Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Saturday 08 March 2014

Review: The Stranglers @ Brighton Dome 6th March 2014

Some established bands settle on a five night run in a major city, whereas those notorious rule breakers, The Stranglers, have, so far, gone for the risky business option of a five-year consecutive run of gigs in Brighton.

Pics Courtesy Of Andrew Sturmey

This could have led to a series of diminishing returns, but their most recent one-night stopover at Brighton Dome (6th March 2014), was a sell-out as the four-piece (with only two original members performing) celebrated forty-years in the business with a two-hour show .. one geared more to the obsessives than their fair weather friends.

Having witnessed all five of their annual shindigs, from their blistering 2010 hits heavy set to the more considered and eclectic present one, I conclude that last Thursday was a performance high, and should by rights have been their Brighton swansong.

Original drummer - and still sometimes performer - Jet Black continues to fall victim to the ravishes of old age and a life well lived..

Jet was recently quoted as saying: "I'll carry on until I'm incapable of doing it. 

"I am going to have to stop one day, but I expect the band will carry on." 

However, bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel added: "When he can [no] longer contribute – and I don't think that's long – then there will be no more Stranglers." 

Burnel remarked that Black was "on oxygen" even after drumming on slower numbers like Golden Brown.

Hugh Cornwell, whose writing prowess is forever on show in current Stranglers setlists (though he departed almost a quarter-of-a-century ago) is a constant blip in proceedings. 

The band's occasional gig attendees find it hard to accept the concept of the band being 'The Stranglers' without him.

But his current 'replacement' is a natural Strangler. Baz Warne has been at the microphone for eight years (and part of the set-up for six more) and has become accepted among the faithful.

Baz and Burnel not only compliment each others' strengths on stage, but clearly the newest member has relit a fire in his counterpart.

Burnel once again prowls the stage, engages with audience members and takes on his rightful share of singing duties.

In fact on Thursday's evidence, Burnel has never sounded better. 

From the 'punkier' numbers London Lady, Summat Outanowt, 5 Minutes and  Was it You? - thorugh to the more reflective numbers, North Winds, Never To Look Back, Thrown Away and  newie Freedom Is Insane – Burnel is a Tour de Force.

Burnel, who has been with the Stranglers since their inception in 1974, is not famous for his vocals but that of his distinctive bass guitar sound and melodic basslines. 

Those attributes were also much on show at Brighton Dome. He now effortlessly fires off his distinctive growling basslines - to the likes of Peaches, Nice 'N' Sleazy and No More Heroes  - with a casual aplomb that is ninety-nine parts pure-talent and one-part arrogance.

Keyboard player Dave Greenfield joined The Stranglers during the first year of their existence. 

A true eccentric and much loved member, Greenfield was responsible for a seemingly never ending number of draw-dropping keyboard runs, as well as contributing one of the strongest vocals of the night on Peasant In The Big Shitty.

In Jet Black's absence Jim MacAulay is filling the drum stool, with his comparative youth bringing a new found drive to their on-going musical adventures.

Two men down, forty-years into the game and riding yet another peak. The Stranglers should probably call it a day ..  but then again ……..

by: Mike Cobley


New shows, comedy legends and dance superstars all take the stage at Brighton Dome this spring. 
Credit Tony Fletcher

Late last year The Brighton Magazine held forth on the nostalgic delights of one of punk and new wave's most fondly remembered offshoots .. fanzines. Cream of the crop was Jamming!, conceived by author Tony Fletcher. 

"We're from the days when a number 14 bus and a supermarket trolley got us around." Soul II Soul mainman Jazzie B remembers the lengths he and a school friend used to go to play dances with their first sound system when they were just thirteen years old.
Credit Oli Spleen

Musician Oli Spleen is set to release Refugee, the third single from his forthcoming album, Still Life. 

Back in December The Brighton Magazine brought to your attention Elena Setién, the multi-instrumentalist, collaborator and improviser who, with the single In This Short Life, had featured lyrics taken from Emily Dickinson's poem of the same name. 

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard who made a flying visit to Brighton late last year are back with a new date in the city and their follow up to Crescent Man vs Demolition Dan - a protest single which struck a chord in the local community following the destruction of grassroot culture venues. 
Credit James Bellorini

Glyndebourne has announced a new plan to drive further investment in environmental action, as the opera house celebrates ten years since the launch of its on-site wind turbine.

Kelly Boddy reports on how almost every industry around the globe was negatively impacted by COVID-19, but it was the arts that was put in the most danger of collapsing. 
Credit Michelle Hayward

After having to postpone their live tour dates, Morcheeba will finally be able to celebrate the release of their latest studio album Blackest Blue with a date at Brighton's Chalk.
Credit Karla Gowlett

For his date at The Old Market, in Hove, next month, comedian Geoff Norcott will be talking less politics and, instead, will mostly explore personal responsibility, parenting and who should take the blame when things go wrong. Hint: it's you!
Credit Jack Whitfield

Back in the spring of 2019, Sam Fender was still piecing together Hypersonic Missiles, the sky-scraping debut which six months later would go on to top numerous charts and mint Fender's status as the most important songwriter of his generation. Two years on we have second album, Seventeen Going Under on which Sam turns the mirror on himself.
Credit Stephen Sheldrake

Founded in 2013 by a troupe of passionate theatre-lovers who work at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing, the Conn Artists Theatre Company brings together the diverse skills of local professional theatre makers to produce adaptations of stories by renowned writers and playwrights.

One of the most compelling voices in UK R&B, Pip Millett, will play a show at Brighton Patterns, on Sunday, in support of her latest EP, Motion Sick.

Brighton-bound songwriter and former Mansun frontman Paul Draper is set to release Cult Leader Tactics – his first album since 2017's lauded Spooky Action.

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd