Why not pop along and see RiVeR at The Hope & Anchor? (including EiTC on guitar duties).
Sand! Miles and miles of sand! In every direction sand, sand, sand, sand, sand and more sand! The weary travellers settled in this barren desert… Hope was on the horizon, was that the sea or just a mirage? But wait! This just in… A superb round-up of events from last Friday in Cornwall… Over to our crew on the spot – Elliot, Martin & Lindsay…
Going to Cornwall to see the Stranglers was a fair way to drive for us from Scotland but given the chance for dad to see his band and re visit childhood holidays he was up for it. We travelled through torrential rain wondering if indeed there would be a gig at all. No worries though, we arrived and the weather changed to glorious sunshine. A few pre-gig drinks with dad and Lindsay and it was off to the beach. After standing the queue for quite some time we finally managed to grab more drinks and take place on the steel barrier at the front. We were joined by Audrey and Sandra then Matt, Karlos, Philip and Mark Taylor. Dad met up with Mark Davies who had travelled from Australia with his family.
Up next was buster blood vessel and Bad Manners did all their well-known tunes like lip up fatty, my girl lollipop, walking on the sunshine etc. which seemed to go down well with the crowd, everyone was pushing and shoving each other while tipping the other person’s beer out of their hands. There seemed to be a couple of issues at the front but no matter as the security were good and soon after it started to rain and drizzle for a bit.
The classic Waltzinblack soon struck the stage again and the crowd seemed to be in full voice tonight with great enthusiasm suddenly the meninblack graced the stage and I noticed instantly how tall JJ is, standing in such a little venue!
JJ showed us just how cold it was up there on stage as he gave off a shivering pose… Toiler was the opener of the night and what a cracking opener it is, with its instrumental start which got a great reception from the fans.
Next up a brilliant Grip, off their first album Rattus marking its 40th birthday, followed by an equally brilliant Nice ‘N’ Sleazy. Relentless off Suite XVI then the ever threatening Five Minutes before slowing down for the core fan hits ‘Golden Brown and Always the Sun (which had totally gone by now).
Norfolk Coast had the crowd raring to go and start jumping again before a perfect Peaches on the beach to top off…
The new song of the amazing and brillant March – ‘Classic Collection’ tour – Bear Cage was included and good as ever with the crowd chanting along to GMBH, hit every note perfectly while JJ stared across towards us during it in full concentration mode (new to the set – old song etc Etc EiTC).
Walk On By next and the crowd loved it with the sheer and utterly brilliant musical instrumental part. Next up was Skin Deep great hit by the band from 1984, then another new song not played live before the tour back in March – 15 Steps! from Giants. A song they played very well considering there was a few times the timing was out but still sheer class brilliant underdog tune (Didn’t notice timing issues but agreed this song is really sounding great live now they’ve settled into it a bit, EiTC).
Then back to the old hits next, we have Duchess off The Raven, and the awesome Hanging Around, followed by a great JJ vocal, sung in full voice – Something Better Change the smash punk hit from ‘77 off No More Heroes, which is also marking its 40th this year also.
Then things got even more sped up as we were treated to the fabulous Tank, or Tank!! (As Hugh says) which I think is a brilliant song and very glad they put that in the set. It went down with the fans as well as it started to get a bit rowdier at the front but never the less all good fun on the beach but I hardly even knew as I was totally focused on JJ’s bass (which was just in front of me!).
Then the mind-blowing bass solo into the finale No More Heroes as the last song of the night to end in a bang which everyone loved as per. The crowd walked (or staggered) away with smiles and enjoyment which certainly proved the meninblack made them a very happy bunch. The lads played excellent and Baz even handed a little lad, Nick his plectrum!! Awesome eh, it was his first concert also and won’t be his last I’m sure!
We all walked away feeling rather cold as I only had my t-shirt and shorts on, now wishing I had come more prepared but I guess there’s always another time! Glad to have seen them and hopefully see the Meninblack and Familyinblack soon to do it all over again!!!
Best Wishes Everyone!!!
Words: Elliot, Martin and Lindsay.
Pictures: Audrey Grant and Karlos Antrobus.
