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PiL played Manchester’s 02 Ritz with Brix Smith’s new band as support. 

Review and photos by Lauren Allard.

It’s 6th June 2022 and I’m at the 02 Ritz in Manchester watching John Lydon, a legend in the UK Punk Rock scene take the stage. As someone who is way past the generation who grew up with the Sex Pistols, it was an insane experience seeing a mix of the older and newer generation of punks combine together. 

Brix Smith takes the stage at 7:45 with her brand new band in her adopted home of Manchester. The former member of the fall and The Extricated, spent time at home writing tracks with Killing Joke bassist Youth to write her new album Valley of The Dolls, due to come out by the end of 2022. She is currently touring with the baddest girl band, a group consisting of the members of My Bloody Valentine. 

Bang on the dot Brix walks onto the stage with an insane amount of energy, rocking an incredible black and white striped leather jacket, sporting a white t-shirt underneath and ripped white jeans. Her platinum blonde hair in perfect curls framing her face, that shows the biggest smile as she looked out onto the crowd. 

The band then gets into place to kick off the night with their opener Aphrodite! 

This being her third live date, she has a new album coming out and has some new tracks ready, none of which particularly known by the crowd, but regardless the crowd cheered. She made the energy come alive for the night ahead. 

During the show she went through her inspirations for her lyrics, mostly being her home of California. 

She then went into three new tracks, California Smile, Valley Girl, all about the LA Porn Industry without showing it in a complete negative light, and her final new single All My Love. 

One way to shock the crowd was to mention her former band The Fall but with a dedication to the late Mark E. Smith before jumping right into Totally Wired. 

The band then closes their set for the night with Black Butterfly, an incredibly thrilling song which ends with multiple horns and fists in the air. 

We only had to wait half an hour before PiL took the stage, bang on 9pm. John Lydon accompanied by his friend Rambo wearing a lab coat. As soon as the band takes their places, they launch into Annalisa from their first album. 

Lydon, known for his different style of voice, opened with the heavy track but throws himself into the show with his voice sounding incredible, as if there hasn’t been any time taken away from his previous years. 

“Four years off and it’s fucking showing” he says at the end of their first track, before jumping right into Memories. 

The floor of the Ritz’s floor starts to vibrate as everyone moves to the music. John interacts with the crowd and even with the photographers as well, giving a quality performance. They then jump into their more familiar tracks such as Disappointed. 

The set is punctuated by Lu Edmunds guitar work and Scott Firth’s bass. 

As someone who grew up with family playing Sex Pistols, and various other legendary bands from the 70’s,80’s & 90’s, it was a truly thrilling moment to see a legend live in action. Lydon, giving the same insane energy he has always given, the moments, the faces pulled and the joy he had on his face during the entire performance, was electrifying. The genius and the intelligence of John Lydon truly gave off an incredible vibe for the entire crowd, older punks and even punks with their children got the experience that they will never forget. 

He leaves the show before shouting “It will be a pleasure to make a new album for you folks” ending an extremely amazing night.