Thursday, 25 March 2010

535 DEAD MEN WALKING, Swindon Arts Centre, Thursday 8 November 2001

A bit of an odd one, this; an acoustic evening from a few old punkers, including an old rock hero of mine whom I'm ashamed to say I'd never seen play "live" before, one Pete Wylie of Wah! So I talked similar old punker Rich and our respective better halves into wandering up the hill on an icy evening for this one.

No sooner had we got there than the performance started, at an early 20 to 8! So we took our seats to the back of this small theatre - the first time I'd ever been to the Arts Centre, oddly enough! - for an intriguing evening's entertainment. The Dead Men - Wylie, Mike Peters of the Alarm, Spear Of Destiny's Kirk Brandon and former Sex Pistol bassist Glen Matlock - all played together, linking well acoustically on a selection of their old favourites and better known songs. Brandon's voice was as powerful and enduring as ever, particularly on "Do You Believe In The Westworld?", and Mike Peters is still a surprisingly good performer, particularly leading the sell-out older crowd through rousing renditions of Alarm hits "68 Guns" and a surprisingly affecting "Spirit Of '76", dedicated to, "all the old punks who still have it in their heart and soul." That'd be us then!

But for me it was Wylie who was the star; Wylie the effervescent Scouser, corpulent yet unabashed, fending off hecklers and bantering with the crowd and bandmates with equal volubleness and good humour. A surprisingly punky "Seven Minutes To Midnight" preceded the interval, during which I got to shake the man's hand and talk, just after he wrestled me and attempted to stab me with a pen, shouting, "imposter in the house!" just because I was wearing a Julian Cope t-shirt! Lovely! His second half songs "Come Back" and "Story Of The Blues" also brought a chill to my spine, as did his dedication to George Harrison, and his exhortation to fight for what you believe in. We did, Pete, we did.

A splendid "Blitzkrieg Bop" encore capped an intriguing and entertaining evening from 4 performers who may be knocking on in years, but still have the talent - and the gift of the gab, if your name is Pete Wylie!

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