Review: The Stranglers ****

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Leeds O2 Academy

The Stranglers have certainly come a long way since the early days when anarchy was infecting the UK and pub landlords banned them for attracting fishnet-wearing harlots and inciting vicious bust ups. Or have they?

Waltzinblack opened the show, a musical interlude from 1981 concept album, The Meninblack inviting a placid response from the mainly older male audience as notorious hard man, J J Burnel entered the stage with the rest of the band.

The crowd were definitely more interested in hearing music from the first four albums in the 1970s. No More Heroes encouraged the first real head bopping of the night, as the keyboard player played a tricky solo while extravagantly sipping a bottle of water (not beer).

Golden Brown was played half way through they set, but it may as well have been a lost track off of a B-side with The Stranglers putting in a low energy performance.

Peaches and Duchess were the encore songs, and it got people dancing and singing along.

As purveyors of “pub- punk”, my expectations of hordes of rowdy men and guitar smashing weren’t really met. It was actually a very pleasant and relaxed evening. It seems The Stranglers and their fans have grown up – maybe a little too much.

The Stranglers are next at Sheffield O2 Academy, March 23.