REVIEW: The Stranglers at Portsmouth Guildhall

I first saw the Stranglers at the Mecca in Arundel Street in Portsmouth city centre in 1978.

Wednesday, 14th March 2018, 8:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th March 2018, 9:30 am
The Stranglers live

They were angry and exciting. I was 17.

On Tuesday the current line up brought their Definitive Tour to the Guildhall and everything seems to have changed.

The venue was close to capacity, the PA sounded great and the lightshow was pretty impressive.

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Maybe it’s just that I’m not a teenager any more or maybe this really wasn’t their finest moment.

Sure, a good number of the hits were there; Get a Grip on Yourself, Golden Brown, Duchess and an encore that included Go Buddy Go. The familiar swirling keyboards of a very competent performance of Walk on By almost kicked things off.

Almost but not quite.

I didn’t note any anger or a particularly large dose of excitement. The mosh pit was more of a polite applause pit and the general lack of engagement was quite a disappointment.

I really wanted this to be a great gig but despite the highlight of the memorable bass intro to Peaches, the abiding emotion was captured more by Something Better Change and Hanging Around.

Honestly, it’s not you, it’s me.

Or maybe we’re all just getting a bit too old for this.

MARTIN COX