When: Sat., June 8, 8 p.m. 2013
The Stranglers belong the tiny and diminishing elite of great first-wave UK punk bands to neither burn out nor fade away. Of course, the Stranglers of 2013 are hardly the same group as the Guildford Stranglers of 1974, even though three of their four current members have been aboard since the mid-70s—founding guitarist Hugh Cornwell is sorely missed (as is Paul Roberts, who took over on vocals after Cornwell left in 1990), and health concerns have sidelined drummer Jet Black more than once (he’s 74 years old). But the band’s latest album, 2012’s Giants (which just got a U.S. release), proves that these former fire-breathing youths are anything but decrepit today. The Stranglers are more pub rock than punk now, in an odd and perhaps inadvertent nod to their roots—the wry twists and turns of “My Fickle Resolve” could have come from the mind of Wilko Johnson, whose early-70s playing with Dr. Feelgood was a huge formative influence on UK punk. Jean-Jacques Burnel’s lyrics have a bluesy, fatalistic quality, but no matter how bleak or jaded the music’s surface, the burble of Dave Greenfield’s keyboards suggests blood and adrenaline racing beneath it. This is the Stranglers’ first U.S. tour in 16 years, and I wouldn’t count on getting another chance to see them any time soon. —Monica Kendrick Mike Marlin, Death & Memphis, and Big Sur open.