Stranglers and Bad Manners – Bands In The Sands, Perranporth, Cornwall, 21st July 2017

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.


The first support act was Sarah Marie with her guitar followed by Chris Haddon who I secretly enjoyed the most out of the two so far…


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!!!

Over…

Words: Elliot, Martin and Lindsay.

Pictures: Audrey Grant and Karlos Antrobus.

Bonus Audrey:


Bonus Karlos:


Bonus EiTC:

Guest Review – John Rossalls Glitter Band plus The Priscillas – Dublin Castle Camden 290417

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. 

 

PiL, 1.5.17.


Over…
Words: Paul in London.
Pics: Missy Lou Antlers and EiTC.
Bonus:

Guest Review – The Monochrome Set – The Lexington – 080417

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.

Catch them if you can.

PiL, 10.4.17.

Over…

Photos: Missy Lou.

MIA: Hammer.

Bonus:

 

Guest Review – Straighten Out – Hope and Anchor 240317

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.

Over…

Words: Guildford Lil.

Photos: Gary Bainbridge.

Coming Soon to a town near you...
Black Friday Part 2...
and now
Black Friday Part 3!

Guest Review – Stranglers/Ruts DC – Southend Cliffs Pavilion – 230317

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.

The Ruts are on as we go in and we’re soon into the rhythm with Jah Wars which I’m reliably informed is all about jam making in the WI, everyday’s a school day eh!? (wf)

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…

Over…

Words: Missy Lou.

Pictures: Mrs Bloggs.

Bonus:

Guest Review – Stranglers/Ruts DC – Birmingham o2 180317

Sugar Tongs aside, EiTC is yet to make it to the classic collection tour!!!
Birmingham is always a blast but YT will have to wait...
Fortunately Gizzard was there and brings us this account of the evening...

15 STEPS TO BIRMINGHAM

Here we are all again, March is upon us and it’s the annual Stranglers tour of the UK, still no news of a new album(it’s in the pipeline we hear…?) The tour is called ‘The Classic Collection’, does this mean a new range of clothing or the ‘greatest hits’? We are promised ‘new old’ tracks in pre tour interviews so it looks promising and also a set change every night…

My interest in seeing the band live has waned over the last 3 or so years, they will always be my favourite band without question and in 158 gigs I have only come away really disappointed once(AITUK Birmingham 2005), from a personal point of view I think seeing them so many times has took the edge off, plus the same ‘hits’ and the lack of new material hasn’t helped, so now each tour 2 or 3 gigs max instead of previously 7 or 8.

I have never been one for not wanting to see the set list before I go to a gig, so after the first gig I want to know, I had seen what was being played and to be honest it didn’t really ‘excite’ me, the only real standouts were ‘Bear Cage’ and ‘15 Steps’ and that was because I had never seen them performed live. There were other songs I was pleased to see back but there were also a few that I have heard/seen played to death but hey you can’t please everyone…..

So I leave home around late afternoon in my new 17 plate Black automobile, plenty of CD’s for the journey, starting with a live recording of Toronto 1980, hells fire it must have been good to see them then!

And so to Birmingham, always liked seeing the band there as it’s always a very healthy and appreciative crowd and this time was no exception, before the actual gig there was a fine meet up of black clad people old and new in the nearby Railway pub, always good to meet up with old faces and new.

And onto the gig, wanted to get in early to check out the Ruts DC, have never seen them before but have their albums and have heard good reports so was keen to check them out, by the time they came on at around 7.45 there was a very healthy crowd and they didn’t disappoint, the set was a mixture of old tracks and new ones from their very fine album ‘Music Must Destroy’, highlights for me being the title track and of course the oldies ‘Jah War’, Staring At The Rude Boys’ and ‘Babylons Burning’.

And so to the main event, the place was now rammed and it was very hot, the lights go down and the familiar WIB comes out of the PA and we are off, have to say the new stage set up of the bricks doesn’t do anything for me, a plain black background with the white or red logo would suffice.
JJ looks in fine form(hope I look that good at 65), he actually seems to look younger each tour, the sound is spot on and the hits are rattled through, highlights were for me are ‘Never To Look Back’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘WWTW’ and of course ‘Sewer’, ‘Bear cage’ was very good but I thought it might be better vocal wise.

Both Baz and Dave are on fine form but the keyboards in certain songs don’t sound right, they sound very ‘plonky(is that even a word..?) and he even partly misses singing one of the lines of ‘Genetix’.

