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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Buzzcocks/Lurkers - Glasgow ABC 2009

KelC was tired. Two twelve hour shifts back to back, a sleep on my couch, and then it was time for the train. Like Pulp said 'This is Hardcore'.
It was freezing outside, dark and felt like snow was threatening.
Oh how I long for the summer. I can't remember the last gig I went to that I didn't leave home and return in the dark.
Once we got to Glasgow we went for a quick bite to eat in a Subway. Nothing fancy, but it hit the spot.
The Subway is straight across the street from the venue and as it crept closer to seven I could see a queue starting to build up outside, but not a big line.
It didn't look that busy and I had a sinking feeling that it might be over reaching for the band to think they could fill the ABC1.
They did on the last tour, but that was akin to a reintroduction and the curious were out to see if they could still cut it.
The first time the NY Dolls played there it was filled to bursting to, but a little over a year later they struggled to fill a venue half the size.
This was what worried me. Had Shelley and Diggle burst the Buzzcocks bubble in Glasgow?
I was less concerned when we joined the line as there was a tout there looking to buy and sell tickets.
They never turn up at shows that have struggled to get bums on seats so his appearance was reassuring.
Inside it was warm and welcoming. The ABC is my favourite venue in Glasgow. It's a converted cinema with two places for bands. The ABC1 that the Buzzcocks are playing in is pretty big. As big as the legendary Barrowlands ballroom I suppose.
A wee tip for anyone attending is instead of standing at the main bar six deep and stretching over people just go into the small bar next to the cloakroom. It's got plush seats, it's rarely busy and has a large screen that you can watch the support band on if that takes your fancy.
The ABC2 is a club sized venue. Between the two they really have it covered.
Prior to the gig starting they were playing some ska tunes while the crowd slowly started to fill up the venue.
The majority of it was from the two tone label and had plenty of the Buzzers crowd smiling into their pints. It's all part of that whole nostalgia trip.
I checked out the merchandise and we got a couple of Buzzcocks t-shirts after going through a twenty question session about sizes.
It was all 'Have you got that in a medium?'
'No, but we have it in small and large'
'Do you have that one in a skinny fit size?'
'No, but we have it in a small mens'
KelC got one advertising this tour and I ended up with an Orgasm Addict one.
On hindsight I shouldn't have bothered as it's the last thing I need really, and it wasn't the one that I wanted.
If bands now live off of merch sales then Shelley, Diggle and co need to up their game a bit.
The lack of stock and limited options must be having an impact.
After that we wandered over to the Lurkers merch table.
It was night and day. Loads of t-shirts, albums, CDs, badges of loads of bands and a box of CDs with everything from Paul Weller to the Macc Lads in it. Now that's the way to do it.
Didn't buy anything, but had a chat with the guy running it. Nice fella.
He was saying that he road manages The Cute Lepers and had been trying to get the Buzzcocks support for them to no avail, and then coincidentally he got a call to do the Lurkers merch.
They have however got the Spanish dates with them so he wasn't complaining, just passing a comment.
(The Cute Lepers are going to be doing a tour after Rebellion and will be looking for promoters and venues. So I gave him the details of a guy in Glasgow that should be able to accommodate him.)
After that I bumped into Gerry Attrick, who was his usual enthusiastic self.
I'm sure he always forgets who I am even though we have ran into each other loads of times over the years.
It was just a quick hello, how ya doin'? though as it was around this point that The Lurkers came on.
They must be doing all right after back to back UK tours. First with Rancid and now with the Buzzcocks. Both draw completely different audiences so it's been good exposure for Arturo.
I didn't expect it, but the crowd were pleased enough to see them. A bit reticent to get jumping about though, but it didn't phase Arturo who maintained his bid for the 'nicest guy in punk' crown with some bantering between songs. Reminiscing about playing the Silver Thread Hotel in Paisley and dedicating a song to Gerry (Fire Exit) and the like.
It's the sort of thing that warms people to the band.
I don't think Arturo himself considers that they are doing anything groundbreaking, but on an entertainment level he scores high.
All in it was a pretty cohesive set covering old and new Lurkers material.
Their take on The New York Dolls classic 'Pills' was impressive, although the high point may have been the new song 'Come and reminisce'
It's nothing special as a studio track, but live it's a jaunty singalongapunk anthem in the making.
Well I thought so anyway.
It was funny when he introduced the guitarist and mentioned that he used to play for Penetration and Chelsea. It was meant as a compliment, but all I thought was 'there's a guy dropping down the rankings. What's next agadoo in a wedding band'
The Lurkers were over all too soon. I could have bopped about to them for another half hour at least. A short and sweet set that I'm sure rallied a few old fans back to the fold.
It was however the Buzzcocks night.
As soon as the Lurkers left the stage and the ska tunes were pumped back into the hall the crowd visibly swelled and when I looked around me I was surprised at just how busy it had got.
Befitting the age of the crowd it was all rather civilized, but there was still a current of excitement coursing through the hall.
Pent up middle aged angst anyone?
When they came on stage it was all business. Very little talk, just track after track being beaten into submission.
Earlier on in the evening I looked at the time and thought that we would be lucky to see the whole set of both albums, but as it progressed it was obvious that this wasn't going to be the case.
They were ripping their way through them. It wasn't overkill, or a hundred miles another. Just solidly relentless in pushing the songs out there.
I'm always surprised at how much like the Who they sound like. Not that I'm complaining. It's just that I seem to forget, and then when I slip on a CD, or see them live, then at some point during a portion of a song Daltrey and co will jump into my head.
In a live setting it's even more obvious with Diggle windmilling away like Townsend.
Similar to the last time I seen them, Diggle was the star. I love the guy.
Shelley holds it all together centrally, but Diggle is the rocker who is always turned up to eleven on the amps. His enthusiasm is infectious.
Often enough Shelley picks up the kudos whenever the band are discussed, but I just can't imagine them without Diggle. He's a huge part of who the band are.
KelC was suitably impressed, and there was no reason not to be.
She was bouncing about loving it. Another convert to the 'buzzers style of sharp pop punk.
I'd go as far as to say that this was the definitive Buzzcocks show. Two classic albums and a storming finale of classic tracks.
I could wrack my brains, but I can't think of one negative point really.
Its only January, but the benchmark has been set for 2009 and although I'm confident that I'll see plenty of other great performances it's going to be hard for many of them to beat this.
There. I've written that off the cuff while I sit her pre breakfast when all I was going to say was 'feckin' brilliant' and that would have done.

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