Concert Recommendation: Buzzcocks, Friday, June 20, Metro
Wire are coming to Chicago for a couple shows next week. There has been
much press hoopla over their reunion. Or maybe it's just a disproportionate
share of hoopla from Greg Kot. On one hand, I can understand the excitement.
The angular art punk they created with their 1977 debut Pink Flag
turns up in lots of "best albums ever" lists. But an important, innovative
band is not necessarily a great live band. The Fleshtones are not innovative
and they haven't made massive contributions to rock's recorded output, but
they are blast to witness in person. Wire, on the other hand, are boring
in concert. With all the ink this reunion has been generating, I started
to doubt that judgment. I saw them in 1988 and 1990. Maybe these weren't
really representative years for their best work. But I mentioned this to
a friend who saw them last year, and he confirmed that they are still dull.
So I'll just fire up my copy of The Ideal Copy instead.
Which brings us to the Buzzcocks. Their jittery pop punk makes critics swoon
just as much as Wire, in part because it portrays a vulnerability in contrast
to the aggression of so much other punk. Their influence is heard among young
bands who think Green Day invented punk. But, unlike Wire, they're a great
live band. They once sang of nostalgia for an age yet to come. The age has
Buzzcocks play the Metro, 3730
N. Clark, Chicago, at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 20 with Billy Talent and Serial