For the second time in London in the space of a few months, the band returned to play Jah Wobble’s 2021 album, ‘Metal Box – Rebuilt in Dub’, in its entirety with former Siouxsie & The Banshees’ guitarist Jon Klein, who also collaborated with the former PiL bassist on his 2023 solo studio album, ‘A Brief History of Now’. They opened on ‘Albatross’, with Klein’s demented guitar strokes and a stripped down interlude. ‘The Suit’ was sang with Wobble’s aptly suited Cockney accent; it contained his triggering basslines and Klein’s guitar effects with explosive noise outbursts.

‘Poptones’, one of the best songs PiL ever made, was introduced with an extended spoken word intro comically narrated by Wobble; the chiming ambient guitar and fluttering piano duet gave way to the blossoming of the full sound of the track, whilst calmly at its centre remained the grounded bassline, which happens to be one of the best Wobble wrote. For variation on the recorded versions on the album, ‘Fodderstompf’ in its latter half became a CAN piece, with Wobble on tom-toms and guitars straining and building, before he signalled for a gear change and the song ended on a keyboard solo. Klein then performed vocals for the Sex Pistols-style riffed, ‘No Birds’, although his vocals were lacking good sound quality and could barely be made out.

After the bone shattering feedback of ‘Careering’, hybridised Invaders of the Heart version of ‘Public Image’ and live drum and bass version of ‘Socialist’, Wobble cheekily said to a PiL fan in the audience, “Have you seen them since I left? I’m not being funny – they’re OK. I don’t think the band was ever the same when I split.” By popular demand, they then performed ‘Swan Lake’; the heavy noise of the track dissipated for George King’s (keyboard) glittering, sharp keys in the interlude, with alternating guitar parts between Klein and Martin Chung (guitar) and the former’s twisted, cyclical hammer-ons-and-pull-offs in the chorus. They finished their set on an instrumental noise track, the gothic trudge of ‘Graveyard’ that was complimented well by Klein’s Banshees’ background.

26/04/24: Jah Wobble @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.