Gig Review – The Stranglers Glive Guildford – 260318

Dispensing with the normal preamble on matters temporal, lest it become an almost perfunctory obligation… Besides, last I remember Mr Bloogs was in possession of the sugar tongs and using them to great effect. Both current and previous ramblings about time and other matters aside, let us begin at that place, which after all else is considered, we shall call the beginning or possibly the start, the outset, the get go, on your marks etc Etc EiTC…

The Stranglers/Therapy Glive Guildford 26th March 2018

Now much as I like to get out on tour, probably as much as the next Stranglers obsessive… Sometimes events conspire to reduce the possibility of such aspirations. Such has been the case with the Definitive Tour and yours truly. All of which makes the one date that I (did) do even more crucial.

In fact, it is my experience that this focus or one pointed awareness if you will, served to sharpen the senses and make this event appear greater than the sum of it’s whole (not bad for a Monday night in Guildford as they and in fact almost everybody else seems to say, so it must be true).

You can please some of the people…

With The Stranglers having such a vast back catalogue to draw from, it must make for a difficult job to narrow down the song selection to a 90-minute (or thereabouts) set. Personally, I think they do a great job of mixing it up. Also, with this being the only show for me this tour, (my) perceived experience of some of the material usually taken for granted was somehow more tangible and heightened. For example, on Peaches the quality of the musical structure and timelessness of this song really hit home. And the instrumental section of Walk on By was perfection in itself.

But what about the review?…

Having landed in the charmed hamlet of Guildford along with Bruv and Neph#2 we rendezvoused in India with Guildford Lil at a very busy but equally efficient Moloncho. Suitable sustenance consumed we went on to Glive where we encountered once more the drunken staircase and a full house of eager punters ready for the entertainment in black.

We caught the last couple of numbers of support act Therapy and they came across and went down well.

Suddenly the venue was crammed to the gunnels as the lights dimmed, Waltzinblack ensued and Bosh! Cufew! Fantastic opener, they nailed it. Ooh cool video and light show…

Both band and crowd appeared in good form and made for a most enjoyable evening. Highlights, the whole lot of course but to Narrow it down somewhat: Curfew, Harry, WoB, Bear Cage (clearly a live classic and hopefully a new mainstay for the set – anthemic crowd pleaser on the chorus front), Relentless, JLNOE and more…

Watertight…

New song Water stood up well, having already seen/heard a few of the social media clips, it was even better live. Interesting rhythmically (is this 6/8?) and melodically, it’ll be great to see how it evolves. There were some interesting guitar licks toward the end of the intro, it would be nice to hear these explored further or perhaps developed in to a mid-section encompassing or nodding at the outro… but once again further rambling, in short fab! Please let’s have more new stuff played live.

Time playing its tricks again we were at the point of bone-liquefying bass which could only mean NMH and subsequent home time!

Tip top…

Over…

Words and Images: EiTC.

Bonus:

The Damned Manchester Academy 31st January 2018

Guest Review – The Damned Manchester Academy 31st Jan 2018

Due to Indian excursions and other committments, EiTC is yet to catch up with the Damned on their Evil Spirits Tour, hopefully this will change next week when they roll into the big smoke...

In the meantime sit back and enjoy a review from the Manchester gig from our guest: Greatkudu.

Well Well Well... Captain Kudu reporting from Sunny Madchester 
(or was, as back in suburbs now). Down to brass tack's...

I haven’t seen The Damned since 2007, just been concentrating on “The Stranglers” to my musical loss, More about that in a bit. Support was the brilliant “Slim Jim Phantom” from The Straycats (just in case you didn’t know) his three piece band took us through a very enjoyable Rockabilly master class from 20.00-20.30, lots of “Straycat” songs with other classics thrown in like “Cmon Everybody” etc, a really enjoyable set from the slim one, rock on!


Moving on at 21.14 the intro tune started on the PA in preparation for “The Damned” and it was “Mars” which is part of “Holst” planets suite, this was also used by “The Stranglers” as their intro on the 1987 tour how strange.”The Damned” came on with a very atmospheric start with dry ice, really setting the scene, Dave Vanian’s mic stand lit up in fluorescent green, really cool. They came on stage to a big cheer, Dave Vanian came on last.


