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20 April 2003: The Buzzcocks - Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

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Here's to hoping. Hoping all day, and for the weeks leading up to the gig, that the Buzzcocks will play "Boredom". But, no chance. It's just not going to happen, especially with a new, just released, album to sell.

Then again, sometimes, dreams come true and, after fighting to get served (twice) at the (now renowned) sparsely staffed Rock City bar, and having just downed a triple vodka and orange, what happens? The lights dim, the Buzzcocks appear and, after a quick "hello" from Shelley, and a "one, two, three, four" from the drummer, launch straight into "boredom".

This was worth the price of the ticket, already!

I last saw the Buzzcocks on 8 December 1989 at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester and, nearly 14 years and a couple of reforms later, they are back with us pushing a new album. Apart from looking a little older and the understandable haircut change (Shelley, with his bleached spikey look, looks more of a punk now than ever) nothing has changed. They still peddle the same excellent show, with the same excellent songs. This is how a gig should be.

From the moment "boredom" began they barely stopped until they left the stage for the first time. Each track beginning as the previous one ended. The drummer starting the next by snapping his sticks together four times as the last chords crashed out from the previous number. "Boredom" Was followed by "Oh Shit", with the crowd bouncing around like they'd been waiting for the gig for years, and then (not necessarily in the order of the night) "Noise annoys", "Harmony in my head", "Sitting round at home", "You know you can't help it", "I don't mind", and "Just lust".

In fact, if you wanted to hear virtually any classic Buzzcocks song, they played it. Even "Breakdown" (off the Spiral Scratch EP) was present.

The band were in excellent form with Shelley smiling and laughing throughout, with his voice unchanged from twenty years ago, and Diggle waving his mike stand into the crowd on "Love you more" to get some audience vocals (Shelley - "Don't want to end up like a nine day wonder", Audience - "Oh..Oh..."). "Two little razor cuts"! Definitely!

Other tracks played in the main set were "autonomy" and "Something goes wrong again", plus loads of stuff which I assume was off the new album (all excellent), before they finished with the superb "I Believe". Classic stuff. The Buzzcocks began to leave the stage to very mild clapping, while people got their breath back, and then full on cheering as they disappeared from sight.

They came back on to treat us to some more and broke into "What do I get?", which shone like the true classic it is, followed by "Orgasm addict" (another unexpected track) and "Why she's a girl from the chainstore", before finishing with the proven classic "Ever fallen in love (with someone you shouldn't've)". Mind blowing.

There was nothing they could've done to improve the evening. An absolute classic gig and a true lesson in how to play live to almost every other band out there!

I wasn't going to buy the new album, because I didn't want to spoil the memories of what a great band the Buzzcocks were. I will now. Because they proved tonight that they are still one of the greatest bands around and every single song they played tonight stood out as an inspiration. A shining light of pure guitar melody and energy in the darkness of today's world of processed pop and manufactured monotony.

Forget going to see the "reformed" Paul McCartney, the Buzzcocks blow everything he's ever done off the stage! Buy a Buzzcocks ticket and album! Legendary! Arise Sir Pete Shelley!

Catch them while you still can!

(I wish I was going again tonight).

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