The Stranglers Newcastle Mayfair 26th Feb 1981 & Newcastle City Hall 24th Nov 1981

The Stranglers Newcastle Mayfair 26th Feb 1981 & Newcastle City Hall 24th Nov 1981
stranglersmayfairBefore I start today’s post; I just remembered that I also saw The Stranglers as one of the support acts for The Who at Wembley Stadium in 1979. Now, looking back, that was some line-up: The Who, The Stranglers, AC/DC and Nils Lofgren. I must write a full account of that gig when I come to covering The Who. Today I’m reflecting on The Stranglers in 1981.
1981 was another busy year for the band, releasing two studio albums, and touring in support of each. Their popularity was, however, starting to wane a little in the UK, and their three single releases of 1981 (“Thrown Away”, “Just Like Nothing on Earth”, “Let Me Introduce You to the Family”) only made the lower regions of the chart. Indeed, I can’t remember any of those singles at all. But as a live concert attraction The Stranglers remained a big draw, attracting punks and rock fans alike to their gigs.
strangled2The Stranglers first album release of the year was “The Gospel According to The Meninblack”, a concept album which explores the conspiracy theories around alien visitations to Earth and the sinister Men in Black, who appear in many biblical stories. This was a very different sort of album from their early punkier releases, and quite a brave move. Hugh Cornwell said of the album in a recent interview (SmellsLikePop, 2011) “I was sitting around Jet Black’s house and he was obsessed with UFOs……I thought that we could do a whole album about stuff they were writing in those books [referring to UFO books]…we all started getting into it. Jet didn’t realize that anyone would be interested in this weird stuff.” “The Gospel According to The Meninblack” made No 8 in the UK album chart, and the Stranglers went out on tour to promote the album. I saw their concert at Newcastle Mayfair on 26th February 1981. Phil Coxon attended every night of the early 1981 UK tour and says of the Mayfair gig: “The venue is in the nightclub style, have a look round and decide to treat myself to a Kentucky. Go back to the venue to see Modern Eon. [Aha so thats who the support was]. There’s a bit of hostility towards them tonight, the first time I’ve witnessed any so far. Their roadie quickly makes his way to the culprits and, even though he was outnumbered, he soon shut them up. Another good night from both bands with another lively crowd. The band coming on to Waltzinblack works a treat. Even though they have totally omitted anything from Rattus or Heroes, it’s still a great set and all the crowds seem to approve.” (From lair.thestranglers.net).
stranglers1981But one album wasn’t enough for the men in black in 1981. In November of that year they released “La Folie”, which was yet another change in style. This time the band consciously set out to make a much more accessible, commercial pop album, and worked with producer Tony Visconti, who helped them to achieve it. “La Folie” is French for “Madness”, and the theme of each song was “The Madness of Love”. The album contained the song “Golden Brown” which was released as a single in January 1982, reaching No. 2 in the UK chart. “Golden Brown” took the bands career in a different direction, and returned them to commercial success.
strangled3The Stranglers toured again in late 1981 and early 1982 in support of “La Folie”. The tour saw them returning to the City hall for the first time in four years to play a concert on 24th November 1981, which I attended. Live the Stranglers continued to put on great concerts, although I must admit I wasn’t familiar with the new songs, and missed some of the early classics like “London Lady”, “Grip” and “Hanging Around”.
Setlist from Newcastle City Hall 24th November 1981: Non Stop; Threatened; Just Like Nothing on Earth; Second Coming; The Man They Love to Hate; MeninBlack; Who Wants the World?; Baroque Bordello; Golden Brown; Tramp;Thrown Away; Tank; I Feel Like a Wog; Let Me Introduce You to the Family; Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus); Genetix. Encore: Bring on the Nubiles; Duchess; The Raven

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve on November 29, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Went to both of those, as well as one at Sunderland Locarno (1980) and an earlier gig at the City Hall (I think). Happy days.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Steve on November 29, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Oh, there you go, just seen both those other concerts in your “related links”. Good stuff.

    Reply

  3. I was a big fan of The Stranglers and seeing them play at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle when I was 17 in 1981 was a memorable experience! I remember the crowd getting restless waiting for them to come on stage and when the support band (Modern Eon) came on there was a fair degree of hostility and I was hit on the head by a plastic beer glass that somebody threw at them.Their electronic music was deafening and the pitch was quite painful.

    I don’t remember the set list The Stranglers played, but I do remember the spitting! The sight of it dripping of JJ Burnel’s base guitar is unfortunately still with me!

    Reply

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