They kicked off with one of my fav songs of theirs “Wait For The Blackout” (from “The Black Album) a great start to a great gig and that’s being understated, as it was possibly one of the best gigs I have ever been to? From the first song it was just pure class from a band who are better than ever as a live band, they then played 3 more from “The Black Album” including one of my all time favs “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” a song giving full rein to Dave Vanian’s goth image and persona.


Before I go on, great to see Paul Gray back on bass and a great Madchester welcome he received on the first song with a pint of beer launched his way by some lovely person, luckily he seemed to dodge most of it but personally I would have smashed the bass over the beer throwers head (Waste of a good bass – eitc), it’s 2018 not 1976, yes years ago “The Damned” encouraged stuff like this, maybe the offender was stuck in a time warp? But Mr Gray being the professional that he is, just played on regardless.


The rest of the set was made up of songs from “Machine Gun Etiquette”,”Damned Damned Damned” and “Strawberries” including “Gun Fury” which isn’t played that much? I don’t think (I think 2010 was the last time I heard it live, eitc). There were also a few from “Phantasmagoria”, “Street of Dreams” and “shadow of love”. Also, 3 songs were played from the upcoming album “Evil Spirit’s” including the rather good new single (Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow – EiTC) plus “Evil Spirits” and “Devil in Disguise” (not a cover of The Elvis song) these other two were a bit faster than the single and sounded really high quality, for these two other songs the crew brought on a “Tablet” with the lyrics on, he didn’t need that for the new single “Standing on The Edge of Tomorrow” really love this song, it’s a grower and live the bass was far more meaty and while we’re talking Bass, a mention must go out to “Paul Gray” a fantastic Bass player, you could tell that the band were very happy to have him back, he was interacting a lot with the good Captain, not slagging “Stu West” the previous Bass Player but “Paul Gray” is one of the finest Bass players around, a great trebly sound but with light and shade too, he seemed to be enjoying being back (even though his hearing is shot to pieces,he uses a lot of protection to keep what he has left).


Moving on they played their biggest hit “Eloise” a song where again “Dave Vanian” can show of his fantastic baritone voice.


The last song was of course “Smash it up” and they wen’t off about 22.45 and people started to leave… there was a quite a long wait but The band came back on and finished with “Jet Boy Jet Girl” with the Captain on lead vocals, great when you think it’s over and it’s not!


Now to sum up the only negatives were; of course my personal favs the beer throwers, About 3 or 4 pint’s seemed to be thrown, I just got a few drops,why waste good beer? or maybe the beer tasted of piss, still at least the audience mostly seemed ok, quite a few Mohicans at the front.


And now for the positives; possibly one of the best gigs I have ever seen, just fantastic,the whole band were firing on all cylinders. The Star of the show is “Dave Vanian” a totally unique character with one of the best voices in music ever in IMHO, the man is just so cool in his black frock coat and shades, a really theatrical performer, he stalks the stage like victorian spectre, then to compliment him you have the Captain a tacky dresser who is an amazing guitarist and has great banter with the crowd and is actually funny, great to hear him sing a couple of songs, on drums the power house drumming of “Pinch” but he also has the light touch, did some sublime tom and cymbal work, I’ve already mentioned “Paul Gray” and last but not least the barking “Monty Oxymoron” as mad as a hatter but a fine musician and lovely bloke. Sound was excellent too and also the stage set and lights, they create such a unique atmosphere, so in all a great night and, now I am going to get shot down here but I actually think “The Damned” are better live than “The Stranglers” these day’s, maybe it’s because I haven’t seen “The Damned” for a few years? But the set was more interesting, they didn’t play the obvious songs and they have the original singer, they also interact with the audience so well, it seems they actually appreciate the crowd, I know it’s a different style of music but i have to be honest I think they are better live at the present time. I know its sacrilege to say that on here (Tsk tsk! etc Etc EiTC), I will see “The Damned” again next week in shitty (Shoorlie knott eitc) “Southampton”.

I recommend “the Damned” just brilliant!

Capt Kudu back on ops in the suburbs,

Over and out.


Words: Greatkudu.

Images: Britta Hoppe.

Proof Reading: Rockula.