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The Stranglers @ O2 Academy, Sheffield, 23.3.12

This Is Ark Editor Natalie Wilson tells us how The Stranglers, supported by Mike Martin and The Popes, gave a somewhat tired performance in Sheffield.

The Stranglers

The Stranglers @ O2 Academy Sheffield 23.3.12

As I eagerly anticipated The Stranglers performance at the Sheffield O2 Academy, in my opinion one of the best venues in Sheffield, I couldn’t help but think back to the last time I had seen the band here, some two or three years ago. The performance blew me away, it being the first time I had seen them live, and in my favorite venue. I anticipated a similar performance tonight.

Mike Martin and The Popes, formed by ex Pogues member Shane McGowan, were the perfect warm up acts for this event, with their classic rock sound getting everyone hyped for the main event. The audience was a mixture of old and new fans, an indicator of the timelessness of the music on offer tonight.

Then came the part of the night we had all been waiting for, and The Stranglers were greeted with the warmest of receptions, with cheers and applause erupting as entered in typical style. It was a shame to see that Jet Black was not present on stage tonight, but the tour was a long and trawling one, with Sheffield being one of the last stops, and Jet Black had unfortunately been take ill early on. But his replacement Ian Barnard was a worthy adversary!

An extensive mixture of old and new hits were sprinkled throughout their almost 90 minute set, and songs from their new album ‘Giants’ were welcomed with the same enthusiasm as their timeless classics ‘Peaches’ and ‘Always the Sun’.

I have to admit, in comparison with their previous performances, I felt that the long tour had taken its toll not only on Jet Black but on the rest of the band. They did not seem to have the same energy as usual. The gig was an enjoyable one to say the least, I admit that. And the crowd were energised and engaged as ever. But there were a few murmurs from fans at the bar that the performance was ‘weak’ and ‘not their usual standard’, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. Although the gig was a decent one, and I have seen far worse, I did expect more from the band that I once referred to as one of the best live bands of all time. After that performance, I can’t say they were as deserving of such a title.

Image courtesy of O2 Academy website

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