TVD Live Shots: The
Glen Matlock Band at the Electric Ballroom, 9/10

It was the first proper concert in London in more than six months, and likely one of the only live music events held in a proper club across the world. The last time I saw a gig was on March 14th as Wembley Arena. Morrissey had been known to cancel gigs at the last minute, but this one actually went on and was the last night of the tour. London would shut down the following day, and live music would cease to exist for the foreseeable future. The live music scene has been decimated to the point where the government finally stepped in to help. But of course, that’s not enough.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a glimmer of hope with limited socially distanced gigs at outdoor venues and a failed attempt at the Clapham Grand in London. Frank Carter played to a minimal number of the actual capacity. It was a test by the government, and while Carter was great, the prospect of making it worth everyone’s time was not. So I was quite surprised to see the Electric Ballroom announce a special one night only gig with one of my favorite musicians, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols.

I immediately bought two tickets online and was excited to get back to what I love: live music in an actual club. I’ve seen Matlock several times since moving to the UK four years ago, and he never disappoints. His band is always top-notch, and this evening would be no exception. His usual partner in crime, Bowie sideman Earl Slick, was unfortunately stuck in New York, but post-punk legend Neal X stepped in and performed flawlessly, even taking it up a notch among certain songs. (Neal X played with Matlock during the Rich Kids reunion at the Vive Le Rock Awards last year, and it was spectacular.)

The setlist pulled heavily from Matlock’s latest release, Good to Go, and rightfully so as this is some of his best work. “Wanderlust”, “Sexy Beast,” and “Keep on Pushing” all sounded fantastic and are personal favorites of mine. The socially distanced crowd was also treated to a Philistines song and a few covers, including a very cool version of “I Want You Back” from Jackson Five that I didn’t see coming. I was hoping to hear the crowd favorite “Happy,” which was surprisingly left out of the set, but that didn’t matter given a stellar encore of the Pistols’ classic “Pretty Vacant” and the Small Faces’ “All or Nothing.”

All in all, it was a brilliant night and a righteous return of live music to London (and the world). Major props to the Electric Ballroom for keeping everyone safe with a strict set of rules and procedures in place to ensure masks and social distancing, and I hope they continue to put on more of these. Now if they could figure out how to live stream these gigs to the rest of the world, I think we would really be onto something cool.

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