The Stranglers – Portsmouth Guildhall – 23rd March 2024

So, after leaving Elvis Towers, I swung by Sunny Stanwell and collected my Bro and Nephew for a day down by the south coast in Pompey…

After checking into our billeted quarters, a quick mosey around the centre of town found the area around the Guildhall all but deserted apart from the familiar red/black uniformed faithful. Not only deserted (guess most of the students had gone home for Easter) but also devoid of any nearby eateries. After walking around for the best part of an hour our search for sustenance proved fruitless (literally - a banana would have been good at this point)! 

Aware as we were of the time, we decided to head back toward the venue. Only to realise that we were in fact only a minute away from it! Ever decreasing circles and wheels within starving wheels!

Setting up camp with other FiB at the local ‘Spoons’ opposite the venue, Bro and Nep took a punt on the delights of Sainsburys Local (more on that later). Wired on the ‘Spoons’ endless coffee, suit was followed by yours truly in the shape of a meal deal for the princely sum of £3.25. Blimey!

Fast forward an hour or so after meeting/greeting FiB after FiB, we made our way to the venue and before long the lights dimmed. To my surprise and delight the PA rang out not with the familiar strains of Waltzinblack but the awesomely addictive synth sequence signalling the intro of Just Like Nothing on Earth and (almost) before you could say ‘A Woman in Wellington wet her whistle with a Wildman from way back when’ We were treated to both the opener and subsequently the closer from Gospel According to The Meninblack – a brilliant and bold start to the show!

Very soon I was amidst a jolly and joyful bunch of dancing loons, gleefully sharing in this Stranglers obsession…

I won’t go too much into the details of the set but suffice to say, Hanging Around brought me back to my earlier experience with Sainsburys Local. In that, travelling through Fulham recently, it was noted the site of The Coleherne (the famous leather bar referred to in the lyric of HA), is now a Sainsburys Local. So, I pondered, as I’m prone to, how this might affect the song, if the lyrics were updated to reflect the current occupiers of that site – I’m moving in Sainsburys local, with the leather all around me (not something we experienced in Pompey SL that’s for sure)…

But, as ever, I ramble on…

The gig was an absolute corker!
The sound was powerful, clear and magnificent. The venue was top notch and the crowd were intent on boogying and woogying to both sets as brilliantly delivered by the Stranglers.

Baz, had an extra edge in his delivery for this show. His guitar gurning was ramped up to the extreme. As it was, it made the show even more enjoyable but I fear he may have pushed himself a bit far this Saturday night as we’ve just received news from MiB HQ, that he has lost his voice and The Bristol show has now unfortunately had to be cancelled.

An excellent show from the MiB, sending healing vibes to Mr Warne!


Words: Matthew Elvis Brown

B&W Photos: John Dewhirst

Colour Photos: Phill Dann

Sainsburys Local/Coleherne – Google Street View