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Legendary Bolton punk band Buzzcocks will make a welcome return to Leeds this October. The band play the city’s o2 Academy on 8th October as part of a UK tour. The dates come in support of their ninth album ‘The Way’, which was released in May this year. The band, who came to prominence with ‘Orgasm Addict’ single in 1977, played the tastemakers’ festival Primavera Sound in May. Led by singer-songwriter Pete Shelley, the zippy punk rockers’ bubblegum hits are as forceful today as they ever were.
Buzzcocks are arguably the most important punk band in the UK, certainly in the north of England. Formed in Bolton in 1976 by Shelley and Howard Devoto (who would leave to form Magazine in 1977), Buzzcocks were inspired by The Sex Pistols. Shelley and Devoto (real names Peter McNeish and Howard Trafford) met and began playing music together in 1975. After reading a review of a Pistols gig in NME in 1976, Shelley and Devoto (who took his stage name from a bus driver) made their way to London to see this controversial, spit-covered band for themselves. They liked what they saw, and arranged for The Sex Pistols to play a concert in Manchester, intending for Buzzcocks to play too. But after the rest of the band dropped out, they were unable to and had to wait for the Pistols’ next Manchester show for Buzzcocks – now with a steady line-up – to play.
Like that show back in July 1976, Buzzcocks gigs in the north of England are reliably raucous affairs. They’re wired with the same punk buzz that their 1970s peers were, but Buzzcocks boast inimitable pop melodies too. Their singles collection ‘Singles Going Steady’, was widely hailed as a punk masterpiece. Shelley’s high-pitched vocals and the band’s sticky melodies made hits like ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’, ‘What Do I Get’ and ‘I Don’t Mind’ instantly memorable. Still lodged in the Buzzcocks live show, these songs and more will delight the Academy come October.
Buzzcocks disbanded in 1981 when Shelley pursued a solo career, but by 1989 they were back on the road. The band have had various incarnations since then, Smiths drummer Mike Joyce was drafted in temporarily, but their success continued. Support slots on one of Nirvana’s final tours and with Pearl Jam followed, as did an appearance at star-studded US festival Coachella in 2012. The current line-up set comprises Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle, Chris Remmington and Danny Farant. With fast-paced punk hits to match their rollercoaster career, Buzzcocks are never boring. Their Leeds Academy date won’t be either.