Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 10 March 2010

The Stranglers: Back In Black & Still On Track @ Brighton Dome

What was angst may have long been replaced by a unity of celebration, and what were young band inner tensions may now have been cemented over by a decade of band stability and a collective return to purpose .. but in some ways time had stood still when the Stranglers took to Brighton Dome's Concert Hall (09/03) stage and delivered a set that spanned more than four decades.
JJ Burnel @ Brighton Dome By Andy Sturmey

Boasting three original members - and three equally iconic figures - the Stranglers, back to a four piece since the change of the millennium, are now cooking on a musical gas that had for a long while been deemed extinguished.

Taking to the stage with their calling-card entrance music, Waltzinblack, still reverberating around the packed hall, the band launched into Time To Die (Stranglers In The Night) and Go Buddy Go (double A-side single), before 'new boy' Baz Warne stepped up to the microphone for his first vocal of the night.

What was long viewed as a gaping whole in the band's line-up has now been filled once and for all. The loss, in 1990, of original Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, saw them swell to a five-piece before Baz stepped up to the microphone and returned both their artistic credibility and appetite.

And it was a Cornwell song, (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) (Rattus Norvegicus), that was Baz's Brighton introduction. He oozed both confidence and integrity and any lingering doubts from those who hadn't seen the band in a long while were instantly dissipated.

But this wasn't just a legacy act playing it safe. Promoting their recently released career retrospective, Decades Apart, new single, Retro Rockets - and the current line-up's recent material, Norfolk Coast, Lost Control (Norfolk Coast) and Spectre Of Love (Suite XVI) - sat easily alongside old staples of the likes of Nuclear Device & Duchess (The Raven), Golden Brown (La Folie), and Always The Sun (Dreamtime).

The menacing and athletic figure cut by bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel was worth the price of admission alone. Add to that being able to witness the spectacle of 71 year-old drummer, Jet Black, pounding his skins, and Pernod quaffing keyboardist, Dave Greenfield, playing up to his home crowd – then maybe the music was just an added bonus!

Encoring with a brooding Five Minutes and bass shattering No More Heroes, our heroes made their way into the night and on to the next stop of a tour that has been rumbling up and down motorways for the best part of thirty-six years .. long may they reign, and soon may they return. Awesome!


For a detailed history of the early years of the Stranglers visit Hound Dawg Magazine and purchase issue two.


by: Mike Cobley




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