Crud Fanzines PLC present...

Urbis, Manchester
May 25th 2005

(reviewed by Phil Newall)

God like genius; confirmed!!

Not officially a 'gig' as such; this was the launch party for the Punk, Sex, Seditionaireis and The Sex Pistols exhibition at The Urbis Gallery, Manchester. The exhibition has only previously been displayed in London, and featured the art work and clothing surrounding the Sex Pistols, the majority being designed by Vivienne Wetwood and Malcolm McLaren. In addition, original posters and hand written lyric sheets for various Pistols songs were on display, including songs never actually performed or recorded. Also on offer for the evening was a short set form Gold Blade, and a very rare public performance from John Cooper Clarke.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited along, and on this occasion was accompanied by my wife, who for the record is more in tune with the warblings of Boy Zone etc. Upon arrival we gathered in the rare Manchester evening sunshine outside Urbis, and what a collection we made. A few elder statesmen of the Manchester punk scene, numerous Gold Blade Gambinos resplendent in their finery, a number of more 'regular' looking gallery attendees, all in all a healthy crowd. After the doors opened, free drinks were offered in the atrium area, this being were a small stage had been set up.

After a short opening speech from the curator Gold Blade took to the stage, no refinement to suit the surroundings, the opening song 'Fighting In The Dancehall' being like a rallying call, straight into 'Psycho' with perhaps the most unlikely guest vocalist; a monk, that's right a real robed and sandled monk!! - Check the picture; awesome moment seeing John Robb stripped to waist leaping about like a man possessed right next to a man of the cloth, the best bit being he knew the fuckin words! Maybe life in a monetary ain't as tough as it's made out to be?

'Strictly Hardcore' was followed by 'Not Even Jesus' and 'Black Elvis', before returning to the current album with 'Black Sheep Radical'. The Blade had the crowd in his hand, he controls the stage, chanting anthems that easily display why they are often touted as the best live act in Britain. As I said this was a shortened set, so it closed with 'Hairstyle' and 'Hometurf'. Yet another stunning performance; if your not into The Blade as yet; why not? Buy the new album 'Rebel Songs' - every song is a headlong blast of adrenalin, can't recommend enough.

The display itself is also worth seeing, though to be perfectly honest its a bit limited in size and some of the designs are repeated ad nausea, how many times do we need to see now legendary 'GSTQ' design? With Lydon's hand written lyric shhets for 'Pretty Vacant' and 'Holidays In The Sun', plus a two line hand written Vicious lyric sheet for a un-named and un performed song, the display is worth seeing.

Also featured is a short Manchester based exhibit, lots of early flyers, posters etc from The Buzzcocks, Slaughter & The Dogs etc, in addition there are a number of video monitors showing very early Buzzcocks footage, and live material from John Cooper Clarke.

Can only apologies to John Cooper Clark, only saw the tail end of his set, but it was a pleasure to meet the man who gave us 'Never See A Nipple In The Daily Express'

The exhibition runs until August 2005 and is only 5 to get in.

Phil Newall 

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