Music snobs talk of ‘Best Of’ records with disdain. There is something to it. But at this point, if you don’t have some Buzzcocks in your collection, you are in luck. The #1 greatest ‘Best Of” record is all you need to please your music snob friends. But don’t buy Singles Going Steady for them. Fuck your friends. Get a copy of Singles Going Steady because it is perfect. It is there when you fall in love with the wrong person. It is there when you realize your camera has no memory card and you have to use the iPhone you so despise. It is there when you fry an egg and you ‘broke the yolk, no joke.’
The Buzzcocks played Slim’s Friday and sold the place out at $35 a pop. They deserve every cent. Pete Shelley walked on stage with a full grey beard, looking like Fidel Castro. Steve Diggle somehow doesn’t seem to age. The whole band is full of energy, but it’s Diggle that holds the lightning. He has his name in big sparkly letters on his amp and every chord he plays brings a different pose. There were fist bumps for every one in the front row, many of them during the songs, right between those magic chords.
Pete Shelley looking like Fidel Castro and sporting an Orgasm shirt en Español
“People Are Strange Machines” came from the brand new record, The Way, which was recorded with help from a successful Pledge Music fundraiser. The Buzzcocks had only one other US date on this tour (the very next night in Long Beach for The Ink N Iron Kustom Culture Festival – it looked like a damn good time). The Damned were there as was Merle Haggard, Ray Campi and Wanda Jackson.
Slim’s packed room was a sea of humanity–truly all ages. Crowd surfing began with “Autonomy.” A nice slam pit developed for most of the show and swirled most violently with the big hits. And the hits kept coming: “Hollow Inside,” “Why Can’t I Touch It?”, “I Don’t Know What to do with My Life,” “Something’s Gone Wrong Again,” “Promises,” all the way to “What Do I Get?” The encores included: “Harmony in My Head”, “Ever Fallen In Love (with Someone You Shouldn’t ‘ve)”, “Orgasm Addict,” and the perfect finale, “Oh, Shit.”
Having Doug Gillard was a very special treat. Although Slim’s fucked up the vocal mix, the guitar sounded great. His new album, Parade On, was just reviewed by our own Victor Valle. Doug closed his set with his 1997 guitar masterwork “I am a Tree” — one of the best GBV songs of all time. Incredibly, Guided By Voices will also be in town this week! (Wednesday at the Regency)
LA’s Images opened the evening. They’ve been making records since 2009. Their newest release The 60’s Sound II has lots of psychedelic goodness all over it, but somehow that didn’t come across at Slim’s. They sounded more punk, more pop, not necessarily a bad thing, people dug it and yelled out to know their name. Maybe it was in honor of the Buzzcocks, but this is California after all…hopefully next time they will trip it out for us; we can handle it.
Editor: An earlier version of this post improperly identified Steve Diggle as Steve Digger, and stated stated that Images are from New York, when they hail from Los Angeles.