What a weekend to be in the big smoke. Pulp in finsbury Park, Def Leps and Mutley spew in Wembley Stadium, Pride and Iggy in The Palace (Crystal Palace that is), Oh and The Dirty Strangers in Kilburn. I arrived just in time to join the snaking queue halfway round sarf of the river but to be fair it moved quickly and bag check was smooth amist all the horror stories of recent events at this venue. Now I could rant all day about the vendors charging an arm and a leg for refreshments and the coast of a 99 or screwball would have my nan turning in her grave but I wont. I chose to be here and whilst I don’t like big outdoor shows where you know youre heading for a good fleecing I don’t really now what the answer is – I could stay away but then I’d be cutting my nose off to spite my face and I wanted to see some bands I probably wont ever get the chance to see again so it is what it is. Oh and I wont mention the cost of merch these days or a poster for £30 so lets get on with the show.

First up today in the baking heat of the SE19 summer sun are Brighton punks Lambrini Girls, a trio the mainstream press has already called Iggy Pop’s favourite new band, and you can immediately see why Mr Osterberg would like them as guitarist/singer ploughs straight into the crowd as the band unleash their very own brand of ‘Big Dick Energy’. The only problem with doing this on such a big stage/large scale event being that apart from the front six rows (who will probably all be there to see you already) no one else in the audience really knows what the hell is going on even with onstage cameras present. So, whilst some get to experience the danger up close and personal, me, I’m left waiting for the inevitable TikTok videos to emerge. Next!

Buzzcocks, My first-time post-Pete, and whilst I grew up loving these songs I was too young for the early days of Buzzcocks I did catch the reunion shows and beyond which is still 30-plus years. I thought they hit a particular high on the pre covid renaissance they were enjoying especially at Rebellion where they properly understood how to do festivals and cram your best into an hour or so. On this day I thought Diggle did particularly well with Pete’s vocals, and whilst there is an inevitable Pete-sized hole it was great to hear those classic Buzzcocks songs perforating the Sarf London air once again. With a dozen songs crammed in from the opener ‘What Do I Get?’ through the groovy ‘Why Can’t I Touch It’ it was my favourite Buzzcocks songs that touched my heart once again, ‘Promises’ and the set closer of ‘Harmony In My Head’ via ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ – Whilst I was happy for Steve to get such warm and rapturous applause I did let my mind wander and that Shelley void was so apparent but I’m sure he’d have looked down and been pleased for his old mates to still be carrying the torch loudly and with such passion and conviction. Easily some of the genre’s finest songs right there in the warm Capitol sunshineeee.

Right thick and fast it is as Rusty Egan spins a few discs before SLF join the party and to be fair they brought their A-game and threw out a set of bangers from start to finish. Burns announced early doors that he wasn’t going to rabbit on and instead was going to play as many songs as possible and true to his words it was something of a best of from ‘Tin Soldiers’ into ‘Nobody’s Hero’ and ‘Roots Radical’ there couldn’t have been anyone inside the park who could be disappointed with that hattrick of tunes.

With a cover of the Specials ‘Doesn’t Make It Alright’ placed in the middle of the set it was heads down and off we go as they peeled back the years for ‘At The Edge’ before signing off with a triumphant trio in ‘Gotta Getaway’, ‘Suspect Device’ and finally the anthemic ‘Alternative Ulster’ and their work was done. A crowd that could only have been happy with that set as they were rightly applauded off the stage.

Next up was the set from Generation Sex that a lot of people had high hopes for and when the four gentlemen ambled onto the stage and kicked off with ‘Pretty Vacant’ I thought Cook was his rock solid best and hasn’t aged for about 30 years. Stoking the fire in the engine room throughout the dozen songs. It was a delight to see a slimmed down Jonesy cranking out those riffs on his trusty Les Paul I have to say after ‘Ready Steady Go’ and ‘Wild Youth’ by the end of the set I thought it was the Gen X tunes that ruled the day. Idol singing from a teleprompter seemed a little unnesasery and it was distracting him from what he does best. It might have been nerves or wanting to give it his best, but, I wanted Idol to own the stage and prowl around snarling, sneering and fist punching his way through the tunes but he seemed a little held back which was a shame, thats just my feelings. Anyway, The band weren’t the tightest but who cares? It was a joy to hear those songs, be it ‘Black Leather’ or ‘Kiss Me Deadly’.

After a weird ‘Silly Thing’ maybe Jonesy should have taken the vocals it would have made sense. The highlight of the set for me was a stonking ‘King Rocker’ which to be fair obviously Idol was more comfortable singing his own songs and signing off with ‘Your Generation’ it was then Jonesy finally, got to crank out his signiture Chugg on ‘My Way’ through what has to be said was a crystal clear PA. All in all I was well happy with the set and great to see Jonesy looking and sounding so good. it was what it was punk rock royalty having a blast and kicking out some tunes they wrote many many moons ago. Under rehersed? so what. Sloppy? Fuckin’ right ! Quality? Absolutely.

