I first heard The Buzzcocks in the fall of 1988, about seven years after the band broke up for the first time. James Harrington III, the only other real punk in a 20 mile radius from my suburban home, made me a mixtape introduction to punk music. He included the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fall in Love With Someone (you shouldn't have)" "What Do I Get?" and "Orgasm Addict." I danced around to those songs after doing the dishes every night for about a year. I never thought I would see them live. (Left: James Harrington III, after he became Jimmy Reject)
What I liked about the Buzzcocks was their music sounded so much like me. I had fallen in love over and over again--I had been obsessed with boys and sex. And Peter Shelley could whine about it! And it sounded great.
And then the other day I was playing them on rhapsody at work. There was a promo. The Buzzcocks were playing! And I could afford the tickets! At lunchtime I ate fast and took the Q to Union Square the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza in the City of New York City. (Why do we have to keep the Irving Plaza brand?)and bought tix so I would be sure to get in.
The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza is a large black box (1000 capacity) with balconies, and a large screen that hangs in front of the stage. They played The Clash and Jet and had some psychedelic eye-candy.
The Dollyrots opened, but people were hungry for Buzzcocks! The place was packed. 50 year olds in suits were shoulder to shoulder with 20-year-old retro punks with purple hair.Bearded college kids were shoulder to shoulder with 30-year-old plumber-types who were shoulder to shoulder with, well, me.
At 10:15, Pete Shelley said, "The first two albums! 1-2-3-4," and the mosh pit full of 30-50 year olds began with fullblown slamdancing and smashing. The silent Irish plumber next to me and I held the line and pushed people back into the mosh pit. And then the 40-year-old crowd surfing began.
I think Steve Diggle really got off on the action, because his energy rose higher and higher consistently during the hour and 3/4 show. A great time was had by all. Even the musicians. I hope.
The Buzzcocks today. (Left to right) Steve Diggle on lead guitar; Danny Farrant, kid drummer; Chris Remington tall, silent bassplayer; Pete Shelley, love-lorn singer.