Saturday, 6 April 2013

Buzzcocks Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Gig Review

Gig ticket and 50p merchandise
So an impulse purchase - driven by Songkick, the revolutionary website tempting me to gigs daily led me to the Slade Rooms tonight. This impulse was all centred around various dipping in and out of Buzzcocks tunes over the years, from hearing them on Radcliffe and Maconie on a fairly regular basis (11 appearances on the Chain and counting) to record fairs, bargain compilation CD's but realistically to one song - Ever Fallen in Love.

I would love to claim (at 7) that I had fallen in love with the song in the Punk days, but I came to the song in the eighties through the Fine Young Cannibals cover, who were a fine band with whom I had a brief obsession. Listening back to the song it sounds quite pedestrian now, distinctive vocals from Roland Gift, but nothing more. But the song had got into my DNA.

Not sure when Buzzcocks came to the surface, but this is the version of the song that I leap to first in my mind, clicks up a pace, raw emotional, heart breaking, reflecting on a situation of young love. Blistering 3 minutes and 54 seconds. This probably surfaced again radically when, having heard about John Peels death a rerelease was made of the song with a cracking video reflecting on what Peely had meant to countless generations of music lovers. Now I had not sat under the covers listening to John Peels show back in my adolescence, but later, when Indie came to my life at Uni, his programmes, with their friendly enthusiastic approach suddenly made huge amounts of sense, and his later championing of bands like Pulp, Blur and the White Stripes aligned him to my colours.

The fantastic video is as below:

So it was largely this song that got me to part with the £18.00 plus all manner of booking fees and charges and to head over to Wolverhampton again. I was buoyed by the news from twitter that Bleech were supporting and the timings that were announced which got me to Slade rooms bright and breezy, missing bedtime story time with my boy in the process. Sadly on reaching the Slade rooms it turned out that Twitter had exaggerated the show times by half an hour (so I could have relaxed) and also Bleech were not the band Bleeched (who have a cracking single out at the moment) but a more grungey band, although I found I did have an album of theirs on the ipod so it wasn't all a loss.

With half an hour to spare I reviewed the best merchandise stall I have seen in a long time, T Shirts, Totes, Vinyl, badges catering for the crowd. This was a good point because its rare in this day and age that I see a crowd that that looks so tribal, but here we definitely had a huge number of 'ageing punks' with a number of Mohicans one indeed a red dredd mohican!

The venue filled up, to what is probably the fullest I have seen it in this 550 capacity venue, in fact my ticket was number 460 so it can't have been much off its capacity. Bleech gave an entertaining show, a couple of memorable numbers. The lead singer, be-hatted was pretty impressive, twirling her guitar with all enthusiastic rock posturing but then noticing the tiny hands producing the noise was a bit odd. The Drummer centre stage gave a good impression of Andrew WK with his moshing head action and stand out moment was in the final song 'Mondays' when getting to the end the lead singer screamed out 'Who's out there' to the silent audience (silent I believe due to the intensity rather than apathy, as everyone wasn't chatting) only for one wag to say pardon, another to say in broad yorkshire accent go on lass, to which a big beam broke across the face of Bleech and she came enthusiastically to an end of the set.

Listening back to the album nude now - its not a bad listen at all, I will have to revisit this one, must have passed me by at the time.

Another half an hour, refilled redstripe, accompanied by some of the most enthusiastic drumming checking of equipment. On shuffled the band, Pete Shelley in yellow sloganeered shirt, untucked around a medicine ball of a stomach. Steve Diggle tall with mod haircut, bright blue shirt and grey slacks. They were a band that looked chuffed to be there, heading off into a set with Boredom, Pete leading, which captured the crowd straight away, a crowd in the hottest venue in the UK at the moment. I had forgotten what heat felt like this winter/spring. Shortly after this came Autonomy, lead duties over to Diggle, enthusiasm ensued, whirling Who guitar arms and big beaming face (I did get quite a lot of Phil Tuffnell look alike vibes). That was the order of the gig, no banter, blistering tune after tune, band loved by audience, providing the songs that were desired. An hour later they wandered off, much applause, wandered back finishing with 4 songs, the last 3 being 'Ever Fallen in Love' which fulfilled my ambition, Orgasm Addict and Oh Shit!

At the end, the band didn't want to leave, Diggle shaking hands & hugging every member of the front row, the sundry members of the band lapping up the applause. For me, brilliant to see such a legendary band performing such a legendary song.

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