Let Me Entertain You: Buzzcocks @ Trocadero 5.14.10

Seeing a band reunited in concert is usually a sure bet.  I say ‘usually’ because I’ve seen some concerts from resurrected bands that were incredible and some that were less incredible.  Was (Not Was), back after 18 years?  Incredible.  Public Image Ltd., back after 15?  Not so much (possibly more on that later).  Though the Buzzcocks have been around in some form since 1989, they still manage to fit themselves into the ‘classic group back together’ circuit.  Down to just two original members, lead singer Pete Shelley and guitarist/singer Steve Diggle, the Buzzcocks have toured on a slightly regular basis, most recently embarking on the “Another Bites” tour, in which the band plays their first two albums (Another Music In A Different Kitchen and Love Bites) in their entirety.  That might seem like a big gimmick aimed to capitalize on the band’s heyday (since returning to the studio in 1993, they’ve released five entertaining but inessential albums), but seeing as how those two albums contain the band’s best material, it can hardly be considered pandering.  The Buzzcocks took their show to the Trocadero, where they were met with immense excitement from their generation-spanning fanbase.

After two overly long sets from the opening bands, the Buzzcocks took the stage to deafening applause.  Because of the tour’s theme, everyone already knew what the setlist would be like, but there was still a rush of energy when each album’s standout tracks burst forth.  The band was quite loud, but the howling chorus of “Get On Our Own” could be heard resonating through the building.  Favorites like “I Don’t Mind” and “Autonomy” got the crowd bouncing around, but the concert was also a showcase for some of the Buzzcocks’ more unusual song structures.  Even on their debut, they were playing around with time signatures on “Sixteen” and getting experimental with “Moving Away From The Pulsebeat.”  As much as I love them, I’ll be the first to admit that Another Music and Love Bites aren’t too different, musically speaking.  Love Bites does, however, feature one of the Buzzcocks’ biggest songs, “Ever Fallen In Love,” which really got the audience into a frenzy.  After the set was finished, the band came back for a short encore of non-album singles from the two albums’ eras.  “What Do I Get,” “Love You More” and the infamous “Orgasm Addict” brought the night to a furious close.

Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle are both 55 years old.  Though they might look a little road-weary, they still played the hell out of their most beloved songs.  Shelley is the more focused frontman, while Diggle throws some of the more outlandish guitar poses.  Shelly’s high melodic voice and Diggle’s huskier burr contrast and complement each other like a classic double act.  Both men are still hopelessly devoted to playing their music; their passion is admirable and unfortunately sporadic amongst their reunited peers.  I was hoping for at least some selections from the band’s third album, 1979’s more adventurous A Different Kind Of Tension, but I can understand them wanting to adhere to the tour’s eponymous limitations.  The Buzzcocks are one of my favorite bands of the punk era, mostly because their songs weren’t typical to the attitudes of the time.  Instead of writing about anarchy, they wrote about love, found and lost.  Perhaps that’s why this tour, happening almost 35 years after the band’s formation, is so natural and enjoyable.  Nothing about the Buzzcocks’ music is dated, which is why it (like the band itself) has endured.

Click the picture at the top of this post to see more pictures of the Buzzcocks in concert!!

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~ by E. on May 19, 2010.

One Response to “Let Me Entertain You: Buzzcocks @ Trocadero 5.14.10”

  1. Based on your review, I have no doubt the show was entertaining, but at age 55, one should be yelling at punks to get off their lawn, not trying to convince your audience you are still one yourself.

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