THIS was nothing short of an absolute bass guitar masterclass from one of the greatest exponents of the electric four-string instrument operating today.

Jah Wobble was in town with his regular band Invaders of the Heart, ostensibly to recreate Public Image Ltd’s classic 1979 album Metal Box in the dub style of which he is so fond.

But it was so much more than that as the PiL’s original bassist (he left John Lydon and co after two records) served up massive slabs of bass and drums, a booming and incessant assault on the eardrums.

Wobble, aka John Wardle (apparently he was re-named by a drunken Sid Vicious back in the day), ambled on stage before an audience of old punks, new punks and everyone in between. Mostly old punks, it must be said.

Dressed in black with trademark hat and wearing what looked like a white latex glove on his right hand, the somewhat portly Wobble, occasionally seated, launched into Albatross, an enormously brutal instrumental which set the evening’s tone.

What followed was stunning, with the likes of Poptones, Careering, Socialist and much more given a new lease of life by Invaders Martin Chung (guitar) and George King (keyboards) and, particularly, by the driving beat of dreadlocked, stalwart drummer Marc Layton-Jones.

The excellence of guest guitarist Jon Klein (once of latter day Siouxsie & the Banshees) in providing layer upon layer of chopped, strident, discordant post-punk chords took the whole thing to another level.

Wobble, the East End punk turned Buddhist national treasure was on sparkling form, it turned out.

Warm and welcoming, he is very good at explaining exactly what is going on, how the sound is achieved, what techniques are involved, who is doing what. He involves the audience in his discussions with the sound engineer – such as when the bass went up to 11 for Graveyard and you could feel it thudding through your whole body.

Other than that, his interjections twixt songs varied between mickey-taking the band, spouting Shakespeare (Richard III), his complex personality, anti-inspirational messages, positivity, uncomfortable silences, dentists, assuring us he wasn’t reading the lyrics, and generally talking entertaining rubbish, before ‘cracking on’ with the next track.

And on a night when conductor Kiril Karabits said an emotional farewell to the BSO in the hall next door, we had our own taste of classical music with a version of Swan Lake that few aficionados of so-called ‘serious’ music would appreciate. This was serious too, and I loved it.

We also had a snatch of the theme from Midnight Cowboy and the sight and sound of Klein taking over the vocals as this industrial drum and bass fusion extravaganza ploughed its merry furrow to an ear-ringing climax.

The highlight for many came early in the second set with two mighty versions of Public Image, the bass upped to the nth degree and the vocals delayed into next week as the regular (Wobble regular that is) take gave way to the booming dub version. Smashing stuff.