Wednesday, 21 January 2009

TLS Edinburgh Edition: Review: Buzzcocks & The Lurkers - Glasgow ABC - Monday 19th January, 2009

"This one was our first single" remarked Lurkers' front man Arturo Bassick, halfway through their support slot "I'd been playing bass about a week. 32 years later I'm not much better!"

A bit of self depreciation always endeared a band to me and at this point I realised why I'd braved the 45 miles and 60 minutes along the M8 on a Monday evening despite the snow and credit crunch. You can't beat a bit classic pub rock influenced punk rock.

The big man's bass playing had come on a bit since the summer of '77 however the addition of Dave Kemp on guitar, previously of personal favourites Penetration and Chelsea (the band- not the fancy dan millionaires who squeezed past the mighty Southend United in the FA Cup) gave the old Lurkers standards some fresh flair. The Lurkers do have newer songs and Dirty Harry is a particular amusing ditty. Their classic single Shadows also came over strongly however Arturo's stories were as entertaining as the songs and many of the audience could remember the hyperbole surrounding the banning of all punk gigs by City Of Glasgow council - funny how these seem innocent days now.

The Buzzcocks always draw a decent crowd - possibly influenced by the use of their name in the very contrived TV quiz show and tonight the "new school" mixed with the diehards from back in the day ... the two groups were indistinguishable apart from one clique being predominately fat, bald and dancing better to the reggae and two tone records that were played between the sets. (So why did Althea and Donna never do a follow up to Up Town Top Ranking?)

Like many punk bands playing the nostalgia circuit the song writing duo of Diggle and Shelley have been joined by a couple of young guys on drums and bass. On this occasion the stick man was doing the lion's share of the work. Their tour is billed as "Another Bites - where we'll be playing our first two albums - Another Music In A Different Kitchen and Love Bites - in their entirety + other hits!" Yup, they kept there word however in places Pete Shelley struggled with the vocals - particularly on the faster numbers. Perhaps difficult for me to be impressed as I always found tracks like Harmony In My Head where The Diggle sings are my favourite anyway . Still all the favourites got battered out and tracks like Noise annoys and Autonomy were very well received. I bet however when Pete Shelley wrote Nostalgia in 1978 he didn't expect to be playing it thirty years later.

Nonetheless as well as allowing some old punks a night away from their fortysomething lifestyles, the night would be judged a success as the young team pogo'd and moshed their way through the set. Arturo summed it up nicely for me "We kept it simple - some of the bass lines by these new punk bands are so complicated they sound like Yes!"


Written by Ian Campbell (The Great)


Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the Buzzcocks open for a Nirvana concert in Toulouse quite a few years ago. They has some good energy, but the Nirvana crowd and the Buzzcock fans didn't mix very well - actually, after the Buzzcocks finished most of their fans just left the venue rather than sit than having to sit through a grunge band. I think most of the grungers (including myself) were relieved at the time though as they were to scared to mosh with the leather-clad Buzzcock fans.

Anonymous said...

The Lurkers guitar player for this Buzzcocks tour was Billy Gilbert & not Dave Kemp. Mr. Kemp couldn't do it due to work commitments & Mr. Gilbert (who had prevously played with the Lurks for a couple of years & now has his own power-pop band 'The Tonighters') was drafted in at the last moment!!

chalky said...

Thanks for the update

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