To St. Albans then, to see The Buzzcocks. Big Andy was already there when I arrived at East's (or Steve's, if you prefer) for our 6.30 meet-up; U2 were on the DVD player and general jollity ensuing. Into the Andy-mobile and with a Jam bootleg for company we made it up to St. Albans in no time... which was just as well because when we got there Andy appeared to forget how to drive ('oh, they're traffic lights aren't they?') and none of us could work out how to find the gig. Eventually we found it- and what an excellent venue The Arena is. The first band were on when we arrived- I think they were called Age of Sin and I'm sure I heard one of them say that he had a 'day off school tomorrow'. Hmm... next up were Husk; our collective, one line revue- 'Husk- er, don't'.
9 o'clock and it's Buzzcocks time- Diggle with a pint of what I imagine was sparkling wine on top of his amplifier just waiting to fall off (it did), Shelley a little heavier that I remember him (mind you, who isn't?) and Tony Barber the archetypical punk bassist. Don't know the new drummer's name but he sounded fine. They started with 'You Tear Me Up' and 'Jerk' before a considerable number of what I assume were new songs. We're close enough to see the words STEVE DIGGLE written in felt pen on a piece of white gaffa tape stuck across the 'Marshall' logo on his amp- he's smiling a lot and winking at the girl in front of me (I hope!!). They sound great, just how they always did really. Most '2-guitar bands' work with the guitarists playing in different areas of the neck i.e. if they're playing say an 'A' chord one will play the open chord with the other playing a barred chord. Not so The Buzzcocks- much of their distinctiveness comes from the fact that Shelley and Diggle are both playing the same chord shapes much of the time. Interesting eh? Anyway things are really hotting up with 'Love You More', 'You say you don't love me' (someone really ought to do a cover version of that) and 'Moving Away from the Pulsebeat' when... they've gone. The audience is confused- where are all the singles? Suddenly a voice over the P.A. says something like 'this is a 2 set show, there will be an encore after the second set' so we all wander back into the bar.
10 minutes or so later and with little or no fanfare they're back with more unfamiliar material- Diggle sang one called 'Soul Survivor' which sounded pretty good but by now you got the feeling that most people wanted to hear something that they knew. Eventually we got our reward for being good- Diggle's into his third pint for 'Why She's a Girl from the Chainstore?' and he's getting madder and madder; East misses 'What Do I Get?' due to his umpteenth pint (!) and 'Fast Cars' sounds like it was written yesterday. By the time they encore with 'Harmony in my Head' and- of course!- 'Ever Fallen in Love...' they've won by miles; 'Orgasm Addict' finishes us (and them) off completely. Diggle's thrown his mikestand into Shelley's and jumped into the audience. If he'd grinned any wider the top of his head would have come off.
A great gig. Get a buzz, cock.