The Dollyrots - This band is a power trio with a female bassist/lead vocalist. They have a clear, clean hook oriented pop punk sound. Hmmm, kind of fits perfectly with the headliners, what a shock. Very steady sounds here with a few songs standing out more. They tried a clap along in the second song and an odd sing along that made no sense to me early on as they were trying to rev up the crowd a bit. Eventually, their music won the crowd over and they did have a good chant along and clapping song at the end. So, I would advise them to take care in how hard and early you push a crowd next time. But they kept a good attitude, so that was refreshing. I think their cover of Melanie's "Brand New Key" won over a lot of people. And they laughed off their "Spinal Tap" moment where their banner half fell down covering the drummer who still managed to keep the beat. Their music did win me over, too and I enjoyed the set. They are a good enough band to see on their own and they certainly set the table tonight for the mighty Buzzcocks.
The Buzzcocks - I have not seen this essential band since the early nineties (in Salt Lake City no less) and they have taken a while to get on this side of the Atlantic for a variety of reasons. They still feature Diggle and Shelley on guitars and vocals, with Pete Shelley doing most of the leads. The concept of this tour is the playing of the first two albums in their entirety. I have no problem with that as the weakest material is still excellent. And did they ever play them as albums, as they ripped through the songs with very little space in between. Vocals were good and the sound was strong--maybe a bit too much reverb on guitars, but not distracting. Not much stage patter as they just blasted away, although Shelley mentioned "I Need" was making its North American debut which does some time happens on these "whole album" shows. Steve Diggle always looks like he is having the time of his life on stage interacting with the crowd which pretty much is because he is having the time of his life. If not for the Buzzcocks, he would be hamming it up with everyone at a local pub somewhere. Shelley is quieter, but smart and outgoing enough and when the show ended, they all worked the appreciative crowd up front for some time before leaving. But not before a few "Singles Going Steady" set of encores including: "Harmony in my Head", "Promises", "Love You More", "What Do I Get" and "Orgasm Addict". The crowd was loudly doing the oh-ohs in the songs with no prompting and really jumping around. Killer show. Welcome back to North America, Buzzcocks, you have been missed.
Plug of the Night: I was happy to meet Michael Darpino between sets. He writes excellent reviews of many of the shows I see along with others I wish I had. We could have talked music non-stop for days and over time, I am sure we will. Check out his work at the link or all the write-ups at www.welovedc.com