Buzzcocks fiery performance of ‘What Do I Get?’ live at Manchester’s Electric Circus, 1977
In 1977, there was no punk band quite like the Buzzcocks. Fronted by Pete Shelley, the band took pop sensibilities and put them through the punk processor to rip them up and start all over again. If there was one track to connect pop and punk then it has to be the band’s ‘What Do I Get?’
Buzzcocks may well be Manchester’s greatest punk band and, in the below footage, we see them at what might possibly be the city’s greatest punk venue, Electric Circus performing the aforementioned masterclass.
Few people were ready for Buzzcocks when they burst on to the punk scene. Given their first proper show supporting the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, the band were set-up for success. But while circumstances went with them, they still needed the songs to back it up and the performance to shut them up.
A notoriously difficult crowd to win around, Manchester’s punk scene was a vicious and cruel place to be at times. However, despite the disdain for rival neighbourhoods, Buzzcocks emerged as one of the city’s greatest artists. Their command of ‘What Do I Get?’ is proof that, more so than perhaps any other act, the Buzzcocks knew where they were heading from the very beginning.
‘What Do I Get?’ as frontman Shelley says in the video, is the band’s “pop song” and it marks them out as one of the scene’s finest. The group’s ability to charge into the fight but also act as the observer and jester is one that not many bands can be proud of, but Buzzcocks certainly can.
This performance is another sumptuous moment for the band playing their hometown in the fiery beginnings of punk. Shelley is powerful and punchy while the crowd pogo around throwing beer and city pride around in gallons.