THE GALLERY: Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16

Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16 / Michelle Martin © Birmingham Review





Ed’s note… On 18th November, Public Image Limited (PiL) came back to Birmingham – playing to a pretty full Friday house at the O2 Institute. The last time BR covered PiL was at the O2 Academy in Oct 2013 and we were short a photographer. But thanks to some string pulling from the promotional powers that be… another bucket list tick.

Michelle Martin was at the O2 Institute on Fri 18th November to scoop up some words & pics for THE GALLERY. Viddy below my droog, the bratchny maslo king of punk returns.pil008-metal-box-web-colours

Words & pics by Michelle Martin

Cognac, crumpets and a banana. Just your typical Public Image Ltd show.

The occasional sip on his bottle of Cognac, aptly labeled ‘Piss’, kept Public Image Ltd front man John Lydon soldiering through the show.

Public Image Ltd (PiL) are currently on a European tour, 37 years after the release of their album Metal Box – back in Birmingham before they finish off at the Sinner’s Day Festival in Belgium.

PiL have been running since that other band spilt up in 1978, with Lydon enlisting Keith Levine from The Clash, Jah Wobble and Jim Walker to record and release their debut album Public Image: First Issue in the same year.

John Lydon has been the sole constant member of PiL ever since, with Lu Edmonds, Scott Firth and Bruce Smith making up the remainder of the line-up today.

Soon after PiL took to the stage, cups went flying six feet in the air. Even behind the safety of a photo pit barrier I suffered from these throwing sessions, before I had a chance to shoot anything.

One fan in the audience really stood out; I think he’d pulled a Marty McFly. He looked like he stepped right out of the 70’s punk scene, with a classic Sex Pistols tour shirt, an overused battle vest, bright neon rave glasses and a hairstyle that a cockatoo would be jealous of.

But it was a refreshing sight to see no-one with a phone held up wanting to document the show, as usually happens at shows with an audience below the average age of 25.

The gig was nostalgic, in all its punk glory and beyond; John Lydon is an exceptional performer – marching with a ferocious energy throughout the show. I was watching something I’d remember and may not see again. I was also constantly laughing at his facial expressions; contorted and relentless. A separate gallery could be dedicated just to Mr Lydon’s awesome face.

Age clearly hasn’t stopped the man from doing just what he enjoys.

Public Image Limited @ O2 Institute 18.11.16


Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16 / Michelle Martin © Birmingham Review

Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16 / Michelle Martin © Birmingham Review

Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16 / Michelle Martin © Birmingham Review

Public Image Ltd @ O2 Institute 18.11.16

‘Something Big is Coming’ from PiL on Monday 28th November, but that’s all we know. For more on Public Image Limited, visit

For more from the O2 Institute, including full gig listings and online ticket sales, visit