Glen Matlock – Tuning Fork November 24, 2017


All the old punks, and a few new ones, gathered at Auckland’s Tuning Fork last night to spend some time with a Sex Pistol. Original bass player Glen Matlock put on a solo acoustic show that may have put off folks looking for a night of anarchic anthems.

Up first was Kiwi eccentric Will Saunders who treated the crowd to a handful of his own twisted pop gems along with a few well-selected covers by the likes of The Only Ones, Roky Erickson and Syd Barrett, who Saunders bears an uncanny resemblance to.

Saunders’ performance was full of punk spirit, despite being armed with only an acoustic guitar. In the end, his set was much appreciated.

Glen Matlock, who was notoriously kicked out of the Sex Pistols because of his alleged affection for The Beatles, only to be replaced by non-musician Sid Vicious, put on a similar set.

Much of the press leading up to Matlock’s show inferred that the former Pistol would spend an intimate evening with fans, regaling them with tales of the past and playing his songs.

Despite having been recently bored by Stevie Nicks’ extended yammering during her show at the adjacent Spark Arena, I was looking forward to Matlock’s insights into his days on the front lines of the 70s British punk scene.

But while Glen seemed amiable enough, the stories were in short supply, as were the Sex Pistols songs.

Instead we got a mix of Matlock’s solo tunes along with a few Rich Kids and Iggy Pop songs he was involved in. The remainder of the set was filled out with an “interesting” array of covers.

I can see why he wanted to play Richard Hell’s Blank Generation and The Monkees’ Steppin’ Stone, but Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart and Bowie’s John, I’m Only Dancing came from left field and never really connected with the audience despite Matlock’s best efforts to get everyone singing along.

There were a few stories…one about waiting in line at The Vortex, another about rehearsing with Iggy Pop…but no insights into Glen’s experience as a Sex Pistol.

I would have loved to hear a version of EMI and then some background on how Pistols got thrown off the label. But it was not to be.

The only two Pistols songs presented were God Save The Queen, early in the set, and set closer, Pretty Vacant.

For the encore, it was more covers…T Rex’s I Love To Boogie, then The Faces’s Debris with assistance from his former Philistines bandmate Paul O’Brien, who joined in on guitar and stayed to top the evening off with a version of The Small Faces’ All Or Nothing.

Judging by his choice of covers, it’s clear Glen Matlock is a music fan himself. It’s a shame he seems to be averse to celebrating his own legacy with the Sex Pistols with the same enthusiasm that he has for the artists he covers.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:

Glen Matlock set list:

  1. Don’t Put The Brakes On Tonight
  2. Somewhere Somehow
  3. A Different World
  4. Burning Sounds
  5. God Save The Queen
  6. Sexy Beast
  7. Ambition
  8. Ghosts Of Princes In Towers
  9. Montague Terrace (In Blue)
  10. John, I’m Only Dancing
  11. Hungry Heart
  12. On Something
  13. Hook In You
  14. Blank Generation
  15. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
  16. Born Running
  17. Pretty Vacant
  18. I Love To Boogie
  19. Debris
  20. All Or Nothing