Driving You Insane

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So just how many live Buzzcocks albums does the world need? Of the first wave of British punk bands, the Buzzcocks are one of the few who can still step onto a stage and perform with something resembling their original power and enthusiasm, and Driving You Insane proves how true this happens to be. Recorded at a London show in early 2003 (the band dedicates "Autonomy" to the decently departed Joe Strummer), this double-disc set captures the band tearing through a 32-song set with sweat, fire, and passion, playing their hits, a few lesser-known tunes, and some cuts from their self-titled 2003 album as if they were all written yesterday and the band is still determined to prove themselves anew to their audience. In short, the Buzzcocks sound great on Driving You Insane. But how much better or worse do they sound here than on the other eight Buzzcocks live albums already out there? Better than some, to be sure, but is this set so dramatic an improvement over 1996's French et Encore du Pain that it was truly necessary? That's probably a question for greater minds to contemplate, but as a practical matter, anyone who still digs the Buzzcocks and is looking for a good live recording of them in action will be happy with this set. Folks who already own one or more decent live albums from Manchester's Finest probably won't feel the need to upgrade. One bonus on this set -- videos from the same show of six songs (accessible on your personal computer) that prove the band works just as hard as they sound like they do.

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