DEMANDS that you keep your eyes fixed on him. A natural.

They roar on with great assurance though a lot of material doesn’t merit the spirited performance it gets. ‘EMI’ (about their favourite record company) is an exception. Another killer.

New man Sid Vicious, for all his rumoured inefficiency, performs quite adequately on bass, while Steve Jones lives up to the ‘GUITAR HERO’ graffiti on his amp. Drummer Paul Cook keeps the mayhem under control with his hefty thumping.

At the front the audience pogos wildly

Rotten baits the audience members who have remained seated, and during an instrumental break he stares straight at me and yelps ‘GET UP!!!’

The last number is the inevitable ‘Anarchy In The UK’ which is performed rather perfunctorily. But wait. This band is so big now they do ENCORES! Two of ’em! A tremendous workout on the Stooges ‘No Fun’ and a reprise of ‘God Save The Queen’.

Altogether they were great, catch them if you can before they it supertax level. What a group. What a show. What are ya gonna do about it?

Record Mirror, 09/04/77

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