Being the lead singer of a famous band requires nerves of steel, a surplus of swagger, and the patience to endure Cleveland's rambling, uncomfortably personal answer to "How you doin' tonight, Cleveland?" Catch master showmen in their element with this GrouponLive deal to see Public Image Limited at House of Blues Chicago. For $40, you get two tickets for standing-room-only general admission on Sunday, October 21, at 9 p.m. (up to a $100.20 value, including all fees). Doors open at 5 p.m.
Fans know where John Lydon buried Johnny Rotten. After spitting out one—exactly one—studio album, the Sex Pistols jackknifed on the punk highway and vanished into the night. When Lydon started his second outfit, Public Image Limited (PiL), he retained his Rotten vitriol, snark, and Molotov cocktail delivery. Other than that, PiL sounded nothing like the three-chord larceny of his accidentally influential punk Pistols. Same fangs, brand new monster.
With PiL's debut album, First Issue, Lydon did the most punk thing of all and defied the punk sound he helped pioneer. This experimental beast—the documented sounds of a hog-wild imagination drowned in bass-heavy dub reggae, droning krautrock, and lurching disco beats—challenged listeners expecting another Pistols record and won them over with its sheer audacity. The second album, Metal Box, became the blueprint of industrial music with its dark, throbbing tones and Lydon’s straitjacket histrionics. Across five more albums, PiL stayed adventurous, yet still scored a slew of Top 20 hits in the UK with a songbook of undeniable hooks. When fans decried the band for making friends with radio, Lydon lashed out with “This Is Not a Love Song”—a diatribe against modern pop music. In true PiL fashion, the tune became their biggest international hit.
On their North American tour, Public Image Limited plunges fans headfirst into the “PiL zone” in support of This is PiL, their first album since 1992. Hailed by the UK’s Guardian in a four-star review, the “new album both recalls their glory days and contradicts them at the same time.” Lydon commands the stage like a crazed evangelist as the band’s current lineup (including former The Damned guitarist Lu Edmonds and The Slits drummer Bruce Smith) expertly wrangles chaos and frenzy. Wild-eyed and rolling his R’s like an epileptic cat purr, Lydon skips the handshake while introducing new numbers such as the stirring “Deeper Water” and the single “Reggie Song” (sung as “R-R-R-R-R-R-R-Reggie”). The set is also packed with fan favorites such as “Rise,” “The Flowers of Romance,” and “Disappointed.”