Sex Pistols 'praise Allah' at EXIT Festival

Band booed on final night as The Hives steal the show

Sex Pistols 'praise Allah' at EXIT Festival

14 July 2008

In a bizarre and misjudged gaff midway through their Sunday night set, the ageing rocker asked the crowd: “So who thinks America should still be in Iraq?”

The question was met by boos and jeers, prompting Rotten to wave his arms in mock Muslim prayer chanting, “Praise Allah, Praise Allah” repeatedly.

The main stage crowd were initially taken aback by the mystifying gesture, before boos began echoing around the crowd.

Realising his mistake, Rotten then changed his chanting to "Praise Serbia, Praise Serbia" before quickly launching into another song.

The headline set itself was a mixed bag, and an initially huge and excitable crowd gradually thinned out as it wore on. The band kicked off with ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘Lazy Sod’ and the two song titles seemed to sum up the show.

The Hives fared much better earlier on, proving the pick of the day’s main stage with their tongue in cheek showmanship.

Playing their first ever show in Serbia, the Swedish rockers were on top form as Pelle Almqvist led the band and the crowd through songs such as ‘Tick Tick Boom’, ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ and ‘Main Offender’.

But the between-song banter by the singer was equally lapped up by the crowd, who played along with the band's famous self glorification.

Empathising with Serbian frustrations at being restricted from travelling in the EU, Almqvist dedicated ‘Not Long Now’ to the thousands of fans watching the early evening set.

He said: “We come from a small town of 12,000 people in Sweden and know what it feels like when you’re dying to escape from somewhere. There are many rock n roll songs which have been written about this subject, this is ours”.

At the end of the show, he asked: “So Serbia how does it feel to have lost your Hives virginity? Did it hurt? No, I didn’t think so it just felt really good, didn’t it?”

The band then closed with the classic ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, which received the loudest reception of the set.

Next up were returning metal legends Ministry, who played from behind caged gates, seemingly to protect their ageing frames from bottles thrown from the crowd.

Other highlights on the final night included the wonky electronica of thinking man’s DJ Claude Von Stroke in the dance arena, followed by a live set from German duo Booka Shade.

Deep Dish pair Sharam and Dubfire played early morning sets back to back with the harder sound of Dubfire far outshining that of his cheesier partner.

Despite being four days in, the majority of fans pushed through until the bitter end for the final day of EXIT Festival, and despite the site resembling a dust bowl for most of the weekend, we experienced the first rainfall as the sun came up, readying us for the journey back home.  

Stay posted for the full review and photo gallery coming soon.

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