The Stranglers – Dr Feelgood – Glive Guildford 190319

Then…

Before you knew it, there we were standing in Guildford… so while that was indeed where we were, we thought, why not take a stroll down to The Star and visit the plaque where it all started? Which we duly did…
Suddenly, we found ourselves in a quiet pub on a Guildford backstreet where we chanced upon a Rut and two Dept S’s there were also a Strangler, some roadcrew and a smattering of FiB in attendance…
Even more suddenly, we were transported via the drunken staircase into the bowels of G-Live, to where we now stood in front of Dr Feelgood.

Having made it just in time to catch the last couple of numbers, they sounded blisteringly good. Giving it their all with a high energy in your face performance of a special patented blend of hard-hitting R&B. Closing number Route 66 was stonking, shame we didn’t get to catch more of their set. Check them out…

Less suddenly, or maybe even further along than that… The lights dimmed… The crowd buzzed… Waltzinblack struck up… Enter stage Right and Left The Stranglers…

Kicking off with Tank, The Men in Black were firing on all cylinders. An excellent set list comprising a little something for everyone, with hits, fan favourites, new numbers and some material rarely played live (if ever).

A symbiosis occurred between Artist and audience as the more they gave the more we lapped it up. And for Guildford on a damp Tuesday evening that was no mean feat.

The stage setup and lighting for this show was magnificent with it’s down in the sewer vibe…

Highlights for me were; seeing the Stranglers in Guildford of a damp Tuesday evening, i.e. the whole thing! To narrow down a selection; Walk on By, Nubiles, Princess of the Streets and much more.

Of the new stuff: Last Man on The Moon – Good Stranglery fare. Payday – standout for me atm – four-part harmonies and nice twists and turns. This Song – good vibe and instant – and the crowd seem to pick up on it. All the new material was well received. Fair play to them for putting them in.

There was a good rapport with the crowd tonight as Baz was teasing us soft southerners. Talking of Baz he was on good form and his interpretations of Uptown and Ice Queen sounded spot on to these ears. Although he sings in a different register from HC, he does the material justice. Uptown coming across as surprisingly strong with this lineup. Ice Queen also sounded great particularly the extended slide guitar section. Keep it up Baz.

Jim is a hard hitter. He pounds the drums like his life depends on it, yet at the same time always pays respect to the subtleties and flourishes of the songs. He has a fine voice too.

Dave is Dave is Dave – the heart and soul, sublime! And the keys were shining through loud and clear.

JJ – the undisputed heavyweight of the 4 string! In fine form – instrumentally, vocally and menacingly (albeit in a good-natured way). At one point he made his way to the very front of the stage, got in the audiences face and yelled ‘Right!’ Before launching into the opening bars of Peaches, much to the crowd’s delight.

All too soon the bass was registering a steady 5.8 on the Richter scale and it was all No More Heroes and over…

Bonus:

Bonus Bonus: Videos courtesy of Andy Miller.

Ruts DC – Shepherds Bush Empire 280219

Now that summer’s almost over as is February, thought it’d be a good idea to head on down to Shepherds Bush to catch up with Ruts DC as they celebrate 40 years since the release of their debut album The Crack (I don’t need to hark on too much about just how brilliant The Crack is. Just to say it is timeless and as relevant today as it was 40 years ago).

The journey wasn’t without complication having taken 1 step backward and 2 step forwards but choosing to live in a positive way.

The ever-decreasing circles being driven around eventually gave way to a parking spot right behind the venue from whence we alighted and made our way inside…

A very healthy (near capacity) crowd thronged in the Shepherds Bush Empire tonight and a lot of like minds and friendly familiars had made their way down all the way from 1979 and earlier and beyond. A beautiful banner showing a recreation of the classic album cover adorned the stage.

The challenges of the short flight from SW to W London all but put paid to the chances of catching the set by The Professionals. However, we did manage to get down to hear the last couple of numbers and they sounded very tight and well delivered as the crowd at the front made the most. And it was of course a delight to see Mr Cook driving things from centre stage…

The dimming lights and a heartfelt poetry recital signalled that the time had come…

…as Segs, Ruffy and Leigh took up their spots and kicked off into The Crack.

The sound and delivery were spot on. The band played a blinder. I’ve alluded in previous ramblings as to their skill and professionalism but blimey! They proceeded to deliver a thrilling and captivating show from start to finish.

As if it wasn’t enough to recreate The Crack they continued through most of the singles and b-sides from that Era and added a smattering of selections from the excellent Music Must Destroy.

1981’s Animal Now wasn’t represented we can only live in hope that they are saving that up for a 40th anniversary show too (please)…

More on the performance. Not only does Dave Ruffy never drop a beat he seems to effortlessly lay down the rhythm and deliver the BV’s without breaking sweat. Master.

Leigh continues to go from strength to strength as was abundantly clear in his superb delivery tonight. Completely faithful to the legacy of Paul Fox while being in, above and at times way beyond the zone. Expert.

What of Segs? I hear you ask… Now Segs had it all sewn up tonight and we were eating out of his hands. The bass was biting and crunchy where it needed to be and subsonic smooth and dub-wise, also at the appropriate moments. The vocals were superbly sublime. And his whole demeanour was flawless, dynamic and polished. Star.

I hope they recorded this in some way shape or form as it will be a belter to add to their canon.

Get ‘em while they’re ‘ot…

Over…

EiTC.

Bonus: