Review from Shepherds Bush Empire

Stranglers, Shepherds Bush Empire, 15th November 2008

I have been looking forward to this day for a few weeks now. The plan was to meet Colin at the Plough in Chelmsford at 12.30, train to London to watch Arsenal wallop Villa, then to the gig. The day started of well until the game started, I will tell you Arsenal were pants, Villa were very good but we only managed to pull one save out of Friedel all game. Coming out of the match more bad news, Chelmsford City managed to lose to lowly Bath City. The only good news was that Spurs had reverted back to type, losing at Fulham and Billericay got thumped 5-1. After these 2 good bits of news the day got decidedley better, the next stop was the Hope cafť in Holloway Road for Steak pie, 2 veg and roast potatoes, as always a great cheap meal, I highly recommend this place, the food is always good and they donít put their prices up on match days. We then made our way to Shepherds Bush to try some of the hostelries there. Opposite the station there is a Wetherspoons, not recommended, it was a souless place and unlike a lot of Wetherspoons, it didnít seem to have the variety of beers. We then tried another pub which I donít know the name of, but it was on the corner of Shepherds Bush and Uxbridge Rd. This was a good place so we settled down waiting for the other s to turn up. The pub served a variety of real ales including one of my favourites, Deuchars for £2.10 a pint, a bargain. Eventually Mo, Barry and Paul turned up. A couple more pints and we went to the Empire.

The Empire is a great venue, loads of Character, high ceilings, intimate with plenty of atmosphere. The only bad side is the beer, Carling from plastic mugs. Next thing was the band, The Stranglers are a good band, a bit like a poor mans Doors. They hit the stage with "Get A grip," " 5 minutes," and "Peaches." This got the crowd really going and I must admit I started to lose the set list after this. Colin done his best at trying to imitate an old age pensioner by carrying his camera in a pouch on his belt, just like a grandad. He videoed Peaches and got some great visual but had his finger over the microphone, dickhead. I think the Stranglers played all of there hits, but the standout parts of the show for me were "Walk on by," this is a wonderful cover of Dionne Warwicks hit. It has a meandering organ solo running through it. The other good part of the show was the encore which consisted of "Something better change" and "No more heroes." This saw Mo, Colin and myself reliving old glories, pogoing in the front. It was a great show and I had heard previously that at Southend the set had lasted 1and ĺ hours. I donít know how long they was on for but it canít be too far short of that. The sad thing is that apparentley this is their last tour and they will only be doing one offs festivals.

Another good night out, roll on the next one.


This was the first time I had seen the Stranglers since about 1981 around about the time Golden Brown was getting its first airing, and I've got to say that wasn't one of my favourite concerts. 27 years on and many changes me being older and more mature!!!! and of cause Hugh Cornwall no longer fronted the band. So for me Something had better changed.
The day hadn't started well Liverpool Street was shut for more essential repairs so it was off at Stratford for Dunc and I, and a short journey to Highbury and Islington to watch the mighty Gooners, or not so mighty as it turned out. After the trouncing by Villa if was off to the cafe for steak pie and then off to Shepherds Bush for the nights entertainment. A few nice pints of Deuchers in the The Green where the footballing news got worse 'Big Fat Jeff's claret and white army' lost 3-2 at home, the omens weren't good for a good gig. We were joined at The Green by Maurice, Paul and Barry, and after a few more pints it was off to the Empire.
The last time I went to the Empire was about 12 years ago to see Ocean Colour Scene and I seem to remember it was a bit of a dump, but it must have been renovated or else I saw OCS somewhere else. Approaching the Empire is a bit of a blast from the past with the group playings name above the entrance et al Hammersmith Odeon in its pomp. Inside and it was rammed but we decided dispite our zimmer frames we would get into the 'Mosh' pit. If there was a support act we missed it again so awaited with baited breath the arrival of The Stranglers.
They started with 'Get a Grip' and then moved through all of your favourites (apart from Go Buddy Go)the highlights for me being 'Nice and Easy' and 'No More Heros' the band were on for about 1 hour 45mins which absolutely flew by always a good sign. The backbone of the original group was still in place with lead and vocal being taken over by Baz WARNE who put his own stamp on the songs, but was suffering a bit with a sore throat.
So all a good night the music fast and furious and the pit exhausting, the only criticism for me was the acoustics which were really fuzzy, but what the hell thats 'Rock and Roll' and something had changed.