The Stranglers

“Look at all the bald heads!” said the frontman of The Stranglers when the house lights went up. It was true. The audience could be summed up with the words “old people pogo-ing” and there was an air of depressing tubby decrepitude to the packed Dome Concert Hall as if all the local nursing homes had dumped their clients there, dressing them up in black denim and leather and giving their staff an unpaid day off to save costs.

The band looked similarly knackered in black. But if you closed your eyes and listened, you discovered a beautiful, vital and refreshingly modern new music.

No, not really. It was the Stranglers. They played a lot of pretty decent rock songs, some of which are from a new album, bless them, and they played their few hits: ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Golden Brown’ etc which everyone went mad for.

And that’s the main thing isn’t it? All the old fogeys had a good time, trying to remember how to dance and what it was like when they were young when life was a new experience and meant something to them. It was like going to see a tribute band. Only the Stranglers cost £23 per (bald) head.

But the band proved they still packed a wallop, with basslines so heavy I saw a few of the audience fall over (kidding), clutching their chests with a smile on their face, knowing that, like punk, they too were no longer exciting and dangerous. They were dead.

The Brighton Dome Concert Hall, 16 March 2012
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Jim Holland

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