Buzzcocks Evoke Chelmsford

Buzzcocks Evoke, Formally The Chancellor Hall Chelmsford 05/10/12

I have been looking forward to this night ever since it was announced. Not because I am a big fan of them, I am and I think they were and still are a fantastic band but because we were getting our Chancellor Hall back for live music. I even went punk and dyed my hair, grey. Quite a few more people decided to do this as well. One of the good things about the location of Evoke is, it is nearer to the better end of town for drinking. There are plenty of good pubs, The Railway, The Plough and a host of others, it’s also only a 10 minute stagger home and trust me, I staggered badly after this one. We started of in the Railway, a good pub which always looks after its beer. A few pints in here enjoying watching Spurs succumbing to a late equaliser in Europe, a good start to the night. A short walk to the Fleece, my favourite pub in Chelmsford, a few more beers. The pub was packed with pre gig drinkers. Talking to the landlord, he seemed well pleased with Evoke, his profits must have doubled on the week. Then an even shorter walk, 50 yards to Evoke.

The place apart from being tarted up is not a lot different from before. You still have the stairs going up to the hall. This brought back lots of memories, the under 18 disco on a Monday night when I was at school, Radio Caroline Roadshows, Roller Disco, Wrestling shows and of course all the many great bands that I have seen there. At the top of the stairs you walk into an Ice Bar, it’s not a real one and the ice is made of plastic. It also took quite a while to get a drink. There is no pumped ale but they do Old Speckled Hen on keg. It’s not bad and for a club and at £3.60 is not overly expensive. The hall which is now a night club is roughly about the same size as the old venue. It’s done up very nice and as it is new, it makes places like Chicago’s seem shabby.

We got there to catch the tail end of the support, can’t say too much about them as I didn’t see enough. Between the end of the support and the Buzzcocks we had a punk disco, a bit different from the normal Tinie Tempah that is played here. It consisted of all the usual Punk suspects with a few Ska songs thrown in. The Buzzcocks came on and I managed to get right to the front which was a sea of calm compared to the mosh pit behind me. As normal my memory of set lists is awful but I am pretty sure that “Fast cars” was near the beginning. I am not the greatest expert on Buzzcocks songs as I haven’t had any of their albums out for an airing for at least 30 years but “What do I get” “Orgasm Addict” “Ever fallen in love with some one” “Harmony in my head” “Promises”and my favourite “Autonomy” were all played.

The band is all action with no talking between the tracks. I think they were enjoying themselves, especially Steve Diggle who kept on making guitar hero poses. I read that quite a few punters thought the sound was not right, but from where I was it sounded ok. We were all lucky to see the Buzzcocks, because looking at their website; they don’t look as though they play too many gigs. All in all I had a fantastic night and will definitely return to Evoke and also make an effort to see the band again. I wasn’t sure whether it was because the band played well or because the night was good, I think it was a bit of both but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, not one bit of gobbing. I don’t know how many people were at the gig, over 750 I heard out of a possible 1100, but it looked pretty full to me.

Hopefully this will mean that the management will host some more bands. Thinking about it I can’t work out who they could get. I have heard that the Blockheads have been approached, a great band who would probably sell as many tickets as the Buzzcocks but apart from them out of the bands from this era that still play, Bruce Foxtons, From The Jam would probably do ok, The Stranglers are too big, they normally sell out a lot bigger venues like the Shepherds Bush Empire and the Roundhouse for about £25 a ticket. Penetration and the Rezillos still play but would there be enough interest (I would go). The Pistols, you wouldn’t be able to get a ticket. Out of the new bands, I am not sure that the younger generation would support it, just ask Shakey how many youngsters he gets for the gigs that he puts on. I know who I would like to see, the New York Dolls, another group that wouldn’t let you down and are still great live, you would not get a ticket for them either.

Summing up my negative for the night was that you do not get tickets any more, I love keeping them. Positives, there were lots of them, the band, going back to an old much loved venue, meeting some old friends and also meeting new ones. Highlight was Maurice falling down the stairs at the end of the night.

Duncan, October 12