REVIEW: Reliving teenage angst with Buzzcocks

Buzzcocks
Buzzcocks

The band and audience may now be firmly ensconced in middle age, but the return of Buzzcocks to Nottingham’s Rock City gave everyone a chance to wallow back in teenage angst for one night only.

Frontman Pete Shelley’s tales of adolescence and heartbreak produced a string of hit singles for the band first time around and – despite his larger waist and receding hairline – every word still rings as true as it did when they were in the charts.

Guitarist Steve Diggle seems to be taking some sort of youth elixir as, despite his reputation for excess, he continues to look like the same scruffy, cheeky chap he was in their heyday and draws in the audience with his warmth and smiles.

In true punk rock style there was no grand entrance. The lights went down and the band shuffled on in silence until the audience spotted them.

Behind them was a backdrop of a brick wall with the band’s familiar logo and some graffiti of the band’s faces.

There was no banter between songs as there was little time and lots of angst to be done.

The song titles were simply announced and the band thundered through them.

The classics were all there, sprinkled in with a smattering of new material from 2014 album The Way which did not sound out of place at all and showed there’s life in the old dogs yet.

They exploded with a set-starting triple of Boredom, Fast Cars and I Don’t Mind before the first new songs – Keep on Believing and People Are Strange Machines – were aired.

Then it was back to the golden days with Autonomy and Whatever Happened To?

The 19-song main set was thundered through in an hour with some of the sparser than usual audience finally abandoning the notion of a school night to create a mini moshpit as the band ended with the bitter-sweet love song trio of Promises, Love You More and What Do I Get?

The night ended with a three-song encore of singles Harmony in my Head, the massive hit Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’tve)? and Orgasm Addict.

There were youngsters among the audience. But for many of the older ones, each song took them back to a time, a place and a relationship. A snapshot of their past lives.

Rhythm section Chris Remmington (bass) and Danny Farrant (drums) kept the night thundering along perfectly but were peripheral figures as it was Shelley and Diggle everyone had come to see.

Tellingly the night ended with just Shelley and Diggle bowing to to the crowd with their arms round each other.

JOHN LOMAS