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09/12/2016 : THE STRANGLERS, THE ALARM - O2 Academy, Bristol (19/03/16)

THE STRANGLERS, THE ALARM

O2 Academy, Bristol (19/03/16)

Concert
New wavePost PunkPunk 09/12/2016, Mark VAN MULLEM

EN

These are happy times for Stranglers-fans! Lots of chances to see The Men In Black nowadays. In 2015, the band toured extensively in the UK with the 'March On Tour', there was the mini tour in France, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands. And at the end of 2015, they supported Simple Minds on their Big Music Arena Tour. Not much later it was announced the band would tour the UK in March 2016 with the groundbreaking third album. Yes, The Stranglers play Black And White (1978) on this tour!

This Saturday, your Peek-a-Boo reporter attended the Bristol gig and had a ball. The O2 Academy was fully packed, completely sold out! The band was on fire and played the iconic album from a to z. From the very first note of the opening title Tank, to the last song of eightteen more songs, the fabulous No More Heroes, this was one hell of a punk rock 'n roll party!

Welshmen The Alarm support The Stranglers on this tour. The band of Mike Peters played a short, but great gig. At 19.45 sharp they opened with Killer Killer Killer to conclude at 20.30 with the all time fan favourite The Spirit of 76. The gig was full of positivism and hope, with Mike testifying about his cancer battle and cherishing the friendship with The Stranglers. But let's talk about the musical highlights: the loudly sang along 68 Guns, a majestic Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke, a very beautiful My Town an a smashing The Drunk and Disorderly.
I hate a song that makes you feel like you're no good, I hate a song that makes you feel like you're nobody (...), a song that makes you feel that you're too this, or too that. Well, I'm gonna fight those songs with every last breathe I've got in my body, with just one guitar” - of course One Guitar couldn't be left out of the setlist, great version too! The Alarm played a really good and well received gig.

At 9 o' clock, the intro Waltz In Black was aired, The Men In Black hit the stage and there was no time for formalities or even a quick hello. Tank, bursted, merciless, loud and proud through the speakers and Stranglers fans thought it was time for a good pogo dance party!

All twelve songs of 78's Black And White sounded fresh, up to date, were played with great enthousiasm and fury and it sounded raw, edgy and refined. Nice 'N Sleazy does it, does it every time. indeed! It was a true joy to witness how much the band enjoyed this show. Of course, every single person in the audience knew the album by heart which increased the enjoying of this spectacular live experience. Black And White live was a real treat and once more confirmed what a great album this is. Toiler On The Sea will remain my favourite song of the album, and my favourite Stranglers song overall, that's a fact. The live version was just stunning. Curfew, Threatened en Sweden - “the only country where even the clouds are interesting” were killers too!

After the twelve Black And White selections, the band threw in another eightteen songs! Immediate after the last song of the album, it was full speed ahead with (Get A) Grip (On Yourself). And then Baz Warne took some time to greet the audience: “Good evening, Bristol!” And the second Stranglers party could begin!

Some of the more recent songs of the current line up, such as Lost Control, Relentless and especially Norfolk Coast accompagnied the many pure Stranglers vintage punk rock classics such as Five Minutes, the fantastic Princess of the Streets, sung by J. J. Burnell, Nuclear Device, Hangin' Around, Something Better Change and I Feel Like A Wog, And Peaches, of course, sung by Baz. Then:.. “and now time for some good 'ole pub rock, Bristol”; Go, Buddy, Go !

Always The Sun must have been the only pure pop song, in the set list. Not really essential nor necessary for the concept of the gig, but no one complained, on the contrary. Also punk rockers need to rest sometimes. Dave Greenfield's grimaces behind his keyboards were just hilarious. Oh, please give Dave Greenfield a statue, what this man does on keyboard is just fantastic!

This was a completely different live experience then the gig in Vilvoorde recently (18 november 2015). Great gig, but a seated venue was not exactly what The Stranglers had expected. Baz Warne then said: 'Is this a f*#in living room, or what?'. After the heavy Stranglers fest in Bristol, one can understands the meaning of his words.... A very good guitarist and vocalist Baz is. Maybe Stranglers' best frontman ever?
It remains to be seen if we will ever see Jet Black perform on stage again. Also on this UK Tour the Stranglers drummer was replaced by Jim Macauly.

