The Stranglers @ Lincoln Engine Shed

There is nothing more romantic than getting press passes for a Stranglers gig and taking your girlfriend with you, right? 

It takes a special breed of band to still be touring the world 29 years after forming way back in 1974, when the average house price was just under £11,000 and a gallon of petrol would set you back a whopping… 42p.

The Stranglers, who came, saw and conquered Lincoln’s Engine Shed last Friday, belong to that special breed.

Testament to their remarkable longevity was their backdrop which ticked from the year of their formation all the way down to 2013.

Each passing year a reminder that this band really has been in it for the long haul, from snarly punk outcasts to one of the most well respected and experienced bands in today’s industry.

Countdown over, JJ Burnel opened proceedings with thunderous and engulfing bass as the band kicked off with ‘Toilers on the Sea’ from 1978 seminal album ‘Black and White’. As has been custom on the ‘Feel It Live’ tour so far, original drummer Jet Black sat out the first half of the set, which is hardly surprising considering his 75 years on this earth.

‘Goodbye Toulouse’ from 1977’s debut album ‘Rattus Norvegicus’ was the second song of a set that successfully dropped in at various parts of the band’s extensive career, from their debut to their latest effort ‘Giants’, which was released last year.

The Stranglers have always been known for their uncompromising ethos and that has rubbed off on their sound. They dominated the venue with the sheer belligerence, ferocity and volume of their music, and the Lincoln crowd lapped it up.

The long and eclectic set, which included ‘Grip’, ‘Bring on the Nubiles’, ‘Nice n’ Sleazy’ and ‘Duchess’, was proof of how diverse this band’s career has been, weaving and winding in between punk, garage rock and the more adventurous and often rewarding electronic numbers.

Jet Black took to the stool halfway through to rapturous applause and got stuck into ‘Genetix’. His introduction not only injected more life into the crowd but also aggressiveness into the rhythm section.

The band’s fan base is renowned for being as fiercely loyal as they come, and it was no surprise to see them, adorned in official band merchandise, take over the Engine Shed in great numbers.

What was surprising, and simultaneously refreshing, was the amount of younger fans at the gig, highlighting the fact that this band are indeed still relevant.

The groove laden ‘Peaches’ and the baroque artistry of ‘Golden Brown’ went down a treat, two timeless classics that were given a new lease of life instead of simply being carbon copies.

A double encore consisted of ‘Something Better Change’, ‘No More Heroes’ and ‘Tank’. ‘Whatever happened to your heroes?’ probed Baz, well for many in the Engine Shed crowd they were on stage right in front of them.

I text frontman Baz Warne after the gig and he said they were giving the crowd 9/10 and themselves 7/10…and that there was a ‘great vibe!’ Well there you go then.

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