Sex Pistols and Blondie legends kick off UK tour with a ‘pinch me, is this actually happening?’ Bristol gig

This Iggy Pop tribute band was fronted by TV presenter Katie Puckrik
Lust For Life perform at The Exchange in BristolLust For Life perform at The Exchange in Bristol
Lust For Life perform at The Exchange in Bristol

Forget fresh food shortages. The hardest thing to find in Bristol this week wasn’t tomatoes but a ticket for the opening night of the long-awaited Lust For Life tour.

Featuring Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, Blondie drummer Clem Burke and David Bowie guitarist Kevin Armstrong (he even performed with Bowie at the Live Aid concert and played on the Bowie and Jagger single Dancing in the Street), this was a veritable supergroup squeezed onto the tiny stage of The Exchange.

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With TV presenter Katie Puckrik on vocals, guitarist Luis Correia and Florence Sabeva on keyboards, the band was put together to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Iggy Pop’s classic Lust For Life album.

For those in the audience who grew up during the punk heyday - there were quite a few punk rocker granddads in the audience - this was one of those ‘pinch me, is this actually happening?’ gigs. Or as Puckrik rightly put it - a ‘collective hallucination’.

Although not known as a singer, Puckrik may have seemed a surprising choice to take over the Iggy Pop role on paper but it was a stroke of genius. She was brilliant.

As somebody who confesses to have been a fan of Blondie, Iggy and the Pistols as a teenager growing up in America, she was clearly living the dream on stage.

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She grinned throughout the 105-minute set and there were moments when it looked like she may spontaneously combust with excitement.

This was a gig of two halves, starting with the entire Lust For Life album, from the title track through to Fall In Love With Me.

With his black Heartbreakers t-shirt, black leather jacket and trademark raven-black mod haircut, Clem Burke looks cooler than most 68-year-olds and it was a joy to see him pummelling the drums at such close quarters.

After the first few minutes, he walked to the front of the stage to complain about the lack of lighting on stage.“I haven’t travelled 7,000 miles to play in the f***ing dark,” he growled, before counting in the band for Iggy classic The Passenger.

Blondie drummer Clem Burke and vocalist Katie PuckrikBlondie drummer Clem Burke and vocalist Katie Puckrik
Blondie drummer Clem Burke and vocalist Katie Puckrik
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Silver-haired and deadpan, Glen Matlock was a more low-key presence on bass. In his black suit and crisp white shirt, he wouldn’t look out of place in a British gangster movie. A solid gold punk icon, he looks a man comfortable in his own skin.

But it was Puckrik who was the focal point as she danced around the stage like a kid in the candy shop, playing the Iggy part to perfection, although guitarists Kevin Armstrong and Luis Correia were as dazzling as Puckrick’s silver dress.

There was no break before the band launched into a second set of more Iggy favourites - including Nightclubbing, Five Foot One and Real Wild Child - and a few songs from their own careers.

Blondie’s Rip Her to Shreds was followed by Kingdom Come - a tribute to their friend Tom Verlaine who died earlier this year - and Matlock also performed his new single, Head on a Stick.

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And just when you thought they might be running out of steam, out came a thundering version of The Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant, complete with a mass audience singalong, and The Stooges’ Search and Destroy.

Loud, sweaty and high energy, this was a gig that exceeded all expectations and Iggy himself would have loved it.

The big question now is whether the man himself will make an appearance at any of the other gigs on the tour. Now, that would be something else.

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