Live Review: Buzzcocks, Kitchen People

30 March 2016 | 3:21 pm | Frankie Mann

"They're arguably playing more perfectly than they did 40 years ago."

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A work night didn't stop punk fans from coming to the Rosemount Hotel for the last leg of the Buzzcocks 40th anniversary show — their first time back in Perth in seven years.

The shriek of a synth signalled the start of Kitchen People's set, as five fresh-faced boys timidly appeared on stage. It didn't take long before their shyness disappeared and they ripped into tracks from their self-titled album with a gritty sound harking back to the '70s punk era. Vincent Buchanan's synth added a unique, electro-pop vibe to their classic punk sound, creating bizarre noises that were reminiscent of a retro 8-bit video game. As Buchanan air humped away, Kitchen People rattled through their songs with a fiery pace. Frontman Jake Suriano's voice was the perfect balance between raw and in tune, which is crucial for a punk band. A tight and polished set — all that was missing was a guitar smash.  

Buzzcocks made their way on stage and any free space on the floor quickly filled up. The Bolton band started off slowly, gradually building in momentum as the crowd grew hungrier for their more chaotic songs. Although their latest album came out in 2014, Buzzcocks played a large selection from their back catalogue, focusing on their much-loved hits from the late '70s. These older tracks didn't disappoint, with the crowd quickly growing rowdier as Buzzcocks ripped through Love You More and Autonomy. Both the band and crowd proved that age is just a number, as guitarist Steve Diggle jumped around the stage, feeding off the energy pulsating from the crowd. Despite diehard fans clearly reliving their younger years, there was a distinct lack of crowdsurfing grandmas and stage-invading grandads. 

The band didn't stop playing once, even when frontman Pete Shelley snapped a guitar string, the frontman calling for an emergency extended intro of Why She's A Girl From The Chainstore — an instrument-heavy track that thankfully masked the mishap. With 30 minutes left of their scheduled set, the boys left the stage — the smell of an old-school encore hanging in the air as guitar feedback pierced our ears. Peeking through the fluffy, red doors, Buzzcocks tottered back on stage, throwing everything they had into their most popular songs. The crowd erupted into screams as the distinct opening riff for Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) rang out. Shelley and Diggle shredded their guitars with such ferocity that it's hard to believe they're clocking 60 years old; they're arguably playing more perfectly than they did 40 years ago. This wild night proved that punk never dies; it just goes dormant for a few years.  

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