So, a little scene setting…
…An outdoor concert in Hyde Park in the summer with The Stranglers and The Damned on the same bill…
Count me in!
But of course, that’s only half the story…
And talking of halves, my better one and her progeny were in as keen enthusiasts of headline act Green Day. Sweet!
Then a last-minute addition to the bill Stiff Little Fingers. Fab!
As the days drew us closer to the event, information started to trickle down about who would be playing on which stage at what time etc. A little further research revealed that we would not be able to take our own food or drinks, which for me put a little damper on things (being locked in as a captive audience and being at the mercy of the vendors of whatever over-priced (slop) refreshments may or may not be on offer). Then there were the emails from the promoters about upgrading our tickets to various levels of VIP tickets at extortionate amounts. Urgh! The shine began to wear off a little for me. (However, this was only to be temporary!) I began to feel a little less enthused at the prospect of being a captive participant at an event where the entertainment I was really looking forward to seeing were playing short sets, if I could get anywhere near them, while the rest of it had me less than enthused…
Flash forwards in time to the day itself:
After a Saturday morning of catching up with chores for me and removals and deliveries for DiBDaB, we made our way by train and tube to Bond Street and took a slow stroll to Hyde Park on a fine Summers Day. We ate our lunch on the grass then proceeded to enter through the peasant’s entrance.
So far so good, smiley happy people including the gate staff and security. More friendly faces all around as we made our way toward the front of the main stage in time for Stiff Little Fingers, only to be met by an obstruction in the form of a barrier, this far and no farther it seemed. The masses had settled for this while the people at the front in the fenced off area stretched their legs for a decent view. Then a chance conversation with a friendly marshal brought to our attention that anyone could get down to the front if they got there before all the passes were handed out. So, that’s what we did. Which afforded us a good vantage point from which to view SLF and The Damned. The day got a little better.
Stiff Little Fingers took to the main stage kicking off with the mighty Suspect Device and somehow managed to shoe-horn; Just Fade Away, At The Edge, Nobodies Heroes, Roots Radicals and Rockers, Barbed Wire Love, Strummerville, Tin Soldiers and Alternative Ulster – or thereabouts in to a half hour (methinks Jake Burns might know a thing or two about sugar tongs and time travel). So, the long and short of it was that they were bloody superb and warmed up the crowd – young and old alike – very well.
A short break and then Croydon’s finest took to the stage – The Damned in fine fettle; what with the Captain all upright and on his own two feet, the freshly shorn DV all vampiric, dapper and cool, Stu ready to inspect tickets in his BR garb, Pinch the picture of cool with slicked hair and shades and the descriptively defiant Monty brilliantly being Monty! A quick how do and down to business with a stonking set opener in the form of Love Song. A quick mention to the Young Ones and it’s Nasty great energy. Staying with the N’s next for Neat Neat Neat which was nice!
Then a sideways tangent as an extra mic is brought on stage and they’re joined by the trumpet player (Chris Coull?) for Grimly Fiendish, superb. And he stays on for fine rendition of Eloise, which has the crowd pleased.
Into overdrive for performance and crowd participation next as we’re treated to the slice of brilliance that is Ignite – oh whoah oh oh!…
Back on with the trumpet for Alone Again Or – Fab! (Another great choice as far as I’m concerned although that’s two covers in what is a short set but along with GF these songs do of course represent three hit singles, personally when I saw the trumpet was present I was really hoping for Twisted Nerve but that’s just being extra picky etc Etc EiTC)
The stage craft was immaculate as Captain played a blinder and insulted one and all in his usual jovial manner. Dave glided from side to side covering the whole stage while holding the crowd in the palm of his hand. Pinch and Stu were rock solid and cool. While Monty did what Monty does.
On which subject, New Rose next, stonkingly delivered by all concerned with Monty’s mighty moves impressing one and all!
Time for one more – Smash It Up. Smashing indeed!
And then they were gone with the big screens announcing that tickets for the 2018 UK Tour go on sale this Friday 7th July. Catch ‘em if you can folks!
