Posts Tagged ‘Jet Black’
The Stranglers @ The Pyramids, Portsmouth 13.03.12
For a multitude of reasons we arrive late to the gig, none of them make for particularly interesting anecdotes but it does mean I miss all of Mike Marlin’s set and some of The Popes. Mike Marlin gets a polite round of applause from the audience at the end of the night after Baz assures everyone ‘he is weird but he’s alright’ so I am guessing he did a decent job of warming up The Stranglers faithful.
The Popes, former backing band for Shane McGowan, are a riotous blend of Irish folk and punk vigour, the part of the set I catch is enjoyably raucous and sets the mood admirably for the main event… and what a main event it is.
As the lights dim and the atmosphere builds, The Stranglers stride onto the stage with the elder statesman air that only a band in their 4th decade could carry off. Sadly Jet Black has been taken ill and has been admitted to hospital, hats off to the man though for his dedication to the cause, 73 years young and you know he’ll be back behind the kit again soon.
The Stranglers back catalogue is littered with some hugely memorable hits but they have never been just about the singles, throughout the set the album tracks are not only dished out with vigour by the band but received with eagerness by the assembled masses. ‘Burning Up Time’ from the No More Heroes album and ‘Hanging Around’ from their 1977 debut Rattus Norvegicus separate the die hards from those who just own the Greatest Hits with the hardcore singing along to every word.
Despite the fact the band are celebrating the release of their 17th studio album ‘Giants’ they do not overload the crowd with new tracks, the smattering they play fit seamlessly alongside the established and whilst slightly skeptical in places, the crowd appear to be more than happy to allow new tunes into the set.
Ahead of one of these aforementioned songs, Baz acknowledges the plight of Portsmouth FC and asserts ‘I really hope they survive, I really do’ before introducing the title track from the new album a song that is greeted with polite approval to start with but clearly grows on the crowd as it progresses. Sandwiched between another new one in the shape of Mercury Rising is Peaches. JJ’s bass is more a weapon than an instrument, at times during the evening the rumble from his 4-string actually tickles the rib cage; you can physically feel it move you. Peaches is a classic, it needs no introduction from me and live it is as iconic as a song gets.
In fact, all the ‘big’ songs are dispatched with ruthless efficiency, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Golden Brown’ and my personal favourite,
‘Something Better Change’ sound as timeless as ever and are all positively devoured by the balding (not my words) sweaty throng.
The Stranglers turn out a near faultless set, Baz commands the stage under the watchful eye of JJ and conducts the audience like a burly ringmaster. It is hard to believe the band are some 35 years into their career, there is no sign of boredom or fatigue (except for poor Jet Black that is) and the songs sound as defiant as ever.
Rounding off the night with two encores, they squeeze out a few more tunes to the by now fully warmed up (and judging from the guy next to me, tanked up) crowd and crank out the sublime Duchess to make sure the punters leave happy.
Age is just a number, pure class is timeless, The Stranglers once again prove they have nothing to prove anymore.