LIVE REVIEW: Buzzcocks, The Cluny, Newcastle, Wednesday 18 December 2019
Having written some of the most iconic pop-punk of the last 40 years, it looked as though the tragic passing of vocalist Pete Shelley late last year had brought down the final curtain on the career of a much-revered band.
After one last hurrah at the Royal Albert Hall with a collection of special guest singers, including Richard Jobson of the Skids, The Damned’s Dave Vanian and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore – as well as the return of original members Steve Garvey and John Maher – the outpouring of love for the band was overwhelming.
And maybe this was instrumental in founder member Steve Diggle’s decision to carry on and fly the Buzzcocks flag.
Joined by long-time members Danny Farrant on drums and bassist Chris Remington, with Diggle taking on Shelley’s vocals, the new version of the Buzzcocks headed back out on the road to play a mix of classics, vintage cuts and even something new.
Kicking off with What Do I Get? and Fast Cars immediately won over any potential doubters, although judging by the euphoric reception there were few – if any – of those.
For the next hour and a half, it was pure Buzzcocks paradise, with Boredom, Autonomy and, making its first appearance in the set for almost 15 years, Speed Of Life, which kept long-standing fans pogoing like mad.
While Shelley’s name was praised on numerous occasions, this was more of a party than a wake, and while the band’s illustrious history was celebrated, there was also a glimpse of a bright future, with Gotta Get Better and Destination Zero from their forthcoming new single sounding every bit as vibrant as anything from their past.
Diggle looked visibly moved at the reaction his new Buzzcocks received, and rightly so. No doubt Shelley would approve of his decision to continue – after all, it was his band too.
A closing run of Promises, Orgasm Addict, Harmony In My Head and the evergreen Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) left a high-spirited crowd more than happy as they said a big welcome back to the Buzzcocks.