Amongst the odd rock royal such as Marc Bolan’s best friend and mingling Clash superstar Mick Jones himself, a crowd of punk veterans and their families awaited a riot injection last Friday. Some bouncy fucker knocked half my Guinness over me and I was poised to scorn until I realised he must have been sloshed past his bedtime and was probably recording Jonathan Ross.
Carbon/Silicon’s performance, when it finally came, was cripplingly depressing. The songs, written by two guitarists missing their original lead songwriter counterparts (Joe Strummer and Billy Idol), were entertaining enough. Jones was certainly turning on the chugging greying fireball next to me, but his mockeries of the paranoid state of our nation in ‘The Magic Suitcase’ and ‘Caesar’s Palace’, though lapped up by the congregation, resonated powerless. Maybe I’m just an unforgiving, unrealistic absolutist, but the whole affair smacked of futile stagnancy, of punks 30 years on still seething, bitterly dissatisfied but resentfully committed to their lives in the system.
Carbon/Silicon gave their weary disciples an outlet for rage and a rollicking set drenched in sentimentality for the days when punk seemed to threaten to rip society up at the roots. My companion, more at home soothed by the strains of Cat Power anyway, had a Hunter S Thompson moment with the rotund, upper-middle-aged, heaving audience turning into monsters and promptly left. I couldn’t have been hotter on his heels, and I’ve never felt so young!