Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Former Strangler is in fine form, but still loses his cool

While the remaining Stranglers have pounded the circuit relying on the residual loyalty of their fan base – and an admittedly still impressive live kick – former front man Hugh Cornwell has ploughed a defiantly individualistic furrow.

Resisting what I imagine must be the lucrative option of burying the hatchet with his old band mates, his determination to do his own thing is heartwarmingly punk in itself.

So enter a raffish Mr Cornwell armed only with an acoustic guitar and an intent to play one track from each of his albums from the Stranglers onwards, a simple idea which initially worked very well, with old standards like Nice and Sleazy gaining a kind of music hall charm and a rejuvenated Golden Brown sounding especially at home.

Even the 'unlistenable' Men in Black album produced one acoustic gem in Thrown Away. But then a tetchy Mr Cornwell, grown fed up with the Black Box's tendency towards the conversational rather lost it.

A foul mouthed harangue followed, destroying what had been an, up until then, affable atmosphere.

The applause became more polite as the intros became perfunctory.

A pity, because some of his solo work, such as the Robert Mitchum inspired Big Sleep was more than worth a listen.

Just learn a little patience Mr Cornwell. You're not a chemistry teacher any more.

MICHAEL CONAGHAN

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