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DO MIND THE BUZZCOCKS
By DH.04 March 2005

The Buzzcocks? You might have heard of them. Anyway they're playing Middleton Civic Centre on Friday 11th March with support from Ari Up (of The Slits - you may have heard of them too) and 999.

You still need a biography? Ok then...

Buzzcocks

If impact and influence are true measures of a band's lasting greatness, Manchester's legendary Buzzcocks should already be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Three bands from the now mythical 1976/77 British punk explosion set the benchmarks for everything that was to follow - Sex Pistols, the Clash and Buzzcocks. Practically inventing the independent record scene with their seminal self-financed EP Spiral Scratch, Buzzcocks instantly forged a unique relationship with their public.

The band went on to break away from the Pistol's anarchy and the Clash's overt politicism, signing to United Artists on the day Elvis died and producing a string of hit singles that welded high-octane guitar, bass and drum power with heartrending personal statements of love won and lost or dismay at the modern world.

Three classic albums - Another Music in a Different Kitchen, Love Bites, and A Different Kind of Tension - were released in '78/79, charting the progress of a band on top form and not afraid to mix the experimental with the instant or of being constrained by their punk rock roots. In 1981, in the process of preparing their fourth studio album, the Buzzcocks machine went off the rails. The band split.
Throughout the 80s rumours that Buzzcocks were to reform were common. In 1989, these rumours became fact. The band reformed for a world tour. The public - or in Buzzcocks lore, the Secret Public - were still waiting. In 1993, a new line-up, fronted by original songwriters Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle and joined by new rhythm section Tony Barber (bass) and Phil Barker (drums), produced the critically acclaimed Trade Test Transmissions album and the game was on again. In the meantime, waves of musicians had tried the Buzzcocks methodology and made their own variations of it. Most were generous in their thanks to the band who started it all. All Set (1996) and Modern (1999) reaffirmed Buzzcocks' position as a band deeply loved and revered by a global audience, simultaneously true to their original ideals and open to new ideas.

Those impressed by the current generation of 'punk' bands would do well to spend an afternoon with Buzzcocks' seminal pop treasure Singles Going Steady. This 1979 compilation on IRS of their first UK Top 40 hits is a classic album in every sense, an astounding collection of stunning moments such as “Orgasm Addict,” “What Do I Get?,” and the anthemic “Harmony In My Head.” These songs have been covered by dozens of groups in many styles, a testament to the originals' strengths not as slices of punk rock history but as examples of songwriting craft. In recent times The Offspring, Anti-Flag and Ash have all covered Buzzcocks songs.

Buzzcocks are the true godfathers of punk-pop, having laid down an infinitely superior archetype. The band is unfazed by their explosive impact on younger bands, both famous and underground, from pop to punk and all in between.

In September, 2002, at KROQ/Levi's Inland Invasion 2, Buzzcocks played a blistering set in front of 60,000 fans who were there to see them and headliners Sex Pistols along with The Damned, The Offspring, X, The Distillers, and many more.

Their new album promises to provide a learning experience yet again for many a would-be punk-pop outfit. With superlative production by Tony Barber, the band has a recorded product that matches their live prowess. Songs such as “Keep On,” “Friends,” “Sick City Sometimes,” and “Useless” demonstrate unparalleled passion and power framed in typically catchy pop melodies.

Buzzcocks are a group with a past, present, and future. It is a history the group's members could never have imagined back in the hot punk rock summer of '76. Says Pete Shelley: "Looking back on it now, what's going on is like echoes of the Big Bang. You look around you in society and the culture; so many things would not have been the same if there never was punk rock. It's strange; it's like a science fiction novel. But to us at the time, it just sprung naturally."
They're still doing it, better than anyone. Sometimes the archetype is clearly the best

Ari-Up (The Slits)

The Slits, fronted by Ari Up…the most influential all girl punk band from the punk era, they were loud brash bold and unrepentant...they never compromised their image or stance...and inspired loads of women to pick up a guitar and form a band...
Ari-Up has toured with the Clash and the Sex Pistols which goes without saying since she is the step-daughter of Johnny Rotten and was taught to play guitar by Joe Strummer.
Ari was 15 when the Slits embarked on the White Riot Tour of 1977 (Silver Jubilee year) with The Clash and also recorded sessions for the late great John Peel's influential radio show.
Being listed as one of Kurt Cobains favourite bands and personally being asked to appear on Morrissey’s "Meltdown Festival" this year at The Royal festival Hall, London, the original true punky reggae artist, Ari-Up’s distinguished career precedes her.
Not only did she open the doors to the genre of girl punk, Both SPIN and ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE have noted Ari and The Slits’ "Cut" album as one of the most important records in the punk movement.

999

Formed by Nick Cash ex Kilburn and The High roads with Ian Dury They should have been bigger. Originally formed in 1977 and called 48 Hours ( changed after the Clash had a song with the same title) they changed to 999.
"Loud and brash, they demanded to be heard. Armed with a cluster of vibrant and challenging songs they quickly established themselves on the burgeoning live circuit. Entering the studio in July 1977 they recorded their first single, "I'm Alive/Quite Disappointing", an auspicious debut which captured the very essence of the era. Released the following month, all 10,000 copies of the single (on Labritain) sold out within weeks.
Intense record company interest followed and 999 signed to United Artists Records. Their first single for their new label was "Nasty Nasty", a scathing attack on mindless violence. A truly distinctive style continued to evolve, with the release in January 1978 of "Emergency". An exceptional song by any standards, it was joined by material of the same quality when their eponymous debut album "999" was released. The album's opening track and subsequent single "Me and My Desire" displayed a more measured approach and delivery than that which had been used previously and added a new intensity to their music.

Buzzcocks + Ari-Up (The Slits) + 999
Fri 11th March
Middleton Civic Centre, Manchester
Tickets £15 adv

Venue Box Office Tel: 0161 643 2389
Ticketline / 0161 832 1111

Doors 7.30pm


Resources:
The Buzzcocks
Ari-Up

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