Inessential but historically interesting, Viva Le Rock
is a two-CD set featuring no less than three 1978 concerts (two from Max's Kansas City in New York, one from London's Electric Ballroom) all of which--performance-wise--are rough and ready and seem to have been recorded by a shady character at the back of the hall (the safest place to be, presumably) with a dictaphone under his armpit. In all honesty, this probably isn't the best way to remember Sid Vicious. Then again, is there a "best" way to remember him at all? Would it be for his sneering, RSPCA-bothering rendition of "My Way"? For fatally wounding his girlfriend with a hunting knife during a druggy stupor? Or for being an apparent threat to British parliamentary democracy?
In reality, Sid was always more of a threat to himself. Besides, when the Sex Pistols' punter-bludgeoning pretend bass player and walking punk publicity stunt shuffled off this mortal coil in 1979 at the age of 21 he didn't exactly leave much behind in the way of a recording heritage. And once you've got past the cash-from-chaos Eddie Cochran covers and the compellingly tasteless "Belsen Was a Gas", this is it. No doubting then, the historical value of these slovenly live recordings in which Sid is joined by high-profile punk contemporaries: the London gig features Rat Scabies as well as Glen Matlock and fellow "Rich Kid" Steve New, while various New York Dolls and Mick Jones from the Clash do their thing at the show at Max's in Kansas City. But these ragged covers of Iggy Pop, the Small Faces and the Monkees somehow don't do justice to his lasting infamy. --Kevin Maidment