Gig review – Straighten Out – The Hope and Anchor Islington.

Straighten Out – Live at The Hope and Anchor Islington – Friday 20th September 2013.

Apologies once more for delays in relaying this message…

The time streams are particularly busy at the moment and that coupled with various anomalies of one kind or another has necessitated a temporary mothballing of any plans for time travel. Particularly in light of Sir Bee’s stranding in 1981!

All of which beggars the question: What do to on a Friday night whilst forced to stay in the present? The answer being: Go to see ‘Straighten Out’ play at The Hope and Anchor in Islington.

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What better place for a tribute to The Stranglers to play?

The Hope and Anchor played an important part in the early career of The Stranglers. In November 1977 the live recording of ‘Tits’ From the White EP was recorded here at the session that would later be released as’ Live at The Hope and Anchor’. And then-landlord ‘Fred Grainger’ (who gave the band a much needed ‘break’) was name checked as ‘Grainger man’ in the song ‘Bitching’.

For those neither old enough nor fortunate enough to have seen The Stranglers here during this period, this gig presented a perfect opportunity to hear the MK1 songs played live in this setting.

A fair number of fansinblack filled out this little basement venue to be greeted by the band kicking off with a lively ‘Burning Up Time’. Treating us to a set packed with classics like: ‘Toiler on The Sea’, ‘Goodbye Toulouse’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Princess of The Streets’ to name a few. The band seemed tight and on form and there was a good banter with the crowd. And the sound…

…The sound was fantastic and very ‘very’ authentic, from the Snarling vocal and biting guitar, to the swirling keyboard* via the growling bass and relentless pounding drums. If you had closed your eyes it could’ve been 1977.

The set was like a ‘best of’ compilation compiled by real fans. We were treated to ‘The Raven’, ‘Who Wants The World’, ‘Go Buddy Go’, ‘London Lady’ and many more. Some of the material in this set rarely gets played by the actual band these days, songs like ‘Tramp’ and the wonderful ‘Peasant in The Big Shitty’.

The crowd responded in kind with energetic revelry and word perfect accompaniment, just as if they were actually seeing The Stranglers. At one point the band took a quick poll of the audience to see if they wanted ‘Down in The Sewer’ or ‘Genetix’ to be played… I requested both but ‘Sewer’ won the day and it did not disappoint!

Before we knew it the band had left the stage. Then one enthusiastic crowd member got on the mic to stir up the crowds appreciation for what they had just witnessed. The crowd didn’t need much encouragement here as they were cheering and howling for an encore.

An encore was duly given; a rousing ‘No More Heroes’ followed by a brilliant ‘Tank’. Then it was all over and the fans slowly began to file out of the venue with big fat grins on their faces.

Highly recommended!

*The inclusion of a Hammond organ and other period keyboards gave a real authenticity to the sound – Stunning!

Additionally the event was being filmed – some of the videos  from YouTube below:


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