By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Yet, Manchester's Buzzcocks were one of the last great singles bands out of post-punk England, when a full-length album wasn't nearly as important as its sporadically released parts. Thus, for the Buzzcocks (and the best cross-section of their canon is captured on the compilation Singles Going Steady), live shows might come easy. It's not so much about building atmospheric momentum -- what most bands today must do onstage to impress an album-obsessed audience -- as deliver bullet upon bullet of old favorites. The sounds and memories start over every three minutes, thrilling the attention-deficient and nostalgic alike, and even a bunch of pickled forty-somethings can pull off that kind of show, right?
The real hang-up here is twofold. For starters, the band has a fistful of new songs, as evident on its new release Modern, with which they will inevitably and insidiously bastardize the set. And the new songs sound, of course, like watered-down versions of their older, better songs. Egad. Old guys not only trying to convince an audience of the endurance of grand old singles, but also to convince them that spitting ire and whiney, punky angst can carry the band into a new phase of success. There's nothing more hollow and pathetic than grown men with beer bellies and crow's-feet trying to recapture their youth with, uh, new rehash.
The Lunachicks and Down By Law open
Ah, well. For those of us latecomers, sitting through a few patience-trying new tunes and overlooking beer bellies might be worth it. When the group launches into "Orgasm Addict," just close your eyes, picture them two decades younger, and soak up the microwaved glory of a great singles band.
ó Christina Rees