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stranglers7Luxor, Cologne, Germany
24th April 2012
The Stranglers & Mike Marlin

Along with the release of the new album, ‘Giants’, THE STRANGLERS also went on an extensive European tour, kicking off March 1st in the UK, ending April 27th in Belgium. One of the last shows took place in Cologne, supported by MIKE MARLIN. Lots of people beyond their 30s showed up to see the show of the heroes of their youth.


Mike Marlin

MIKE MARLIN comes from London / UK and started as a musician just when he was at university, influenced by bands such as THE POLICE, THE CURE, THE STRANGLERS and many others. He played in several bands that never became famous. In 1982 he gave up music as a career but soon after, technology saved him when he became obsessed with computers. Still, his music remained unheard by most people until 2009 when he met a record producer offering the possibility for Mike recording his first album ‘Nearly Man’, being released in February 2011. Following soon after was a second album, ‘Man on the Ground’, in February 2012 featuring Eleanor McEvoy on several tracks. http://www.mikemarlin.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/MikeMarlinMusic

Music & Performance
MIKE MARLIN was opening the evening together with a full band consisting of keyboard, bass, guitar and drums while Mike himself played rhythm guitar as well. The stage was quite small, already packed with the equipment of THE STRANGLERS. So, the five people of support band had about 3qm space for the people plus equipment. Even though the club was not totally filled up yet, the band received a warm welcome and impressed in the course of the set with ten songs moving between Rock, Britpop, Post-Punk and little Folk.

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During the set, Mike presented a nice mix of both released albums, staring with the two first songs of the current one, namely ‘The Magician’ and ‘This Town’, already showing his talent while his baritone voice caused goose bumps. One or Marlin’s “own favourites” came next, ‘Play That Game’ from the ‘Nearly Man’ album. The it was “time for a sad song”, namely ‘Steve McQueen’ before the let thing “cheer up” with ‘Girl from Chelsea Bridge’. Extremely calm and with nearly JOY DIVISION atmosphere, ‘Lost & Found’ was calming things down but with ‘Hit the Button’ they played “a bit more Rock’n’Roll”. Post-Punk ‘Not Perfect’ with its strong bass line leaded already to the end of the set which was marked by ‘Give it all’, dedicated to all past 50s in the club. Really a nice warm up and one should keep an eye on Marlin’s future output.

Setlist
01. The Magician
02. This Town
03. Play That Game
04. Steve McQueen
05. Girl from Chelsea Bridge
06. Hymn to Disappointment
07. Lost & Found
08. Hit The Button
09. Not Perfect
10. Give It All

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 7 / 10

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The Stranglers

During their career the Stranglers have garnered a total of 24 “Top 40” singles in four decades as well as eighteen “Top 40” albums. Hits include ‘Peaches’, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘5 Minutes’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Something Better Change’, ‘Always The Sun’, ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Strange Little Girl’ and ‘Skin Deep’ amongst others. THE STRANGLERS have inspired and influenced entire generations of alternative pop and rock bands. Their distinctive logo is a trademark of quality, still shining after decades of changes in fashions and trends. In recent years, THE STRANGLERS have appeared at Glastonbury, “T in the Park”, V Festivals, Hyde Park and Isle of Wight in the UK as well as their counterparts across Europe. And now, the band is finally presenting the new album live on stage. The eagerly awaited new studio album, ‘Giants’, was released on March 2012. ‘Giants’ is featuring JJ Burnel and Baz Warne on shared vocal duties, boasting the trademark STRANGERLS’ bass lines and keyboard runs as well as a tango (!) plus the first instrumental the band has recorded in over twenty years.

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The current band only features two original members, JJ Burnel and keyboarder Dave Greenfield. Founding member Jet Black was in hospital last month after qualm and is replaced on drums currently by his long-year drum technician Jet Black. Singer and guitaris Hugh Cornwell left the band already in 1990 and since then, Baz Wayne (ex-TOY DOLLS) is replacing him. THE STRANGLERS currently are Jet Black (drums), Jean-Jacques “JJ” Burnel (bass and lead vocals), Dave Greenfield (keyboards) and Baz Warne (guitar and lead vocals). http://www.stranglers.net/https://www.facebook.com/thestranglers / www.myspace.com/thestranglers

Music & Performance
35 years after the first album release, THE STRANGLERS are back with a new album and now were playing at a packed Luxor where now was no more room to move, anyone was eager to see the band. Finally 21.15, the first sounds of the intro sounded from the speakers and then, the band was opening an extraordinary and intimate concert with ‘Burning up Time’ from the ‘No more Heroes’ album. Not only the audience has aged, but also the musicians. But you did not have the feeling they are old, especially Baz was a pleasure to watch, very vivid, posing, making faces and always on the move. Not speaking much on stage, the band presents really a lot of songs, mixing old ones like ‘Sometimes’ from the very first album, with new ones, like ‘Lowlands’ from the newest one. The new songs fit perfectly into THE STRANGLERS’ earlier works.

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Three decades of music means also different styles reaching from harder raging songs with some Punk attitude to more gentle melodic pop tunes. Even though the new songs were received pretty well, it was the old gems that were awaited and celebrated most. When Dave started ‘Golden Brown’ with some Cembalo sounds, the audience cheered up and the whole club celebrated one of the band’s biggest hits, the first big hit in Germany btw. ‘Always the Sun’ was another favourite, following soon after, and it was fantastic hearing the audience singing the chorus all alone. Yeah, this evening turns out nostalgic during one or another moment. With ‘No more Heroes’, the main set reached its end. People were excited, heavily demanding more. The encore bloc following up now, was opened with ‘Nice 'N' Sleazy’, a pulsating and edgy piece, and ending with the KINKS cover ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ and ‘Tank’ at the very end. What a great live band and fantastic evening this was, taking you back in time when you were still young…

Setlist
00. Intro (Waltzinblack)
01. Burning Up Time
02. Sometimes
03. The Raven
04. Lowlands
05. Hey! Rise of the Robots
06. Hanging Around
07. Unbroken
08. Time Was Once On My Side
09. Golden Brown
10. Strange Little Girl
11. Always The Sun
12. Walk On By (Dionne Warwick cover)
13. Giants
14. Peaches
15. Mercury Rising
16. 5 Minutes
17. Relentless
18. Lost Control
19. Shut Up
20. Something Better Change
21. No More Heroes
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22. Nice 'N' Sleazy
23. Boom Boom
24. Duchess
---
25. All Day And All Of The Night (The Kinks cover)
26. Tank

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 9 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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