Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Tue 22 Mar
“Good evening. How are you? Alright?” Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Buzzcocks time. Steve Diggle looks like he’s up for it, while the modern-day Pete Shelley looks slightly more relaxed than his fellow guitarist. Once the music starts, it’s like they’ve never been away. The band goes back to the beginning, to the Spiral Scratch EP and delivers a rocking version of Boredom. What follows is a procession of great numbers from back in the day. It is difficult to single any individual tunes out, as it is a consistently solid performance of everyone’s favourites. I Don’t Mind sounds as fresh today as it did when it was released, and the blending of the voices in People Are Strange Machines aptly demonstrates that there’s a lot more to Buzzcocks than your run-of-the-mill punk and disorderly noise. There’s not much chat coming from the stage; the band is serving up wall-to-wall classics, some of which seem to pass by in little more than a heartbeat.
Chris Remington (bass) and Danny Farrant (drums) provide a fantastic rhythm section. And, over the top, you have the unique guitar sound of the band. The trademark two-note guitar solos are present, and there’s much more besides. Diggle’s voice is strong, and he throws mad guitar shapes around like nobody’s business. Shelley’s characteristic vocals couldn’t ever be mistaken for anyone else. The overall sound is loud without being ear-shattering.
The vaguely intimidating riff of Nothing Left is embraced by the crowd, especially when joined by the ringing lead solo and crashing drums. It’s getting a little bouncy up at the front. This is only encouraged by the extended jungle-drumming of Moving Away From The Pulsebeat. A fast and frantic Noise Annoys indicates the band is feeding off the audience energy.
The concert is just on an hour old when the quartet surprisingly bids the audience farewell. No-one believes it’s the end, though – there are still some numbers that demand to be heard. Sure enough, without much of a delay, the band members return and launch into the expected triumphant trifecta of What Do I Get?, Orgasm Addict and Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve). The icing on the cake comes in the form of a singalong; urged on by Diggle, the crowd forms a punk choir and sings the refrain from the anthemic Harmony In My Head. It’s all over too soon but no-one would deny that the gig has been an enjoyable ride.
This writer has seen loads of fab gigs hosted by The Gov in recent times. Long may it continue – Bravo Buzzcocks!
Image courtesy of Billy Graves