Sex Pistols Experience & Punk's Not Dad
Cardiff Barfly October 31st

Tribute bands are an odd concept. Who in their right mind would want to spend their entire life pretending to be someone else? Then again how would we now get to see long gone bands like the Beatles, the Clash or er.....the Nolans ? But having seen the Sex Pistols Experience several times before (most notably at the 100 Club last year) I know that Messrs Johnny Rotter, Kid Vicious, Steve Bones and Paul Crook are absolutely dedicated to providing an authentic recreation of the band that changed the face of British rock history in the late '70s.

However before they take the stage we had support act Punks Not Dad, a band that had managed to squeeze in another Cardiff date on their continuing hectic world tour. Some of you may have read the review I provided of their last appearance in the Principality here, a gig that sparked carnage not seen since the Rodney King inspired L A riots. Thankfully tonight no such pugilistic mayhem ensued and the boys were able to give another quality performance that highlighted tracks from their forthcoming album (which
apparently will be available on downloadable waxcylinder). Lead singer Sid Life-Crises belted out the eponymous opener 'Punks Not Dead' and prowled the stage with all the dexterity of an elephant dancing with the Royal Ballet. New track 'The Filth and the Puree' came from the new long player, but was immediately followed by old favourite 'The Boy Looked at Johnny' just in case any of the sizeable crowd had dozed off.

It warms my heart to say that they have also dedicated a new track to punk’s first female pin up in 'Gaye Adverts Eyes', although I'm ashamed to say I was one of the few people in the venue old enough to recall this ravishing beauty. A Crass inspired 'Banned from the Barfly' followed, showcasing the abilities of their spud faced 'One Show' presenting Adrian Chiles look-a-like drummer, but I was once again disappointed to find that he had not brought along his delectable co-presenter Christine Bleakley. Old favourite 'Permanent Frustration' brought the thronged masses to a peak of frenzy, and the set was rounded off with their anthem 'We Are the Dads', after which they left the stage with applause ringing in their ears.


Now whilst some of the readers may have detected a certain amount of mirth in my reporting, I would add that the 'joke' of Punks Not Dad would be unfunny if it weren't for the fact that these boys are both patently aware of their punk history (the leader singer's sister was apparently a regular at the Roxy back in the day) and they can really play their instruments. Their sound borrows heavily from the Pistols and Sham 69 etc, but is big, loud and comfortably fills a small venue like the Barfly. If you fancy forgetting the credit crunch for a night, you could do worse than get your local to book Punks Not Dad and pogo 'till you puke!

Most of the plethora of tribute bands have a fundamental floor in that whilst the sound like Green Day, U2 etc, they look very little like their heroes. This is not something that can be said of the Sex Pistols Experience, and I defy anyone to look at their Rotten/Vicious combination and not get a shiver down their spine. They take pride in presenting a vision of the Sex Pistols in all their pomp and glory (circa 1977) and every detail is minutely and lovingly recreated. But pride of place must go to Johnny Rotter who has every gesture, mannerism and idiosyncrasy of John Lydon down to a tee, and shows why he was once truly a voice of a generation (and not as he now appears some ego manic of an old duffer who flogs butter in the ad break of Coronation Street).

Their sound is perfect, and a lot of this must be down to the imperious musicianship of their 'Cook and Jones' who effortlessly recreate the quintessential Pistols sound that everyone knows and loves. They take you through a Sex Pistol history from the early halcyon days of Never Mind the
Bollocks, through the chaotic post Rotten era (with Rotter leaving the stage) and even finish with 'Public Image' by PIL. They even have their own 'Nancy Spungen', but sadly she only appears at their larger events so was absent tonight. I would thoroughly recommend their web page and Myspace, where you can hear them on the US radio show of original Pistol's guitarist Steve Jones, and see the countless world-wide gig photos of this constantly touring band. For the record the gargantuan set list from tonight was: -

Pretty Vacant
New York
No Feelings
Wanna Be Me
Did You No Wrong
Stepping Stone
Holidays in the Sun
Belsen Was a Gas
God Save The Queen
Anarchy in the UK
Something Else
C'mon Everybody
Silly Thing
My Way
No Fun
Public Image

A top night out with both bands providing excellent value for the £7.50 entrance price. And I thoroughly recommend that the next time either are playing in your area, you dust off your bondage trousers, try and squeeze into your old Eater t-shirt, get the leather jacket out of the garage and see two fine examples of why punk rock remains one of the most endearing (and long lasting) genres of British music.