Live Review: The Stranglers
The Gov, Tuesday 11th February 2020
Tuesday February 11th I had the privilege of attending The Stranglers final show in Australia of their 2020 tour with close to a full house. Obviously the most successful band to come out of the Punk era actually formed prior in 1974, a few years prior to the Punk explosion. Having had 24 top 40 singles and 18 top 40 albums in the UK. I suppose with reinvention, diversification and the new wave ensured longevity, enabling the original line up to stay together until 1990.
Present day now, Stranglers fans have a dilemma, to choose to see Hugh Cornwall 70, who toured last year, I didn’t see him, but from reports I have received, there was no keyboard player in the lineup. And the other choice is The Stranglers with two original members in Jean-Jacques (JJ) Burnel 67 and Dave Greenfield 70, with Baz Warne fronting the band and Jim Macaulay on drums. Tuesday night the band, all dressed in black, was able to capture the true sound of The Stranglers (my preference) as Baz Warne did a competent job of the vocals.
Greenfield had four keyboards at his disposal, unfortunately there were a couple of technical issues during the performance, one being a either a faulty or a keyboard which wasn’t sounding right for Greenfield and he insisted on a replacement one, during which time Warne amused the crowd and reminded us of how intimate The Gov is, that it’s a pub, which still accommodates a large crowd.
The band commenced with a song from The Raven album, Duchess and then worked their way through such classics as Get a Grip on Yourself (my favourite), No Mercy, at which stage Burnel removed his shirt. Big hits in Australia followed in Golden Brown and Skin Deep when Burnel put his shirt back on ironically, albeit unbuttoned, showing he is still in good shape. Peaches and the cover of Walk on By were other highlights, the set consisted of 18 songs from the 1977 to 1990 era and 5 songs were post the Hugh Cornwall era.
Both Burnel and Greenfield performed well given their age. Perhaps this was the inspiration for Josh Frydenberg to announce that Australians should work longer and retire at the age of 70? Maybe he is a fan of The Stranglers and saw how good Hugh Cornwell was last year when he toured. Maybe some Seniors could form cover bands for the Skyhooks and Hush? But that aside, the band had the usual encore with Time Was on My Side, Go Buddy Go and finished with an early hit No More Heroes.
Review by Damian Woodards. Photos courtesy of CDR Imagery
Interesting fact, The Stranglers released the single Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus) in October 1979, written about Bjelke-Peterson and his authoritarian political style.