with the Lunachicks, Down By Law, and 6X
The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA • October 14, 1999
Roi J. Tamkin
Opening their US tour in Atlanta, Go-Kart Across America came to the Masquerade with Down By Law, the Lunachicks and the Buzzcocks. As England’s #2 original punk band, Buzzcocks formed in Manchester in 1976, and continue to put out new material and tour regularly. For this tour, the band is out to promote the US release of Modern , a stripped down version of the UK double CD set.
Local band 6X started off the evening, followed by Down By law from Virginia. Singing a hipper version of hardcore, the audience crowded around the stage, but seemed very subdued. The band members jumped around the stage and leapt off the drum riser while the audience stood and gaped the way people watch monkeys at a zoo. Then the lead singer, Dave Smalley, announced a sing-along for everyone titled “Gruesome Gary,” and suddenly a mosh of sorts formed.
The Lunachicks came on next trying to keep the audience participation level high. The lead singer announced that their entire set was dedicated to her dead cat, Edgar, which drew a good laugh — to which she screamed, “it’s not fucking funny!” But the numerous tattoos and tough girl attitude could not stop the less mature audience members from yelling “take it off” to this all girl band.
The Buzzcocks came on late before a chanting audience. Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle, Tony Barber, and Phil Barker sauntered on stage, picked up their instruments, and taught this all ages crowd all about old school punk from the decades before Green Day. Steve Diggle wielded his guitar, striking chords in that familiar Buzzcocks barrage. Pete Shelley sang snappy melodies about orgasms, lust, and passion, and then pondered the eternal question, “What Do I Get?”
Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle have three decades of history to their names, but the show was principally Singles Going Steady , with a few new tunes thrown in. It was apparent that twenty years of performing has not drained their energy or taken away any of the fun. Perhaps the addition of youngsters Barker and Barber has energized the band. They were definitely having a good time up on stage. They grinned the entire show like a couple of schoolboys with a secret. They played with the audience during the disjointed intro to “Noise Annoys,” and got the crowd slamming to “Orgasm Addict” and “Harmony in My Head.”
The Buzzcocks packed in a good show for an hour playing everyone favorites, perhaps a little under-appreciated by this subdued Atlanta audience. Although the band’s spirits and energy were high, I wonder if the audience was having fun? Who cares? The Buzzcocks did!