Great to see them in this setting with a good crowd and all the trimmings – big screens etc…
We hung around for The Hives next. While I’d heard the name, they were somewhat of an unknown quantity for me. The stage was meticulously prepared and lines were checked. Then out they came in their impressive asymmetrical black and white outfits. Not really qualified to talk about their music which was very good – in a dual guitar driven rocky punky kind of way – but man what a show! Vocalist Per(?) was straight off the stage and into the crowd on the first number where he spent almost as much time as he did on stage (or so it seemed). The attitude and showmanship of the band was really in your face in a way that you couldn’t ignore, most effective! Crazy, dangerous, exciting and well worth catching live!
Then it was time for lunch and the anticipation of disappointment turned into pleasant surprise as we found there really were plenty of outlets to suit most dietary requirements.
Suitably fed and watered, we went and watched a bit of Rancid on the big screen which was worth a look before making our way to the other stage in time to catch the end of the set given by The Living End – very impressed – great musicians and super performers, shame we didn’t catch a little more.
We hung around this stage a little more and chatted to the like-minded souls gathered for the main event Then…
Waltzinblack signalled the arrival of The Stranglers, as we headed toward the front in time for the opening bars of 5 minutes super dooper!
And they kept the pace going with a perfect Grip before bringing it to steady cruise with Nice and Sleazy, menace O’ clock!
Relentless next and suddenly I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders…
…but then I looked up and saw that it was in fact Billy perched atop them enjoying an elevated view!
The crowd were the liveliest I’d seen all day for any act and this would hold true for the whole event!
But of course, then it was slow down – Golden Brown – flawlessly delivered with the crowd swaying along.
More menace in the shape of Peaches with worse places today being the United States of America.
The superb addition to this year’s set which is Bear Cage, long overdue until now but hopefully a stayer, as the crowd got right behind the chorus!
Then it was back up to speed for the home straight as they belted out a trio of classics and the crowd responded with gusto – Hanging Around, Something Better Change and Duchess.
All too soon it was bass bashing time which signalled the end, in the shape of closing number (a rousing) No More Heroes, one more mad mosh before our heroes exited stage left…
Or is it?
Well not quite!
It’d be rude of me not to say a thing or two about our hosts of the day – Green Day.
I made my way toward the front (and side-ish) and caught their full set and must say they were great!
It’s not a band I’m that familiar with and they weren’t high on my wish list of gigs to see. But credit where credit is due, they put on a cracking performance and had the audience in the palm of their hands. Taking Punk to the mainstream masses, in a kind of teeny bop Bay City Rollers for the modern age sort of way. I’m not intending to be negative or talk them down here, just making observations.
There were people of all ages from all walks of life really enjoying the show. And while that show was indubitably mainstream, it still came with a message, as front man Billie Joe Armstrong gave out plenty of sound bites in his interaction with the crowd – talking up the virtues of equality and freedom while putting down negative attitudes such as racism, sexism and homophobia. Putting down politics and even throwing in “F*ck Donald Trump”. Fair play that man!
Yes, it was poppy punk by numbers but it was catchy and brilliantly executed and the crowd participation was second to none as they brought people up on stage to sing and play guitar.
The bands energies did not waver for one second of the two hours or so of their set. Yes, it was mainstream but there was just a little bit of a feeling that they were rebelling from within, while delivering an energetic captivating set. Dare I say Superb?
Or is it?
So, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of being part of a captive audience at the mercy of mainstream commercialism but thankfully it really turned out fine. All the staff I encountered were friendly and enthusiastic. The food outlets were great and not overly expensive. The entertainment was top notch. The setting was great. The audio-visuals were superb in terms of the sound and video system.
Oh, and the weather was really good too!
Words and images: Matthew Elvis Brown.
John Rossall’s Glitter Band
Live at The Dublin Castle, Camden Town, London
Saturday 29 April 2017
A Report by PaulinLondon
18.45 GMT / 15.45 Zorg Time : I am escorted to the Transporter Module by the charming yet ageing, Tobias. Tobias is one of the last operative T-1000 androids who are soon to be replaced by the new T-2000 A Class. The technicians at Zorg have been unsuccessful, despite many attempts, to improve the battery life and power circuitry for the long serving T-1000 Class. Tobias is fully aware of this even though he knows his fate and those of the remaining T-1000 Class is sealed... As I lie down in the Transport Module, Tobias bows his head from behind the heavy Zorg glass door; his way of saying, “Bon Voyage”.
