March 9th 2012
Anyone who thought these guys (considering their age) couldn't still cut it at this level was in for a surprise. Class is permanent.
The Stranglers, minus nooses, were at their best, churning out songs from their albums, which span decades. They started with Burning, getting heads to nod in unison and the crowd found their nirvana.
Unbroken and Time got the crowd banging their feet and waving their arms.
As expected, pandemonium transpired when the band teased the audience with the initial chords to their biggest UK hit, Golden Brown, which was played with a nonchalant coolness. Cue sing-alongs, whistles and swaying mobile phones. It would have taken the most discerning ear to notice a difference between this version and the crispness of its initial recording in 1982.
Mr Bacharach would have had to search far afield to find fault with The Stranglers' psychedelic and extremely funky rendition of Walk on By, which, as predicted, got the crowd moving. The drum and guitar duo in the bridge catered to the hardcore fans.
Although the age of the crowd and the band members was similar, it was refreshing to see cohorts of young rockers in the Roundhouse which is testament to the band's staying power coupled with their ardent, avid following.
A new track: the up-tempo Giants (album title track) produced melodic tones and caught many audience members by surprise with its catchiness.
Peaches was, excuse the pun, played like a peach. Simple. The lyrics were sung with the sexual tension that's so prevalent in the song. Grunts by lead J.J. Burnel was the catalyst to the final exhales of the dutiful crowd.
Another new track, Mercury Rising, was upbeat, had heavy bass with strong chords and was a crowd favourite. However, the band stayed true to their punk/new wave roots with Lost Control and Shuddup.
Whether Giants charts as high as No More Heroes and Rattus Norvegicus remains to be seen but one thing is certain: quality prevails.
The Wimbledon born Mike Marlin, who played tracks including The Magician, supported the Stranglers. The Popes also had their share of the stage playing tracks from their albums including the anthem Don't let the bastards drive you down.