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The Stranglers

Hammersmith Apollo


The Stranglers again, seems like an annual pilgrimage to London to see the Stranglers. You might think that they would get a bit boring, but they delivered another blistering, high energy set again. It’s been a long time since I have been the Apollo or Odeon as I used to know it. The last time I had been there was to see either James Brown or Funkadelic in the late 70’s. The place is one of those historic music venues with all of the best bands playing there, in my collection I still have tickets for Thin Liz and the Godfather of Soul. For the more livelier bands they take the seats out downstairs which as everybody knows is the only way to watch a band, standing up. My wife Lee went there a couple of weeks before to see the auditions for Britains got talent, so where Simon Cowell normally sits there was a mass of middle aged, silver haired pogoers. Needless to say she doesn’t often come with me as our tastes differ so much. For all of these gigs which feature old punk bands there are always 2 distinct age groups, youngsters 18 to 21 who go to see them, probably because their Dads tell them they were good and the 45 to 55 year olds, not many in between. The one bad thing about going to gigs now is when you buy the tickets from agencies is that you have to print the tickets off yourself. I hate this because I keep all of my old tickets and have footie tickets going back to 73 and music ones to 76. Some of them are worth a few quid now and I love looking through them as most of them bring back great memories. Now you get a sheet of A4 paper which could come from anywhere. The agency also charge you £3 to £4 per ticket for the privilege.

Back to the Stranglers, the line up is the original one from the 70’s apart from guitarists and lead singer Hugh Cornwell; he has been replaced for about the last ten years by Baz Warne. As I had seen nearly all of the bigger punk and new wave bands in the 70’s, the Stranglers were one that I hadn’t seen until about 4 years ago so I don’t know the difference. The rest of the band are JJ Burnel on bass, Jet Black on drums and organist Dave Greenfield. They played all of their hits, and they had lots of them, also their more memorable album tracks. I can never remember play lists but we definitely got 5 minutes, get a grip, straighten out, peaches, always the sun, duchess, London lady, nice and sleazy, hanging around and loads more. I paticulary enjoyed “Go buddy go”, a great dancer with great memories , “Walk on by” just a great piece of music with a wonderful organ solo and “down in the sewer” another great piece of music from possibly one of the best albums ever. As the end of the evening came upon us, I went to the front for a pogo to the last of the 4 encores “no more heroes” here I met Maurice who had been down at the front for quite a while. I have never seen a man sweat as much, mind you though it was realy hot there. I suddenly saw a melee in the middle and I saw some people help an old fella who had ended up on the floor, Maurice.

If you have never seen them before I heartily recommend that you do. They are great entertainment and each time I have seen them they have never disappointed.

Duncan Egleton March 2010