Seconds later, I am walking up Parkway in Camden towards the venue for tonight’s show; the wonderful Dublin Castle. Sporting my red Raven tshirt underneath my black leather jacket, I look down and nod approvingly at my still relatively new Dr Martens. This for them will be their second concert in a matter of a few weeks.
The Dublin Castle is already busy with what promises to be a large and excited crowd for tonight’s Glitter Band performance. In no time at all, I am joined by Turkey Troter, Lou, Guildford Lil, Elvis in the Clouds, Nigel (Drum Major) and Streatham Mick. With glasses charged, we head outside to the front of the pub and take in the pleasant London evening. Whilst Nigel engages in a deep conversation with Spizz of Spizzenergi (good to see him again), I check out the fantastic number of people who are turning up tonight. There are punks, young and old, Glitter fans young and old, all mixing together and sipping away in great anticipation. One very tall chap arrives and he looks as though he is a retired City trader. He has a fairly long mane of hair and is wearing a fabulous knee length Glitter coat. As he steps into the pub, he turns to his wife/partner and says, in a most refined accent, “I wonder if they sell port of sherry here”. “I am sure they do”, she replies.
There is a quite a delay before the door staff let the punters into the rear hall for the music to begin. We are at the head of the queue and take our places at the front of the stage; excellent vantage positions !
First up are the superb all female band, The Priscillas. Their sound is first class and we are taken on a sonic journey of power-pop, glam and indie-punk (perhaps a touch of The Cramps and B52s influence in there somewhere too etc Etc EiTC).
These Holloway ladies put on a powerful and impressive show and receive much deserved applause from The Dublin Castle attendees.
I head stage left to the heaving bar and finally manage to return to position, Pinot Grigio supplies dutifully restored. It is time for the main act. To roars of adoration and approval, John Rossall and his Glitter Band take to the stage. The mighty “Rock ’n Roll Part I” opens proceedings and the crowd are loving it.
Everyone is dancing and smiling. I last saw The Glitter Band in the early 1980’s at The Venue in Victoria. That was a crazy evening but this is even better. We lap up every song and are taken along The Glitter Band memory lane with classics including “Angel Face”, “Goodbye My Love”, “Let’s Get Together Again, “Rock ’n Roll Part II” and “Just for You”. The energy of the band is fantastic, as is their engagement and banter with the crowd. Even John (Dave apparently – see comment from Jill below… EiTC) on bass smiles down and compliments me on my dancing to “Angel Face”.
This is arguably one of the most nostalgic gigs I think I have ever been to. Hit after hit after hit and sadly, matters come to a conclusion with a barnstorming, almost punk/heavy metal version of, “Leader of the Gang”. Well worth the entry fee Gentlemen. Thank you from all of us.
At 23.15 GMT / 20.15 Zorg Time, the heat sensor activates on my wrist chronograph; the signal that it is time to report back to the Mother Ship. I bid farewell to members of The FamilyinBlack and make my way back onto Parkway. Taking position as instructed by The Earl of Camden pub, I look up into the London night sky and see the faint green glimmer of the approaching Transporter Module. I will look forward to sharing with Tobias what an excellent evening I have just had on Planet Earth.
Thank you to John Rossall’s Glitter Band and thank you to The Priscillas. “Magnifique”, as they say in the French General Elections.
Words: Paul in London.
Pics: Missy Lou Antlers and EiTC.
Stardate 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286... ...Today we beamed an away team down to a hostile planet in the Sol system. Headed up by Admiral PiL, for the most part they fitted right in! The following is a first hand account of the mission...
The Monochrome Set
Live at The Lexington, London, N1.
Saturday 8th April 2017
A report by PaulinLondon
I alight from Angel tube station at 18.45 GMT and into the fantastic sunshine enveloping Islington’s uber trendy, Upper Street. It is a beautiful Saturday evening; London at its best.
