When the mainstream media and trendies of yore decided, in the late 1970s, that punk version 1.0 was over, the Vibrators never got the memo. Perhaps, in true spiky Brit fashion, they just ripped it up and spit on it. Either way, the London-based band boasts the unique distinction of existing continuously since its formation in 1976. Of course this means a hopelessly tangled Vibrators family tree, with something like five times as many ex-members as current ones. Little matter, because the songs and essential attitude remain the same.
While the band counted more aggro acts like the Adicts among their early peers, the Vibrators always had surprising melodic chops. As such, the Vibrators' debut album, 1977's Pure Mania, hit number 49 on the UK Albums Chart; the 1978 follow-up, V2, reached number 33. And the group's songs have always been, essentially, pop songs. "Baby, Baby," from Pure Mania, is a heartfelt, unironic plea for a special lady's attention, with a brain-sticking simple chorus and a structure that could work pretty much in any genre. That's a pop songwriting compliment of the highest order, and is the reason why, in the late '00s, the Vibrators still play the song live to great moist-eyed effect.
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The Vibrators, with Libyan Hit Squad, F, Howitzer, and Sloane Peterson. Saturday, May 16. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Show starts at 9 p.m., tickets cost $10. Ages 18+ with ID.
Sat., May 16, 2009