The Stranglers at the Manchester Apollo

Photos and Review by Graham Currey

Nostalgia was the overriding emotion this weekend as it suddenly dawned
on me that I was seeing ‘The Stranglers’ live for the fourth
time…spanning a period of forty years attending gigs across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

It was the last night of their latest ‘Back on the Tracks’ UK tour at the O2 Apollo in Manchester last Saturday night, attended mainly by those wanting to re-live the raw energy and unique, distinguishable sound of a band that is now only half
of its original lineup.

Opening with ‘Tank’ and building up to the more
familiar songs in their back catalogue, the band delivered a polished performance, superbly well driven by the thundering bass of Jean-Jacques Burnel and Jim Macauley on Drums. Four new tracks: ‘Water’, ‘The Last
Men On The Moon’, ‘Payday’ and ‘This Song’ were all well received by the hard core contingent, but it was the likes of ‘Golden Brown’ and
‘Peaches’ that had the smart phones out recording the light and sound show on offer and then ‘Something Better Change’ which started the crowd surfing and general throwback to the nostalgia of yesteryear.

In the late 70’s, the band’s popularity was built upon raw power and post-punk
attitude set in a fabulous, never to be forgotten playlist. The crowd knew all of the lyrics as the band encored with ‘Walk on By’, Hanging
Around’ and ‘No More Heroes’, all delivered with gusto and polished perfection. I couldn’t help but recall a moment forty years ago when ‘No More Heroes’ felt like I was hearing an anthem for the first time,
played with a raw imperfection and delivered with vocal angst.