May I give you one good advice? If you've never seen The Stranglers perform live before, then take the first opportunity you get to do so!. You won't regret it. They're in optima forma! Attending one of the dates this month might be very difficult or even impossible, though.

In april the band plays in New-Zealand and Australia. Maybe the next move is a tour in 'mainland Europe' with Black And White? Or not? We dont know!


Setlist The Alarm:
Kill Kill Kill / Super Channel / Absolute Reality / The Drunk and Disorderly / Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke / One Guitar/ 68 Guns / My Town / The Spirit of 76.

‪Setlist‬ The Stranglers:
Intro: Waltz In Black / Tank / Nice 'N Sleazy / Outside Tokyo / Sweden (All Quiet on the Western Front) / Hey! (Rise of the Robots) / Toiler on the Sea / Curfew / Threatened / Do You Wanna / Death And Night And Blood (Yuko) / In the Shadows / Enough Time / (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) / Walk On By / Norfolk Coast / Lost Control / Princess of the Streets / Always The Sun / Freedom Is Insane / A Soldier's Diary / Nuclear Device / 5 Minutes / Relentless / I Feel Like A Wog / Something Better Change / outro: Meninblack

‪Bis 1:
Peaches / Hangin' Around

Bis 2:
Go Buddy Go / No More Heroes

Mark VAN MULLEM
09/12/2016


NL

Het zijn mooie tijden voor fans van The Stranglers. Er zijn immers heel wat kansen om The Men In Black live te zien! De band tourde in 2015 uitgebreid door de UK met de March On Tour, en er was tevens de mini-tour door Frankrijk, Zwitserland, België en Nederland. En in de staart van 2015 nam Simple Minds hen mee als special guest op hun Big Music Arena Tour in vier Britse steden. Niet veel later werd bekend dat de band in maart 2016 door de UK zou touren met het magistrale derde album. Jawel, The Stranglers brengen Black And White (1978) integraal, op deze tour!

Peek-a-Boo woonde op zaterdag 20 maart het concert in Bristol bij en genoot met volle teugen. De heren staan scherper en klinken snediger dan ooit! In een volgepakte en hopeloos uitverkochte O2 Academy brachten de heren hun iconische derde album van a tot z. Vanaf de eerste noot van Tank tot en met de laatste bis, No More Heroes, was het een subliem punk-rock'n roll-feestje, twee uur lang!

The Alarm had de eer om te openen voor The Stranglers en de welshmen deden dat met brio. Om 19.45 werd Killer Killer Killer ingezet, om rond 20.30 te besluiten met de geslaagde all time publieksfavoriet The Spirit of 76. Van dit optreden onthoud ik vooral het positivisme van Mike Peters, diens getuigenis over zijn nog voortdurende strijd tegen kanker, alsook hoe hij de kameraderie met The Stranglers beschreef. Met muzikale hoogtepunten zoals een luidkeels meegezongen 68 Guns, een meesterlijk Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke, een fraai My Town en een sterk The Drunk and Disorderly. En natuurlijk: ““I hate a song that makes you feel like you're no good, I hate a song that makes you feel like you're nobody (...), a song that makes you feel that you're too this, or too that. Well, I'm gonna fight those songs with every last breathe I've got in my body, with just one guitar” - One Guitar dus, en wat een versie! Fijn concertje van The Alarm. Snedige, ruwe, maar erg melodieuze meezingrock.

Toen om 21 uur, exact een kwartier later dan aangekondigd, de eerste tonen van Waltz In Black klonken en The Stranglers op het podium verschenen, was er geen tijd voor plichtplegingen. Neen, Tank knalde meteen ongenadig en überstrak door de zaal, waar in geen tijd een heus pogofeest losbarste!

