Friday, 29 June 2012

Buzzcocks "Back To Front" live at Brixton Academy May 26th

I'm very late with these reviews as been busy concentrating on my gigs for TV Smith and The Members, but here's a little report and some photos of the Buzzcocks "Back To Front" gig at Brixton Academy. This was a music fan's dream concert - no rubbish support act, a classic line-up and a founding member returning for the first time. What a great concept. First of all the current Buzzcocks take the stage, the line-up still includes original members Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley along with Chris Remington and Danny Farrant. They play a set consisting of material recorded since their 1993 "come-back" album "Trade Test Transmissions". In fact, one of the tracks from that album, "Innocent" is a actually highlight of the whole evening for me, as is "Totally From The Heart" from the album "All Set". These albums easily match the classic line-up, they are strong with some songs that can stand beside their legendary "hits". I found "Modern" and "Buzzcocks" a bit disappointing as albums but they still each contain a handful of really strong stand-out tracks. Latest album "Flat Pack Philosophy", released in 2006, is however, a much stronger collection of songs, with a great powerful sound. The recent song-writing and singing duties are pretty much shared 50-50 between Diggle and Shelley these days, and newcomers to seeing the band live recently, and who remember Shelley to be the band's main front-man,  might be surprised that Diggle dominates procedings tonight. I think a fair percentage of the audience were there to see the classic line-up and Devoto but I am sure if they had thought the Buzzcocks had finished they can only have been impressed by some of the strong material of the new line-up.

Next up, it's the main act, and Diggle and Shelley are joined by drummer John Maher and super-cool bassist Steve Garvey. This is really what the crowd were waiting for and the band launch into a near perfect set-list of  classic songs from their first three albums "Another Music In A Different Kitchen", "Love Bites " and "A Different Kind of Tension". Then of course, there are those timeless, unbeatable 7" singles "Promises", "What Do I Get?" and "Ever Fallen In Love", the classics keep on coming. The crowd go crazy and as I'm trapped right at the front of the stage with bodies flying everywhere, they play "Sixteen Again" and I can't think of a more apt song for that moment in time!  The drumming of John Maher is particularly excellent, especially on "Pulsebeat", and Steve Garvey looks to be thoroughly enjoying this brief return to the spot-light. They end on a furious "Orgasm Addict" and leave to rapturous applause. Then it's the much anticipated "encore" and Howard Devoto appears to lead the band through the "Spiral Scratch E.P.". With a wry comment that the crowd should turn their hearing aids up a bit, he launches into "Breakdown", "Friends Of Mine", a brilliant "Time's Up" and of course "Boredom". There's a final chaotic cover of The Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself" and then it's all over and the exhausted and exhilarated audience file out, I am sure, totally satisfied.

So, hats off to the Buzzcocks for such a very special night. Here's some more photos of the gig:

Buzzcocks at Brixton
Pete Shelley
The "Classic" Buzzcocks line-up: Diggle, Maher, Garvey & Shelley
Steve Diggle
Howard Devoto appears for the "Spiral Scratch" E.P. encore

All Photographs copyright Steve Worrall Retro Man Blog 2012

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