Show time: 7 July - 9:15pm
September 11th 2014,marked 40 years in the business for The Stranglers.
Formed in 1974 as The Guildford Stranglers, the band were initially based in The Jackpot, an off-licence run by their drummer Jet Black. Quickly developing a pub-rock following they were soon swooped into the punk movement, opening for both Patti Smith and The Ramones on their British tours.
Releasing their first three albums – ‘Rattus Norvegicus’, ‘No More Heroes’ and ‘Black And White’ – within 13 months of each other and scoring hit singles with the likes of ‘Peaches’, ‘Something Better Change’ and, of course, the track ‘No More Heroes’ itself, The Stranglers quickly trademarked their sound; a swirling, heady concoction of psychedelic keyboards, growling vocals, hard-edged bass and an almost jazz-like drum sound.
But it was their attitude to the music press that really set them apart. Accused of being both sexist and racist by critics who didn’t see the patent absurdity and sarcasm in their lyrics, The Stranglers chose the path of most resistance and went to war. Notorious spats included punching the journalist Jon Savage at a public event, leaving another journalist strapped to a wheelchair in Reykjavik airport while his plane departed and gaffer-taping a third writer to a girder on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower with his trousers round his ankles. The list of misdemeanors is endless.
While these ‘japes’ hardly endeared them to the press, they didn’t harm the band’s popularity as they racked up more and more hit singles and broke box-office records including the most consecutive nights played at London’s Roundhouse, beating records set by the Rolling Stones and The Who. So it was no surprise that the 80’s saw The Stranglers spring to even greater heights of commercial success all around the world with the likes of ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Strange Little Girl’, ‘Always The Sun’ and ‘European Female’, amongst many others.
2013 saw these enfants terrible go from being the quintessential anti-establishment scourge of the music industry who were banned by the BBC to becoming pillars of said establishment with their performance at the 6Music Proms at the Albert Hall with a full orchestra.
Their sell out Ruby Anniversary Tour in 2014 was accompanied by the release of a box set featuring the bands EMI catalogue albums from Ratus Norvegicus in 1977 through to the last studio album Giants in 2012. This was followed by a European Tour and followed by festival appearances on the main stages of V Festival, T in The Park & Electric Picnic this summer.
The Stranglers are now revered as one of the most exciting, credible and influential bands to have emerged from the British new wave scene. They are as essential today as at any time in their lengthy career.
They continue to deliver an impressive and enrapturing live show. The set includes classic tracks such as Peaches, No More Heroes, 5 Minutes, Duchess, Something Better Change, Always The Sun and Golden Brown alongside some lesser performed numbers from their extensive catalogue.