Show Review: Buzzcocks 18.04.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 25.04.13 | Issue # 335



Having weaved their way onto an impressive amount of shows this year, openers The Coalminers Sect were a familiar name to many. The benefits of playing together so often were clear, and the five-piece were in fine form.

When preparing an audience for one of the world’s most iconic punk bands, there’s little room for a sloppy or unconvincing stage presence. Who better to represent the best blues rock Perth has to offer than “lowdown jungle stomp” three-piece The Floors. In a short, sharp set, the talented three-piece gave punters who only climb out of the woodworks for international acts a reason to pick up a local gig guide.

A diverse crowd, most of who were still grasping onto the ‘80s, were ready to drink themselves stupid, scream until their voices gave way and do some damage to their hearing. Buzzcocks frontmen Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle may be pushing 60, but from the first pop-infused screaming leads of Boredom they made the efforts of most punk bands today look pathetic.

Much like major labels riding off their back catalogue, Buzzcocks are still touring the world on the tidal wave their ‘70s and ‘80s hits incited. With no new album since 1986’s Heaven And The Sea, there were no concerns of the band flooding the set with new material. Because, really, there are few who would want to hear new material when the band have such an impeccable back catalogue. Sick City, You Say You Don’t Love Me, I Don’t Mind – it’s easy to forget just how many hits the band has.

While Shelley and Diggie have remained the foundation of the band for the better part of its existence, Buzzcocks have had a ridiculous amount of bassists and drummers. Currently riding with bassist Chris Remmington and drummer Danny Farrant, they were tighter than ever. Musically, the new(ish) rhythm section were tight. It was their stage presence that fell short – Remmington looking like a nervous teenager most of the set.

While Shelley’s unmistakable voice was upfront most of the time, it was Diggle’s guitar-wielding, crowd-saluting manor that took control. But in the end it was when their voices united did they really shine. They fitted together perfectly – Shelley taking control of the higher end of the spectrum and Diggle filling out lower frequencies.

When a band like Buzzcocks walk offstage and they haven’t played their biggest hit – a song many would have paid admittance just to see – there’s not one second of doubt about an encore. With little to no talking to the crowd throughout their whole set, they resurfaced and played a blended mash of Harmony In My Head, Ever Fallen In Love, and Orgasm Addict.

With Shelley and Diggie fast approaching 60, there’s only so long they’ll be able to keep such high-energy performances up, but for now, Buzzcocks are still one of the frontrunners of punk, and have impressive and classic live energy.

Daniel Cribb