The Stranglers, G Live, Guildford
IF you’re going to rely on past glories, it obviously helps to have a glorious past.
The Stranglers have a stunning back catalogue and one that must make selecting a 90-minute set list a bit of an uphill struggle.
So, Straighten Out, Go Buddy Go, Grip, London Lady, and Nice ‘N’ Sleazy could all afford to be dropped – and really without any ill effects on this homecoming gig at all.
The meninblack ripped through old favourites like Burning Up Time and Hanging Around before a mellow middle section triple bill of Golden Brown, Strange Little Girl and Always The Sun (only ruined slightly by the tone deaf crooning of the guy behind me).
Of course, there was still time to rock out with the big ones – Peaches, No More Heroes, Walk On By, Something Better Change – and the occasional b-side rediscovery like Shut Up.
The boys were in a somewhat subdued mood (maybe because veteran drummer Jet Black was in hospital and replaced by Ian Barnard) so this was an efficient show by a well-oiled machine rather than the emotional homecoming we had all hoped for.
But The Stranglers – especially JJ – always carry a sense of underlying menace even if (like most of their audience) they’re past their prime.
By the time they returned for an encore, they were in full flow and belted out Duchess and All Day & All Of The Night to remind us of just two more reasons why they have become true legends over the past (count them) 40 years. A true Guildford institution still going strong.