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Review The Stranglers & The Alarm

THE STRANGLERS

THE ALARM

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY GREAT HALL

18/03/16

The Alarm The stranglers

 

Cardiff really did have a rusty safety pin through its nose this week, on Thursday I managed to catch Bona fide Sex Pistol Paul Cook and his Professionals play a sweaty show to about the same sized crowd has he had 40 years ago in nearby Caerphilly, then tonight 1500 came to worship at the church of Black and White.

This really was a dream bill for me, I have followed all incarnations that Mike Peters has put together around the U.K. in venues ranging from a side room at Brecon Theatre to Cardiff Arms Park and 60 Thousand U2 fans. Not obvious bed fellows apart from both being classed as punk/new wave, I was a bit concerned how the hordes of  dour Ravens would take to the anthemic strains of North Wales’ finest. I need not have worried, ever the ultimate showman Mike had the crowd chanting and singing from the off. It was not the usual big hitting set either with some more obscure choices among the Big (68) Guns. Superchannel and Drunk and Disorderly standing shoulder to shoulder with the inevitable 68 Guns and ..Storm Broke, which in a nod to his native Wales segued into the glorious Bells Of Rhymney. Mike and crew return to the capital for a full bells and whistles show on December 2nd.

When it comes to The Stranglers I have been a casual singles fan rather than an album buying aficionado, though I did see them many moons ago on first tour after Cornwell left. I know of fans who seen the guys live over 150 times and will not watch this line up on account of dislike of ‘new’ singer Baz Warne. Black and White is not the bands most chart bothering album either  and I had to go to the gig on my lonesome (my usual crew out bothering some make up wearing clowns in charity shop jackets) so all things considered this ought to have been a car crash, but I enjoyed nearly all of the 29 songs spewed out in my direction tonight.

With only JJ Burnell and Dave Greenfield left of the original line-up the other two were more than rent a ken  with drummer Jim MacCauley given Jet Black’s blessing and boy what a skinsmith this guy is. Baz Warne is a marmite figure and probably doesn’t help his cause in enduring to the fans by not saying a word for 45 minutes then casually announcing ‘if I am not chatting to you much tonight its because I don’t feel like it’, but hey this is punk rock after all.

Waltzinblack heralded the band onto the stage and they ploughed straight into Tank and proceeded to play the album in full in monochrome lighting  with drums and keyboards on large white risers. Nice N Sleazy apart most of it was new to me though I did remember and loved Sweden.

The evening really kicked off with Grip and Walk On By and the other colours of the spectrum were allowed onto stage lighting.  Always the Sun was a highlight accompanied by little Greenfield jumps to accompany the leitmotif and Five Minutes took no prisoners, I Feel Like A Wog raised a few eyebrows in these more PC Times. Then they left the stage to return for encores of Peaches, a rare outing of Burning Up Time and of course Go Buddy Go and No More Heroes.

Listening to chatter on way out a few moans about no Golden Brown, but I didn’t think it would have fitted into this high octane set list.

There you have Da Punk Rock is in rude health in South Wales thou I was surprised at the discrepancy between the two crowds  from major Generals in the Punk Wars, Stranglers 1 Sex Pistols 0 thou if Field Marshall Jones had been with Cook then the game might have been closer.

-Chris Phillips

The Alarm official website

The Stranglers official website

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