Sticking your middle finger up at everything seems a pretty tiring activity for someone in their late 50’s – so how on earth are punk legends, Buzzcocks still touring? The answer seems to be that they still find it pretty fun.
Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle casually strolled onto the stage at the start of the gig, joined by two, noticeably younger, accomplices. Although it is no longer the original line-up, the two most talented members remain. (Together, Shelley and Diggle wrote most of their magnum opus, ‘Singles Going Steady’).
Diggle then started strumming out the distinctive bass-line of ‘Boredom’, whilst excitedly grinning at the audience. Deveto, the shortly-lived frontman of the band up until 1977, supposedly wrote the early punk-song about being bored with the status quo of the time, but also about already getting bored of punk itself. It is hard to see boredom on the band’s faces as they played it; they looked more like they were just having a good time on stage.
The crowd gave a fairly enthusiastic response from the start; hands were in the air for a loud cheer at the end of each song. However, by halfway through the set onwards it was much more lively, the front of the crowd were constantly jumping around like a bunch of punks – old and young alike. Shelley remained lively on stage, but the main crowd-entertainer by far was Diggle. From start to finish he was pointing at the crowd, jumping around and throwing his guitar in the air. The other two members of the band certainly played a more background role – apart from Farrant’s drum solo halfway through the show they existed more as a ‘human backing-track’ for the original band members.
Their biggest hit as a band, ‘Ever Fallen in Love’, got a lively response from the crowd. However, the highlight of the night was ‘Orgasm Addict’, with Shelley giving stuttering orgasm impressions on stage whilst the audience chanted the words.
The humorous nature of the song, combined with its iconic punk-anthem status fitted well with how the band seemed to define themselves now – they did not come taking themselves too seriously. For most of the show Diggle seemed to be laughing and both him and Shelley were dressed fairly normally for their age.
Other rock legends like The Rolling Stones seem to want to cryogenically freeze the young band they once were and they could learn a lot from The Buzzcocks. Mick Jagger’s vocal style seems to have got more and more aggressive as time has gone on, like he is trying to physically fight off death. Shelley just sings as best as he still can- and to be honest it sounds pretty close to how it always did. There is actually something strangely punk in continuing to play as you get older, not really caring about your appearance and just doing it for the buzz.
…Ian has been listening to Wintersleep – Hello Hum…