Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Pop punk pioneers run down through the hits

In the late 70s the Buzzcocks took the punk rock sneer and turned it into arch melodic pop, becoming chart regulars in that brief but glorious interregnum between New Wave and flaccid New Romanticism.

Frontman Pete Shelley's slightly camp delivery paved the way for the likes of Morrissey, The Stone Roses, and Oasis, while over in Derry the Undertones were taking furious notes.

They promised a complete run through their classic first two albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen, and Love Bites, great for punk anthropologists like me, but perhaps too limiting for the merely curious.

First of all, bad cess to the idiot who switched the venue from the Mandela Hall to the acoustics hell of the Speakeasy.

This meant that it took several songs for the Buzzcocks to click with the audience, Steve Diggle's Autonomy in fact.

But that was OK because Diggle was the star of the evening, in his polka dot shirt and ever present grin, he carried the day with acoustic ballad Love is Life and the storming closer Harmony in my Head.

The evening was a question of getting better as it went on with the peerless Ever Fallen in Love, a highlight.

Unlike recent 80s revenants The Buzzcocks have never really gone away.

If there was ever a danger of them becoming their own tribute band it was dispelled by an encore of their best singles, ageless and golden nuggets like Love You More and Everybody's Happy Nowadays.

MICHAEL CONAGHAN

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