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- Posted on May 14th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Also, the venue was on police lockdown, due to a suspicious vehicle parked out front.
The intrigue began late in the Buzzcocks' 90-minute set, midway through the tune 'ESP,' when a roadie passed lead singer and guitarist Pete Shelley a note. Shelley asked if the owner of a four-door 1991 Olds Cutlass would kindly move his or her vehicle. He and his three bandmates then went back into their song, perhaps unaware of what the venue had posted on the TV monitors: the Olds was the subject of an investigation, and no one was permitted to leave until the matter was resolved.
It eventually was, as police, after evacuating much of Union Square, determined the car belonged to a landscaper who had driven to the concert with cans of gas in the backseat.
While the lack of panic inside the club was likely due to the jadedness of New Yorkers and the Fillmore's calm way of handling things, it was also a testament to the power of the Buzzcocks. If you have to be stuck in a room with a rock 'n' roll band, you can certainly do worse than these guys.
"First and second albums," Shelley said at the top of the set. "One, two, three, four..."
Just like that, the quartet was off, flooring it through 'Boredom,' the leadoff track on the second disc of a newly reissued version of its 1977 debut, 'Another Music in a Different Kitchen,' (on the original album, 'Fast Cars' is the first track). Shelley remains a master of snotty melodicism, and as he sang the "boredom, boredom, boredom" chorus, guitarist Steve Diggle wailed on his Rickenbacker with Pete Townshend-like theatricality. His mod-style shirt and haircut fit with the group's pop-art sonic attack, a version of punk every bit as vibrant as the one invented by its American counterparts, the Ramones.
The band lost its way with a handful of overlong songs and instrumental breakdowns -- the set-closing drum solo felt extremely out of place at a Buzzcocks show -- but the encore more than made up for it. After the big "whoa-ohs" of 'What Do I Get?' the group closed with 'Orgasm Addict,' a fast, awkward number about fast, awkward sex.
It's a catchy tune, the kind you can keep humming even as you're led down the back staircase of a nightclub and onto a city block partitioned with police tape and lined with gawkers. Despite recent bomb scares, the vibe outside bordered on festive. Everyone was having fun. No one, thankfully, had a blast.