Jim does a fine job on the drums but to me it doesn’t look right without the mighty presence of JB and his drum kit, I know that is not going to change but that’s my opinion and in no way takes away the fact that Jim does a very good job and is a fine drummer.On a personal note whilst I was looking forward to seeing the band again I was not as excited as I have been in previous years, as noted above live interest has slightly diminished, that said I really enjoyed the gig, the band are playing as tight as ever and the future however long that may be looks just good for them, although I want to hear new material, I may be in the minority here as the average Stranglers gig goers will only want to hear the old material but not me, it’s been a long time since ‘Giants’ and a new album is well overdue, I would also like to hear some different ‘older’ tracks and more stuff post Hugh, this though has been and will continue to be debated for as long as the band continue and probably further.

To sum up another fine live performance in the company of good people, now FFS get that new material out!!

Oh and roll on Bristol.

Over…

Words: Gizzard.

Images: Simon Kent.

Videos: adperry0

Bonus:

Click for animation

Guest Review – Stranglers/Ruts DC – Reading Hexagon –

We managed to coax the sugar tongs back to life...
And they were ticking over nicely...
Which was just as well as the following message nearly caused an overheat malfunction in the Pigeon to English translation matrix...

The Stranglers Review reading

It’s traditional now that the Stranglers go on tour in March. This year’s March tour consists of 19 gigs. And an added bonus support of the superb Ruts DC, who are promoting their new album “Music Must Destroy” 6 tickets booked for me. Taking in a couple of new cities; Newcastle and Leeds. But my first gig was the Reading Hexagon. A venue I first went to last year on the “Black and White” tour. I thought last year was so good, I decided to go again!

Arriving in Reading I met my friend Adam Cooper at the station. We checked into the IBIS hotel, where we were staying with our friend Alex Owen. At the lobby I met fellow forum member Greatkudu.

After checking in we had a walk to the venue to try meeting the band around sound check time. The walk to the venue gave us time to talk on all things Stranglers. We arrived at the venue at 4pm as we thought that’s what time the band would come out. At the entrance were several fans, I saw Andy Miller, so we had a talk with him. After a lengthy chat, the band came out of sound check at 5pm. Baz and Dave quickly shot off into the awaiting car. However, JJ stopped and talked to fans. It was at that point I asked JJ if I could have a photo with him. JJ said “Well everyone else is”. So I got another photo with JJ. My first was in 2005 at his “Songs and Stories” tour in Salford. Then me and Adam headed off for a Thai curry. We arrived at the venue in time for Ruts DC. It was great to bump into friends Sam Holiday, Owen, Andy and Karen.

Ruts DC took the stage at 7.45 and Ruffy the Drummer said they had not played in Reading for 37 years. And that they would be playing songs from their new album “Music Must Destroy” which is good because I own it (and most excellent it is too – EiTC).

They started off with “Vox teardrop” from the new album. Which Captain Sensible plays on. I like “Music Must Destroy” the song and they play it. Segs the bass player and singer says it’s because we’re still so very angry. He shouts “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” at the start. From RATM. I really like the chorus “We are not your property”. They mix new songs with old songs. So, they play reggae dub song “Mighty Solider”, and their old single “Shine on Me”. Back to the new album they play “Kill the pain”. Obviously most of the crowd are waiting for the popular songs “Staring at the rude boys”, “In a rut” and “Babylon’s Burning”. But it is “Psychic Attack”. Which I am waiting for. They go off to a good applause

Time for The Stranglers at Tonight’s Sold out gig at the Hexagon. These days it is now impossible to not know the set with social media websites. I think I waited a day before I caved in. With the bands back catalogue from 1977 to 1982 supposedly being re-released, it would likely be a set mainly consisting of songs from that time period. Whilst there are many from that time period I would like to see Dropped. I would like to say “Always the Sun”, “5 minutes” and Walk on by” (sacrilege etc Etc EiTC!) for one (that’s three! EiTC). But these are must play songs. Baz has said in interviews there are several folders. “The must play folder”, “band request” folders and “Self indulgent” folders. Whilst he gave away the band would be playing “Dagenham Dave”, and an unplayed song from “Giants”. I guessed at “15 Steps”. I tried to keep the rest of set a Surprise (That was Ruts DC Surely! EiTC…).

9pm. “Waltzinblack” airs from the PA. Like a bus timetable that is timed to Greenwich mean time. Bang on!. “The Raven” starts off. My favourite all time song. So it doesn’t get much better for me already. “Was it you”? next, it looks like Dave has new Keyboards and “Grip”follows. Jim has a very nice looking new drum kit. It looks like a “linpig” (Ludwig??? EiTC) kit. Up next “Sometimes”. I have heard this a fair few times now but never get bored of it. It is clear the band are getting on as good as ever. “Never to look back” is up next, one of my favourites from “10”.

