The Stranglers Gig in Cardiff

On the 17th June 1977 a much younger looking Peter Shores aged only 18 caught a train from Hull to watch the Stranglers live at the Doncaster Gaumont.  I was quite nervous because I was going to see my heroes on my own but in the company of real punks with loud clothing, hairstyles and assortment of safety pins piercing the flesh and that was just the girls.  My memory is hazy on how I obtained tickets for the “Rattus” tour but the support band was called London I think and my dad picked me up very late at Hull station to drive me back to Hornsea.

I was going through a rather rebellious youth period at the time and was the proud owner of a 7″ vinyl single of “Peaches” released in May that year that I played all the time.  I also remember taking their Rattus Norvegicus debut album to Queen Mary College with me in 1978 the year after its release.

The band then consisted of their classic lineup of Hugh Cornwell guitar and lead vocalist, Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass guitar, Jet Black on drums and Dave Greenfield on keyboard.

Roll on 40 years and a rather older looking Peter Shores aged 58, this time accompanied by a rather good looking wife of 27 years went to see last night the Stranglers perform at Cardiff University’s student union during their “Classics Collection” tour and what a night we had!

The support band this time was the Ruts who I remember playing “Babylon’s Burning” as if it was yesterday and the three piece band down from four originally was excellent, with them getting generous attention and applause from the late middle aged audience who had to endure standing room only!

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The Ruts!

Time had taken its toll on the Strangers too with only JJ Burnell (65 years old) & Dave Greenfield (aged 67) from the original lineup playing with Baz Warne replacing Hugh and Jim MacAulay, a younger bearded version of Jet Black (aged 78!) who stopped touring in 2015 due to ill health.

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JJ & Baz in full flow!

The gig started with the Waltzinblack tune playing from the Meninblack album and made famous by my favourite TV chef Keith Floyd.   Debbie and I were both appropriately attired for the evening in full black T shirt and jeans of course, but let me tell you the full story of our adventure into the Welsh capital!

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After our recent disastrous breakfast experience at the nearby Hilton hotel we diced that anti-establishment “punks” should stay at the Cardiff Travelodge instead and having booked the NCP car park in Greyfriars Road at around 3.30pm we parked up on the top floor and checked in with our luggage into room 202.

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Feeling pretty hungry we made our way to the Old Brewery Quarter which used to have a Hard Rock Cafe and a La Tasca tapas restaurant which sadly closed down a number of years ago.  After a bit of hesitation we plumped on a small Portuguese & Italian restaurant called “Mia portodue” and very glad we did too as the food and service was excellent!

The Italian house red was very quaffable and we both had grilled sardines on salad to start with which were to die for.

Followed by a speciality of theirs for me which consisted of huge cubes of fillet steak and chicken grilled on skewers and hung up on hooks off our table lamp.   Debbie ordered hake sautéed in olive oil with vegetables, yummy!

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Note my meaty skewer hanging up to the right…

After guiltily ordering frozen coconut ice cream to share and a small grappa for yours truly we paid our lovely Italian waitress from Naples called Fabiana and headed off to do some more exploring of the sights of Cardiff.

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I didn’t share much of my grappa I’m afraid!

We then passed a baby clothes shop called “Jojo Maman Bebe” which where our new daughter in law Emily works in their London office in their online marketing team.  Debbie went back today to pick up a present for our friend Rose who’s expecting her first grandchild soon and had invited her to a “baby shower” celebration early in April.

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In need of further liquid sustenance before the gig  we then headed to the “Goat Major” pub where we sank a pint of Brains SA and Dark before heading back to the hotel to get changed.

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By now the wine and beer is starting to take a toll on me – although Debbie looks immune!

On the way we decided to buy James a Habana cigar to thank him for looking after the dogs at the Havana House cigar shop where Debbie had a photo taken with the local friendly bear!

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The students union was only a short walk away and we found it with no problem, Debbie remembered seeing the Moody Blues there in the 1970’s as well as having taken her civil service Clerical Officer exams there.

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Quite a lot of the audience were bald men although this chap had an excellent solution!

Here follows the set list used on the day!

  1. Waltzinblack
  2. The Raven
  3. Was It You?
  4. Sometimes
  5. (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)
  6. 15 Steps
  7. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
  8. Never To Look Back
  9. Always the Sun
  10. Strange Little Girl
  11. Golden Brown
  12. Bear Cage
  13. Who Wants the World?
  14. Walk on By
  15. Dagenham Dave
  16. Relentless
  17. Peaches
  18. Genetix
  19. Hanging Around
  20. 5 Minutes
  21. Down in the Sewer
  22. Encore:
  23. Go Buddy Go
  24. No More Heroes
  25. Another Camden Afternoon

 

 

The Stranglers Gig in Cardiff

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