Buzzcocks

Live at the Roxy Club

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To put it mildly, April 1977 was not a peak moment in the Buzzcocks' career -- Howard DeVoto had just bailed out to form Magazine, Pete Shelley was taking his first stab at lead vocal duties, Steve Diggle had made the change from bass to guitar, and Garth Smith was in the infancy of his brief six-month tenure as Diggle's replacement on bass. Clearly, the stage was set for disaster, and that disaster played itself out in full over the course of the live performance at London's Roxy documented on this disc: Diggle's guitar playing is atrocious, Smith's basslines are stiff, and while there's obviously a great deal more going wrong, the poor quality of the live recording renders it all hopelessly obscured. Yet Live at the Roxy Club is a fascinating, invaluable document because it is so very bad; just six months later, keep in mind, the Buzzcocks would unleash "Orgasm Addict," the first in the series of breathtaking singles that would cement their reputation as one of punk's most important bands. That records like "What Do I Get?" and "Ever Fallen in Love" could come from such humble beginnings only makes them that much more remarkable, and beginnings don't come much humbler than Live at the Roxy Club.

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