After a short stroll, I spot Elvis in the Clouds, Turkey Troter and Lou, each armed with a charged glass, standing outside The Angel pub. “Stranglers !” I cry from across the road and at the top of my voice as I go over to join these three members of the clan known as, The FamilyinBlack. It is very good to catch up again and we are soon joined by my old friend Nigel; a fine drummer who I have had the pleasure to be in a band with over many years and who is a hardened fan of The Monochrome Set.
In no time at all, the moment has come to partake of the five minute walk to tonight’s venue, The Lexington. We are now joined by Guildford Lil who makes up the final cog in the Stranglers presence at tonight’s concert (a little later we are joined by Streatham Mick but no sign of Hammer EiTC). On entering this fantastic old and vast pub, we have our hands stamped at the ticket desk and enjoy some more drinks and merriment outside in the wonderful warm London air. Support act, “The Bitter Springs” are already on stage and we miss their performance on this occasion.
The venue upstairs above the pub seems huge; reminiscent of the The Forum in Kentish Town but on a smaller scale. The Monochrome Set have a great crowd tonight including none other than Spizz from Spizzenergi. At 21.30 GMT, The Monochrome Set take to the stage to almighty applause. They launch into “Super Plastic City” which is then followed by my all time favourite, “Jet Set Junta”. Bid on guitar and lead vocals never seems to age. He is a cool frontman and seems genuinely touched by the great attendance at this evening’s show. To his left, the unflappable Andy Warren on bass who is dressed in black and whose nonchalant expression reminds me of one Jean-Jacques Burnel. His rolling bass lines are complimented by the excellent, almost Swiss clockwork, efficiency of Mike Urban on drums. Adding a layer of synths and organ, is the fantastic and bizarrely dressed keyboard player, Mr John Paul Moran. He is dressed in either a light grey jumpsuit or some form of late Victorian pyjamas; I can’t work out which.
There barely seems time to draw breath as the band play through a fine set of “post punk” material which includes great numbers of theirs such as “Ruling Class”, “Eine Symphonie”, “Cosmonaut” and “Waiting for Alberto”. As I have said already, it is great to see such a fine turnout for this band. I last saw The Monochrome Set two years ago at another venue close by called The Islington. Yet again, their loyal fans have come out in great and adoring number.
As with all good concerts, the finale arrives all too soon. You just want to hear more and more but alas, it is 23.00 GMT and that means, curfew time. We make our way downstairs and after a short Committee meeting, one of the shortest I can remember, my proposal to go next door for a curry and a debrief is agreed unanimously and with no dissenting votes.
The Monochrome Set look like they are here to stay. Formed in 1976, they have an energy and unique addictive sound.
Photos: Missy Lou.
Magical mystery to magic... Under the auspices of the half-moon… …we were recently returned from a magical mysterious excursion through the misty Isle of Avalon. Being as we were, in possession of a newly acquired clarity and contentment never before experienced. And, as luck and or serendipity would have it, another magical adventure was just beginning to conclude its opening chapter… For tonight’s experiment, the time dial was set to the heart of the 1980s for a little light entertainment… just then a mosquito flew in to the delicate machinery of the ST90 and tripped a circuit, triggering a malfunction which caused time and reality to splinter whilst creating a trans-dimensional overlap. These phenomena had the net effect of merging different timelines creating a new reality, which would all too soon appear as just normal - having replaced the old reality and as the memory of these events fade… …what? Precisely…
Suddenly we were in London’s West End in April of the year 2017.
Having not done so for a decade or two I popped in to the Borderline to see what was occurring…
And jolly good it is too! Having been given a preview of this finely crafted jewel, the opportunity and desire presented itself with increasing frequency over the preceding week to hear it more…
We’re probably all familiar with the Human urge to categorise things. A base psychological need to compare what we are experiencing now with what has gone before. In the case of Lover, I’ve recently heard such comparisons as Hazel O’Connor, Toyah, Blondie to name a few and to be fair I can see where they’re coming from. (To add a few to the mix myself, I can hear elements of 80’s synth pop going on in what is essentially a pop/rock band format (a feat in itself). With at times nods to Johnny Marr on Guitar etc Etc EiTC…)
But all of this is just a perception. To be specific, how I perceive what I experience with Lover. But all nods and comparisons aside, what Lover offer is a well presented modern slice of poppy rocky goodness, all art is inspired. And Lover’s art is inspirational and deserving of a listen.
