I went to see The Stranglers live last week, for the first time since 1995. I’ve always liked the band, because they have a distinctive sound (that keyboard and that bass guitar) but a range of styles within that (from Golden Brown to Somethin’ Better Change) and they combined a punk attitude with musicianship.
They’ve lost the singer who replaced Hugh Cornwell, and the vocals are shared between bassist JJ Burnel and the guitarist, Baz, who looks like an amphetamine-fuelled Mr Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, and sings with the low, sleazy snarl that you’ve every right to expect from the band.
An interesting thing about the band is that, for most of the crowd, they’re not a nostalgia act. When the band announced a song from the new album, the crowd cheered and sang along just as much as they did for the older songs that I knew. And certainly, songs like Unbroken and Relentless from the new album, Suite XVI suggested to me that there’s been no drop in quality.
We got all the old hits too: my favourites, Duchess and Always The Sun, crowd-pleasers like Five Minutes, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Walk On By, Peaches and, as an encore, No More Heroes (of course!). The Goths in the audience were seen to smile; Andy, the bassist in Gaoler tapped his feet, and a good time was had by all.
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