Getting Slowly Strangled
The Stranglers concert, February 13, 2004, the Sport Hall,
Review by Rada Djurica
Punk of the '70s and '80s is long dead, but The Stranglers are legendary,
as are stories of their live performances with naked strippers on stage
during the tour for their album Nice 'n' Sleazy. When The Stranglers
were up to these hijinks. I was very young, but I remember hearing about
it. And when became a teenager I knew The Stranglers were really cool.
In the country where I grew up, The Stranglers were considered a band
for intellectuals. In the UK, however, it was something completely different.
Most people who are not into this music, review this sort of musician
as dirty old men today. Let's not forget that those "dirty men"
attracted lots of young crowds during the '70s and '80s, rebellious young
people who wanted a new system, not the old, "nice and sleazy"
Unfortunately, this time they did not mute their heavy subjects by offering
more cheeky shots, balanced with the addition of, perhaps, a male stripper
attending their live performances.
The hall where the concert was held was full of people. Old punks, neo
punks, all kinds of people: younger and older.And let me tell you something.
I wouldn't mind having such energy in my bed, even though I'm not sure
how would I would handle those grays today. There is something about this
generation of musicians. They definitely have the sort of raw, out of
order energy, blended with a certain level of promiscuity. Comparable
to a rave party with a giant ecstasy pill.
The band is now a mature and more complete unit, while the music is slightly
different. Grungy rock 'n' roll has replaced anything fancy. A preoccupation
with women has replaced interest in international conflict. Some of the
new subject matter was surprisingly naïve. Subtle irony and sarcasm
have always been their main weapons. Individuality and inspiration now
cannot match the glittering punk of "Hanging Around" or "Grip."
Than again, do you know any other band from their generation who has become
better today, by staying in the same old, dusty shoes?
The last time I heard The Stranglers live was 15 years ago. After all those years, The Stranglers show potential for what they could do if they had a better material, showing potential future directions, not yet exploited enough. Of course, maybe the Stranglers in 2004 seems different because 15 years ago I was just a teenage fan and now I'm a grown-up freelance critic. Not of course that I did not enjoy it. We still all refer to their old song "No more heroes". Yet, The Stranglers are still raw and catchy. Could they be buying into their own macho appeal? I doubt it. Though, I really admire the attempt.