‘The Definitive Tour’ reached its sixth stop on Tuesday at Portsmouth Guildhall with a further 13 venues to go.
Joined by Irish punks Therapy?, this tour is a milestone for the re-release all 7 Stranglers albums in a collection called the ‘definitive collection’.
Politically vocal, The Stranglers are known for criticising former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. They upheld this movement of dissent through songs which contrasted aggressive punk compositions with romanticism of daily life in Britain in the eighties. They became supreme amongst the pub punk movement in their heyday; hailing from Guilford in Surrey, but becoming prolific all over the world. This was achieved by gaining 23 UK top 40 singles, including anthems like Golden Brown, Nice and Sleazy and No More Heroes.
Therapy? opened the evening up with their no limits energy that derives from experiences gained through performing; from amphetamine abuse to paranoia, the metal influenced rockers were no stranger to a hard-looking audience of aged rebels. Their sound was full of distortion and overdrive, synonymously pounding a ere of excitement into the crowd energising their punk spirits. It wasn’t long after the lights dimmed when a bloodshot Stranglers projection loomed above the bustle of the fans closest to the centre of the stage.
The night was all in all, amazing. The setlist was eclectic, opening with 1978 track Curfew. Not one audience member appeared unengaged with the sound and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the stage. It was lit extravagantly with tall TV screens that disassociated everything else going on in the world at that moment from the spirit filling Portsmouth Guildhall. I personally enjoyed listening the songs Golden Brown and Walk on By as hearing these classics live took me away cathartically to a time that punk swallowed up with a distaste to the politics of the day.
The Stranglers are infamously known for Dave Greenfield’s rapid synthesiser work which has been compared to that of Ray Manzarek from The Doors. The keys were most prominent to my observations as they wailed animosity and reveal why punk and rock is so contested amongst wider society. I found them excruciating and soothing all at once, a force not to be reckoned with for sure.
No revival gig is complete without an encore and of course it was No More Heroes and Go Buddy Go that roared out just before close. The audience was going wild for these tracks; despite their aging they’ve got partying down to a T.
It was amazing to hear the singing and it rang all around the hall like a football game. Just as the concert finished the band deliberated with some die-hard fans about where best to take their Tuesday drinking antics to first, Sadly I had to take the train home. Without a doubt, a proper gig for proper drinkers!