Buzzcocks: 30

You could argue punk is dead and toe-tagged, that any group that burst from the womb during that era of dissonance should only be clocking face time on some Julien Temple-directed music doc—not a 30th anniversary tour. You could argue Buzzcocks stopped being germane once Howard Devoto departed. But Buzzcocks were never really “punk” anyway (more like three-chord bubblegum). And the Manchester act’s 30 (their 11th live album!) is evidence they haven’t lost much of their trademark affected aggression. Gleaned from a show at the London Forum, 30 proves that chief songwriter Pete Shelley’s approach to punk (accelerated guitar riffery and over-the-top vocals) hasn’t wavered in three decades. The true classics—like tracks from the seminal D.I.Y. release Spiral Scratch (“Boredom,” “Time’s Up”)—zip by at the speed of light. Shelley’s voice no longer possesses the waggish pre-pubescence of Singles Going Steady. There’s a throaty maturity now and it’s why hormonal ditties like “Orgasm Addict” and “What Do I Get” go limp. Still, Buzzcocks at 50-something … yeah, they sport more cockiness and dash than the infinity of artists parroting them.