Never Mind The Buzzcocks!Posted November 9th, 2009 At 5:38 am By MTV ASIA
TEXT: LENNAT MAK
June 4, 1976. Teenagers Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto invited the Sex Pistols to play at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. The gig went on to be one of the most influential gigs of all time. Among the 40-odd strong audience were the future of punk and rock ‘n’ roll who, inspired by Johnny Rotten and co., went on to form bands and influenced a whole lot of modern bands in the years to come. And the attendees in question? Morrissey, who went on to form The Smiths. Mark E. Smith, who formed The Fall. Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook formed Joy Division. Tony Wilson, who was there with his wife Lindsay Reade, went on to form Factory Records, opened Hacienda and was the impresario responsible for the whole “Madchester” rave era of New Order, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, James, The Charlatans, to name a few.
Depicted by films such as 24 Hour Party People and Control, the cultural and musical impact of “Madchester” simply refuses to budge from the spotlight because of its rich lineage. And it just makes such a damn good story that bears repeating. Can you imagine if Shelley and Devoto didn’t organize the gig? Other than kickstarting the “Madchester” music tree because of the gig they organized, Shelley and Devoto also formed Buzzcocks, one of the most seminal bands to emerge from the punk explosion of ’77. Their three-chord punk anthems of adolescence and teenage love, as immortalized in songs such as “Orgasm Addict” and “What Do I Get,” became the blueprint for the later generations of punk rock such as Green Day.
In 1992, Buzzcocks made their first foray into Singapore with a blistering set at the Singapore Labour Foundation Auditorium. Our very own Stompin’ Ground and The Oddfellows did the supporting honors. Says Patrick Chng, founder of The Oddfellows who’s now running Walk On Music, of the gig, “I believe it was May 7, 1992 because the band was having a little birthday celebration for Steve Diggle backstage. Stompin’ Ground and The Oddfellows were the support acts. We came on after Stompin’ Ground and while we were waiting our turn, I bumped into Pete Shelley backstage. Got the band to autograph my Buzzcocks CD. They were one of the biggest influences in the early days of The Oddfellows along with The Undertones, REM and The Replacements so it was really nice to have met my heroes.”
Now 17 years later, Buzzcocks, with original members Pete Shelley (vocals) and Steve Diggle (guitar) and new additions Chris Remington (bass) and Danny Farrant (drums), are coming back in town to kick out the jams. It would be YOUR honor to be able catch them live and watch and learn how punk rock is really being done. To quote filmmaker Jim Jarmusch in the 2005 documentary Punk: Attitude that’s directed by Don Letts, “People get too complacent. And the fight against that complacency is punk rock.” You wouldn’t want to get complacent now, do you?
The opening acts for the Singapore leg this time are Abuse The Youth from Thailand and ETC, who are based in Singapore. Abuse The Youth have been diligently returning to the Lion City for the past couple of years and have recently released their debut album, Under Skin, on Mind The Gap Records (check out their single, “Way Out“). And make no mistake. The trio are fast and furious, as propelled by the female drummer, Ju. Now she may be diminutive in size, but the girl is a mammoth beast on the kit and an absolute delight to watch live.
And for those familiar with the history of the Singapore local scene, ETC is no stranger. Fronted by Ben Harrison, the “psycho-pop” outfit has always done their own thing. I used to drum for the band (ETC is one of those bands who has a revolving line-up over the years) and it was a great rock ‘n’ roll boot camp where I learnt all about Richard Hell, Suicide, Neu!, Sonic Youth, etc. If it’s any person who knows their punk, Harrison would be one of them.
Gig details as follows:
BUZZCOCKS – Live In Singapore
Date: November 27, 2009
Time: 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Supporting acts: Abuse The Youth (Thailand) and ETC (Singapore)
Tickets: $39 (early bird), $49 (prior to show day), $55 (at-the-door). Prices exclude booking fees. Tickets are available at Tickets.com.