Sex Pistols make Irish debut at Electric Picnic festival

John Lydon proclaims the show a 'dubious pleasure'

The Sex Pistols closed Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival last night (August 31) with a debut Irish appearance that frontman John Lydon treated as a sort of homecoming.

Lydon, who was born to Irish parents, made a number of references to his heritage throughout the band’s headlining set on the Co Laois festival’s Main Stage, and on one occasion dropped his trousers as he proclaimed himself an Irish man.

Arriving onstage to Ernest Ball‘s ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’, Lydon also made reference to the 30-year wait for Irish fans to glimpse the band live, saying: “Good evening Ireland, they finally let us in. Let’s hope it’s fucking worth it. Pistols here for your dubious pleasure”, before launching into a comic hillbilly version of ‘Pretty Vacant’.


The singer berated the audience as he encouraged their participation. “These are very big Irish ears I have and I need them filled,” he said ahead of ‘No Feeling’, adding, “I can’t fucking hear you”.

Lydon later dropped his trousers to reveal his bare behind to the crowd as he said, “I hope you didn’t come here to be shy. What a fine nation. This is Irish too.”

The band’s set, which took in the majority of the classic 1977 album ‘Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols’, also saw Lydon make reference to his last appearance in Ireland.

He was arrested in 1978 and told he would spend six months in the country’s notorious Mountjoy Prison after an alleged fight with an off-duty Garda (Irish policeman).

Lydon ended up serving four days in the Dublin prison and had not returned to the country prior to last night. Introducing ‘Holidays In The Sun’ he said, “I don’t want time in the sun, I want time in Ireland… Actually I’ve already done time in Ireland.”

Also on the closing day of the three-day festival, My Bloody Valentine performed their first show on frontman Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig‘s native soil in more than 17 years.


Headlining the Electric Arena tent, the band’s set followed that of their other reunion shows this summer and took in much of debut ‘Isn’t Anything’ and 1991’s groundbreaking follow-up ‘Loveless’.

Previously on Saturday (August 30), Franz Ferdinand topped the bill on the Main Stage where they previewed four new songs from their forthcoming third album. The new tunes included proposed first single ‘Ulysses’ and ‘Turn It On’.

In the Electric Arena the legendary Grace Jones wowed crowds with an awesome set, which saw numerous quick costume changes throughout, while Irish star Cathy Davey drew one of the largest crowds of the weekend at the Crawdaddy Tent.

The festival’s opening day was headlined on the Main Stage by Icelandic mavericks Sigur Ros who performed once more with their long-standing string section, Amiina.

Elsewhere Irish electro-pop star Jape kicked off proceedings in the Crawdaddy tent with a rapturously received run-through of debut album ‘Ritual’, while The Gutter Twins overcame sound problems to win over a sizeable crowd in the same tent.