Next up, Blondie. With a catalogue of hits, every man woman, and child knows the words to bar none. To be fair they’ve been clocking the air miles pretty hard this summer with festival appearances a plenty as well as headline shows all over the place. so, it was expected they would turn in the most polished set of the day on what was icon Debbie Harry’s Seventy Eigth Birthday! Take that in for a minute, and appreciate her brilliance. singing songs that go back almost half a fuckin’ century and still delivering them live without a safety net. She could easily phone in the vocals but that’s not how she’s ever rolled. Her body of work is unrivaled by most other bands who’ve been in the game for years and no doubt soundtracked many in attendance youth and beyond. I’ve seen the debates about phoning in performances from the likes of Guns N Roses to Blondie to anyone over the age of Fifty but I think those people are way off piste after watching how hard the band hit it and knock out a fourteen-track greatest Hits set for the umpteenth time this summer all over Europe and beyond. She’s 78 so why would I expect her to sound like she was in her twenties how many people do? anyway that’s a debate that will rage on and I very much doubt she or anyone else on this bill gives two flying ducks about and rightly so. ‘One Way Or Another’ a punchy ‘Call Me’ through ‘Will Anything Happen’ via the awesome rap in ‘Rapture’ the minutes were flying by as Blondie we’re on fine form and when you see them live you realise how many fantastic songs they have at their disposal with four times as many that its not possible to perform.

With it being Debbies Birthday it seems crazy to think I’ve had many of these songs in my ears since I was in junior school. Call it nostalgia or Blondie Lite without Chris Stein and the other original players but mainly Chris it’s still a thoroughly entertaining set of absolute smashers played by a top-tier band from the youth youth youth flanking the incredible ms Harry via the iconic keyboard licks and that’s not forgetting new signing Glen Matlock and the machine that is Clem Burke who, as it goes still has the best feather cut barnet in Rock n Roll and an unrivaled stamina. Fan-Bloody-tastic set.

Right, the sun is setting in the distance and we shuffle closer towards the stage for what will most likely be the last time many of us get to see Iggy on a stage in the UK. Something I’ve probably been overthinking for weeks, days, and hours. I’ve seen many Iggy shows in many venues and have never ever been disappointed. My first was the Instinct tour which I’ve reminisced over way too many times right up to the last Stooges reunion which was another moment in time to savor such was its spectacular soundtrack. This seventy-six-year-old man I’m waiting on still has the exuberance of a child and the energy of a herd of wildebeests outsmarting a street-walking cheetah looking for a meal. As the PA sparks into life and the band emerges from the shadows the show begins before Iggy rushes on stage and instantly he’s lost his shirt as ‘Five Foot One’ bursts into life and collides with ‘TV Eye’. This is already sounding epic with the addition of the brass section that was taking these songs to places I’d never imagined.

‘Modern Day Rip Off’ was the first new song to get aired as the audience seemed to generate a liquid-like state as it moved and swayed to the rhythm as the brutal ‘Raw Power’ was only slowed in its tracks by ‘Gimme Danger’. Once again Iggy has assembled an incredible band and a special mention has to go to the rhythm section who absolutely nailed it sending shivers down my spine as the dry ice wafted into the darkening south London sky.

I suppose there have to be the expected songs played such as the ‘Passenger’ and ‘Lust For Life’ get aired before the first curve ball of ‘Endless Sea’ lets Iggy take five and perch himself on the wedge whilst he reenergizes for ‘Death Trip’. The set was motoring on and I was trying to savor every second whilst trying to shut out the age debate I had nagging in my head just as Iggy fell to the floor and began barking at the excited crowd which could only mean ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ was up next again with the inclusion of the horns it was a stroke of genius before ‘Search And Destroy’ sent some insane.

Encore already? Damn, I don’t want this to end as Iggy hit the cruise button, and ‘Mass Production’ followed by the epic ‘Nightclubbing’ was dispatched. Hell, the clock was ticking to curfew so it was ‘Down On The Street’ followed by the sleazy giant that is ‘Loose’ and I think I had a spec of dust in my eye as I headed towards the exit to catch the finale of ‘Every Losers’ opening shot of Fuck You that this man has done for over fifty years. There seems little sign of him “taking it easy” and to think he’d phone in a performance is blasphemy ‘Frenzy’ was the best way to sign off a fantastic day of music from some of the genre’s finest bands, with a songbook that won’t be bettered anywhere in London over this manic weekend or any other to be fair Dog Day Afternoon was a spectacle I was proud to say I was there and if I never have the pleasure of seeing most of these performers again it was an absolute pleasure and never ever a chore.

Author: Johnny Hayward & Dominic Daley