Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Review: The Stranglers @ Brighton Dome Concert Hall

The Stranglers are the new Christmas. Making their annual drop down Brighton's cultural chimney and having a capacity crowd of believers marvel as their fourth incarnation keeps true to the spirit and obtuse time signatures of the original four-piece.

Guitarist and joint frontman Baz Warne had, earlier in the tour, celebrated his 700th gig with the band. Jim MacAulay has, in comparison, only recently taken over the hottest of seats .. the drum stool. 

That leaves the two original members: Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass and vocal duties and Mr Mysterious himself, Dave Greenfield on keyboards and backing vocals.

Collectively they make a right royal deep down and dirty distinctive gut wrenching racket.

At the Brighton Dome Concert Hall (28/03/17). they presented nothing new, but were able to deliver the highlights and occasional obscurities of their back catalogue without making anything sound either tired or redundant.

Pre-gig Jim had said that the band were "'healthy and in good spirits." 

He went on to report that the band were enjoying the current 'Classic Collection' tour a lot more than last year's full album run through of their seminal third album, Black and White, as "we are free to play what we like now. We can change it up every night if we want too." 

The Stranglers took to the stage and without introduction were straight down to business with The Raven, the title track from their fourth studio album.

Burnel was also at the microphone for the next track, the later Stranglers 'MKI period" Was It You?.

The iconic bassist was clearly revelling in his status; acknowledging the audience's reverence with smiles and playful chatter.

Baz's first foray to the microphone was for Sometimes, a track steeped in misogynistic accusations and controversy.  Taken from their debut album,Rattus Norvegicus, it has retained its "shock value" and is never an easy listen.

From their current "MK IV" phase they chose 15 Steps and Relentless. Neither song paled when up against the likes of Always The Sun, Strange Little Girl and Golden Brown.

And from there-on in right up to set closer Down In The Sewer the band were engaged and in fine musical fettle.

A two song encore - Go Buddy Go and No More Heroes - and they were gone. 

Another triumphant night. But next time - and by all accounts the band agree.- they will need to present new material.

by: Mike Cobley


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