Live at Shepherds Bush Empire 2003

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Standing on a stage in Shepherd's Bush, London, in 2003, it was evident that the years had taken their toll on Pete Shelley's voice, no longer delivering the Buzzcocks' clever lyrics with the high-pitched whine of distress and fury that so endeared the band to a generation of similarly fed up and frustrated youth. Today his voice is markedly deeper and gruffer, which admittedly takes some of the zing out of the songs. Never mind the incongruity of a middle-aged man shouting out "admit, admit, you're sh*t, you're sh*t" like an extremely overgrown schoolboy. But when you thoroughly skewered teenage tear-away angst and are trotting out the proof a quarter of a century on, that perhaps is unavoidable. Besides, nowadays Viagra's available for the now wilting "Orgasm Addict." There's no need, however, for a little purple pill to perk up the band's sound, for the band delivers the songs up with all the pep it did in its heyday. Bashing gleefully away on the Empire stage, the Buzzcocks buzzsaw through a 32-song set with abandon, tossing out a slew of their singles, most of their hits (only the effervescent "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" is a no-show), and a whole lot more in a blistering 95 minutes. The voices may have changed (and the drummer and bassist too, replaced by an equally ferocious Phillip Barker and Tony Barber), but still present is their incendiary fury of old, and before the show's over a bit of the band's exuberant sloppiness as well. This DVD presents the group's 2003 concert in full, and stuffs the disc full of extras: a written biography, photos, tour footage, and a lengthy interview with Shelley and Steve Diggle. Twenty-five years on and a whole new generation is singing along to this seminal band's unbeatable songs.

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