Gig Review – The Stranglers – Worthing Assembly Hall – 10th July 2015
A Day At The Seaside with Pebbles and No Ice Cream.
Swooping by the SiB residence at a reasonable hour of the morning, we set the Tongs for 1978. Following an overheat malfunction in the sugar distribution unit (brought about by what historians now know to be an extremely rare temporal fluctuation otherwise known as the English summer), we somehow ended up at Woolworths, Worthing…
…Anxiety began to set in as I realised that inside at the record section, was a younger self duly handing over hard earned pocket money to get his grubby mitts on a copy of Black and White. Feeling the potential grip of the Temporal Investigation Team (TITs) upon my collar, I hastily set the chronometer forwards and we landed 37 years in the future Worthing on a Sunny Summers day…
… We took an afternoon promenade along the sea front and headed for a cup of tea on the pier where we caught up with Bat and Kill, in a strange coincidence in black. Following a quick Recce, taking in the delights of Worthing, Sib and me dipped a toe in the briny. After drying off and walking on the beaches etc Etc EiTC…
…We caught a Pigeon, before meeting up with a whole host of Family in Black down at the local watering hole.
Venturing to the Assembly Hall to take in a performance by The Stranglers, we took up a spot on the barrier with Guildford Lil, Megabus Elaine and Straightenout to misname a few.
Although reasonably spacious in the Assembly Halls, tonight it was fairly hot and sticky and the crowd was yet to fill out.
I looked at the stage and saw in front of a me a guitarist’s amplifier stack consisting of Dual – Dual Rectifiers and a large cab and felt a slight pang of concern at having not brought ear plugs. As it (happily) turned out, this concern was unwarranted.
The said rig belonged to Tim Green, Axe wielder with tonight’s support act, the superb Brighton band The Last Cry. Tim harnessed the power at his finger tips with restraint and subtlety to a degree of perfection as he spun textures of darkness and light from his sonic armoury. While the solid bass and tech magic of Chris Carey combined to provide the musical juice comprising a dark atmospheric sound.
This was topped off by the exceptionally passionate performance of front man Andrew Birch. While visually there is something of Vincent Price about him, Andrew’s strong vocals and animated stage presence range from tormented to manic via blunt force trauma. Most captivating!
Recruited by none other than Jet Black himself for tonight’s show, The Last Cry gave a solid performance which warmed up the crowd nicely for the main event.
And the warming up continued as the crowd swelled, the lights dimmed and Waltzinblack…
A cheer and then lights up and JJ kicked off (literally) a One Two of Toiler on The Sea and Straighten Out. Awesome! No let up as barely a breath is drawn before Grip and the delightful I’ve Been Wild. The band are on hot form tonight, tight enough to convince yet relaxed enough to enjoy.
Up next the beautiful curve ball that is Four Horsemen goes down well. Unrelentingly they continue with a highly charged Relentless.
Then Jim cranks up Nice and Sleazy and there’s a noticeable up-tempo feel to it tonight which works nicely. During Dave’s keyboard passage, JJ and Baz make their way front and centre for some direct menacing of the crowd, which is most effective!
Hits time as Golden Brown gets a convincing sing-along from the crowd. As does Always The Sun.
JJ takes up the vocals next for 5 minutes complete with an (heat related?) extended intro moment as the band smile at each other knowingly, nonetheless the goods are well and truly delivered. Then a false start sees the keyboard gremlins appear momentarily before vanishing as Freedom Is Insane chugged along nicely like the well oiled crowd pleaser it has become. Time To Die next and then the vocal baton is passed back to Baz for Norfolk Coast which tonight they nail, it’s great when you get to see a band really enjoy delivering the goods like this.
A blistering IFLAW precedes a slight easing in pace/atmosphere for Skin Deep. JJ is on fire tonight performance wise as he is leaping, karate kicking, and shuffling in a manner that would test someone a third of his age! He also engages the audience with an intense stare and an air of menace and edge, all the while never too far from a smile. And continuing in this vein he makes his way to the centre where he asks a young lady at the front if the man standing behind her is her Father, to which she nervously replies in the negative, as he fires up one of the most famous bass lines ever – Peaches. Where, worse places to be seems to have been God’s changing Room??? (As opposed to God’s Waiting Room, a nickname for much of the South Coast.) Much to JJ and Baz’s amusement…
Baz is on fine form also; String-wise, vocal-wise and humour-wise as he teases the Worthingites about their town. As is Dave with his keyboards shining in all the right places. And Jim too, keeping everything in time and adding the occasional BV here and there.
A brilliant Time Was Once On My Side before an extended guitar intro from Baz leads in to Lost Control with all it’s mania and superb sub-bass. Two more classics in the shape of Duchess and Hanging Around round out the main set.
As the crowd holler, whistle and wail for more, Baglady and myself postulate as to what we may hear in the encore; we’re thinking maybe Curfew and Walk On By when such postulations are curtailed by JJ’s bass pounding, signalling the set closer with No More Heroes and it’s Good Night Worthing. A very good Night Indeed!
A good few of us straggle back to the local watering hole and extend the night further with tales and camaraderie in black. Then we flit off our separate ways into the night. Sib and Me seeing Henry The Forge safely home before setting the Sugar Tongs back to the present in the vicinity of The Big Smoke via The Sticks.
MiB B&W Photography courtesy of Andy Miller.
Words and other Photos: EiTC