30th November, 2005
by Cardinal Cox
The Stranglers CDs
Dope on Pnuk part 3
The Stranglers are one of the few
bands of the punk era to still be going, if in not quite the
original form. Three quarters of the founding line-up, J.J.
Burnel, Dave Greenfield and Jet Grey, sorry Jet Black, are still
there, augmented by Paul Roberts on vocals and relative newcomer
Baz Warne on guitar.
Before the gig, while loitering in the foyer, I overheard one fan
on the 'phone extolling the venue's virtues.
The gig started with a seven number acoustic set which included
'Strange Little Girl'. Unfortunately, the most interesting thing
on stage was Burnel's amp. It had a little display, so if he
played an A, an 'A' came up; if he played a G, a 'G' came up. Etc.
The main set was the full-on electric performance and amongst the
old numbers were 'Goodbye Toulouse', 'Peaches', 'Always The Sun',
and 'Duchess'. Two cover versions, that have long been in their
repertoire, 'All Day And All Of The Night' and 'Walk On By', were
also played. My problem with the night was the sound balance.
While Burnel and Warne's backing vocals were perfectly clear,
Paul Roberts sounded as though he'd swallowed a rolled-up pair of
socks. Even between tracks I couldn't make out what he was saying.
When someone shouted out the request 'Something Better Change', I
added, "yes, the mix".
When the band went off stage, so confident were they that they'd
be doing an encore that a couple of techs were plainly tuning the
guitar and bass. A bass that had seldom been making the little
letters appear as it detuned. The inevitable encore had two
songs, including 'No More Heroes'. Despite the inability to hear
the singer, most people were evidently happy with the gig from a
band who'd played the Wirrina in Peterborough on 18 September
1978. For myself, I couldn't help but compare it to Hugh
Cornwell's gig last year (see my diary pnukcrok), which I enjoyed more. Yes, this was good, but not
© All work copyright of Cardinal Cox.