Tonight, Thursday, November 30, one of the most influential bands of all time will appear right here in Philadelphia. What band, you ask? Could it be the Rolling Stones? Nope. The Who? Impossible. Nirvana? Of course not! The Beatles? Try heaven, because there’s no way in hell. The legends performing tonight at the Troc are the Buzzcocks.
So who are the Buzzcocks? The average person on the street has never heard of them. Despite this fact, much of the punk and pop music you hear today has roots in a sound the Buzzcocks perfected over twenty years ago. The Buzzcocks formed back in 1977. They became part of a new genre of music they were actively involved in creating. This genre became known as punk rock. The Buzzcocks, however, have never written or performed “typical” punk rock songs. Instead, they have molded amazing pieces of pop genius. In their UK homeland, they have cranked out a number of brilliant singles, although they were never as commercially successful in producing entire albums.
Their first EP, Spiral Scratch, was Britain’s first independent-label punk recording. Their first album, Love Bites, gained them well-deserved recognition. After this, the band embarked on many tours to preach their pop-punk gospel. They have also released many other albums and singles since then. A typical Buzzcocks song includes a combination of pulsating rhythms, scratchy guitars, and cynical lyrics about life and most of all love. The band has a way of touching a listener by invoking feelings about discouraging relationship situations. The songwriting combination of Pete Shelly and Steve Diggle is unmatched by the likes of most current bands.
The Buzzcocks broke up in 1981 and members persued various projects. The group could not stay apart too long, however. Less than a decade later, the band reunited. Trade Test Transmissions and All Set – two critically acclaimed post-reformation albums – proved that they still had what it takes to combine catchy melodies with poignant lyrics, unlike many bands that reunite only to produce albums that just aren’t up to par with their previous material.
The band’s most recent album, Modern, is just what the title states. It is not a retro rehashing of their old style. Instead, it is a new and fresh sound that can easily compete with the younger bands of today. The melodies and insightful lyrics that the band is so well known for are still there but with an edge unlike ever before. They delve into new arenas skillfully using electronic elements to enhance their already stellar songwriting. All in all, Modern is yet another great album by the Buzzcocks.
If you’re looking for something to do this Thursday evening, check out the Buzzcocks. The insatiable beat is guaranteed to cause widespread toe taping, head bobbing, and hip shaking. I do warn you, however, once you experience the infectious music of the Buzzcocks you will never go back.
BUZZCOCKS w/ Burning Airlines + the O. Thurs., Nov. 30, 7pm. $12.50. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE.