Guest Review – The Stranglers – Dr Feelgood o2 Academy Bournemouth 25th March 2019

The Great Kudu, was in need of a Loo, 
so partook of a hedge.
Encountering a few, still in search of Hugh,

near pushed him over the edge.
Having done what they do, Feelgood in his view,

won his praise, a privilege.
And of course too, The Stranglers of who,

are a band worthy of their Sege*.

Part 1-The Journey-

Left Salisbury at 18.00 but forgot about the everlasting road works on way to Bournemouth, hit road works and then became desperate for a call of nature, huge mug of coffee before I left was a bad idea but as driving, I knew I couldn’t have a beer at the gig. So clenching my thighs (too much info) I was faced with a wall of traffic, 30 minutes just to do one mile… I finally hit Bournemouth, by now I was at bursting point, so parked car where I could and jumped over someone’s large wall and fertilized their bush (no sexual references intended). If you are the owner of the property, I apologize but sometimes desperate situations call for desperate measures! After that I drove around looking for parking after ending up on the seafront, eventually I found the large open car park that I have used before, mission accomplished.

Part 2- Passive Listeners-

After parking the car I got talking to two blokes, now they were really clued up; firstly they had no idea Dr Feelgood had no original members and secondly they asked if Hugh Cornwell was still in the band? Now that’s why I have titled Part 2 Passive Listeners, it’s just laziness all you have to do is go on the internet and you can find current line-up formations on most bands, I always do a bit of research if I am seeing a band that I don’t know much about.

There are two types of listeners when it comes to music:

1-Passive Listeners – music is just a distraction and means nothing

2-Active Listeners – actually listen to music and get something from it, i.e. appreciating the art behind it.

A lot of people who attend gigs just seem to be there to piss in the toilets. Oh well it’s free country? sort of?

Part 3- The gig-

Now this was my third and last date of the tour, next gig will be Lille in November, so I hoped to end on a high? (not with Drugs?) More about that in a while.

So first up Dr Feelgood without any original members, taking that aside, I have to say they have actually grown on me the three times I have seen them this tour, they are fine musicians and are keeping the music alive, really enjoyed their set, the best I have seen them on this tour and they are a worthy support act for The Stranglers. (A bit of context, apparently 3 of the current line-up played on more albums with original frontman Lee Brilleaux than the legendary original guitar toting Wilko Johnson etc Etc EiTC)

Moving on to 21.00 we all know the intro tune but it just makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up with anticipation. My last outing in Reading was a bit flat due to lacklustre audience, so was hoping Bournemouth would make up for it. Well the answer was a big fat yes from the first song Tank, I knew this was going to be a f**king cracking gig (apologies for F Word).

Next song I’ve Been Wild another stonking version, this is a song I was never a great fan of but it just sounds so good on this tour. I am not going to mention all the set list as most of you know it by Now? But tonight we had 3 changes from Reading; TTD, The Raven and first encore song Walk on By. It was Baz Warne’s birthday on the day, so he made some very funny comments about how he wanted to be in Bournemouth rather than at home in Leeds or with family in Sunderland.

Now for a few of my favs of the night; Last Man on the moon – I have grown to love this song, I actually prefer it to the cover version (This Song) that they are playing. Water – a classic in the making – just love this song, even the crowd seemed to react to it… they certainly didn’t to Ice Queen, again one of my tour Highlights (to be honest there wasn’t a song I didn’t like but Peaches really does need a break).

if I could pick any I had to walk out in disgust at; the sexist subject matter and the disgusting lyrics of Nubiles and GB with it’s glorification of Heroin, disgusting vile filth (Joking of course).

The venue was rammed full and holds 1800 a really good size, the sound was very good too, much louder than Reading. The band were really firing on all cylinders, with such great spirit on the stage, it really does add to the dynamic.

Baz’s voice sounded good and the new songs suit his voice well. He was in fine form too and had some great banter when someone was shouting moronic remarks, he put them down with good humour.

The whole band played as a tight as a well oiled machine. Dave has been playing better on this tour IMHO but he still seems to drink quite a bit, I don’t know how many times I saw a crew member replace his Stella but doesn’t seem to effect his playing.

Jim Mac just so part of the band now, adding backing vocals on new songs (and some of the back catalogue EiTC), and f**k he hits those skins hard, but also has a soft touch when needed, he certainly has given them more energy. And he respects Jet’s patterns but adds his own touch too, without detracting from the original pattern of the beat.

And last but not least 7th Dan Shidokan bass meister JJ, he is just so cool and his bass sound and playing are just a joy to behold, that bass intro on Bordello possibly one of his greatest moments? and a highlight, possibly the greatest Stranglers song apart from Sewer, Raven and Genetix but too many to mention…

Moving on, great lights and production too without detracting from the music. Last song of set before encore the mighty Down in the Sewer – really good version, JJ played the Rats Rally bass part with more vigour than my last gig.

Final song of course Heroes with JJ trying to punch a hole in his bass, the way he hits it he may succeed one day – big smile on his face of course. And that was that, band all came out to front of stage and Baz says “It’s been an absolute pleasure, you know they are happy when Baz says that.

Part 4-Epilogue.

Personally, I think the set on the current tour has been the most inventive for years, they have changed the set every night and played new songs and songs not played for 20 years. I commend the band, it proves they are still creative and are not going through the motions. It is the last spring tour apparently? I think they will tour later next year? who knows? But this band really are something special, I just don’t know how they keep up the standard? I hope we have a few more years of excellent gigs and a new album in the not too distant future, I love this band and have done since 1979 (the music of course) .

Lt Kudu over and out.

Words: Great Kudu.

Originally posted on the Burning Up Times forum. Extracted and edited with the authors permission…

Photos: Maria Meli.

  • * Sege (obs): Seat of distinction, Throne.

Bonus:

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