Live Review: Glen Matlock / Klammer – Rebellion, Manchester, UK, 31st May 2019

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Glen Matlock / Klammer

Rebellion, Manchester, UK - 31sy May 2019

Tonight is a busy night in Manchester, the twin horrors of The Spice Girls and Olly Murs are in town, more comfortingly Imperial Wax, the survivors from The Fall’s longest and most stable line up, although even fans of The Fall will admit this isn’t much of an achievement, are playing a home town show at Night People with local heroes The Creature Comfort and The 99 Degree, Japan’s Mutant Monster have also arrived in Manchester and will be playing alongside the chaos that is The Papashangos at Jimmy’s, but for me the lure of punk legend Glen Matlock who is accompanied by rising post punk outfit Klammer which is taking place at Rebellion is tonight’s destination.

Glen Matlock shouldnt need any introduction to anyone visiting The Punk Site, but for the benefit of anyone who has risen from a four decade long coma he was an original member of the Sex Pistols, for whom he wrote the majority of the music for one of the most influential albums of all time in their one and only full length, Never Mind The Bollocks. After his departure from the Sex Pistols he formed the Rich Kids and worked with Iggy Pop before launching his solo career which has now spanned several decades culminating in the release of his latest album, Good To Go, that was recorded with Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, Chris Spedding, which keeps the Sex Pistols connection alive, Neal X of Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Earl Slick, which by anyone’s standards is a pretty impressive line up.

But before Glen Matlock we have Klammer who have steadily been building a reputation both live and in the studio, tonight’s gig takes place just ahead of the release of their eagerly anticipated and critically acclaimed new single, Being Boiled. Klammer take the stage to a sparsely populated Rebellion, an ominous squeal of feedback indicates that the evening is about to commence before they launch into the driven dark post punk of Washed Away that is warmly received. The jagged Space Elevator ups the pace but keeps the dark undercurrent flowing before the thunderous drums of High Life rattle the bones of the crowd. Klammer’s set spans their career, their debut singles Everything Depends Upon The King takes things back to their roots and brings a punkier element into their set, this number coincides with the trickle of fans entering Rebellion becoming a steady flow.

No Memory takes things back into the bat cave and marks a return to the thunderous post punk that has become their hallmark. the bass driven Tonight continues Klammer‘s hell for leather stint through their back catalogue as they seem determined to fit as many songs as possible into their brief opening set. Of course they bring their new single Being Boiled into proceedings, their dark interpretation of The Human League‘s early single is one of those rare covers that takes the original in a new direction whilst keeping true to the original spirit of the song, Modern Gods keeps their set flowing, despite this being a recent single this returns to their post punk origins. Klammer continue to rip through their single releases as Spiral Girl gets a welcome outing before they close with Baddest Blocks, the last abrasive moment from their set that signals the end of a memorable opening from the dark stars of the Yorkshire underground.

Before the gig, I and a fair amount of the crowd populating the smoking area find themselves being photographed holding classic punk albums, if you’re interested and pick up a copy when its published I’m the one holding a Fugazi album. The last time I saw Glen Matlock was sometime in the late 90s with The Philestines, those years are something of a blur but tonight gives me a chance to try and revisit my recollections although tonight’s band is a very different beast to the one I’ve previously encountered. He takes the stage and challenges the crowd “to come down the front I want to see the whites of your eyes” before giving a brief introduction to his band, anyone expecting a safe evening of greatest hits is in for a shock as the new album has a sleazy rock ‘n roll feel to it, and it’s this that dominates tonight’s set.

Of course Glen Matlock panders to the crowd to a degree as he delivered tracks from his days with The Philistines as his backing band, and if he hadn’t revisited the Sex Pistols at some point then there may have been a riot, but of course he acknowledges his roots, and the new material from Good To Go dips further back into Glen Matlock’s roots with garage and blues creeping into the set. A Scott Walker number, Montague Terrace (In Blue), is included in the set, someone Glenn Matlock clearly held in high esteem, more expected is Richard Hell’s Blank Generation. Earl Slick playing alongside Glen Matlock is a perfect circle of one of the influences on the early punk scene jointing one of Punk’s original gentlemen on tour, whatever I was expecting tonight was exceeded. The encore meets the expectations of the year zero punks present with Pretty Vacant, that features an appearance from Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Neal X, that gets the riotous reception you’d expect. In contrast he closes with The Small Faces classic All Or Nothing, that unexpectedly gets a singalong equal to it’s predecessor.

Tonight was not what you’d  expect from a punk legend, Glen Matlock acknowledges his roots but is not dependent on them and whilst his best known outfit makes a brief appearance in the set, tonight was about where he is now, and right now seems to be a pretty good place for the former Sex Pistol. Whilst Steve Jones is cavorting around in his underwear on YouTube and John Lydon seems to be increasingly desperate to court controversy it’s the Sex Pistols rhythm section that has maintained the integrity of one of the , if not the, most important bands in punk’s history. Tonight was unexpected in all the right ways and after 43 years in the music business Glen Matlock is still surprising people including myself, by the time Pretty Vacant, for me the perfect punk single, made its appearance I viewed it as an added bonus, and I never thought I’d be writing that tonight.

Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here and you can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images

Glen Matlock‘s official website can be found here

Klammer‘s Bandcamp is here and their website is here