The Stranglers – 29th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy
By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)
Waltzinblack booms out of the PA system and the O2 crowd go nuts as The Stranglers make their way to their stage positions and kick into Curfew from the Black and White album. The next hour and three quarters is a master class in how a band in their 44th year can still pull in a crowd and still feel fresh!
The 25 song set (including Waltz intro) takes in at least 11 of their albums. Get a Grip from Rattus is next up with Greenfield’s unmistakable keyboard sound even if you can’t see him behind the tower of gear you know full well it’s him! Baz Warne is targeted early on from a member in the crowd for a bit of local football banter but he swiftly puts the heckler down with a retort that has not only the crowd but also JJ Burnel creased with laughter.
The set is littered with massive tunes (Something Better Change, Go Buddy Go, I Feel Like A …, etc) but for me it’s that distinctive Burnel bass at the beginning of Peaches that raises the heckles on the back of my neck. Burnel and Warne are a fantastic upfront pairing sharing the vocal duties almost equally and a number of big fans have commented to me about how this current incarnation is the best in a long time and great to see them having a blast together on stage. Have to say Jean-Jacques Burnel is still one of the coolest players even after 44 years!
Hanging Around is another classic track that brings back so many memories of my youth when at that time a lot of my “punk” friends were trying to get my long haired hippy self to listen to this new phenomenon!
A lovely triple of Golden Brown, Always The Sun and their version of Walk On By gets the Geordie choir singing their hearts out! The three tracks from their last release Giants sit perfectly amongst the classics tonight.
By the time No More Heroes brings the night to a close the place is a sweaty but very happy mess! Roll on the next tour
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