The Stranglers, Gig Review. Hydro, Glasgow.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

It is the pull of the hero, the wanting to be in the same room as those lauded and respected that brings an audience back time and time again. Even after 40 years or so, countless gigs, the music never gets old, the stance of the conqueror never betraying time or allowing rust to set in to the mighty engine built frame, you can never truly escape the feel of fire that grows in the stomach, you can never turn your back on the hero.

By walking away, by forgetting the reasons why, the heroes cannot inflame the passions. Like reading stories of the Knights of the Round Table and the treachery of King Arthur visited upon him by the scandalous Lancelot, for all his good, he is remembered as a man of bad fortune, so too is the fan who places their own sanity above the needs for the music to breathe.

For The Stranglers, providing support to Simple Minds in Glasgow, the mass descent to the front of the stage, the few hundred people giving into the sound of Waltz in Black, were soon joined by what felt like the entire population of North Glasgow as the memories of the songs played filtered out into the bar area and the mighty pulse of generous flowing tones captivated the synapses and the energetic heart.

The heroes have never gone away, certainly not the Stranglers, a band that has never lost its way, that has never stopped being relevant; it is just that some forget, some wander away. Yet as Baz Warne, Dave Greenfield and the passion of J.J. Burnel took hold, songs such as Toiler on the Sea, (Get A) Grip (On Yourself), the grinding vibration of Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, the seminal luxury of Golden Brown, Always The Sun, Duchess and the blazing neutron star that resides in the form of No More Heroes ground down any resistance in the Hydro Arena, the memories of why so many love this great British band flowed like Newcastle Brown at the stag party before the marriage of Cana.

There was a time when the phrase “No More Heroes” could have stood for something other in a post war world dominated by the vacuous and the greed installed, for those who made sure that the Glasgow Hydro was bouncing with anger, a truth and the smile of a band that thankfully refuses to settle into the avenue of respectable middle age, No More Heroes is more of a rallying call, a dare, a cry of defiance in the darkness of British fawning beige and plucked television sentimentality to still search for the heroes, to strike out with every aching muscle and sinew to prove to the heroic that the 21st Century is not one that will end with a whimper but with punk filled cool and aggressive but beautiful style.

Ian D. Hall