Live Review: The Stranglers in Adelaide, Australia. Feb15

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Live Review: The Stranglers in Adelaide, Australia.

 

Live Review: The Stranglers in Adelaide, Australia.

Punk rock royalty have come to Adelaide as part of their Australia and New Zealand tour. We have The Ruts DC support The Stranglers, two bands there in the beginning and still going strong. Both bands have had their loss, their ups and downs but on the night these two bands left a busy venue wanting more.

Kicking the night off with The Ruts DC we have a band that I have been looking forward to for so many years. On the night we had all the classics, including, Babylon’s Burning, Staring at the Rude Boys and In a Rut all from the Ruts days. The big one for me was hearing Kill the Pain from the 2016 release Music Must Destroy. It’s a song that you would be hard pressed to guess that there are 35+ years between this ‘new’ song and the classics from the early 80s. The Ruts DC might be wearing pork pie hats, which is nudging ska for us purists, and ageing along with the rest of us old punks but they still fire on all cylinders. The music is sublime and the Rude Boys is the song of the night. The punk attitude doesn’t evaporate over time and on this showing The Ruts DC still have plenty in the tank. The crowd loved every minute of it. It’s a top performance and the stage is set for The Stranglers.

There’s a strange phenomenon at this venue, which is an old classic theatre. About 30 seconds before the stage lights dim, the bar magically empties, like a telepathic message has gone out. There’s a good crowd and the barrier huggers and the first three rows have obviously been hitting the merch shop heavily. JJ saunters across the stage, slings the bass over the shoulder and we crack into Get a Grip, then Curfew and then Was it You? The sound is perfect and you can tell that this band has played a ton of gigs. It is all effortless. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy followed by Peaches puts two classics back to back. Peaches is a strange song, and I’ve been saying that for years, as it’s somehow playful and sinister at the same time. But, it’s a corker and the bass from JJ is bouncing of the venue’s plaster walls.

Always the Sun and Golden Brown take us into a different era with the band but these are two songs that get the ‘casual’ fans in the audience fired up. They are so different in many ways to the abrupt and abrasive songs and attitude of the seventies but these two tracks were a new phase for the band. On the night they sound meaty, still completely different to everything else being produced at that time, when the band and their music stood out in both performance and attitude.

I know it’s been a while since Jet Black toured and it would be great to see him out there but the kid at the back on the drums fits the band so well and it’s the Raven that brings him to the fore. That’s a song that, for me, defined The Stranglers as it had a bit of everything. Then it gets all sorts of better as we stay with the Raven album and get the Bear Cage and Nuclear Device (Wizard of Aus). How do you think and Aussie audience responds to that? The bass lines coming out from JJ are immense and that sound is beautifully balanced but the ripples in my beer tell a different story. Hard to believe that album was from 1979, but what an album, and it’s even better live.

5 Minutes and Tank are the closers on the main set and can you really do a show without these gems? Tank is as fresh as the day it was recorded. For those cool kids that wore the grooves off the single Duchess, you are in luck, as it’s the first track of the encore. The closer on the night is No More Heroes and really what else could it be. I’ve seen the same faces in the crowd at recent SLF, Undertones and Buzzcocks gigs but The Stranglers invoke a whole different level of passion amongst the faithful. They could sing the phone book and no one would leave.

Great night and immense performances from both bands. Punk might be dead to some people as an idea but the attitude still burns and long may it continue.

The Stranglers Set List:-

  1. Waltzinblack
  2. (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)
  3. Curfew
  4. Was It You?
  5. 15 Steps
  6. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
  7. Peaches
  8. Always the Sun
  9. Golden Brown
  10. The Raven
  11. Bear Cage
  12. Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
  13. Freedom Is Insane
  14. Just Like Nothing on Earth
  15. Walk On By
  16. Relentless
  17. Norfolk Coast
  18. Hanging Around
  19. 5 Minutes
  20. Tank
  21. Duchess
  22. No More Heroes

Review: Craig Grant

Stranglers

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