Now it’s time for the first wave of hits. “Strange little Girl” makes a nice return to the set. The first song the band ever wrote this is the classic collection, “Always the Sun” to which Baz and JJ seem to be having banter onstage by pulling faces at each other. We are well and truly in the hit parade now as “Golden Brown’ is up next.

A mad lighting effects. I am thinking to myself at this point Ok it’s a greatest hits set!

…but a keyboard run started off…
“No” I thought to myself it can’t be!!!
A heavy bass line followed and…
“BEAR CAGE”!!!!
I can’t believe it!
I have been waiting years and years to see this…
I just watch in Amazement.
Baz playing a stunning Gibson SG.
And his voice on this is very very good.
He sounds as mean as Hugh!. With “GMBH” and Gee I’m Living in a Bear Cage”.
I was totally surprised by this and this is worth the ticket fee alone!!!

“Genetix” next which is as good as ever (first time with Jim on Drums! EiTC). Only JJ seemed to start his bass solo too early. “Walk on By” which replaces “Midnight Summer Dream”. Which I am a tad disappointed about. Now time for the “Giants” set “Freedom is insane”, and then Baz starts a guitar line to “15 Steps” which is a really interesting version. I really like this song on “Giants” so I am glad they are playing it.

“Dagenham Dave” up next. One thing I notice the band are playing superbly. “5 Minutes” and then “Peaches”, “Nice N Sleazy”, then another great Surprise “Down in the Sewer”. Always a joy to hear this song another one of my favourites I never tire of hearing it live. It’s a song of four individual parts climaxing in the “Rats Rally” finale. The band go off to a very loud applause and come back for a shortened encore tonight of “Go Buddy Go” and “No More heroes”. I sat here typing this review out as we are in a car with Mark Owen at the helm with me Alex and Mrs Owen heading in the direction of Newcastle for my 2nd part of the tour … Marching on in Black

Over…

Words: The Legendary Pigeon.

Pictures and Videos: Andy Miller.

Bonus:



Guest Review – The Stranglers/Ruts DC – Lincoln Engine Shed – 070317

The Sugar Tongs have been offline due to a malfunctioning T-unit and what with cloning technology being what it is at the moment (etc Etc EiTC), Elvis had to resign himself to the fact that in this (or that) instance he wasn’t (currently isn't) able to be in two places at one moment.
 
Fortunately help was on hand... 

Cue John Dewhirst…

Whether it is Seasonal affected disorder (SAD) or age, the passing of winter and the coming of spring is always a welcome occurrence. March can be hit and miss in terms of the weather but it is a month that has assumed a particular significance, heralding the start of the touring season for the Men in Black that can be relied upon to brighten the mood.

I have seen The Stranglers on most tours since 1979 but have no hesitation in saying that those of the last five years or so have been the best for sheer all-round enjoyment. I am not alone in confessing that there was a phase in an earlier decade when I attended gigs more out of a sense of duty or habit than a compelling case of having to be there. But how things have changed! At the start of the decade I had a deep-rooted fear that a forthcoming tour was going to be the last but The Stranglers remain the band which continues to surprise and defy.

The last forty years bear testament to the band’s ability to reinvent itself with different styles of music. This decade however has been a statement of vitality almost akin to a rebirth, sufficient to persuade myself and others to commit significant chunks of time to follow the band across the UK on its annual March tour.

This year The Stranglers began their 19 date schedule in Lincoln on 7th March and I was fortunate to be there. It was the first time that I had visited the city and walked the streets having only previously been to Sincil Bank to watch the football. (Baz Warne alluded to the recent FA Cup exploits of Lincoln City and I share his sentiments of goodwill towards the club in its forthcoming Quarter-Final tie at Arsenal. As a supporter of Bradford City and someone at the Valley Parade fire in 1985, I share a certain affinity with the Imps.)

Although based in Bradford, I work across the UK and on this occasion had the relative convenience of travelling from Sheffield, only 50 miles distant. I arrived in Lincoln in the early afternoon and enjoyed a few hours wandering around the city before getting some food and heading off to the venue. It was a great day with spring sunshine and a nice place to visit. There is also the friendliness of the people in black from diverse backgrounds but with one thing in common.

What I have discovered is that when you attend a Stranglers gig you can be assured of a decent, charismatic venue (Fibbers at York included) and in that regard, the Engine Shed in Lincoln rates highly as one of the best. As far as sound systems go, neither was the support band plagued by the sort of issues that occurred in nearby Skegness last October.

It is very easy to take for granted all the incidental stuff that makes for an enjoyable experience seeing The Stranglers but the common theme is that you get good, solid entertainment. The Ruts DC were no exception to this and once more we have another hard working, enthusiastic band in support.

