Glen Matlock & the Philistines

Bovine Sex Club, Toronto ON December 6

BY Keith CarmanPublished Dec 7, 2010

Like it or not, British singer/bassist/guitarist Glen Matlock has more to do with shaping the world of punk rock than most of his more notorious contemporaries. Forgetting the lies, filth and fury over how/why he parted ways with seminal act the Sex Pistols (and later contributed to their inimitable album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols), his role in crafting some of the genre's most unforgettable songs is indisputable. That's not even getting into his work with Iggy Pop and the Damned, among others, over the span of the past 30-plus years.

Therefore, it was with baited breath that an ample crowd of rockers, mods and punks packed into the delightfully dingy confines of Toronto's premier musical alehouse to catch the 50-something relay tunes from his latest Stomp Records release Born Running.

At that, let it be known how disgustingly tight and solid Matlock's Philistines quartet were. Coaxing every note out of his guitar with ease and relying effortlessly on the talent of his supporting musicians, Matlock never faltered on an aural level during the band's hour-plus set. Studio technicians could learn a thing or two from this evening. Moreover, Matlock's personable demeanour stripped away thoughts of "rock star."

Still, being a nice guy and performing a spotless show only goes so far. Despite obviously enjoying himself, Matlock proved a bit stoic for someone revered for challenging the system way back when. The band seemed to move less than the audience, and with a lack of varied paces, songs tended to blend together into a wash of sameness dotted only by pauses to address the crowd.

The evening eventually degraded into a plodding drone of half-time meandering, only pulling out of its borderline mediocrity for immaculate renditions of the Monkees' "Stepping Stone" (yes, it was better than the Pistols ever mustered) and "Pretty Vacant," the only tune that truly roused an increasingly antsy crowd.

While the evening was far from a bust thanks to musical perfection and Matlock's gentlemanly humbleness, all in all, he needs to shake both himself and the tempo up a bit. Only then will he keep us from waiting for the aforementioned obligatory references to his past and embrace his present.

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