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Sunday 19 Nov 2017

[@]The Buzzcocks Manchester Home Coming

Manchester’s first punk band celebrated their 40th anniversary with a homecoming gig, close to where it all began.

The Buzzcocks where the support group at the legendary Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (now the Raddison Edwardian Hotel) in 1976, a gig that has become so famous it featured in the film 24 Hour Party People.

That gig is something of misnomer, while hugely influential, hundreds and hundreds of people claimed to have seen it; whereas the venues capacity was about 150... The BBC looked into in 2006 and you can read the story here.

Riding high during the punk era, which actually didn’t last that long, their catalogue of ‘hits’, a word punks have traditionally despised although happy to take the money, are from 1978/79.

However their return to recording in the last 10 years or so has helped to keep the bands momentum and continues to please their fans.

Tonight The Buzzcocks are playing across the street in the newly refurbished Albert Hall which is just as grand with its huge pillars, vast circular seating and ornate stained glass windows.

Opening with Boredom, from their debut EP Spiral Scratch, their set felt like a favourite compilation tape.

Original members, Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, were joined by Chris Remington on bass and Danny Farrant on drums, providing an energetic and polished performance on hits such as ‘Promises’ and ‘Love You More’.

Not that Diggle, at 61, in a bright red shirt and white trousers, needed any help on the energy levels. He threw himself around the stage, swinging his arm above his head as he played guitar, looking like he might smash it up, Pete Townsend style.

Shelly, also 61, was more restrained, dressed all in black, as he delved into their impressive back catalogue without chatting to the audience but that’s fine. We don’t want him turning into John Lydon on butter adverts.

Although it could be argued that ‘What Do I Get?’ featuring on a fast food take-away’s advert has helped them reach a whole new younger audience. It certainly kicked off the moshing for the encore, followed by ‘Orgasm Addict’, ‘Ever Falling In Love’ and ‘Harmony In My Head’.

Buzzcocks have inspired so many bands, stories and a TV quiz show, that it is surprising they have not yet had a film of their own. However having released their ninth studio album The Way in 2014, fans are now hoping for a tenth.

Video: 'Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't 've' - Live At The Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester

By Debbie Manley for Unlock Manchester

Reviewed by on .

Rating: 4.5

Albert Hall Manchester

27 Peter Street
Manchester
M2 5QR