The Stranglers WALTZINWALES! By Rob Jones
The Stranglers have survived forty years of various incarnations. Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass) and Dave Greenfield (keyboards) remain as a permanent part of the line-up, but because of health reasons original drummer Jet Black is now an occasional performer-and, sadly the influential Hugh Cornwell has been absent since 1990. Guitarist Baz Warne (a member since 2000) and Burnel now share the main vocal duties with Greenfield chipping in as well. Meanwhile, Jim MacAulay has stepped in for Black to make up the quartet that played on their ‘Ruby Anniversary Tour’ date at Cardiff University.
A capacity crowd welcomed The Stranglers and even though those yesteryears of controversy appear to be extremely distant the songs from the 70’s and 80’s still carry weight. Whatever has passed after that era may have various merits but it is the early material that has the most kudos.
Many of the audience would have seen the band in their hit-making heyday and as a result they respond accordingly to the chart champions that are: Peaches, Something Better Change, Duchess, Nuclear Device, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, No More Heroes, 5 Minutes, Golden Brown, Skin Deep, Thrown Away and the wondrous Walk on By. To add to which other gems from that era are also cherished by the adoring punters-and, amongst that number we have the likes of: London Lady, Threatened, Midnight Summer Dream, Tank and the epic Peasant in the big S****y.
A two hour set visited every full album released from the 1977 debut Rattus Norvegicus through to Giants of 2012. The Stranglers are at ease as a unit with Warne and Burnel all smiles up front. Warne has taken the Cornwell live role and he engages with the crowd in an affable manner. As an ongoing entity The Stranglers can still knock out a decent tune but with their rich and regal back catalogue it is impossible to include all of their anthems on stage!
The Stranglers evening in the Welsh capital witnessed an act that was enjoying themselves. The Men in Black live on and in fairness they are not stuck in a rut. Four decades on from their humble beginnings -The Stranglers are still valid-and, they are certainly not Summat Outanowt! The Stranglers were post punk before that genre existed and yet at the same time they can deliver pristine pop. The five CD Old Testament (UA Studio Recordings) set is a definitive collection with a powerful quintet of early albums all present. Yes, the punters thrive upon the past but The Stranglers also thrive upon the present….and that is All day and All of the Night!