The Stranglers took to stage in front of a crowd of fans both old and new to watch them roll back the years. The set showcased as much youthful exuberance as they undoubtedly would have shown decades ago in their prime. This attitude of old by age and not spirit was something reflected in a crowd of mostly middle aged men (most of who looked like they were auditioning to be an Al Murray look-a-like)
They took to the stage in an unspectacular but respectable fashion, launching straight into their first three tracks as the
crowdpreferring to stand and absorb what they were seeing (In their prime this surely would’ve been a much more energised and chaotic environment). Baz Warne on vocals and guitar soon got into his swing though, joking about the crowd of “pissed rockers and kids dodging their curfew”, something much appreciated by all.
Hit after hit continued to be laid down by the band, with Jean Jacques Brunel’s prominent bass ringing throughout the venue. Classic track Peaches showcased the best sides of the band, with a mostly clinical execution and a wonderful piece of improvisation from all. As Brunel’s guitar began faulting his request and corresponding change for a new bass led to Baz adding an impromptu verse acting as a running commentary.
Sing-alongs bought about by tracks such as Always The Sun and the hit that started it all for the band Golden Brown further added to the atmosphere the band had created. These were four guys who, like the crowd, just wanted to have fun. Always The Sunin particular drew laughs for Baz’s movements to Dave Greenfields funky keyboards.
Acknowledgments were all round as the crowd chanted for drummer Jet Black, suitably he looked impressed to be treated with the same awe of his formative years.
If this was good enough for the crowd, the encore pushed the crowd onto an extra level -who by now had knocked back their fair share of Newcastle brown – into the air like it really was the 1970’s all over. The cherry on the cake was No More Heroes which was met with rapture. It capped off a fantastic set that showed that this band are far from finished. They may not intend to write music anymore, or live the rock and roll lifestyle, but they still looked as though they want to continue rocking on and performing in the same way they would’ve done years ago.