Returning to clarity, it is here – with Vocals guitars and drums all present and polished while the synths and samples add layers of rich textures.
There is more of an edge in the live environment, as one would expect but it is true to the recordings at the same time.
Singer Sarah delivers the vocals with style and serenity. While she explores and experiments with the delivery and performance of the songs adding an extra something not captured in the recorded version. A striking and cool character indeed! Commanding the attention of the audience with her vocal talent, stage presence and innate photogenicity.
Drummer Jamie is on beat giving a head down no nonsense display of drum finery, drawing all the elements of the band to a unified whole. While Bassist Casper provides the low down with style and finesse.
Keyboardist Florence provides the afore-mentioned layers of electronic textures which emanate forth with a depth and range seemingly beyond that of the recorded medium. Guitarist James is another cool customer delivering the chops and more with apparent ease.
It was ear-worms a go go in there last night as the loop in my brain keeps reminding me – Fallen Famous, Somebody Somewhere, White Bears, Weekend Caligula, Self Destruct to name a few.
And judging by the enthusiastic response from a healthy turnout of friendly faces and enthusiasts, people are using their ears.
Pick up a copy of the album released this Friday.
Or catch them live.
Better still do both!
Words and Images: EiTC.
Came down on a Friday…
Somewhere from the Midlands…
First there was Black Friday Pt1... Then there was Black Friday Pt2... And now here is Black Friday Pt3... etc Etc EiTC...
It’s time for my third and unfortunately final gig of the Classic Collection tour…
So it’s Midday Myself and Jane board the choo choo bound for the big city… check in to our dwellings for the next 3 nights just down the road from Her Maj’s place…. not been Victoria way for a good few years and how it’s changed, plenty of building work going on.
Short journey on the tube to Brixton, first visit to this part of town for either of us, photo opportunity at the Bowie mural then off to find The Trinity Arms, as a few of you may have realised we don’t like to stay out of the pub for too long. Quick bite to eat and before long The Family In Black start to arrive….
Owen, Jacquie and friend Pat quickly followed by one of my oldest mates from following The MIB Gary, who’s with Jan and Bernard after seeing Straighten Out, Stu and partner follow and before long it’s time to move on as we arrange to meet Audrey who has a spare ticket, Audrey’s in The local Spoons and it is absolutely rammed, also in attendance JB Alan, Dave, Isabella, Sandra, Jason, Ray, big Les and plenty others wearing our favourite logo. Sadly though not in attendance our friend from Belfast ..Mully.. which explains why you’re having to put up with my words… thanks for asking Matt (thank you very much Sir! EiTC).
Show time and seeing as Andy Miller had thoroughly recommended we should all make the effort to see Ruts dc Myself and Jane got there in plenty of time, I was lucky enough to see the line up in 79-80 with Malcolm on vox and bloody good they were but have not had the pleasure since and Mr Miller you were quite right…they were very good.
Waiting for The MIB I luckily bump into another old friend.. Duncan… only too briefly. It’s packed down the front so we stand quite near the back it looks like another large crowd… it is time…
That superb intro Waltzinblack and straight into the brilliant Raven, which must be in most fans top 5 all time Strangs songs… you all know the set list by now so I won’t go through it all… plenty of highlights Sometimes, Grip… then one I am not really that keen on 15 Steps but credit for something different… Never to look back which I love, a typical JJ track… followed by a quiet 10 mins or so with the hits which did draw big cheers from the crowd.
More highlights for me.. WWTW, great to hear Bear Cage.. great addition to the set… Genetix well done to Jim, for me it is the Jet track but Jim did a sterling Job… 5 Minutes obviously Sewer….. Baz says hope you’ve enjoyed the classic collection… don’t know what the fook it means but here’s the oldest… Go Buddy Go…. then all done with Heroes.