Alle twaalf songs van Black And White klonken okselfris en werden met de kracht en het vuur van jonge honden gebracht. Punkrock en new wave zoals het hoort! Punt. Nice 'N Sleazy does it every time. Inderdaad! Wat een genot om te zien hoezeer de band zelf van dit feest genoot. Natuurlijk kende ongetwijfeld elke aanwezige het album van binnen en van buiten wat de feestvreugde alleen maar vergrootte. En als er zaterdagavond iets bevestigd werd, alsof dat nog nodig was, was het wel de grandeur van dit album. Toiler On The Sea zal wel voor eeuwig mijn favoriet van het album en van The Men In Black tout court blijven! Zeker na de fenomenale versie die we zaterdag te horen kregen. Curfew, Threatened en Sweden - “the only country where even the clouds are interesting” waren ook live knallers van formaat.

Na de twaalf songs uit Black And White, gooide de band er nog eens achttien songs tegenaan! Er werd meteen volop gas gegeven met (Get A) Grip (On Yourself). En daarna nam Baz Warne de tijd om ons te begroeten: “Good evening, Bristol!”. En zo begon eigenlijk gewoon een tweede heet Stranglersfestijn. Geweldig.

In dit deel van de set werden de betere songs van de huidige line-up, zoals Lost Control, Relentless en vooral Norfolk Coast, gecombineerd met songs zoals Five Minutes, het geweldige, door JJ Burnell gezongen Princess of the Streets, Nuclear Device, Hangin' Around, Something Better Change en I Feel Like A Wog, met name de Stranglers punkrock-classics dus. Natuurlijk ook Peaches, gezongen door Baz. En, en... “now time for some good 'ole pub rock, Bristol”; Go Buddy Go !

Met Always The Sun bevatte de setlist toch één pure popsong, wat, gezien het concept van de show niet echt nodig was, noch hadden de fans erom geroepen mocht het niet gespeeld worden, maar het ging er wel in als zoete koek. Ook punkrockers moeten al eens rusten. En lachen met Greenfield die vanachter zijn keyboards een onemanmime-comedyshow weggaf. Hilarisch. Geef Dave Greenfield trouwens eens een standbeeld, zeg. Wat die man op de toetsen doet, fantastisch gewoon!

Dit was een geheel andere concertbeleving dan het overigens uitstekende Stranglersconcert laatst in Vilvoorde (18 november 2015), waar frontman Baz Warne nogal verbouweerd was dat hij voor een zaal met zitjes mocht spelen. Na het potige feestje zoals dat in Bristol kan ik zijn “Is this a fuckin' living room or what?” des te beter plaatsen. Erg goede gitarist, zanger en frontman, trouwens deze Baz. Neen, we gaan het er niet weer over hebben, maar om kort te gaan: misschien wel de ultieme Stranglers-frontman. Greenfield en bassist J.J. Burnell zullen me vast niet tegenspreken. Ook nu werd drummer Jet Black, om gezondheidsredenen, vervangen door Jim Macauly. De vraag is of we Black ooit nog op een podium zullen zien?

Een goede raad, gratis en voor niets: als je The Stranglers nog nooit live zag, doe het dan zo snel mogelijk (al zal het tijdens deze maart-UK-Tour niet meer lukken wellicht). De heren staan scherper dan ooit! Binnenkort trekken ze naar Nieuw-Zeeland en Australië. En wie weet brengt de Black And White Tour ze alsnog naar mainland Europa.

Setlist The Alarm:
Kill Kill Kill / Super Channel / Absolute Reality / The Drunk and Disorderly / Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke / One Guitar/ 68 Guns / My Town / The Spirit of 76.

‪Setlist‬ The Stranglers:
Intro: Waltz In Black / Tank / Nice 'N Sleazy / Outside Tokyo / Sweden (All Quiet on the Western Front) / Hey! (Rise of the Robots) / Toiler on the Sea / Curfew / Threatened / Do You Wanna / Death And Night And Blood (Yuko) / In the Shadows / Enough Time / (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) / Walk On By / Norfolk Coast / Lost Control / Princess of the Streets / Always The Sun / Freedom Is Insane / A Soldier's Diary / Nuclear Device / 5 Minutes / Relentless / I Feel Like A Wog / Something Better Change / outro: Meninblack

‪Bis 1:
Peaches / Hangin' Around

Bis 2:
Go Buddy Go / No More Heroes

Mark VAN MULLEM
09/12/2016


 

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