The atmosphere at the Lincoln gig was in many ways characteristic of what Stranglers concerts have become and the enjoyment of the evening is evident not only on the faces of those in the audience but on stage too – as well as the road crew. Everyone has fun. It is quite a unique bond between all concerned and what is so refreshing is just how down to earth it all is. All quite matter of fact and with no pretentiousness.

There is also the relaxed manner in which the band performs consistently to a high standard. Yet whilst it could be claimed that this comes from the familiarity of the band members it overlooks the professionalism of those concerned. For all the laid back delivery there is a wonderful team ethic and attention to detail that few of us have the privilege to witness in our day jobs. Also noteworthy is that this discipline is maintained during the entirety of a tour, a stamina challenging routine of at least four concerts per week that would test the energy levels of performers thirty years younger.

In terms of the music, Ruts DC gave a good performance that featured songs including ‘In a Rut’ and ‘Babylon’s Burning’. Crucially these were musicians who wanted to be there and were enjoying the occasion as much as the regular Stranglers fans.

The back catalogue of The Stranglers is so extensive as to make a mockery of any description of the set list being one of classics. There was probably an ironic grain of truth in the admission by Baz that it is in fact what the band wanted to play. The choice of songs showcases a real balance of musical talents and underlines the credentials of Jim and Baz alongside J-J and Dave – it is difficult to believe that the former pair are relative newcomers to the line-up.

The Stranglers never fail to be innovative and the rendition of ‘Bear Cage’ deserves special mention – a version that is destined to be a new live favourite. So too the contribution of Dave’s swirling organ that was particularly noticeable on the night. A new song – ’15 Steps’ – was given its (live) debut and was well received (15 Steps is the closing track on Giants eitc). Other favourites included the opener, ‘The Raven’ as well as old favs ‘Dagenham Dave’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Buddy’ and ‘Down in the Sewer’. If this was the choice of tracks for an album it would be nothing less than balanced – a classic collection indeed.

On the basis of the first gig we have a great month ahead and much to look forward to. I remain in awe and have nothing but praise for the band – The Stranglers surely offer the benchmark for what a good gig is all about. Whilst there have been many videos of live performances, the one that is missing is a film about the hard work that goes into making these tours such a success and allowing us to celebrate the coming of spring!

See you next in Glasgow…

Over…

Words: John Dewhirst

John was co-founder of the longest surviving football fanzine The City Gent and has written a number of books about the history of both rugby and soccer in his home city, Bradford: https://johndewhirst.wordpress.com/ @jpdewhirst
He is the proud owner of a Triumph Bonneville T120 – black, of course.

Photos and Video: Andy Miller

Bonus:



The Monochrome Set – Half Moon Putney – 28-01-17

...incoming...
The...
Guildford no Putney no Guildford no Putney...
The...
Guildford yes Lil...
The...
Putney yes Half Moon...
The (yes) Monochrome Set!
begin transmission...

A set of sugar tongs flew past the car on my drive up the A3. Swerving to avoid them set me on the road to Putney. It seemed only fair to take the hint although the view of the clouds was sadly lacking in Elvis shapes. There might have been a half moon if the drizzle had abated though.

The Half Moon was a good destination. And improved by an encounter with a Time Lord in the form of Tom Baker although apparently preferring the nomenclature of John and ready to provide aural transportation via keyboards not TARDIS.

Sidestepping for a moment into the beer garden I found Loopy Lou and Mr Bloggs with friend, Mick, a man for whom there is no internet alias as yet, a wisp that defies the electronic ether and exists only in…reality (note: please read that in an increasingly doom-laden echoing voice of disbelief). Better still was the presence at the table with them of Bid gently limbering up the vocal cords with civilised conversation.

Following an incredible antler related light show we moved indoors. Forces beyond our control meant that there had been a few changes to the line-up for the evening over the weeks leading up to the rendezvous. First to take the stage were The Fallen Leaves who drew a good crowd for their advertised brand of “R&B with an English accent”. We caught the second half of the set and very dapper they were too.

A short break was followed by the arrival on stage of The Monochrome Set. All were cool, calm and collected. Except for the hired hand, the frenetic drummer who picked up the pace (or according to alternative facts – it was actually Mike Urban their full time drummer, who was on the last album and is happy to sign autographs etc Etc EiTC). Dr Who had become his own glamorous assistant, delightful in powder blue and nimble of finger. Andy “The Stare” Warren, tidy in black, makes one wish that one had a job that they could carry out with such unflappable, mellow ease. A man at one with his bass. Finally Bid, bringing the whole together, completing the set.