Cracking show from the boys again… never fail to deliver in my eyes.. so it’s back to The Spoons for a few more refreshments and chat with Julie and Darren and with Matt himself.. Thanks again for asking – over and out…
(thanks again for providing, EiTC).
Words: Phil Coxon.
Videos: Andy Miller.
Photos: Matthew Elvis Brown.
Black Friday Part 2
After traversing the fabric of space and time itself, it is with a joyous and uplifted spirit that I put pen to paper (in a virtual sense you understand, actually I’m clacking away on the keys at 40WPM 84% accuracy, thank heavens for the backspace key etc Etc EiTC… After having subcontracted the main MiB review out to the Stranglers Original Derby62 – (see - Black Friday Part 3), there was a need to provide a separate account of proceedings leading up to the aforementioned… So here goes…
A plasma storm in the time stream forced me to put down in Brixton south London in the year of 2017. Previous commitments meant there was no chance of making it early enough for Straighten Out at the Hope & Anchor (i.e. Black Friday Part 1). So we nipped into the Beehive where we rendezvoused with Sib and Son, Willy, Keith and Dreadinblack. The place was rammed to the rafters with friends and family in black.
An incoming communique from Karl told us he was in the priority queue, sensibly getting in early to setup a vantage point for the evenings events. Without further ado we ventured forth to join him in the good company of Greg and Pidge a quick hello with Author John Dewhirst (who reported on Lincoln, the first night of the tour for this very blog) among others, then we settled near the front by the lovely Andrea longhair.
After a quick hello to the packed auditorium they kicked off the set. In titular deference to the tour of which they are partaking, we were treated to a set of classic Ruts and a healthy smattering of Ruts DC (modern classics)!
The capacity crowd were largely in early to see them too and they responded with gusto. There followed a kind of symbiosis as the crowd and band seemed to feed off each other becoming something more than just entertainers and audience – in some magical Gestalt kind of way!
Once more as per Guildford there was barely room to pack a rizla in the 45 minute slot. However, Segs and Ruffy still managed to have a laugh and a joke with the audience while Leigh was lapping it up especially when he was teasing us on the intro to the magnificent Staring At The Rude Boys. Wonderful!
The musical interlude of In A Rut went in a definite Dr Feelgood kind of direction, perhaps a nod to the company they were keeping the night before in Southend (i.e. Wilko).
All too soon it was all over and we headed off out…
Oh no we didn’t, we stayed put in anticipation of the MiB but that will be dealt with in Black Friday Part 3.
Videos: Andy Miller.
Segs Photo: Karlos Antrobus.
Words and Photos: Matthew Elvis Brown.
Black Friday Part 1…
Sadly EiTC had to miss the annual pilgrimage to the Hope and Anchor for the afternoon mass in black... Fortunately, Little Lil was there to egg on Bag Lady to big it up...
Straighten Out – Hope and Anchor Friday 24th March 2017
It was late morning when I slipped my little feet into my little DM’s and took a little train ride to see a little gig in a tiny basement. It was the pre-Stranglers meet up to witness lil’ ol’ Straighten Out at the mighty Hope and Anchor (well, something in this little review had to add a bit of stature). A little afternoon out? Oh no, this was to exceed expectations.
The pub took a while to fill up with people in black but eventually the bar was three deep in dark figures. The thud of a sound check penetrated the floorboards as greetings were called out and old acquaintances re-established. Without announcement the doors downstairs were opened. A homing instinct called to those in black who turned and obediently filed down in an orderly queue. Flippin’ heck, Lil, the place was rammed to the rafters. What does a little ‘un have to do to find a breathing space in here? Scuba gear attached and sauna towel adjusted, it was once more into the fray with the band emerging from the crowd.
