I arrived at the venue early, half an hour early to be precise but there was no hassle getting my ticket so I just strolled on through into the big room and looked up at the stage. I was one of the first in there, made to feel tiny when faced with the open space around me. I decided it was best to go to the bar and get myself a beer, so I did.
When I came back I became a mere witness to the crowd as they poured in filling the room alike the waves that fill the beaches. They were a peculiar crowd. The plastic punks of yesterday trying to reinvent their pasts at this trifling convention of the middle aged. Punk is a dying breed but for god sake if you missed your chance the first to around do not try and catch it again. I do wonder how the true punks feel nowadays as they have to watch these boring replicas of them sharing the same camouflage that they once wore. Anyway, I’m getting carried away…
Support band David R Black came on stage with a load of confidence. They were set up and ready to go, so they did. They were incredibly tight and the sound was close to immaculate. An attractive but strange thirty something woman kicked her feet in a frenzy whilst her phoney of a man stood tall wearing his doc martens and his leather and a Mohawk on his head. What utter facades of punk rock but they did cause me to ask myself two questions as I peered at them in their uncontrollable spurts of dance. What were they on? And where could I get some? I took a look around the entire room, now full to the brim, a little like a limbo for the middle aged. The whole crowd was dancing, or moving anyhow. They were all smashed out of their brains but they were still moving, so David R Black was certainly doing something right. To me David R Black were like journeymen boxers. Their art-form paid the bills but they will never be contenders for the big stuff. However there was a great vibe in the room and when the intro of the third song came in I just had to admire them. They created a sound for just a moment which was a crossbreed between Kate Bush and The Clash, which for anybody has got to be interesting. And then a few songs later they just strolled off the stage and became a slight memory to the crowd.
The atmosphere was hot in the room and I fell into a sweat. I turned around in a state of mild confusion – my ears buzzing from the sound of noise. The bulldog faced security guard marched up and down, left and right prowling towards any sort of inconvenience. ‘This aura of anticipation is intense’ I told myself, as I took a look around the room again. The crowd’s eyes just fixed upon the stage, upon the guitars, the bass and the drums and the banners just overhead, interminably waiting for that rush of power that Buzzcocks can instil. And then the anticipation erupted as Pete Shelley stormed on to a sincere applaud of thanks. This sudden explosion of cheers was the only sound that could be heard until the first violent prangs of ‘Boredom’ were forced into the eardrums of the audience. Entitled once, ‘The Beatles of Punk’ it is easy to see how you could for a moment believe this, but despite how electric and intense and violently beautiful their music was, they are still incomparable with The Beatles. When they kicked into ‘I don’t know what to do with my life’ I took a moment to turn around and look at the audience.Almost all of which were using their phones to take photographs and so and so. Do these people really like The Buzzcocks, or do they just like talking about them afterwards, muttering a casual ‘I seen them live’ at the local. I don’t know, but I did find humour watching the security guy fix his ear plugs as the noise just became too much.
At first I was a little sceptical about what they would be like – A couple of older guys trying to revitalise their youths but I was wrong, they managed to resurrect all that was great about punk rock music. I do think it was the lead guitar that made them so intriguing to me. It kept the songs interesting and heartfelt instead of just the distorted rumblings of a forty year old anger, nor was it just a repeat of what once was. However I think the Parr Hall was a wrong choice of venue for this sort of music. Of course they are now a bigger band than they used to be, but I do not believe punk music should be played in this sort of arena. It is meant for squalid and dirty bed rooms with a few amplifiers laid out on top of the wardrobes. As they played ‘Why can’t I touch it’ the crowd just lost control. A kid was on top of some of other kid’s shoulders singing every word in the midst of a swaying mosh pit whereas to my right was a drunken old woman dancing alike a post-apocalyptic blur of substance abuse. Quite like a wrinkled Stacia from Hawkwind. The Buzzcocks then left the stage and left the crowd squealing for more and more and more.
Banging and chanting alike the brutal audiences of the coliseums. And then Shelley walked onto the stage again stating a casual “we’re going to play Warrington again. You’s are all f**ing mental”… Which became evident through the next song when a guy literally just an elbow away from me slapped another guy on the head and as a result of a day out sipping beers it turned into a bloody brawl. Madness, beautiful madness. Until my old friend at security managed to seep his way through. He was dragged away as ‘Ever fallen in love’ was blasted aloud and without a pause afterwards they came straight in with ‘Orgasm Addict’.
The crowd did not know how to react. I did not know how to react. This music was and is as fantastic and as fresh as it was in 1977. They were like rough waves hitting rocks. Uncontrollably moving and operating and dancing. Until it finished and the inaudible cheers and chatter were unveiled as was the night.
(The thoughts of any reviewer is the sole opinion of themselves and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of [WAM])