Gig review: The Stranglers at O2 Academy Leeds

The Stranglers
The Stranglers
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A distinct lack of bald heads among the crowd, was the observation of The Stranglers’ guitarist Baz Warne at the Leeds O2 Academy on Friday night.

And that is one of the reasons behind The Stranglers’ great renaissance over the last few years.

Where during the 1990s, they would play to half-full venues with many of the fans being rather follicly challenged, the audience has changed dramatically. At Leeds the age range was 16 to 60 with the younger end taking over the mosh pit to leave us oldies just to stand and admire.

And there was plenty to admire.

It is The Stranglers 40th anniversary and to celebrate they played tracks from every one of their 17 studio albums. The favourites were in there of course – Golden Brown, No More Heroes, Something Better Change, Peaches – but it was also a concert for the real Stranglers’ connoisseur.

There were hidden gems such as Valley of the Birds (from Written in Red), Peasant (from No More Heroes), and Never to Look Back (from 10).

No era was left out. They took in Hugh Cornwell’s (ex-singer and guitarist) and Paul Roberts’ (ex-singer) time with the band. You really have to admire the breath-taking quality of their back catalogue.

The only downside to the concert was the absence of drummer Jet Black, whose ill health has prevented him from appearing on most of the tour but there was still the growling bass of Jean Jacques Burnel, the keyboard wizardry of Dave Greenfield, and the snarling guitar work of Baz to enjoy.

It was one hour and 45 minutes of sheer quality and by the end the stalls had turned into one big mosh pit.

Both baldies and full heads of hair going for it!

Gig date: March 21

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