Longships into The Raven, ah, a proper start. Are we going to be a better audience than Glasgow? Of course we are. Dead Loss Angeles and Ice. Does anyone know what album they’re playing? Maybe cracks are appearing in our superiority when the audience consensus is that Rattus is having an airing… I am delighted, although after Bordello and ND not surprised, to hear Shah Shah A Go Go, now that’s a treat. What’s up next? An omission and an addition. Bear Cage and a chance to chant along. The voice changer is employed through Meninblack and later in JLNOE (or is this Shaggy’s real off-stage voice?). As we are in MiB territory I should mention my view of new drummer, Casey’s set up meant his head appeared to be a cymbal in an alien way. Legs, torso, rather attractive biceps and a cymbal up top. It’s a relief after nearly two hours to see him unfold from behind the kit and find that he is from our planet. Welcome.
After a little flirtation into Gospel territory, SO move on to the very best of La Folie – Man, Tramp, Family and Everybody. I know I’m listing (and that is not referring to my heading to starboard with my wonky dancing to Who Wants the World nor to an impeccable Toiler) but this was a set list written for fans and that marks this gig out. Plus each track was belted out, not even slowing when Phil burst a string. Add again to that the authentic sound with Mick’s keyboards and you have a room of hot, happy people. Shaggy says from the stage that they read the various forums, take note of what fans want to hear and try to provide. For any dry trees seeking water, this is the place to be.
The appreciation of the audience was there throughout but they took time to make noisy expression. It was after all mid Friday afternoon and the creation of a rowdy late night atmosphere takes some working. In the well-crafted set the arrival of Tank was perfectly timed, the audience were hungry for it. We were like children who have gorged on the party buffet of rich and rare Stranglers tracks, thinking it was time to head out for a go on the swings, only to be presented with ice cream sundaes. There’s pudding too! Oh yes, we’ve got room! Sleazy followed (the dancing rather sedate this afternoon), SBC and Heroes. The whipped cream on top was added with a magnificent seven and a half minutes of Sewer. Our appetites were satisfied. The temperature had soared. The smiles had grown. The cheers had risen.
Straighten Out had taken bigger risks with the set than The Stranglers would later in the evening. There is not the pressure to keep in the general crowd pleaser tracks that the casual attendee expects at a Stranglers gig, giving SO more freedom to roam through the albums for gems. For the Stranglers themselves this freedom might be considered insane. It is good to see SO go large with the set list. It pays off, big time. Classic.
Words: Guildford Lil.
Photos: Gary Bainbridge.
Coming Soon to a town near you... Black Friday Part 2... and now Black Friday Part 3!
We intercepted, captured and interpreted this incoming transmission as it was broadcast across space and time... There was talk of Lew and talk from Lou but no time was spent in either Lieu or the Loo etc Etc EiTC... Presented here for the first time in full...
Sugar tongs primed, refractors tweaked and hair straighteners only just remembered, we’re off to the seaside that is Southend.
A relatively painless manoeuvre negotiating the M25 and its’ allies and we’re at the hotel with the sugar tongs reclining on the window sill gazing out to far horizons, well, the Isle of Sheppy at least…
All spruced up and a wander past the Cliffs Pavilion in the glorious sunset for a quick fish and chip tea and a little libation before heading back for the main event – The Stranglers with Ruts DC supporting.
In no particular order we also hear In A Rut, Babylon’s Burning and the superb Music Must destroy amongst others (soz, memory’s not what it was and I have got ManFlu!), a perfect set for getting us ready for what’s to come.
The lights dim and Waltzinblack sets off the tingle in me as it does every time I hear it and they’re on! Straight into The Raven and I’m laughing and crying with the sheer joy of just being there and sharing it with like-minded folk.
The band look well and seem to be enjoying this tour so much, there’s something there that has been missing for a few tours, the mojo is in great working order.
A blistering set including one of my all time faves Bear Cage – oh wow, hearing that live is something else! Always great to hear Genetix, liking Freedom a lot this time round too and couldn’t resist providing the missing trumpet backing on Was It You (I always liked that bit of brass).And to really knock the orgasmatron off the scale, on comes Lew Lewis for the encore and belts out Old Codger on his trusty blues harp! Innit!?
All too soon it’s time for NMH and the bright lights of the Pavilion suggest it’s time to gather and go.
Dazed, but certainly not confused, until next time…
Words: Missy Lou.
Pictures: Mrs Bloggs.