U.K. punk legends the Buzzcocks are on tour supporting new deluxe reissues and performing two seminal 1978 albums in their sequential entirety. They played Peabody's on Friday.
Through the opening stretch of the first few songs from the first album, Another Music in a Different Kitchen, the performances felt a bit loose, but not scandalously sloppy. The longer the group played, the tighter and more spirited it became.
When the extended instrumental closing track from Different Kitchen rolled around, the Buzzcocks were in fine alignment. For the sophomore Love Bites album and the encore of classic single-sides (i.e. “Orgasm Addict,” “What Do I Get?”), the band was relentlessly on-target.
The Buzzcocks aesthetic doesn't leave much room for diverting from the original performances, so there really were no surprises for anyone familiar with those recordings. There were, of course, natural live nuances in delivery and emphasis, plus differences stemming from having only the core of Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle from the original LP sessions.
But this show was more about a timelessly great band celebrating with its fans than paving new creative ground. The boyishly thrilled Diggle and the more reserved Shelley both seemed to be exactly in the right place. Shelley exuded a comfortable confidence of having nothing to prove, preventing him from ever coming off like an oldies has-been.
The performances and lyrical content continued to ring true and authentic, so despite the show's unabashed nostalgic nature, it all still somehow felt reasonably “punk.”
A tasty blend of sweet and snarky, the L.A.-based Dollyrots were a nicely suited opening act. The power trio's Veruca Salt-esque grunge/punk girl-pop sustained high speeds while still holding tight to some complex compositional turns. The punchy instrumentation and vocal harmonies were also top-notch. —Michael David Toth