LIVE: THE STRANGLERS – Perth, 12 Feb, 2018

LIVE: THE STRANGLERS – Perth, 12 Feb, 2018
The Astor Theatre, Perth – Monday, 12 February, 2018
Review & photos by Shane Pinnegar

It takes a lot more than a handful of good songs to reach the status of an “iconic” band. Commitment, hard graft, attitude, individuality are all essential, and The Stranglers – unlike most of their contemporaries – have never faltered for a moment in any of these regards.

Led from the front by a man who exudes cool by literally not giving a fuck about being cool, J J Burnel, The Stranglers’ sound has always been built on the foundation of Burnel’s sonorous, inventively melodic bass lines and Dave Greenfield’s swirling keyboards, bolstered now by Baz Warne (an eighteen year veteran of the band, now)’s speak-singing vocals and jagged guitar, and relative new boy Jim McAuley’s booming new wave-Bonham drumming. Far too individual to be properly lumped in with the punk movement, The Stranglers sound has always been their own.

The more-than-respectable Monday night crowd were a little subdued on and off, despite being warmed up by a fiery set from Ruts D.C. Appreciative but relatively still, they first livened up for a (*ahem*) golden patch midway through the set that started with the cowboy lope and Western movie keys of 15 Steps, into the irresistible and instantly recognisable bass riff and coruscating guitar to classic Peaches, the chorus-chanting Always The Sun, and Golden Brown’s hurdy gurdy keys swirling around the swaying, singing audience, Baz lapping up appreciate whooping for his understated but beautifully played guitar solo.

The Viking heft of The Raven and middle-aged angst of Bear Cage are underpinned by the Godzilla stomp of Burnel’s bass and McAuley’s pounding drums, before another roar greats Nuclear Device (Wizard of Oz), while Warne gets another cheer for ad libbing “nothing in Perth” during Just Like Nothing On Earth.

A surprise cover of Dionne Warwick’s Walk On By is given the full Stranglers treatment to great effect, before the crowd again ramps up for 5 Minutes – which dissolves in laughter as JJ realises he fucked up – Tank, and an explosive encore of Duchess and the legendary No More Heroes, the audience finally pogoing, dancing, shouting, singing, rocking out and giving due respect when Greenfield skulls a drink whilst playing an intricate one-handed piano solo on rented equipment which, Baz explained, “doesn’t work”.

Despite this being billed as ‘The Classic Collection’ tour, there was no sign of their second biggest hit after Golden Brown, Skin Deep – not that the crowd seemed to mind, because in a world where everyone and their dog only cares about a buck, The Stranglers have something far more valuable – unflinching integrity. Their easy, warm friendship onstage and between them and their audience is palpable, and far more important to them than a lucrative payday to reunite with their former frontman – making this red hot show even more of a pleasure to be a part of.

Set List:

Waltzinblack [intro]
(Get A) Grip On Yourself
Curfew
Was It You?
15 Steps
Nice n’ Sleazy
Peaches
Always The Sun
Golden Brown
The Raven
Bear Cage
Nuclear Device (Wizard of Oz)
Freedom Is Insane
Just Like Nothing On Earth
Walk On By
Relentless
Norfolk Coast
Hanging Around
Five Minutes
Tank

Duchess
No More Heroes

LIVE: THE STRANGLERS – Perth, 12 Feb, 2018

Filed Under: Live ReviewsPhoto Galleries

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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