Buzzcocks / The Dollyrots Venue, Vancouver BC May 31

Buzzcocks / The Dollyrots Venue, Vancouver BC May 31
It takes a band like Buzzcocks to sell out a show on a dreary Monday, and sell out it did, leaving a number of downcast fans standing on Granville Street as L.A.'s Dollyrots plowed though their opening set.

It sort of makes sense to have a group like the Dollyrots open for the Buzzcocks. In a way, they represent the logical conclusion of the pop punk movement that Buzzcocks pioneered. Unfortunately, that conclusion isn't a good one. The Dollyrots' aggressively bland rebelle-rousing (sample lyric: "I don't need you / 'cause I'm awesome!") has garnered them a number of TV show and commercial spots, including playing the fictitious Rough Sects on CSI: NY, wherein front-woman Kelly Ogden's bass is used as a murder weapon. Tonight, though, the only murder victim was the Blackhearts' "Bad Reputation," which closed out the Dollyrots' set.

Buzzcocks, for their part, showed admirable self-awareness. They know most people don't give a shit about their new albums (in fact, they haven't released one since 2006's Flat-Pack Philosophy), and their set was entirely devoid of any material released in the last 30 years or so. After all, they're touring in support of deluxe reissues of two of their classic releases, and their performance of Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites in their entirety made a pretty good case for buying the reissues and giving them a good close listen.

It's easy to forget that the first shot fired in pop punk remains the genre's best statement, but Buzzcoks made that clear with a note-perfect performance. Sure, they're a little older (Pete Shelley occasionally sat down on the drum riser for a quick breather, while Steve Diggle looks positively leathery), but a song like "Orgasm Addict" is completely timeless — a pop masterpiece with just the right amount of punk risqué. It hurts to think of today's flaccid mall punk as the spiritual successor to Buzzcocks' brilliance, but such is life.