An excellent opener was provided in the form of Eine Symphonie Des Grauens. The set flowed smoothly from there, picking out tracks from throughout the years. As a relative new comer perhaps I could not appreciate the addition of Leather Jacket as much as those who had been waiting for its reappearance in the set for twenty years. It was however a great track and the rabbits at the front expressed their delight to one another. Newer tracks were Cosmonaut and Stick Your Hand Up if You’re Louche from last year’s album and only a relatively few weeks older, the hypnotic Z Train, a particular favourite of mine. Waiting for Alberto and Cowboy Country eased us towards to the close.

After a brief moment TMS came back with Bliss and an outstanding He’s Frank to finish. Mr Bloggs singled out Frank as his standout track of the night and then added Walking with the Beast as also being up there with it. The opposite end of the gig was Lou’s choice as her favourite, Eine Symphonie. A pair of bookends those two.

Have to say at this point a big thank you to Mr Bloggs for directing me in the, er, direction of TMS a couple of years ago. A very good recommendation that I’m happy to pass on to any reader who’s made it this far.

We remained behind at the end for amiable chats with the participants and half the crowd. A hint to anyone loitering after a TMS gig, if an otherwise friendly woman accosts you with the cry of “The…” please make her evening with a response of “…Monochrome Set” and a few further lines of the song. Running away is not an option but distraction techniques such as talking about cats can work for a time.

Beyond this was the pub disco. A few stalwarts dominated the floor, their ranks swelling and contracting with the unusual ebb and flow of hits and dance numbers. Somehow Nena’s multiple Red Balloons got us all up on our feet but it was late by then and it had been a long day, judgement was not at its best and nor perhaps were the moves. The DJ selected Prince’s When Doves Cry as a suitably uplifting track for a last dance… Great for encouraging punters to turf out. A chorus of “Guildford Lil” outside the Half Moon got everyone moving before the rain came down.

Over…

Words: Guildford Lil.

Photos: Mrs Bloggs.

Bonus:

Occupy – The Voodoo Lounge Stamford

Incoming transmission...

You may have heard of Occupy! 
You may have heard of Sir PiL! 
You may have heard of Stamford! 
You may have heard of Rebus Bloggs...

Read on...

Occupy

The Voodoo Lounge, Stamford
21.01.17

Ever been to Stamford?…

Well I have now, and what a great place it is! And The Voodoo Lounge, situated in the cellar of Mama Liz’s bar/restaurant, is a great little venue…

We venture up the A1(Ba**ard)M to go and see Occupy, a Punk/New Wave cover band from North London. I found out about them from their Bass player, none other than Paul Cooklin (or Paul in London to those in the know).

The Journey was eventful but as I have been criticised in the past for giving too much of the revue over to the journey to the venue and the Ednas consumed, I will leave that out.

On arrival we found Paul holding court in the main bar, he was in a very jovial mood and was nursing a glass of his usual Pinot Grigio.

The support for the night was George Linton, a singer songwriter who played some very good guitar and sang a great mix of tunes. I thought he had a bit of an acoustic “Groundhogs” sound, with perhaps a bit more blues and a touch of Neil Young. Catch his web site here www.georgelinton.co.uk

After a very short break, Occupy took to the stage. A four piece, Guitar, Bass, Drums and Vocals. Straight into a powerful version of the 1959 classic by Vince Taylor “Brand New Cadillac”. More Clash was to follow after some very good Jam/Stranglers/Dead Kennedys. Radiohead’s “The Bends” was a highlight for me as was the very fine “Hurt” from the Johnny Cash catalogue, and The Stereophonics song “Dakota”.

Add to the mix some more Radiohead, some Ramones, some more Clash and Pistols and Stranglers and it makes a very fine set indeed. Altogether a worthwhile trip up the A1(Ba**ard)M for us.

The venue it’s self is very good, accessible, and with a great atmosphere. I think I will check this place out again very soon…
http://www.mamaliz.co.uk/index.php/voodoo-lounge

Set List:
Brand New Cadillac – The Clash
Eton Rifles – The Jam
London Calling – The Clash
Hanging Around – The Stranglers
Police Truck – Dead Kennedys
The Bends – Radiohead
Silly Thing – Sex Pistols
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Dakota – Stereophonics
Start – The Jam
Creep – Radiohead
I wanna be sedated – Ramones
Clash City Rockers – The Clash
Submission – Sex Pistols
Babylon’s Burning – The Ruts
Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

Over...

Words: Rebus Bloggs
Photos: Lou Smith

Bonus:
courtesy of Oliver Cooklin…

Bonus: Bonus: