Gig review: Hugh Cornwell at Fibbers, York

In one of his concerts a few years ago, Hugh Cornwell said: '˜I'm going to play my solo material in the first set and then The Stranglers stuff... because if it was the other way around you would all go home!' Well, it wasn't put as politely as that.
Hugh CornwellHugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell

And at Fibbers in York on Saturday night it was the same scenario but, you know, the former Stranglers front man does not really need to do that anymore.

Cornwell was touring to promote his latest solo album, Monster, perhaps one of his best ever offerings.

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And the songs are strong enough to end or start any concert along with The Stranglers classics.

Monster returns to one of Hugh’s favourite themes of heroes and villains from his mother (La Grande Dame) to Mussolini and along the way taking in the likes of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen (the subject of the title track), Phil Silvers (Bilko) and Hedy Lamarr (The Most Beautiful Girl in Hollywood).

Fibbers is one of the best small venues in the region with a reputation for attracting bands that could easily fill bigger venues and there was a healthy, if slightly ageing, crowd on Saturday night, still ready and willing to boogie.

That first set comprised of Cornwell mixing in some of his finest solo material from the likes of Totem and Taboo and Guilty with tracks from Monster and throw in Cornwell’s usual pearls of wisdom and no-one could have been disappointed.

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Perhaps it was the second set that most had turned up to hear and Cornwell did not disappoint belting through such Stranglers classics as Duchess, Nuclear Device, Strange Little Girl and No More Heroes. Perhaps the only weak spot of the set was a rather disappointing version of Golden Brown.

But to coin the title of one of Hugh Cornwell’s very,very early solo tracks there is really no Wrong Way Round any more for his set listing.

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