First up I must confess I’m a Buzzcocks tragic from way back. Been in Adelaide for 10 years now and this is the fourth time I’ve seen them, plus once in '92 in Melbourne. So the title Buzzcocks Tragic sounds good to me.
Rocked up to the Palace in time to see The Stems. Dom, Ash et al nailed it, with just the right mixture of volume, stage presence, and of course, great songs. They make it look easy, but that's due to starting a long time ago, and continuing to keep us happy, due to the "lerv" of the music they play, and those pesky bills. Spied Compleat Angler shop owner Chris Baty in the crowd next to me, without his customary fishing tackle in- hand - so I knew I was close to the bar.
In a wired world of passing trends, the Buzzcocks remain a comforting constant. One of the best of the first wave of UK punk, the original band plied their singularly melodic, buzzsaw trade from 1976 to 1981, disappeared and resurfaced in re-tooled form eight years later. They’ve been going strong since then, with two early line-up members intact.
Original UK punk act the Buzzcocks kick-off their 40th Birthday celebrations this March with a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The stars of Dig it Up! 2013 return for the Golden Plains Festival plus headline shows across most capitols. Guests include HITS and Ausmuteants.
Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto formed Buzzcocks in Bolton in February 1976. The band, completed by the addition of Steve Diggle and John Maher, opened for the Sex Pistols in Manchester on July 20th, a follow up to the now (in)famous Lesser Free Trade Hall gig which Devoto and Shelley had organised the month before.
The first overseas signing for soon-to-be famous label Sub Pop, championed by Jello Biafra and Greg Shaw, and one of the few French bands to tour relentlessly around the USA, Les Thugs deserved to be more than a blip on the world’s music radar.
You could go broke collecting the back catalogue of Les Thugs. It’s all out of print and the rarest of it fetches biggish money on eBay. The band lasted from 1983-99 and bounced around on various labels. This album is their 10th and documents a show on their farewell tour of their homeland.
The sound of Les Thugs – named for the 12th Century Indian brotherhood of the ThuggeeThuggee who used to kill the rich for their money, not your standard bovver boys - is a few steps removed from their punk rock beginnings when they were formed, DIY-style, by brothers Eric and Christophe Sourice. It’s dense and intense, two guitars with enveloping harmonics and textured bass-lines.
I'm gonna be as objective as I can. I loved the Buzzcocks. I mean, I'm not alone. Everyone loved them, didn't they?
Okay. I came in at the beginning, heard their journey, was delighted by their first two LPs, their singles, then... that third LP which initially bewildered me, but I grew to love better than the other two. Except, of course, the compilation, “Singles Going Steady”.
Then, 42 years ago and five years after it all started (particularly with the “Spiral Scratch” EP, which unleashed the DIY independent music scene in the UK), came those three singles which sort of worked, but didn't quite. Something had changed. Because, you know, change happens.