Much has been written about re-formed bands, or bands that are frankly past their sell-by dates, playing gigs that feel out of touch or irrelevant. Buzzcocks‘ only night at The Liquid Room leaves any such accusations at the door. An infectious excitement builds and ripples through this nearly sold out event, with the show’s opening as eagerly anticipated as any modern act fresh on the circuit.
Warming things up are support act Dirt Box Disco, who hold their own despite playing to a crowd predominantly made up of die-hard Buzzcocks fans. It’s a very different kind of performance, but an ideal lead into the headliners nonetheless.
Buzzcocks assuredly take to the stage as one of the most commercially successful bands to emerge from the punk era. Their attitude and spirit soon allow the baying crowd to see past both the band’s age and, in some cases, their own.
Opening with a fast-paced selection of their classics including Boredom and Fast Cars, the sound is as exciting as ever. There’s no idle chat, or reminiscing about old times, just a straight punk gig with more energy than is often witnessed from emerging bands. It’s refreshing to see this passion in Edinburgh, a town little known for its music scene.
As with a long married couple there is compromise in action between core members Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, each taking a turn. Shelley’s opening gives way to a showcasing of newer material, some from their new album The Way. When Diggle takes his turn on lead vocals, and falls into some self-indulgent guitar solos, even the most hardened of fans’ enthusiasm wavers.
But wearing the wry smile of a man holding all the cards, Shelley returns to the limelight and, with his high-pitched vocals, bounds back into old favourites. The crowd are prompted into a rousing chorus of What Do I Get? as the band shine once more. Drummer Danny Farrant and bass player Chris Remington gel perfectly with Diggle and Shelley to create the rapid-fire sound the group are famous for.
With an encore of Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) and Orgasm Addict, the night rounds off by showcasing the levels of talent and passion anticipated from the start. Buzzcocks know exactly what they’re doing, guiding the stream of songs through old and new with the smitten audience effortlessly carried in tow. The reward for every member of the crowd is a resurfacing of that feeling they had when punk was born, with the chance to fall in love with Buzzcocks all over again.