Review: The Stranglers, O2 Academy

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THE Stranglers have obviously aged since they shot to fame in the late 1970s, and so have their audience.

But as well as the grey hairs and bald patches, something else is new about the crowd tonight. It’s something about the way mobile phones are wrenched from jacket pockets to take recordings of Peaches. It suggests the band, though they’ve passed their heyday, aren’t stuck in the past.

And there’s a lot to be said for a band that can play basslines, like the sweaty, iconic riff from Peaches, which still make grown men go “phwoar”. Later, when The Stranglers dust off Always The Sun, the audience seems made up of excited teenagers as they sing along to the chorus in football terrace tones. You don’t get that when you go and see The xx.

Baz Warne, who was drafted in as frontman in 2000, grooves and growls from the stage throughout the set.

So it doesn’t matter that The Stranglers romanticise heroin on Golden Brown, despite the fact they’ve probably got teenage daughters at home who they’ll be worried about when they stay out past midnight.

After a second encore, Warne tells the crowd: “You’ve made four old men very happy.” Of course, The Stranglers shouldn’t need reminding they’ve made a few hundred old men even happier.

Rob Cooke