Act: Glen Matlock
Support: The Media Whores
Venue: La Belle Angele, Edinburgh
Date: 24 May 2019
The support band slot can be as much a curse as it can be a blessing. The choice is of playing to empty halls with no more than a few disinterested punters or actually reaching out and connecting with a potential new fan base, but which will it be?
Fortunately for The Media Whores, they’ve got a solid back catalogue of post-punk tunes, supported acts including Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned and Toyah, played numerous festivals, and of course, headlined in their own right. So the basics are there … and then some.
A short set of 8 songs, 5 of which were new and only 3 from the acclaimed 2016 release Dangerous Minds, could be considered a bold move or a calculated gamble. Perhaps, though, in reality it was anything but, the crowd gradually building from the opener It’s Not Alright before new songs Cold War and Big Pharma saw the crowd swell, the band’s musicianship clear to see.
Zombies In Mayfair is undoubtedly a highlight, a PiL-esque backbeat married against an acerbic lyrical tirade against the corporation sluts of big business. The band are well known for their socio-economic and political observations in their songs. It’s refreshing to see a band with something to say rather than the ‘playing by numbers’ monotony of many artists these days.
Set closer is another new song, Money. A rumbustious and tumultuous three minute track underpinned by crashing and colliding drums, insistent bass and guitar, and a vocal hook that had the crowd singing along. Safe to say The Media Whores increased their fan base tonight.
With the crowd suitable warmed up, Glen Matlock hit the ground running with three songs straight from his most recent album release, including title track, Wanderlust.
Matlock could trade off his work with the Sex Pistols. Easy money, if he wanted. Though, the setlist and band beside him tell you that’s not his game these days. Chris Musto was a powerhouse on drums, Grammy award-winning engineer Jim Lowe on bass (he’s worked with the likes of Nick Cave, Beyonce and the Foo Fighters) made it look effortless plus the enigmatic and utterly cool sideman Earl Slick on guitar duties added verve and class throughout.
The songs from Wanderlust featured well, with a mix of styles evident, Sexy Beast (rockabilly), Speak To Soon (bossa nova) and Montague Terrace (Matlock does Scott Walker doing Jacques Brel). The beauty, though, is the band. Equally accomplished at belting out a punk tune but also the wider subtleties of a blues track (Hook In You) recalling Screaming Jay Hawkins. The band were tight, the rhythm section sound, which allows Slick to run through a quite ridiculous repertoire of guitar playing on his Gibson Firebird. It’s clear to see why he’s played with such luminaries as Bowie and Lennon.
Matlock introduced a cover of Blank Generation, mentioning that this helped inspire the lyrics to Pretty Vacant which follows closely after, before Ocean Colour Scene’s Raymond Meade joins the band for the set closure, an epic version of the Small Faces All Or Nothing.