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Stranglers - Boardwalk, Sheffield, 16/10/2004

  by Denzil Watson

published: 16 / 10 / 2004

Stranglers - Boardwalk, Sheffield, 16/10/2004


It's been fourteen years since Hugh Cornwell walked out on the Stranglers. Denzil Watson finds time to be the greatest mellower, and Cornwell, with a new autobiography out, paying greater tribute to his former band than in his previous live shows

Wednesday nights have never been the best night of the week for gigs in the Steel city but a pretty decent crowd is starting to build up in Sheffield's delightfully proportioned Boardwalk venue to see ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwell and his current live incarnation, Three Piece Suite. It's hard to believe it but it's now fourteen years since Cornwell walked out of The Stranglers back in the depths of 1990. Cornwell's been round the block a time or two both during and since his infamous Stranglers days and, for the first time, is just about starting to look his fifty-five years of age. His passion for playing live hasn't waned in the slightest. His recently published auto-biography, 'A Multitude of Sins', seems to have mellowed him slightly but at the same time brought home the significance of his Stranglers years. Tonight's set list pays testament to this. While past solo sets have included a smattering of carefully chosen Stranglers' numbers, tonight it's one solo song/one Stranglers song. His solo career has had its moments. Tracks from the newly released 'Beyond Elysian Fields' combine edgy folk with the old Cornwell song writing of yore. Pick of the bunch from the new LP are the moody 'Land of a Thousand Kisses' and the Lennon-influenced 'I Don't Mind'. 'Black Hair, Black Eyes, Black Suit' from 1997's 'Guilty' LP and 'Leave Me Alone' from the more recent 'Hi Fi' album stand out as beacons of his previous solo achievements. But it's the classics from his Stranglers days that really get the crowd going. A muscular 'Nice'n' Sleazy', a melodic 'Always the Sun', the epic guitar solo from 'Hanging Around' and the anthemic 'Duchess' are all high points. Nothing though can top the rendition of all time punk classic 'No More Heroes'. And while at times there appears to be gaping holes left where Dave Greenfield's arpeggio keyboard fills would normally be, it's a welcome chance to appreciate just how fine a deep and resonant voice Cornwell is blessed with. He had made a good choice in his musicians. Bassist Steve Lawrence, ex- of LA punkers the Deadbeats, more than does justice to Burnel's bass riffs while 19-year-old drummer Windsor McGilvray, a mere 45 years the junior of Jet Black, belies his meek years with a mature and faultless performance on the skins. Finishing with a brutal version of 'I Feel Like A Wog' there's still time for 'Peaches' as a dessert. And as the crowd begins to file out Cornwell appears stage front by the merchandise stall to chat affably with admirers and sign copies of his autobiography. Time, indeed, is the greatest mellower. The photographs that accompany this article were originally published on www.virtual-festivals.com

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Stranglers - Boardwalk, Sheffield, 16/10/2004

Stranglers - Boardwalk, Sheffield, 16/10/2004

Stranglers - Boardwalk, Sheffield, 16/10/2004

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