Back in December 2018 the music scene lost a true legend in Pete Shelley one of the founder members of Buzzcocks. It came as a shock to many as I'm sure it did the Buzzcocks band line up of Steve Diggle, Danny Farrant and Chris Remington. The band had played together since 2006 when Danny joined with Chris joining the band two years later in 2008 and they've recorded and gigged since then.
When Pete died Buzzcocks were faced with a choice, carry on or stop. Some fans said Buzzcocks without Pete would be nothing more than a tribute band, however as someone who has been fortunate enough to have followed this band since its very first gig in 1976, I was convinced the guys could carry on with Steve fronting the band and it would still be Buzzcocks. Let's face it, it's worked well enough for The Stranglers and Steve has been as integral to this band as Pete.
So in 2019 I went along to see the band perform at Prestons 53 Degrees then in Manchester at Gorilla the night after. Not surprisingly I was blown away by the bands performance, not only where they still Buzzcocks but they had a renewed energy that at times had been lacking, I felt Steve now had the freedom to really push the band forward, keen to write and release and play live new songs that Pete had sadly appeared to me at least lost interest in doing.
Some fans berated Steve and the band for carrying on without Pete, I say fans loosely as they hadn't even given him and the rest of the band that chance, but despite this negativity the band took the courageous decision to carry on. Even faced with COVID 19 and the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 the band have, I'm pleased to say, returned on top form as witnessed by all who saw their recent two sold out shows at Blackpool's Waterloo Music Bar.
Two evenings, two different set lists saw Buzzcocks deliver fine performances to sell out crowds on both nights as they romped through many of the classics that we have all come to love, and I'd especially call out 'Times Up' and 'Harmony In My Head' which were absolute belters.
The set also included the recent single 'Gotta Get Better' and 'Destination Zero' as well as a blistering new song called 'Senses Out Of Control' that will appear on their forthcoming new studio album that the band are working on.
I am so pleased Steve, Danny and Chris carried on and that they have also introduced Mani Perazzoli to the line up for live shows, Mani is a terrific guitarist and vocalist who you would think had been part of the line up for years he's so comfortable on stage with the other Buzzcocks.
Buzzcocks can now as I see it, move forward performing new songs with some of the Buzzcocks classics thrown into the live sets. Steve Diggle never had to prove to any of us that he has the talent and confidence to lead this band as he has done alongside Pete Shelley for many years but anyone who saw these recent gigs would testify that he's a great frontman, clearly misses his long term music partner Pete like we all do and while we all respect and love Pete's contribution to Buzzcocks it's now time to let this band evolve again because they are more than good enough to do just that.
Here's some of the photo I took at The Waterloo Music Bar 8th and 9th of August.
So it's a big two fingers to the doubter's and for the rest of us to go and watch the band at the earliest opportunity, Buzzcocks go out on a UK tour in March 2022 with tickets available now (Full details here). Go and see them, they deserve to succeed and have Buzzcocks fans continuing to support them.
Pete was fully behind Steve, Danny and Chris continuing as he considered retirement. He's probably looking down now convinced that was the right call and Buzzcocks are in safe hands with Steve at the helm.