BUZZCOCKS/Capital City/Burton Cool Suit - Amplifier Bar - Sunday, September 17, 2006

Unlike many bands sourcing the ’60s garage sound for inspiration, Burton Cool Suit don’t follow a strict formula, thanks to frontman Adem K’s predilection for somewhat contradictory cutesy underground American pop sounds.

Though the band was desperately out of place on this bill with their gentler manoeuvring, the Burton Cool Suit remained composed and chirpy throughout their set… a sign that their music is very reflective of their own charming personalities.

Capital City were a closer breed of band to the headlining act, but still seemed like an odd choice of support. Given a problematic performance, wrought with string breaking and other such unpreventable mishaps, it did seem, quite often, that the normally blustering band were one step away from throwing in the towel. The set was, however, a good opportunity for the band to show off their latest lineup to a large crowd, whose numbers stayed the same for at least the first half of the set.

Though it is still early on in the arrangement, it’s difficult to fathom why Capital City have bothered to include a second guitar into their sound. While the musician they have chosen is the best possible fit (musically and personality-wise), the idea of two guitars seems somewhat unnecessary. Capital City have always used being a three-piece to their advantage, and as such it has become a crucial part of their sound. Thus the second guitar seems to add very little to the band’s music, often detracting from its the essential rawness. It might take some time to see the benefits of this interesting move.

On to the headlining act, and what can be said about the Buzzcocks that wouldn’t be stating the obvious? If you weren’t there, chances are you don’t care, so let’s look at this from a curiosity point of view.

Were they any good? Fuck yeah, they were. Full of energy and next to note-perfect, in fact. The classic material sounded energised and youthful, and the newer stuff sounded far more ballsy and rockin’ live than it does on CD.

Did they look old? Well, new drummer Danny Farrant is a young guy anyway; guitarist Steve Diggle is ageing handsomely; main man Pete Shelley is ageing gracefully; and bassist Tony Barber looked like an older rocker who still keeps a keen eye on fashion and culture (a Nick Shepherd type, if you will). So, no, not really. Mostly, the band was a ball of relentless energy, so that alone made them seem far younger than their years.

Did they play old stuff? Damn tootin’ they did… singles came every other song, with Ever Fallen In Love?, Orgasm Addict, Melody In My Head, Love You More, What Do I Get? all getting a run. There were some absentees, such as Everybody’s Happy Nowadays, but hey, who cares.

Were there antics? Not really. Aside from Steve Diggle getting zapped by his mic (given how many singers were killed in his day from bad earthing he seemed unperturbed) the band played songs back-to-back, almost to a Ramones-esque level, and the crowd was well behaved and adoring.

What was the crowd like? Split between older crew and younger crew quite evenly. It seemed everywhere you looked there was a short, muscly, bald Englishman. That crew danced like no one was watching, and the younger crew danced like the older crew was watching. It was a fuckin’ love-in! Awesome crowd, basically.

If you weren’t there you probably don’t care, but if you were… you’d probably pay double to see it all again this weekend.