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Stranglers review: No choking by mighty men in black

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

By Andrew Johnston

Punk legends The Stranglers returned to Belfast as one of the headline attractions of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Of course, to call The Stranglers ‘punk’ is kind of missing the point. Sure, Jean-Jacques Burnel’s distorted bass guitar is the sonic equivalent of a raised middle finger and the lyrics to the likes of Peaches, and, I Feel Like A W**, tread the fine line between poor taste and incitement to riot. They always had a lot more going on musically than their peers,  which could explain why they’re one of the few acts of their era still going strong. Not even lead singer and guitarist Hugh Cornwell abandoning ship in 1990 could slow them down, and Baz Warne has filled his boots admirably.

The black-clad quartet pelted a string of nuggets. Toiler On The Sea, Straighten Out And (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) sounded as brilliantly menacing as they did 35 years ago, while newer tracks held their own.

Four stars

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