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THE STRANGLERS – ASTOR THEATRE

The Stranglers
The Stranglers

THE STRANGLERS
ASTOR THEATRE
5 February

Photos by Julian Neil

The Gooch Palms kicked off their set a few minutes early as though they simply couldn’t wait to get on stage, both of them sporting grins a mile wide like they couldn’t believe their luck at supporting “one of the greatest bands this planet has ever produced”. They then ripped into a punky tune which showcased the duo’s remarkable harmonies.

The Gooch Palms songs are mostly short, sharp and essentially simple little things in punk stylings. It’s hard to say exactly what is the attraction when it comes to The Gooch Palms, the dude can wail on guitar and vocals, the girl drums standing up and also exhibits some nice pipes, together The Gooch Palms are frigging ace.

The Stranglers truly are one of the great bands to have emerged from the British punk scene of the 1970s, although they were never really a punk group they were often lumped in with the new music of that era. Certainly, the band knocked the spots off most of their contemporaries in terms of hit tunes and memorable moments.

Hits such as Nice and Sleazy, Golden Brown and Always The Sun rolled out one after the other, each of which showed off the excellent vocals of Baz Warne who, far from being the new kid on the block,  has been with the band since 2000.

Then came the warm embrace of Skin Deep. Swoon, swoon.

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Unlike many other bands plying the nostalgia circuit, The Stranglers have never really stopped playing and they’ve consistently released consistently good albums. Original members Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass and Dave Greenfield on keys maintain that consistency will the founder of the group, Jet Black, remaining a member of The Stranglers in the recording studio, though he eschews touring these days.

Peaches was an absolute peach live, though one of my personal favourites, Toiler On The Sea suffered, as did a few of the earlier songs in the set, from bass drum heavy booming, a problem which seemed less evident as the set went on.

The Stranglers wrapped things up with Hanging Around and Tank, before they came back with a one song encore of No More Heroes which rocked harder than you could possibly imagine and after which they really could give no more. If you missed The Stranglers this time, don’t make the same mistake next time.

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