No, it wasn’t 1980 on Friday. But one of the best new wave/punk bands from that era, the Buzzcocks, were in Philly at the TLA, and your intrepid blogger was there. You might remember that I had messed up and actually bought tickets to two shows for the same night – hey, I didn’t check the calendar, ok? – and ended up choosing the Buzzcocks over Low Cut Connie. The logic was pretty simple: the Buzzcocks are getting older, may not tour again, and I love their music. LCC, on the other hand, is a Philly-based band that plays locally a fair amount. So I went with the “I may never see them again” approach. It was a good call.
Before the band came on, there was a DJ spinning vinyl and playing a lot of great tunes from the original punk/new wave era. It was great – he played songs by the Undertones, 999, Stiff Little Fingers, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls and many others. Can I hear some Sham 69, please? A fantastic way to set the stage for the main event.
The Buzzcocks were a great singles band – Singles Going Steady is a non-stop hit parade of songs, and if they had just come out and played that album, I would have been happy. They did play many tunes from SGS (What Do I Get; Ever Fallen in Love; Love You More; Harmony In My Head; Orgasm Addict; Autonomy; Noise Annoys), but also dipped into A Different Kind of Tension (Paradise; You Say You Don’t Love Me), which is also chock full of great tracks.
Pete Shelley has aged quite a lot, doesn’t dress as stylishly as he used to do back in the day (understatement of the year as you can see from the pictures), but is still in great voice. Steve Diggle has a big personality on stage, and also is in good voice. So the band sounded terrific. And they were clearly enjoying themselves and wanting to put on a great show.
We were close to the stage, but off to the side to avoid the moshing, which was pretty heavy duty. And unlike other shows, there was some throwing of full beer cups, and even some spitting, that was kind of different. (I’m hoping that difference remains isolated to this show.) Generally, the crowd was in good spirits and really liked the show. We did have a weird incident occur right by us – a guy totally collapsed and landed face first on the concrete after bouncing off of Helen. Apparently, it was his second fall of the night. It clearly was not drug or alcohol related – seemed like a health thing - but it was kind of concerning because it happened during one of my favorite songs. No, seriously, he left the show with his friend, and I hope that he is ok.
So here are some pictures. Check out the Pete Shelley outfit generally sported by suburban grandmas at the mall, and not rock ‘n rollers. And with that, I’ll entice you by saying that I saw another show on Wednesday night that was just incredibly badass. But you’ll have to check back shortly for that update. Trust me, it will be worth it. Have a good one!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.